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Kohala coast, Waimea and Aloha

Today before leaving Hawaii we spent our last day driving around to the Kohala coast through Waimea which is some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. I think that if I were to retire to a tropical island somewhere, it would be to a horse/cattle ranch somewhere in the Waimea area. Talk about happy cows, the horses and cows were some of the healthiest looking livestock I’ve ever seen. California cows have nothing on these cattle.

We took our time driving around the North part of the island to look at waterfalls, wide open fields and beautiful coastlines with some of the most ideal surfing. Lunch was had in Waimea at the unlikely named Charley’s Thai Cuisine which was again a superlative Thai culinary experience. Note: When you order hot from Charley’s, they mean it!

After lunch, we drove around to the Kohala coast which is a more stark landscape than other parts of the island, but there is a beauty to it’s sparseness.

We continued on North to some of the small towns lining the Akoni Pule highway to the Pololu trail. If we had an extra couple of days, this would absolutely have to be a destination for a hike, but as it was, we only had a brief stay before heading down to Kona for dinner and preparations to fly home.

Dinner was a pizza from the Kona Brewing Company eaten in the back of the rental car watching the spectacular sunset with outrigger canoes practicing their surf riding seen in the introductory image. It made for a rather pleasant scene and an appropriate send off from the Big Island of Hawaii. Aloha.

The flight home was an overnight flight leaving Kona at 11:51pm and arriving in Salt lake City at 8:40am. Again, it was the same Delta plane that we flew out on so the first class cabin was less than it could have been. It was actually hard to sleep in first class because the head-rest would not keep your head from flopping from side to side, there was no meal service (not even breakfast), and my seat would not recline further than 8 degrees or so. Sunrise came fairly quickly enough however, and I could hear people complaining about how turbulent the flight was which surprised me given that I thought it was a pretty smooth flight.

The surprise came for us when the pilot announced that there were heavy snow to blizzard conditions in Salt Lake City, but we *should* be able to land. I had checked the weather conditions from Hawaii a couple of days before and they said nothing about rain or snow on our arrival day, so H and I were outfitted in shorts and sandals. Sure enough, on decent into SLC, everything was grey with heavy storm clouds everywhere. Landing was performed in an all out blizzard, but the pilot did an admirable job making it smooth.

Walking out to the car though was cold and wet, but I suppose this is what to expect from springtime in the Rocky Mountains. Despite our wonderful trip, it was good to be home and see our cat. We’ll have great memories. The trip was all out for us as we started every morning at 6:00 and had activities planned all day until we would collapse back at Ramashala late into the evening. We are physically exhausted, but mentally refreshed.

I should also give mad props to Andrew Doughty whose wonderful book, Hawaii The Big Island Revealed was indispensable for our trip. Not only did it outline spots to eat, but it provided wonderful maps to beaches and gave us lots of local background information that helped smooth our trip. If you visit Kauai, Maui or Oahu, Andrew also has books for you that are likely just as useful. They are better than any guidebook I’ve yet to read and will serve you better than any tour guide for the low, low price of $15. However, it could be argued that these books are “a bargain at any price”.

And now it begins… Once more into the breach dear friends and back to work.

Categories: Travel.

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