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Kauai – July 3, 2007

Tuesday

Scenery and Geocaching Way out West

We woke up just after 5:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. At 5:30, we figured we might as well get up. We had a breakfast of cereal and orange juice in the room. Our plan was to go to Koke’e State Park and see Waimea Canyon. We thought we might even do some hiking. Just before 7:00, we headed out.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, and by 7:30 we were in Ele’ele, the home of Glass Beach. This beach is known for the smooth bits of glass that wash up on the beach. Years ago, there were many colors of glass on the beach. Now it is mostly white and brown. We managed to find some blue bits and Chris even found a rare red piece. Maybe she will make some jewelry from them. We spent about 45 minutes on the beach. Chris took pictures and collected glass while I looked for and found a nearby geocache.

From Glass Beach, we headed up the Waimea Canyon Road, stopping at overlooks with beautiful vistas of the canyon and the coast. At one of the overlooks we found another geocache.

We drove all the way up to the end of the road where there is an overlook that allegedly has views of the Na Pali cliffs and the coast. It is common for the view to be obscured by clouds, and that was the case when we arrived. We got a quick glimpse down to the coast, but the fog/clouds completely hid the cliffs from our view. As we walked up, we had a clear view of the trees just on the other side of the safety fence, but we could only see the gray blanket of clouds beyond. It felt like we were walking up to the edge of the very planet.

We hung around the overlook for about half an hour waiting for the clouds to part. At one point we could just make out a ridge several hundred yards away and well below us. That was as clear as it got. As we waited for the view to clear at the top, we discovered we were getting hungry. On our way back down the road we stopped at the Koke’e State Park headquarters, where there is a museum and a gift shop/restaurant.

We found a table in the restaurant and perused the menu. After about five minutes, we hadn’t seen a waiter or waitress. I asked the cashier of the gift shop if there was an order counter or a waitress. She looked up from the newspaper she was reading and said “I’m the waitress.” She followed me back to our table and took our brunch order. Chris ordered the Polynesian bean soup and cornbread. I was in more of a breakfast mood, so I ordered the “Local Breakfast”: 2 eggs (over medium), Polynesian sausage and white rice. The food came pretty quickly and everything was very good. The cornbread was especially tasty—light and fluffy, sweet and buttery.

After breakfast we checked out the museum. There wasn’t much there except a room dedicated to explaining the impact of Hurricane Iniki on the island, and especially on the Waimea Canyon area. Iniki devastated the island when the 10-mile-wide eye swept across it on 11 Sept 1992. While many plants bounced back quickly, others have never recovered.

We started to look for a nearby geocache, but we would have had to go off the nature trail to get to it. The area looked pretty fragile and there was already a “social trail” going up the hill toward where the cache should be. We didn’t want to scramble over the hillside and cause more damage, so we ended our hunt, returned to the car, and continued our descent from the park.

On our way out, we turned onto a different road to see if there were more views to see. This road followed a track farther west from our entrance route. It provided some good views of the Na Pali coast and Niihau, the island 17 miles northwest of Kauai. Our GPS alerted us to two geocaches near the road, but in both cases, there were already cars pulled off in the nearby overlooks. We didn’t want to try to wait out the geomuggles, so we didn’t stop for either cache.

By that time, our gas gauge was beginning to dip toward E, so we filled up at a Shell station near Waimea, paying $3.399 per gallon. I guess living in California has numbed us to high gas prices. We barely remarked on it.

As we drove through Hanapepe, Chris noticed some clothing stores, so we parked and did some shopping. Once again, she did not find a top to match her shorts, but I bought a knock-off red dirt shirt. Red Dirt Shirts are a brand of tee shirts died a rusty red color using the local red dirt. The shirt I bought was a Red Earth shirt. It cost $10 instead of $20, which is what the real Red Dirt shirts sell for.

From Hanapepe, we drove back to our hotel, arriving around 3:00. While Chris took a 30-minute nap, I headed to the lounge to check e-mail, log our geocache finds, and catch up on this journal. While I was typing, Chris headed out to the small pool again. After a dip, she sunned herself for a while and then pulled her lounge into the shade. When I was done with my writing, I bought a beer, grabbed my book, and joined her in the shade.

Dinner at Brennecke’s Beachside Broiler

Mini had invited us to join her and Heath for dinner in Poipu. They had flown in that afternoon, but Mini had made reservations before leaving California. We would be meeting them and some other friends at Brennecke’s Beachside Broiler at 7:00.

Just before 5:00, we headed back to the room to get ready. Since we were going to be staying up later than usual, we both took a 15 minute nap before showering and getting gussied up for dinner. Just after 6:00 we headed for the car. We remembered to take the bag we had transported for Heath and Mini. We would transfer it to their car after dinner.

Traffic was heavy through Lihue, and we wondered if we would make it by 7:00. However it loosened up before we got on the road to Poipu. We pulled into the parking lot at Brennecke’s about 10 minutes early. We were the first ones there, so we ordered drinks and sat down to wait. My beer was in a Brennecke’s logo glass with the slogan “A Pint of Paradise” on it. Chris asked a waitress if we could by it, and she said we could get one in the gift shop downstairs. I bought one and took it to the car before heading back to my beer.

At 7:00 Chris and I were still the only ones there, but the hostess showed us to the table. We took seats where we could see the ocean through the open windows. Within a few minutes, everyone else showed up: Bruce, Michelle, and their son Liam, Chuck (who would perform the wedding ceremony), Deanna, April and Mike. Heath and Mini showed up about five minutes later.

With ten adults and a five-year-old, dinner was chaotic but lots of fun. The food was excellent and our waitress was very attentive. She was very patient and kept a sense of humor as we all tried to hold conversations and order at the same time. Chris and I ended up ordering almost identical meals: Ono and Mahi Mahi. I ordered both of mine seared, while Chris had her Ono broiled and the Mahi Mahi seared. It was all cooked and seasoned extremely well.

By 9:00 we were all done with dinner and the conversations were lagging. We said our goodbyes for the night and headed back across the island to Kapa’a. The trip back was very quick, and we were back at our room by 9:35. We read our books for about half an hour and then turned out the light. I had turned off the alarm. We were going to sleep in.


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