Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Road Trip! 9-13-2011

Today was the day we would leave Waikiki, which had served us well so far, but there was so much more we needed to see.   We decided to rent a car and set off towards the East.

Heading down Kalakaua Avenue, we passed by the Waikiki Aquarium, Queens Surf Café and Kapiolani Park. We made our way up Diamond Head Road overlooking Makalei Beach and Diamond Head Beach State Park.  We continued to follow the road which eventually brought us to the H1 highway. This led us to the windward side of the island. Past the Koko Crater, we pulled into the scenic overlook at Koko Head State Park.  Just below us was Hanauma Bay. Of course, pictures were taken. We were even lucky enough to have a very nice couple take a picture of the four of us together for a change.

 A little further down the road we stopped off at the Halona Blow Hole. Deb and Madaline got out hoping to get a picture or two of the water actually coming in through the blow hole. Their patience paid off.  After pictures there, we wound our way around the island past Makapu’u Point, the lighthouse and continued around to the windward side of the island. It was truly spectacular. Driving past Waimanalo Beach was just incredible. That part of the coastline is well worth the trip and we highly recommend making your way there.

We had heard that Hawaii Five-0 was filming today at the Paul Mitchell Estate over in Lanikai.  We knew it was going to be a closed set and we knew there was a snowballs chance in Hawaii that we’d see anything, but we headed that way anyhow. The neighborhood was really lovely. Although we didn’t see any of our H50 stars, we did see a part of Oahu, we all agreed, we’d be more than happy to move to, if we ever won the lottery.
After leaving Lanikai, we worked our way towards Kailua and Kualoa. We stopped at what was perhaps the single most beautiful place we found so far, Kualoa Beach Park.  The water was exquisite shades of turquoise green and blue. Chinaman’s Hat or Mokoli’i Island was sitting right in front of us. The 360 degree view was just spectacular. To one side was Kualoa Beach. When we turned around, we realized we were a stone’s throw from the Kualoa Ranch and the Kualoa Valley. It was here that we decided, was the perfect backdrop to take photographs of the quilt for Alex… which was still in our possession.  Being between the emerald green mountains of Kualoa and the shores of the Pacific was the true meaning of being in paradise. It’s hard to convey the sense of peace we found at this park.

While taking pictures, we glanced over and realized that we were probably looking at the home used as MaryAnn McGarrett’s rental house from the Hawaii Five-0 Ke Kinohi episode. We went back and forth about it for a few minutes and swore to check the season 1 dvd when we got home to verify.  Of course, we were right about the house. They don't call us H50fanatics for nothing.  :) 
Eventually we left that beautiful place and continued driving towards the north shore. We were ravenous at this point in the day and just had to eat. We came upon our first shrimp truck and decided to stop. The place we stopped at was called Mike’s Huli Huli shrimp truck. Just reading the menu made us drool. Each of us tried something different so we could sneak a taste from one another’s plates.  We couldn’t decide what tasted better, the chicken, pork or the shrimp, so we ordered all of them. 

After lunch we continued our drive along the north shore through Laie, Kahuku and around to Turtle Bay.  The scenery lulled Ellen to sleep. Madaline was still taking pictures and admiring the views along with Stacey and Deb. We decided to take the H2 back towards O’ahu. Ellen woke up somewhere around the Dole pineapple fields and plantation. 

The road wound its way back towards Pearl City through Aiea and on into the Waikiki area.  We decided we wanted to see Punchbowl. Once we got our bearings, we made our way through town and finally found it. Slowly, climbing up the hills and into Punchbowl.  It was a very solemn place to be. It amazed us to see so much beauty within a cemetery. There were these trees aligning the driveway, we'd never seen before that caught our attention. If any of you know what kind of trees they are, please leave us a comment. The 180 degree view of Waikiki below us in the valley was breathtaking. Knowing that our favorite show had filmed there several times wasn’t a bad thing either.

After a long day of site seeing, we realized we needed to gas up the car.  We did see Leonard’s Bakery when we wound our way through the local streets, but didn’t stop for malasadas or coco puffs. Our final tour stop was going to be at the Diamond Head Health Bar to taste one of Alex O’Loughlin’s favorite treats, an acai bowl.

After our snack we made our way towards Hawaii Kai. Our new friend, Bruce Fisher and his lovely wife Yaling, invited us over for cocktails. Some of the friends we met during SOTB were there. We all were very happy to see each other again. We’d all been doing our own tours and such around the island the last couple of days, so it was nice to catch up. We arrived there around sunset, so of course pictures were taken. The sunsets in Hawaii are just incredible. Every one of them is different from day to day. This was no exception. 

LisaLisa98 and Keith Sato showed up bearing gifts...malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery!  Not just one box, but 3 boxes of them. They were still hot too. Once they were opened, they were fair game. I think all 3 boxes were devoured in about 2 minutes. Simply delicious!

Bruce asked some of us if we wanted a tour of the area where he lived. It was an island community within the island of Oahu. The Kaupa Pond surrounded him. He took us for a twilight boat ride around and gave us a little history of the area.  It was very cool. Soon after we got back, we decided to head back to the hotel. So we said our goodbyes, cried some tears and left.

When we got back to the hotel, Deb and Ellen went back to their room to settle in for the night. Stacey and Madaline decided to grab a late night snack and a drink before turning in. They found Wendie, her husband, and several others hanging out at Lulu’s bar and decided to join them. Good conversation, good food and friends. What more could we ask for?

All in all, this was a great day. Beautiful scenery and spending the day with friends, (who felt more like family to us) made for some memories we’ll never forget.  

Here'a a link to more pictures of our tour.  Tour pictures

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