HAWAII — Day 9

We had a HUGE day planned and had to wake up early to cram everything in:

475_early_wake_up_time

We started by making the hourlong drive to the mountainous town of Waimea:

477_driving_to_waimea

Our first destination was this place — the Hawaiian Style Cafe:

478_hawaiian_style_cafe

My half-sister Martha (pictured above in the black t-shirt) had heard about its legendary breakfast. Here’s an order of “coconut pudding pancakes,” photographed with my hand on the side to show you how big they were:

481_coconut_pudding_pancakes

We also got the “banana macadamia pancakes” plus an order of scrambled eggs with sausage, biscuits, and gravy.

On our way out, Martha and my mom posed in the main dining area:

482_martha_naomi_main_dining_area

Here’s a closer look at two of the people in the photo above:

482b_photobombers

How cute.

As we walked toward our jeep, I photographed this charming field next to the restaurant . . .

483_field_next_to_restaurant

. . . and then got a shot of my mom climbing into the back seat:

486_naomi_climbing_into_the_back_of_the_jeep

Martha did most of the driving. My mom and I took turns sitting in the back. I offered to be back there all the time, but she insisted (in part because she wanted to flaunt her agility).

Our next stop was a scenic area overlooking Waipio Valley, and I should mention that the drive itself just to get there was beautiful. Here’s what the road looked like at one point . . .

489_driving_to_waipio_valley_lookout

. . . and this was our view to the side several minutes later:

490_mountains_and_clouds

In case you can’t tell, that’s not fog in the photo above. It’s a cloud.

Here’s a photo of me on the walkway to the scenic lookout . . .

491_zack_walkway_to_lookout

. . . and here’s a better view of the valley:

493_waipio_valley_lookout

Wow. (Right?)

On the way to our next destination, we stopped at a gift shoppe . . .

500_heading_to_a_gift_shoppe

. . . where Martha finally found a damn tiki mask. Her relentless quest to buy the perfect one had dominated the trip, but that’s okay because she made up for it by taking us to the Tex Drive In. Here’s a painfully awkward photo of us standing outside the place . . .

502_martha_zack_outside_the_donut_place

. . . and here’s what we ended up getting:

504_donuts_cherry_cream_chocolate

They’re called malasadas (you can see that word on the storefront two photos above), and yes, they were amazing. The three flavors we got were cherry, Bavarian cream, and chocolate.

Our next destination was Honoli’i Beach Park, but (a) we couldn’t find it and (b) we didn’t know how to roll down the windows of our jeep. The result was this funny photo of Martha asking someone for directions:

506_getting_directions_to_honoli'i_beach_park

It turned out that we were less than a mile away, so we got there pretty quickly. Here’s what it looked like from the road above the beach:

507_martha_naomi_overlooking_honoli'i_beach_park

See those waves out in the distance? They appear to be tiny . . . yes? Well, here’s a closer look:

512_surfer_on_a_wave

Surfers!!

I was feelin’ it, but this was the best I could do:

513_zack_surfing_on_guard_rail

That said, I did better than this guy . . .

515_surfer_wiping_out

. . . though I’ll give him credit for actually being *in* the water.

We then drove to a small, nearby city called Hilo . . .

519_driving_into_hilo

. . . and walked around for a while. Here what the streets and stores looked like:

520_hilo

We ended up at a farmers’ market, which was shaded by a spectacular tree:

523_awesome_tree_and_farmers_market

Here’s the most unusual thing I ate all day:

525_avocado_lime_popsicle

That popsicle might not look like much, but consider the flavor: avocado/lime.

Despite the fact that Martha had purchased every possible trinket in all of Hawaii, she still felt the need to wander and look for more:

526_martha_farmers_market

Here’s the best thing I saw at the market, and it wasn’t even for sale:

532_lizard_closeup

At around 3pm, we made our way to the Hilo airport . . .

533_driving_to_the_airport

. . . for a helicopter tour over an active volcano!

Here’s a photo of my mom getting weighed:

535_blue_hawaiian_helicopters_naomi_getting_weighed

The quickest way for me to be disowned would be to reveal her weight. I don’t want that to happen, so all I’ll say is that we all had to get weighed. The helicopter was so small — six passengers and a pilot — that we were assigned seats so that it would be properly balanced. Or maybe that’s just a bunch of B.S. that we were told so we wouldn’t end up fighting over who got to sit in front and/or next to the windows.

There was a safety briefing for several helicopters’ worth of passengers . . .

538_safety_briefing

. . . during which I photographed the folks sitting in the back row:

539_closeup_of_people_in_the_back

I love people.

We weren’t allowed to bring any bags on board the flight, and we were told to remove all hats and large earrings. After leaving our stuff at the check-in counter, we each received a small, yellow, flotation device. Here I am with mine:

541_zack_flotation_device

Finally, after standing around for a while, we headed out to the tarmac . . .

546_zack_and_others_entering_tarmac

. . . and walked toward the helicopter:

548_walking_to_the_helicopter

I had been assigned the middle seat in front, right next to the pilot, so I got in first. The passenger who ended up sitting next to me (on the right side in the front row) had crutches and needed assistance getting on board, so Martha and my mom had to wait on the tarmac. Here’s a photo of them that I took from inside the helicopter:

549_martha_naomi_from_helicopter

Here’s Martha in the back seat . . .

552_martha_happy

. . . and here’s my mom getting her first look at the interior:

554_naomi_boarding_the_helicopter

Is that a great facial expression or what? I know that she’d been in a helicopter at least once before because we flew in one over the Grand Canyon in (I think) 1993. That was the only other time I’d ever been in a helicopter, although for what it’s worth, I did catch a softball and three baseballs last summer that were dropped from one.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before we were airborne. This was the view as we flew over some farmland:

557_flying_over_farmland

The biggest thing that made me nervous (beyond the whole “active volcano” factor) was that there was only ONE pilot. What if he had a heart attack or got hiccups? I don’t really worry about death, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it either, so during the first few minutes of the flight, I paid close attention to the control panel . . .

559_control_panel

. . . and to what he was doing with the joystick. That way, I figured I could take over in the event of an emergency — you know, at least keep the helicopter in the air long enough to get instructions from the ground. Does that make me paranoid or smart? Or both?

In the following photo, do you see the trail of smoke in the distance:

561_flying_over_rain_forest_with_smoking_lava_in_the_distance

It’s right where the land meets the water. More on that in a bit. For now, I’ll just mention that we were flying over a rain forest.

Now, about that volcano, here’s what the lava did to the forest . . .

562_rain_forest_destoyed_by_lava

. . . and here’s the volcano itself:

563_approaching_active_volcano

WHOA!!!

That volcano has been active since 1983, mostly in the form of a few trickles here and there, but according to the pilot, it once spewed lava 1,200 feet into the air — without warning. I asked him if that made him nervous, to which he replied, “Nope, I’ve been doing this for twelve years.”

Here’s a peek directly into the crater of the volcano:

567_flying_over_active_volcano

That entire side of the island is covered with lava:

572_nothing_but_lava

You need to know that the top of the helicopter’s “dashboard” (for lack of a better term) was level, meaning, like, flat . . . like, when the helicopter was sitting on the tarmac, the dashboard was parallel to the ground. Got that? I’m mentioning this now because . . . well, just look how much we were tilting to the side:

575_helicopter_tilt

In the photo above, do you see the small patches of trees? Somehow, when the lava was flowing down the mountain, it missed those areas, including this one, which still has a road cutting through:

577_portion_of_road_through_trees

At this point, there’s not much lava flowing above ground. Instead it travels through underground ducts and spills out into the ocean. Check it out:

579_ocean_lava

The pilot flew us close enough (and my dinky camera’s zoom was strong enough) that I could actually see the red-hot lava pouring out:

581_ocean_lava_pouring_out

After several minutes, we flew away from that area . . .

587_looking_back_at_ocean_lava

. . . and toward this portion of the coastline, where people have built houses on the lava:

584_houses_built_on_lava

Why the hell would anyone choose to live there, you ask? Because the Hawaiian government offers 99-year leases on that land for $1 per year. (Still overpriced, in my opinion.)

Not surprisingly, Martha and my mom were enjoying themselves:

588_martha_naomi_back_seat

Here’s a photo that Martha took, which shows part of my head on the right:

589_zack_and_clouds

Can you spot the waterfalls in the following photo?

593_waterfall

Those falls are in Hilo, which, by the way, has more rainy days per year (275 on average) than any city in the northern hemisphere. It’s also the only city that (a) sits on an active volcano AND (b) has earthquakes AND (c) has endured two major tsunamis. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll continue inhaling two buses a day in New York City.

I got a nice look at some cruise ships . . .

594_cruise_ships

. . . as we came in for a landing:

595_returning_to_airport

Thank you, Mister Pilot, for not making me die!

596_the_pilot

Here I am dehelicoptering:

597_zack_getting_out_of_the_helicopter

On the way to our next destination, we stopped at a drive-thru for ice cream:

600_stopping_for_ice_cream

That destination was Rainbow Falls:

601_rainbow_falls_lookout

We got a nice look at the 80-foot waterfall . . .

602_the_waterfall

. . . and then climbed these stairs . . .

605_stairs_heading_up

. . . into the forest. Here I am in front of a big-ass tree:

608_zack_huge_tree_in_forest

By the time we drove back to Waimea, it was dark. Here’s where we had dinner:

610_pau_pizza_place_in_waimea

Here we are inside the restaurant:

611_zack_martha_naomi_dinner

The meal was perfectly nice . . . if you’ve never tasted New York City pizza.

Ahh, New York. My true love. I’m home now as I sit here typing this. Day 9 was the final full day of our trip and by far the most memorable. Stay tuned for a brief Day 10 entry, and then I’ll get back to some baseball stuff.

12 Comments

I’ll say this, after reading all your entries about Hawaii, I’ll re-read them when I eventually DO go to Hawaii (figure 2-3 years from now, Honeymoon type trip :-) ). Also, would I have had to take my earrings off? And P.S. Surfing is harder than you think!

Zack, you are a true world traveler! I miss you, friend! Hope to catch up with you this season some time!

-Wayne Peck

http://www.stock350i.mlblogs.com
http://www.waynepeck.mlblogs.com

BEN WEIL-
That’s a good reason to go to Hawaii. I think your earrings would be fine — seemed the helicopter folks were more concerned with the dangly type.

WAYNE-
Miss you too, man. I wonder if our paths will cross in 2013. I haven’t even looked at any teams’ schedules yet, so I have no idea where I’ll be.

Helicopters are definitely the way to go for exploring those isolated areas. Looks like you managed to have a lot of fun on your holiday. Where would you rather be — New York or Hawaii ? Guess the ball collecting opportunities are limited in Hawaii. It “s always good to be home , even if you’re having a ball OS. Great to be back in your own bed. Only 6 weeks to Opening Day. Any predictions ?

Great trip report, Zack. Some really enjoyable photos. When did you notice the guy photo bombing; then or back home?

Sorry to hear you’re back home, for your sake :( Thanks oodles for the postcard!! SO JEALOUS AGAIN

What a day! Looks like you did just about everything. I found the scariest thing during my ride in a helicopter (sightseeing, not in HI though) to be the see through floor in the front of the helicopter, so I could see all the way to the ground under my feet. Was that the case in your ride?

All those helo shots reminded me about Vietnam. Thanks for the flashback. Is it baseball season yet?

you are not supposed to show pictures of the lotion and tissue on the night stand. lol

RAY BURTON-
We had lots of fun, but there’s no way I’d want to live in Hawaii full-time. I’d feel too isolated from . . . everything. Predictions for the 2013 season? Here’s one: all the All-Star stuff is going to stress me the hell out. Beyond that, I got nuthin’. I’m still not in baseball mode. I’ll get there, though.

PANTERA-
I noticed him the following morning when I was looking at all the pics.

LIA NORTON-
Hi.

CONNOR-
The floor directly below me wasn’t glass, but down and kinda toward the front . . . yeah. I don’t really get scared, though, in situations that I can’t control. It doesn’t accomplish anything, so I just sit back and enjoy the ride.

LEIGH BARRATT-
Haha, you’re welcome.

RANDY KISER-
To quote Woody Allen: “Don’t knock masturbation; it’s sex with someone I love.” Actually, all that crap was Martha’s. We were sharing a room, and the clock was on her side of the end table. If you don’t believe me . . . the white fabric (just below the clock) is an Ace bandage, which you can see Martha wearing in a bunch of the photos.

thay blue hawaiian tour co. had a 7 fatality crash in 2000.in maui. poor texas teenage girls ,what a way to go.the weather can change fast, how much did it cost for the volcano tour?

Well, thanks for letting me know. It just makes me appreciate my life even more. I’m not sure how much it cost (because I wasn’t the one who paid for it), but I think it was somewhere between $100 and $150 per person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 286 other followers