The problem with traveling someplace new is the urge to go and see all that place has to offer. The fear is you may never return again so you better see it now. That fear was part of the motivation to do a road trip aroud the island. And who doesn't want to see an active volcanoe?
Heading clockwise around the island, our first stop was Akaka Falls. We were not prepared for all the rain on the rainy side of the island. Weird.
The falls were raging because of the rain. We appreciated the show Akaka put on for us.
After that drive we were ready for lunch so we set up our picnic on a black sand beach near Hilo called Honoli'i Beach. There were tons of surfers in the water and the beach definitely had a "locals only" feel to it. We hoped we wouldn't get a beat down. The rain was nice and took a break so we could eat and enjoy the surfing entertainment. The we ran to our car while it poured.
In Hilo we detoured to check out the Rainbow Falls. Only the brave ones got out to see the falls in the deluge. Again- raging waters. No rainbows.
Continuing around the clock, our next stop was the 2500 acre Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and factory. Macadamia nuts are my favorite nuts!! Have been ever since my parents brought some home from Hawaii when I was a little girl.
The factory was actually closed for a week, but the store was open. So we sampled and stocked up. And learned interesting facts- like macadamia nuts are the hardest nuts to crack. It takes 300 pounds of pressure to do it. So worth it!
Back in the car (when will this ever end?) we took off for Volcano National Park. The rain continued as the elevation rose and the temperature dropped. By the time we got to the visitor center it looked like it was sleeting. Ok- it wasn't that cold, but almost. It did not feel like the balmy place we had left 6 hours earlier.
At the visitor center we learned lots of cool stuff from the ranger while shivering and trying to keep our bare skin from frostbite. Ranger Dave told us there was no point of us trying to see the lava flow through the fog as it was flowing off of park land, you couldn't get very close, and it was unlikely you would see anything even if you took the hour drive to where the road ends (because it is covered by lava- cool). So we headed to the lava tube instead for an adventure.
The biggest part of this adventure was when I lost my flip flop in a mud puddle/pit and had to forage through the slim to find it. Yuck!
We set our sites on home and dreamt of dry land as we drove. Of course we had to stop to enjoy a beautiful sunset from our perch on the side of the highway. Stop to smell the roses, and watch sunsets. Good advice!
A 45 min wait for a table at a burger shack off the side of the road near Capt. Cook made for a bunch of weary travelers. But no- we weren't through yet! Camden devised a plan so she could go see Hunger Games. And since her parents wanted to see it too, and because her awesome grandparents agreed to take the girls home, her plan worked.
We left on a Monday and returned on Tuesday after our circle tour of the island! I'm tired.