I: Kauai & California, 1993

Trip in the Sun with Betty and Casey


June 12-22, 1993


I. Flights from Memphis to Lihue, Hawaii

IV. Sacramento Visits With Nolan Family

II. Snorkeling at Kauai’s Lydgate State Park

V. Napa Valley Wineries

III. Poipeu Beach , Hanalei & Kiele Lagoons

VI. Flight To Memphis


Album of 19 trip photos at http://flickr.com/photos/lewis_nolan/ (Scroll down to see small pictures with limited caption information or double click “Slideshow” at top left to see larger pictures with full caption info once captions are activated on screen instructions.)


(This posting updated July 19, 2008)

By Lewis Nolan


Return To Nolan Travels Home Page (Index to collection of 15 travelogues of big trips
To Europe and elsewhere since 1993 with photos by Lewis & Betty Nolan)


Saturday, June 12, 1993 - Flights to Lihue, Hawaii (Betty’s account)


Buzz, Casey and I left home about 8 a.m. for the Memphis airport. Our former neighbor Jim Jamison drove with us so he could drive our car back home.


We boarded our Northwest Airlines airplane and departed Memphis about 9:45 a.m. for the non-stop trip to San Francisco. The seats were tight and cramped, as usual. But we made it to San Francisco in about 4 hours. Of course, it took a while to land and get de-boarded. The wait was short until we boarded a Northwest DC-10 for the flight to Hawaii. Food on the trans-ocean plane was the usual, non-descript fare and the seats were more cramped than on the one into San Francisco.


We arrived in Honolulu after five-plus hours in the air and had a beautiful view of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial as we flew in. The flight into Honolulu and the de-boarding from it was not too exciting. My long-awaited trip to Hawaii and anticipation of a flower lei being put around my neck did not happen. The only persons I saw getting leis were family and friends on the flight who were greeted by awaiting loved ones.


We caught the Wiki-Wiki bus tram to get to the boarding gate for Aloha Airlines and its commuter flight to the island of Kauai and its airport at Lihue (pronounced lee-who-ee). Such disorganization I’ve not seen since visiting Bunratty Castle in Ireland two years ago, or on the first time we flew into Mexico. No signs indicated which plane to catch. Two men at a counter (similar to a bar with no competition) looked at our tickets and said “go to Gate 46.” We queued up to get on the plane and almost went to Maui, which wouldn’t have been all bad even though we didn’t have accommodations there.


It seemed that the confusion was due to our trans-ocean flight arriving early. We finally left on the right plane about 3 p.m. for Kauai. It was a short flight of less than 30 minutes.


We landed at Lihui Airport on Kauai. Again, there was no lei awaiting me. Our luggage had apparently come long before us. It was there along with many other bags. Had this been New York, I’m sure we would have been minus three bags and two sets of golf clubs. Buzz went to get our rental car that came with the vacation package. Casey and I were to bring our bags to the curb. A small hitch – No baggage claim ticket, No bags leave!


I don’t think I’ve ever had to show claim tickets on our many trips out of the USA. The claim tickets were with Buzz so Casey and I waited. Then he finally arrived to retrieve us and the bags.


Our drive to the Aston Beach Villas was short. We stopped at a Safeway Food Store to lay in a supply of food and beverages for our week-long stay. We noticed that the price of food here is almost double the cost we pay at home since almost everything in the store must be shipped over from the mainland.


Our villa is wonderful! We got an ocean view (upgraded since the higher priced rentals on the shoreline were mostly vacant due to a big falloff in tourism because of the recent Hurricane Iniki) rather than just a garden view. With so few tourists, we lucked out. Our view was nice and the unit is quite nice. Oddly, only the bedroom was air-conditioned, but the furnishings were more than adequate and the place was comfortable for the three of us.


With five hours difference in the time between California and Hawaii, 8:30 p.m. here was 1:30 a.m. at home. I decided that a shower and bed was attractive. So ended my day of travel.


June 13, 1993 – In rented Outrigger Villas condo near Lihue, Hawaii (Buzz’s account)


I happened to awaken at 2:30 a.m., which translated to 7 a.m. back in Memphis. I was wide awake but had several hours of time before I really needed to be up so I drifted back to sleep even though my internal sleep clock is jet lagged. The 12-to-13-hour trip yesterday was brutally exhausting. Making it especially tough was the onset of a muscle spasm in my back the day before the flight.


Last night, we ate lightly of McDonald’s carryout and had a few drinks before falling into bed in our condo. We are pleased that the villa is quite nice and offers from the front windows and lanai (porch) a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean just beyond 50 yards of lush grass.


Signs warn that the ocean surf in front of our villa and most places near us is dangerous. But we have brought our snorkels and other gear all the way from Memphis and we are determined to seek out some safe spots to use them.


A fascinating sight awaits those who venture out into the lawns in front of the villas. They are occupied here and there by giant toads, about the size of a softball or a very fat Robin bird. They came out at dusk when the knee-high lawn lights come on, presumably to hunt insects by zapping them with their long tongues.


Nearby our villa are some people camped by a stream that flows into the ocean. They look like native Hawaiians. What passes for rocky beach near us is coarse sand and bits of coral and volcanic rock that is blown into steep, dune-like shapes along waters’ edge. At night, the lights from the village of Waileau three-to-four miles away are beautiful.


I was up before 6 a.m. and joined Betty on the lanai for breakfast made of sourdough bread formed into a sandwich. We watched some tropical birds flit about that included a hummer, an egret and a Cardinal-like bird with a red head and gray-white body. I used the provided telephone to make some tee times for later in the week.


The three of us took a driving tour of the north coast of Kauai Island, stopping along the way to take photographs and to snorkel when the beach looked right. We started out at a beginner spot, a sort of a huge swimming pool enclosed by a breakwater at Lydgate State Park. Betty tried out the snorkeling techniques I had taught her in a swimming pool back in Memphis. We saw quite a few hand-sized fish in the pool of trapped water, but wave turbulence crashing over the breakwater stirred up enough sand to drop visibility to about 10 feet.


We drove on to Wailua and up Highway 581 to a panoramic view of Opaekaa Falls and had a look at a sacred jumble of stones. We stopped at several beaches for photos and at the closed wildlife refuge at Kilauea Lighthouse, where we had a spectacular view of waves breaking on a cliff and hundreds of egrets or other large, white birds nesting on the cliff face.


We then drove down a side road to what we thought was the prettiest beach of the day, at the mouth of the Kalihiwai Bay. It looked like it was probably where the savvy locals go to enjoy the surf, sand and great view. Then we took another side trip to Anini Beach Park, which we didn’t think was nearly as impressive as our guidebook had indicated. But at least it offered bathrooms and outdoor showers. From what we saw, picnic facilities on the island’s beaches are rather primitive and display indifferent repair and cleanliness that borders on neglect.


Many of the homes in this part of Hawaii remind me of Mexico, where clutter reigns supreme. Even after the allowance for Hurricane Iniki, the native Hawaiians and others who live here and have “gone native” by adapting the traditional, casual ways, the unkempt nature of so many persons and their property reinforces the sad stereotype. While the favorable climate and beautiful scenery in every direction would seem to lend themselves to vigorous, outdoor activity, we saw surprisingly few bicycle riders or joggers. And those we saw huffing and puffing on the streets may have well been tourists from a hardier clime. Strange.


Along the beaches we saw a great many people I presumed to be native Hawaiians sitting in shade created by tarps hung from tree limbs and drinking beer. Not a bad life, I suppose, but certainly a languid one that is not pointed to personal accomplishments that I, Betty and Casey strive for. While Casey did express some envy for the laid-back lifestyle that is so endemic here, I must admit to having an internal compass that veers more to the Calvinist view that “hard work is its own reward.”


We stopped our driving tour at Hanalei for lunch. It is here that locals credit the land as being the source of the “land of Hanalei” in the 1960s anthem song, “Puff the Magic Dragon.” A waitress at the roadside restaurant suggested that we drive to the beach and look up the shore to a configuration of mountainsides in the distance that suggest the shape of a gigantic dragon. We did and Casey agreed with the waitress’ assertion.


I purchased some reef flip flops for myself and a handcrafted, flower lei for Betty who was still pining away for the one she had hoped the airline would present her. We also purchased some packaged fish food to use when snorkeling at a nearby beach.


The snorkeling at Ke’e Beach was wonderful, where the coastal road ends. There were dozens and dozens of brightly colored fish swimming about, some 18 or so inches long. They mobbed me when I opened the package of fish food, which is supposedly more healthy for them than the frozen peas recommended in our guide book. It was a genuine treat for me and Casey to see so many gaily decorated, colorful fish. It was the best snorkeling we had since we had visited Grand Cayman Island on a cruise several years ago.


Betty passed on the snorkeling and sunned on the beach, where the soft shell-coral sand was  hot and sticky. I think I enjoyed our brief visit to Ke’e Beach more than either Betty or Casey. The presence of some rough-looking, beachbum characters made the beach less attractive than it would have otherwise been. We drove back south to Ha’ena Beach Park after stopping at a couple of large caves that were open to the public. One was wet with seawater.


I snorkeling some more around some interesting, coral “ravines” and saw many tropical fish while Betty and Casey sunned. About 4 p.m., with the sun still high, we drove the final 45 minutes or so back to Aston Beach. The sky was mostly clear, the waves were gentle and the ocean and air warm today. It was altogether a delightful day. We went out to the Jolly Rogers Restaurant that evening for dinner.


June 13, 1993 – In rented Outrigger Villas condo near Lihue, Hawaii (Betty’s account)


Day 2: After waking up several times, I finally got up at 5 a.m. Kauai time. Casey was sound asleep until I started the coffee maker. I enjoyed the cool air, mild ocean breeze and sound of the surf close to us on front of our ground-floor condo unit. I also still enjoy the quiet and stillness of a household that is sleeping while I am up. That is something I enjoy about my teaching job from August until May – getting up early before I have to share the bathroom or conversation with anyone.


I could not resist the opportunity of attempting to take a photograph of the Hawaiian sunrise. At 6:30 a.m., it seemed the rest of my family was awake. Casey was not awake by choice, but he sleeps in a hide-a-bed in the large, living room that faces the ocean. Buzz joined me on the lanai for his breakfast. We looked at the birds and enjoyed the peacefulness of the morning ocean sounds and smells.


We went to the condo development pool to check out our snorkeling equipment and then headed to the North Shore of the Island to stop along the way to snorkel, sun and take pictures. The scenery was breathtaking and most beaches were beautiful. The most unpleasant thing was walking across the hot, coarse sand. Here, it seems to hold the heat since the sand appears to be made up of a lot of broken coral and shells. It is not like the fine quartz sand that is so soft on the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, where we go several times a year. How I wish the sand here and along the Alabama coast were as soft, white and squeaky as the sand of some of Cancun’s beaches in Mexico.


We saw some outstanding scenery and took many photos today. Hopefully we will have recorded many memories since Casey will be leaving our home in Memphis for the University of Virginia in late August. He may not be able to take trips like this one on his own for a long time. So I hope he will cherish the scenery and memories of this family trip. I know he would rather be with his young friends rather than his parents, but he seems to be tolerating us for the opportunity to play golf in Kauai.


We ate lunch in Hanalei, where I did receive a handmade lei that Buzz purchased at a bargain from a local. The necklace is braided from the leaves of the Ti plant. Flowers are inserted into the necklace. At long last, I received a lei.


We returned back to our villa to snack and shower before going to dinner. Using the guidebook for advice on where to eat is not too good since it was written before Hurricane Iniki wiped out many businesses on the island last fall. We ate at the Jolly Roger Restaurant next to the Coconut Marketplace, which was mostly put out of business due to the hurricane. Our dinner was good and by island standards, quite reasonably priced.


All in all, we had a good day with beautiful weather.


Continue With Part 2 of Kauai & California, 1993  /  Return To Nolan Travels Home Page




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