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 & Hanalei

V. Napa Valley Wineries

III. Poipeu Beach and Kiele Lagoons Golf

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 right to see larger pictures with full caption info once captions are activated on screen instructions.)

 

(This posting updated July 23, 2008)

 

 

By Lewis Nolan

 

Return To Nolan Travels Home Page

 

 

Tuesday, June 15, 1993 – To South Shore of Island of Kauai. Poipu Beach (Betty’s account)

 

Day 4: Today was a long, driving day. We stopped at Hilo Hattie’s in Lihue on our trip to the South Shore of Kauai Island. Casey really wanted a hat, but settled for a bright cap from Hilo Hattie’s. He also picked out a very bright, Hawaiian necktie. We left Lihue in our rental car but made a brief stop to check out things at the Lagoons Golf Course at Kiele, where Casey and Buzz plan to play golf tomorrow.

 

Lagoons is a beautiful, tropical and expensive course. The layout has several areas of lagoons throughout the course. Waterfowl, other birds and wild animals populate the lagoons and I’m sure that my men will enjoy themselves playing golf there.

 

We drove all the way to Poipu Beach to see the widespread devastation that Hurricane Iniki did last year. Casey and Buzz went snorkeling in a shallow area of the ocean. The restroom facilities – with only an outdoor shower that survived the hurricane - there were portable due to the hurricane damage. Many once-beautiful resort hotels and beach homes were still gutted by the wind damage.

 

The beach was pretty, but the sand was my least favorite due to its heat-holding composition of crushed shell and coral. We went by what had been the Beach House Restaurant and drove on to the tourist attraction of Spouting Rock, a formation of lava flows with tunnels that concentrate water from incoming waves into giant spouts of water that shoot up into the air. Seeing the mini-geysers every minute or two made for a pretty sight. But it was sad to see the million-dollar homes with pools and walled gardens along the beach virtually destroyed.

 

The funniest sight in the devastation at Poipu Beach was an onslaught of Japanese tourists rushing out of their tour buses to photograph the rhythmic Spouting Horn. It was as if the Japanese Army had just landed because of the enthusiastic agitation of the visitors and the mass clicking of their cameras.

 

We got back in the rental car and drove on to Koloa, said to be in oldest plantation in the area. It is noted for its huge stands of sugar cane. We had thought we would eat lunch there, but balked at paying $6 to $10 to broil your own. We drove away from the ocean and headed inland where  we found a diner that cooked great burgers and fries. We then drove on to Waimea and saw its wide beach and a few surfers. We had planned to see the tourist attraction of Waimea Canyon – the Hawaiian answer to Arizona’s Grand Canyon. However, we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on a Navy missile range area. A military policeman was nice enough, but said, “Wow! Are you lost?” He directed us back to the right road and we meekly departed from the classified, dangerous missile range.

 

We stopped to get a snack at Waimea and both Buzz and Casey purchased tee shirts. We then drove most of the way up the canyon until we decided we had seen enough of the barren land that showed acres of bare, red dirt.

 

The drive back to Lihue offered some beautiful views of the ocean and a nearby island in the Hawaiian chain. We stopped at a Safeway store and were amazed at seeing one of its more popular offerings – 25-pound sacks of different varieties of rice. One guy walked out of the store after paying for his with the sack on his shoulder. It’s obvious their eating habits here are Oriental and rice-centered.

 

That evening we ate at the Outrigger Hotel restaurant and enjoyed a good – but pricey – dinner. What made it so attractive was that the restaurant was only a short walk from our villa and we enjoyed passing by lighted torches that illuminated the pools and gardens.

 

On the way back to our villa we tarried in the lush grass in front of our place to visit the gigantic toads that came out onto the lawn at night to eat insects. We then went inside and retired for the night after a busy day.

 

Wednesday, June 16, 1993 – To Kauai Lagoons Kiele Golf Course (Buzz’s account)

 

Yesterday was a driving day. We visited the South and West Coasts, where we got a good look at the Island of Oahu across a narrow channel of ocean and a couple of small islands in the distance. The best views came from atop a high plateau of the West adjoining a great ravine that is a tourist draw.

 

The damage around Poipeu Beach was still extensive and evident even after 9 months since Hurricane Iniki hit with such force. Beach houses were flattened and entire resorts are still closed. My impression is that not nearly as much re-construction work is underway as they would be if the Island of Kauai had an adequate supply of labor, government action and capital.

 

The ocean and beaches are still beautiful even if the shoreline and its structures are battered. Casey and I went snorkeling at Poipeu State Park Beach and saw many tropical fish. Many of the fish were 24 inches long and schooled around us as though they were asking for a handout.

 

We found that the West Coast of the Island of Kauai is much flatter than that of the east coast and not nearly so appealing. We returned to our villa about 4 p.m. and went to the adjacent Outrigger Restaurant where we enjoyed an excellent meal.

 

Casey and I played golf the next day at the excellent Kiele Course at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club. It is rated by Golf Digest at one of the top 100 in the U.S. and No. 15 among the Top 15 resort courses. We found it to be a wonderfully gorgeous course, the most beautiful I’ve ever played. It was also one of the toughest courses I’ve played, rated at 71.9. It has spectacular greens and trees along the ocean. It also has a lot of tropical birds and plants.

 

A picturesque hole entails driving across a 200-yard swath of a ravine. It also offers lots of gaping fairway bunkers and sandtrips filled with coarse, reddish-brown sand. Famed golf great Jack Nicholas designed the course, which Golf Digest rates as Hawaii’s No. 1 course. It is the site of several PGA events.

 

Casey and I hit our drives off the white tees. I scored a scrupulously honest 112 that included one “double hitout” from a sandtrap. I felt as though I was hitting the fall pretty well, but a series of bad bounces and a moonscape of fairway bunkers put me in the sand 10 times. Casey scored a 100 or more. He is now driving the ball quite a long way – a couple of his drives went 280-plus yards. A couple of his drives went out-of-bounds. I think he lost a record 11 balls.  I lost 6 to water and O.B.

 

It was a truly great and memorable day of golf – worth the cost of $100 each for our green fees. Even at that price we got a special rate for the day, probably because of the relative sparseness of traffic on the course because of the hurricane after-effects cutting so deeply into tourism. We learned that last year’s green fees were $135 for non-guests. The host Westin Hotel is still closed for repairs, but the golf course is in splendid condition. Much of the fairways are in better shape than the greens at the Memphis municipal courses I play sometimes.

 

A meandering series of lagoons is home to a gorgeous tour boat, a renovated cabin cruiser like those seen in old movies of the opulent rich. We noticed quite a few Japanese taking tours and playing golf on the course. Quite a few of the course signage is in both languages. I read somewhere that the low air fares, the Japanese can actually go to Hawaii to play golf cheaper than they can play at home.

 

Part of the greens fee included unlimited use of the club’s luxurious spa. It made me think of fantasy spas from Hollywood movies about ancient Rome and Greece. After Casey and I played golf I took advantage of the team room, huge whirlpool bath and shower while he hit practice golf balls on the plush range.

 

Betty spent much of the day at the pool while Casey and I played golf and luxuriated at the Lagoons. Later, we went to dinner at the Bull Shed Restaurant.

 

Wednesday, June 16, 1993 –By the pool, Island of Kauai (Betty’s account)

 

Day 5: This morning we went to the pool before Buzz and Casey went to play the Kiele Lagoons Golf Course. I spent most of the day reading a book when not going back and forth to our villa to eat and cool off. Between sunning, doing laundry, tidying up, etc., the day passed.

 

The men seemed to enjoy their golfing. They returned later in the afternoon. Casey opted to cook himself a frozen pizza after going for a swim. Buzz and I went to the Bull Shed Restaurant and had delicious, fresh grilled yellowfin tuna. I also had broiled shrimp as well.

 

The day wasn’t too exciting for me, but it was a lazy, pleasant one.

 

Thursday, June 17, 1993 – To Beautiful Hanlei Beach, Island of Kauai (Betty’s account)

 

Day 6: We slept later than usual. It was a long sleep for both Buzz and me. Casey stays up until midnight watching TV and, surprisingly, reading “The Pelican Brief” by John Grisham, a onetime Memphis resident.

 

Buzz and I ate breakfast and left Casey to sleep. We drove to Hilo Hattie’s in nearby Lihue to buy straw mats for the beach and a few more souvenirs and gifts. We had lunch (or maybe a morning snack) before driving north to find another nice beach. We stopped at Kawilhili and shortly thereafter got doused by the surf, which almost soaked my camera. We were then covered with the wet, coarse sand that seems to be so characteristic of this island’s beaches.

 

We moved on north to Hanalei, which is celebrated in the 1960’s folk song “Puff the Magic Dragon.” We had been through the area last Sunday and liked it a lot. We had lunch there and found the beautiful beach at Hanalei Bay. It was framed by the mountains and their waterfalls in the distance. We sunned and enjoyed the beach and its great views. We happened to talk with a man from San Diego who owns a condo near Princeville and Hanalei. He told us about a good snorkeling spot that we may return to on our last day in Kauai.

 

The area around Hanalei showed signs of damage from Hurricane Iniki, but not as much as the South Shore. We really like the little town of Hanalei and wouldn’t mind staying there some day.

On the way back to our villa, we stopped at a roadside stand and I bought a cone of Hawaiian Shave Ice. It is similar to a snow cone, but is far superior. The ice is very finely crushed and fruit juices are poured over the ice. I tried guava-orange. It was delicious.

 

We stopped at a bookstore and also a food store on the way back to our villa. We bought some books and cards and a bunch of food. Once back at the villa, we showered and went to dinner.

 

Perhaps we’ll be lucky and have another beautiful day on our last full day in Kauai tomorrow.

 

Thursday, June 17, 1983 – On Island of Kauai (Casey’s account)

 

I have enjoyed being in Kauai on vacation this week. Playing golf, sightseeing and swimming have been very relaxing. I feel that I could fit into the laid-back atmosphere we found in Hanalei. I see no reason to go into detail about our daily activities since Mom and Dad have no doubt taken care of it.

 

Compared to our other exotic vacations, I would have to say the scenery here is far above that of Cancun and those other islands. The beach itself is inferior to the one at Gulf Shores, Ala. the snorkeling has been fair. The golf at the Kiele Course has been in my opinion the best. I think it was the prettiest and hardest course I have ever played.

 

I have also enjoyed being away from Memphis and my friends. It’s nice not having the phone ring. I would say this has been the most relaxing vacation ever for me. I think it’s time to dig back into my book, “The Pelican Brief.” Peace.

 

Friday, June 18, 1983 – To Hanalei, Anini Beach on Island of Kauai (Buzz’s account)

 

Yesterday was a relaxing day that started with yet another trip to Hilo Hattie’s clothing and souvenir store in Lihue so we could pick up the free, complimentary shell necklaces, some souvenirs and some postcards. Then we drove north to Hanalei for the good swimming and snorkeling beaches in that area.

 

We started with Kalihiwai Beach, a beautiful spot. The small swell offshore stirred up the sand bottom so the snorkeling was lousy. We were sunning on our new bamboo mats when a rogue wave swept up the beach, wetting us and our stuff.

 

Then it was on to Anini Beach, which offers some restroom and picnic facilities but where the snorkeling is weak. Even my bag of fish food drew only a few small tropical fish.

 

We drove on to Hanalei for lunch and again ate at the Tropical Gourmet, followed by a visit to the nearby public beach. It offered facilities, a lifeguard and a bizarre beach house supposedly owned by the president of the big Atari computer company. The house has been under construction for several years but we saw no sign or sight of its owner who one day will have a fabulous view of the crescent-shaped bay.

 

Toward inland, the green-foliage covered mountains are flecked with gorgeous waterfalls arching over the foliage. They made me think of the beautiful Bridal Falls of Yosemite. Out in the surf line that formed several hundred yards out in the bay were young surfers and anchored sailboats. What a view.

 

The bay’s bottom was devoid of coral where we were so there were virtually no fish swimming about. But we had one of the most magnificent views we’ve ever had. We spent the afternoon sunning on the beach and occasionally swimming to cool off. We then drove about 45 minutes back to our villa at 6 p.m. We then went to the nearby Sizzler Steakhouse and enjoyed its very fine salad bar with our meals.

 

We plan to drive back through Hanalei today and beyond to see the famed Tunnels Beach that is 4.5 miles to the north of the village. We understand that snorkeling is supposedly fantastic there. But the wind is blowing pretty hard so the snorkeling may not be so good if the sand is stirred up.

 

Friday, June 18, 1993 – Relaxing by the pool (Betty’s account)

 

Day 7: Today is our good friend Sister Mary Martha McBride’s 90th birthday. She is home in Memphis. I wrote her a birthday note and mailed it to her while in Lihue this morning. Casey decided he had to have a Hawaiian hat and a shirt so we made another trip to Hilo Hattie’s in town. We had a snack and a gas stop on the way back to the villa. We also made a detour to see Wailua Falls, about 4 ½ miles out of our way. It consisted of two waterfalls and was very beautiful.

 

After lunch I went to the pool. Casey and I decided to stay put and just sun today. Buzz went to play golf at the Wailua Golf Course. Between sunning and reading, it was a pleasant day for me. The sun was warm, but there was a constant island trade winds breeze.

 

We ate at the Bull Shed Restaurant. A shower came up as one did when we ate there a few days ago. A beautiful rainbow appeared over the ocean. Just as I got up to take a picture, it was gone.

 

The occasional showers are brief other than the heavy rain and wind that came during the night. I imagine that the reason this island of Kauai is so beautiful is due to the rain and warmth.

 

Saturday, June 19, 1993 – Golf at Wailua Muncipal Course (Buzz’s account)

 

Betty and Casey opted to stay around the village yesterday so I ditched my plan to snorkel and instead played 18 holes of golf at the Wailua Municipal Course near our condo development. It is listed in Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 Municipal Courses in the U.S.

 

I happened to hook up with a couple of guys including Hal, who was forecaddie recently laid off at Kauai Lagoons Kiele. He had worked around many top golfers and told some good stories.

 

The toughness of the Wailua course was evident in my so-so play. I was Out-of-Bounds and in sand trouble a lot, shooting a dismal 108. But it was fun playing along the rolling ocean surf striking the sandy beaches bordering the course.

 

Back at the villa, I went for a swim in the development pool. We went to dinner at the Bull Shed Restaurant that is right on the ocean. Our good meal was predictably served with two scoops of rice, which seems to be de rigueur on this island so heavily influenced by Oriental culture.

 

The next morning, we packed and took a dip in the pool before driving the short distance from our villa to the Lihue Airport, where we returned our rented, white Ford Tempo to Budget.

 

Saturday, June 19, 1993 – Packing for flight back to the States (Betty’s account)

 

Day 8: I did most of the packing for our flights back to California last night. So just the last minute things had to be done today. We walked over to the Outrigger Hotel to see the orchid show and sale. I watched a tropical flower arrangement being made with the many beautiful types of foliage and flowers native to Hawaii. It was beautiful – about a $35 arrangement if purchased here. At home it would probably be $50 or more due to shipping the tropical plants. I took some photos and hope they turn out.

 

We dropped by the development’s video office to settle our bill and left for the Lihue Airport, which is only a short distance from where we stayed.

 

After Buzz checked in our car, I checked our bags. I found out that we could leave on an earlier flight, at 12:30 p.m., on Aloha Airlines to Honolulu. We got to the Honolulu Airport after about 20 minutes in the air. Once there, we caught the Wiki-Wiki (means fast or quick in the native tongue) shuttle to the Northwest Airlines terminal.

 

We ate in an airport restaurant that wasn’t very good. But the double margarita I had hit the spot. Casey went down to the Burger King. We checked out the terminal gift shops, but found nothing that that we had not already found in our many stops at Hilo Hattie’s in Lihue.

 

We boarded the Northwest plane and took off on schedule for the 4 ½ flight to San Francisco.

 

My overall thoughts and impressions of Kauai follow:

 

1. It is a beautiful, tropical island.

 

2. The flowers and plants are gorgeous.

 

3. The lifestyle is laid-back.

 

4. The ocean and shoreline are beautiful.

 

5. I would love to come back for a visit in the distant future.

 

We had a beautiful view of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach from the airplane windows as we flew out of Honolulu.

 

We arrived in San Francisco about midnight. While Buzz went to rent a car, Casey and I waited to retrieve our bags. Naturally, they were about the last pieces off the plane. We waited outside in the chilly, San Francisco night air to the sounds of a German tour group trying to make sure no one had their baggage. They actually tried to take a lady’s bags who was waiting on a ride – pushy people! Casey and I were almost alone for a while after the sounds of some people down the way left – they sounded like noisy Memphians – in a red LeBaron convertible.

 

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