And with that, Dan & Rick’s Excellent Hawaiian Adventure has come to a close. I just left1 Rick in San Francisco so that I might board my flight to Toronto. His flight to Calgary was leaving 18 minutes after mine. Truth be told, I miss him already. To say that the trip wouldn’t have been the same without him would be a gross understatement. I mean, he did save my life by insisting I go to the hospital after smashing my face into the ground while I was attempting a handstand. But in all seriousness, he proved to be the perfect travelling partner for me. The voice of reason when I needed it (which is required far more often than some might think), and the one to push the boundaries of adventure when I was being a giant wuss-bag. Case in point – trying to jump down from a hole in the wall that I had very easily been able to climb up to. I mean seriously Gillis, grow a pair.
In lieu of describing every single event, I’ve decided to present a timeline of the adventure. Some of these are described elsewhere on this blog, some are not described at all, and others are provided with basic details.
Timeline of Dan & Rick’s Excellent Hawaiian Adventure
I depart from Toronto for San Francisco, via Chicago.
Rick and I meet in San Francisco, offer up a very quick hug, board, and then proceed to be those people on the plane. You know who those people are; the loud, obnoxious ones that you likely want to shut up because you are trying to sleep, but they are too busy getting caught up that they barely notice their surroundings. Ya, that was us. But, I figure that with all the crying babies and misbehaving children I’ve had to put up with recently (not to mention their oblivious and borderline negligent parents), it was my turn to be the ass. As far as I know, that’s how karma works.
Arrive in Honolulu, Oahu. w00t!
We begin the day by missing our flight to Hilo, on the Big Island. We may or may not have read our itinerary incorrectly. Undeterred, we bravely carry on with our vacation.
We visit the Aloha stadium to attend a giant-assed flea market; a collection of bric-a-brac, trinkets, and baubles that neither of us want to own, but feel the need to browse, try on, and judge. The visit isn’t a complete waste as Rick purchases some cool shades, and we also consume some delicious iced-100%-kona-coffee, and fresh-from-the-coconut coconut milk. The stadium also offers some choice picture-taking venues, especially venues offering photos of the ‘disobey a posted sign’ type. Not that we would disobey signage informing us that we are not to climb on a particular sculpture. Us? Never!
Climbing, where one should clearly not climb.
Depart Honolulu, Oahu for Hilo.
Pick up our rental car. Have it mysteriously upgraded by the clerk from a Chevy Aveo to a black convertible Mustang. At no cost to us. Awesome.
Arrive at our home for the week. Best. Vacation. Rental. Home. Ever. The place is amazing. And it has everything you could think of. And it is all ours. Ours. OURS! <insert maniacal laughter here> Well, to be perfectly honest, we have to share the home with geckos. Of course, in proper form we toast our new home and our new gecko friends with a bottle of wine. Already this is threatening to be the best vacation ever.
Wine for toasting. Mmmm, wine.
Rise early to watch the sunrise on the huge lanai. With fresh Kona coffee. This is the best way to start any day, and will be one of the things that I miss the most. Anyone that has never woke to the sound of waves crashing is missing out. After coffee, a little yoga on the lanai. This is my new favourite way to do yoga.
Coffee on the lanai, listening to the wave. Best way to spend a morning.
Small walk to the black cliffs just below our lanai. Here we grab some photos, and a rogue wave takes out Rick’s expensive SLR camera. On the first day. Ya, we are cool like that. Thankfully, like a boy scout, he is always prepared. In this case, Rick has brought 2 other back up cameras.
Next we venture to the lava fields near our home. They aren’t currently active (at least where we were), so there was nothing really to see. We prepped for a long hike based on my previous lava field hike, but it wasn’t necessary. The walk was maybe 1.5 km. Undeterred, we venture to a nearby eatery for some burgers and fries. Oh so delicious.
We make our way to the closest (or so we think) black sand beach. The awesomeness of the black sand beach is only increased by our performing head stands and jump shots.
After the beach we wander up to the Caldera for a proper hike, which of course includes tree climbing, jump shots, corpse poses, and yoga. This leads us, prior to hiking the crater, to the Thurston Lava Tubes. Venturing into the unlit area of the tubes, we decide that it would be fun to scare the next people who make their way by us. And we do. Thankfully it is a group of 3 twenty-something women, so they aren’t too upset by our shenanigans.
Making faces in the Thurston Lava Tube.
Our hike across the Caldera takes a turn for the interesting when the sun goes down. Thankfully we have our trusty flashlights. Regardless, making our way across the crater in the dark is an adventure on its own, especially given my eyesight.
Hiking the crater. You can see the volcanic steam in the background.
We begin the day by walking to a nearby black sand beach. Only to discover that it is a nude beach. Full of naked old people. We may or may not hang around (no pun intended).
Jumping into the car, we travel North East to explore the other beaches and wave pools. We also visit the Lava Tree National Park.
We return home to once again visit the nude black sand beach – but it is pretty much deserted at this point, so we have it all to ourselves. Playing in the ocean commences, as well as vegging on the beach.
Contemplating my navel, as I stare at the ocean on the black sand. Awesome.
Today we drive to Mauna Keo mountain to hike it. w00t! We also end up altitude drunk. Awesome. Further, it is cold up here. My everything is frozen.
Prior to hiking up Mauna Kea. T'is a little chilly.
After the mountain hike, we venture to the Kaumana Caves. Longer than the Thurston lava tubes, and darker.
Rick and Me posing inside the lava tubes.
Today we hike the lava fields with a guide. We poke the lava, basically play with fire. We also practice hot yoga, climb some trees, and dive into random holes. Cuz we are clearly cool like that.
Hanging with the lava. Note our sticks-o-science: used for poking the lava.
Exploring a lava hole.
We venture into Hilo to visit Coconut Island and the nearby parks. Afterward, we head to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden; a private nature preserve. We don’t know if we should be here as we just walk in without paying. Interesting. No response from the authorities. The garden is blanketed by spiders. I’m freaking.
Visit Waipi’o Valley. Epic.
At the top of the valley. Amazing.
Take various photos on the black sand beach, then we head home.
Helicopter tour of the island. Amazing!
Flying over the Big Island in a helicopter. Our guide Dylan was excellent.
Visit the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut farm. Try as many free samples as humanly possible. Buy macadamia nuts.
Capture some more photos by the house, and hang upside down from vines. Because we can.
Posing with a pineapple on the black cliffs below our house. Because it seemed like the thing to do.
Trying to come up with other poses.
Return home. Practice yoga. Fall on my face. Visit hospital.
Say goodbye to the house on the Big Island, drive to Hilo, drop off our Mustang, and fly to Oahu. Check in to the Aqua Wave hotel, then wander the city.
Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Wander the main strip, check out the beach and the eye candy. Coffee. Rinse. Repeat.
Enjoying our first drinks in Oahu. Pina Colada!
Watch the sun set over Waikiki. Stunning.
Randomly run into Chatty Jen – a woman I went through undergrad with, and whom I haven’t seen since then. RANDOM!
I randomly ran into a friend from undergrad. Outside of the IHOP. In Oahu. I haven't seen Jen since undergrad. Crazy.
Hike Diamond Head crater.
Walk Waikiki beach, watch the sunset again. Eat at Hawaiian Cheeseburger. The onion rings are delicious. So is the turkey burger. Highly recommended! Oh, and the pina coladas are pretty wicked awesome too.
Eating at the Hawaiian Cheeseburger.
Take the bus to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve for snorkelling and sun tanning. Swim with the fishies!
Rick, looking stylish in his mask.
Dan, looking just as stylish in my mask
Thai for dinner with Rick’s friend Rob. Then we head to the Hula bar for more drinks. Perhaps too many drinks. The waiters are very friendly.
Suffer through a mild hangover. Medicate with Starbucks and water. Plus a very late breakfast (after noon) at the Hawaiian Cheeseburger. I have the Kalua Pig Babies (a type of slider) and the onion rings, because the onion rings are just that good. The Kalua Pig Babies are really good too. Ordered mainly because I thought the name was hilarious.
A low-key day drinking lots of coffee and eating great food.
Meet up with Rob for dinner. Call it an early night, because we are just that cool.
Head to Koko crater. Hike it and love it. But it is super hot. Yoga poses (of course) at the top, plus jump shots. The crater is amazing. We can see Molokai from the top.
Prepping to climb Koko crater.
Take a ‘charity’ cab back to Waikiki. Cabbie tells us to try Ono Hawaiian Foods (for an authentic Hawaiian meal) and Leonard’s bakery (for a delicious not-a-donut known as a malasada).
Venture down to the beach to get jump shots into the ocean at sunset, attempting to satisfy Manon’s photo challenge. Rick excels at the jump shots, while I excel at the yoga shots.
My best jump shot - very Matrix like.
Rick's best jump shot. But there were so many to pick from.
Dinner with Rob, and then we return to Hula’s. More drinks, but not as many as the last time. We apparently learned our lesson
Hike to Manoa Falls. Explore the Lyon Arboretum. More jump shots and yoga poses.
Dinner at Ono Hawaiian Foods.
Dessert at Leonard’s.
So painfully full, and very tired. Clearly a most awesome and excellent day.
Early morning wake up to go skydiving. A quick nap afterwards, followed by wandering Waikiki to purchase awesome tees at The Stupid Factory.
One of the shirts that I purchased: Come over to the dark side. We have cookies.
T-shirt purchases read:
- Rock is Dead: Long live Paper and Scissors
- Come to the Dark Side: We have Cookies!
- Talk Nerdy to Me
Return to the beach for more photos. Yoga poses in silhouette at sunset. Sweet!
Dinner at the Hula Grill. Again, epically full.
Early’ish wake up. Last day in Waikiki. Boo. Pack, and store our things with the hotel. Check out.
Late breakfast at Starbucks, followed by wandering the city. Many coffee stops, picking up souvenirs (in the form of coffee and chocolate of course). More coffee. Even more coffee.
Venture to the beach. The city is being set up for the ProBowl game later in the eve. Lots of booths and stages set up, presumably for the immense party that is about to begin.
One of our last beach photos. Inside we are crying.
I miss these already. Best. Vacation. Ever.
Watch the sunset again. This time with wine (thus satisfying another item on Rick & Dan’s List-o-Awesomeness).
Drinking wine on the beach. As is necessary when in Hawaii :)
Head to the airport. Fly to San Francisco.
Say goodbye to Rick. Board my flight for YYZ.
Return to Toronto. It’s cold here. I want to be back in Hawaii.
Find out my luggage has not made the trip with me. It smartly stayed in San Francisco where it’s warmer. After an hour or so dealing with the airline representatives, I feel like I need another vacation. Thankfully my next one mini vacation is only 3 weeks away.
1 Where just means several hours ago, as I’m sitting in my bed finishing up this post and trying not to fall asleep.