Feb 05 2005

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Hawaii Vacation — Day 1

Well, here we go on our 6th vacation to Maui Hawaii.

Yes, we’ve been there (here) a lot, but I really enjoy it. As I often tell people, it’s got the best of everything … it is a beautiful tropical paradise with just about all the comforts of home. Heck, there’s even a Costco. And for shopping we can go to Safeway where our Dominick’s fresh value card works (which I totally forgot on my key ring, which is at home … oh well, we can use our phone number).

Ginny and I are traveling with Steve … He’s fun to travel with and has a keen sense of adventure. He does tend to get obsessive about things though. Of course, if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be Steve.

I’m rather disappointed that Steve’s girlfriend Ruth couldn’t make it. I understand the reason … she’s newly in the independent contractor world and really can’t afford to say NO to a contract (she’s a contract trainer). It’s kind of sad, though, that Steve doesn’t have anyone to share Hawaii with (other than Ginny and I).

We’ll have a lot of fun anyway … That’s mandatory.

Right now we’re enroute … according to the air-traffic control channel we’ve just been handed off to Salt Lake City control. That’s about half way across the country. About two hours until we are feet wet (over water), and then it’s another 5 hours. That’s the only thing I don’t like about travel to Hawaii, it’s a 9 hour flight. Add to that we’re in coach (as usual), so we’re kind crammed in here.

This trip we don’t have any hard & fast plans … other than few items. We’re going up to Haleakala tomorrow morning, while we’re still working on central time … so we can wake up real early and go see the sunrise (more on Haleakala later). Other than that, we’ll be in Kehie for 10 days, then Hana for 2 (more on Hana later), then back in Wilea for the last two days.

I really wish we could afford property in Maui. If my MKS options are ever worth something, I think that’s what we are going to invest in. Get a nice two bedroom condo on the beach, rent it out for 50 weeks of the year, stay in it for the other two. Then, when we retire, we have a place to move to (or sell and use the proceeds to buy a different place).

Regarding Hana … every time we’ve gone to Hana before (it’s a very very long drive, along a two lane highway), we’ve gone only for the day. We usually leave somewhat early (8-9 am, early for us), drive the 3-4 hour trip, noodle around for a few hours, and then drive back.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us a lot of time to really get to know Hana much. This time, however, we’re going to stay there for two nights. Now we can take a very leisurely drive out … I’d like to spend 5-6 hours on the drive, stopping often to take pictures and see the sights. Tromp around for a while, check into the condo (or whatever it’s called) we’re staying at. The next day, we can take our time and explore a bit more. There’s a hike in Haleakala State Park to a waterfall that’s really nice… we go through this incredible bamboo forest. We’ve never had a lot of time on the hike to just hang around. This time we will.

Oh yeah, about Haleakala … last time Ginny and I went up to Haleakala it was for sunrise … but I didn’t get to enjoy it as much. I had lost track of where Ginny was and couldn’t find her. I wandered around for quite some time looking for her, but she was nowhere to be found. Turns out she had found a small trail up to a slightly higher elevation and followed it. She neglected, however, to tell me. She was fine, but I spent a while looking for her. This time we have our walkabout portable radios (3 of them), so even if we want to follow our own noses, we should be able to find each other.

Back to the flight … it’s kind of a bumpy one. And I know Ginny isn’t happy about that. She’s had her nose in her journal since we arrived at the departure gate and has been writing almost continuously. I’m almost afraid to see what’s writing.

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a seat closer to the window, but Ginny says the availability was incredibly limited. I like the window seat because I can play with my GPS and keep some sort of track of where we are. The biggest disappointment is that Steve is seated about 10 rows behind us. So we can’t even yak. Oh well, can’t always get what you want.

In case you’re wondering, of course I brought my computer. I need to be able to check my email.

(note: Flight getting significantly bumpier now … kid up a few rows is crying again. Yep, pilot just turned on the fasten seat belt light. Ginny, who’s listening to the traffic control channel informs me that we’re flying over the Sierra mountains).

Where was I … oh yeah, the computer. In addition to checking email, I also want to be able to upload my pictures to the picture gallery (and store them on a hard drive). Some people might think a 1gb memory card for the computer is plenty for a two week vacation, but I suspect I’ll be filling it up fairly regularly. Plus, Ginny has her camera, so I suspect we’ll be coming home with many gigabytes of images.

(flight update: We just got handed off to Oakland traffic control… we should be feet wet pretty soon).

I’m really looking forward to taking pictures of whales … and dolphins, if possible. I had wanted to see about getting a reasonably good underwater digital camera, but couldn’t pull it off in time. The cameras are getting lower in price, but the underwater housings are more expensive. Often the case is more expensive than the camera itself. The underwater case for the Digital Rebel is almost $2k. Oh well, I’ll just have to settle for a disposable underwater camera. We can always take it to Costco and have a photo-cd made of the images.

Of course the thing I’m REALLY looking forward to is HEARING the whales.

If you float in the water, away from any rocks (and kids) splashing, and lie really still with your face and ears in the water, you can hear the whales sing. It is really a beautiful sound.

(flight update: turbulence has tapered off seat belt sign is off again)

Ok, this entry is getting long. Good thing the laptop has plenty of battery power. Ginny informs me that she’s written about 12 pages in her journal so far. I can’t write that much with pen & paper. I can write a fair bit on the computer though, when the inspiration strikes me.

Compared to previous trips to Maui, we’re packed a bit heavier than usual. I actually filled up the suitcase. In previous trips I sufficed with just a duffle bag.

Of course we have our toy bag which is a rather large duffel that we put our snorkel gear, Steve’s fins, hiking sticks, my tripod, hiking boots (which are too heavy to wear), and other nick naks. I was concerned that the toy bag would weight more than the 50lb limit. After it was packed, though, I weighed it. It only weighs 35lbs, so we’re good

I wish I had thought to rip more music from CD onto the computer. I only have two albums on this drive, Kodo & Beòlach. Not bad, but not enough. We’ll probably be buying some music in Maui, so I’ll rip that before we leave.

Pilot just informed us that we are officially feet-wet. Woo hoo! Only 5 or so more hours to go. Battery meter says I have 6 ½ hours of juice left. That’s probably an aggressive estimate.

One of the other things we’re going to try and do while in Maui is hear some local music. Ginny told me there are a few slack-key guitar concerts while we’re there, so we’re going to try and catch one or two.

We also want to try and go off the beaten path a bit go to some places that tourists normally don’t go. We’ll see what we can find. It would cool to find an out of the way beach to hang out on. I think that might be easier to do in Hana than Keihie.

Flight attendants just handed out some snacks I traded Ginny her nut mix for my chocolate. Oops, someone just dropped a bag of the nut mix on my shoulder. Oh well, finders’ keepers.

Ok, this is probably one of the longest blog entries I’ve ever made. According to MS Word, it’s 4 pages long. I think it’s time to wrap this one up for now. Maybe I’ll continue a bit later.

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