Day 10 - the last day of the trip. Sad, but good to go home - it's been an awesome trip.
Sunday mrning was windy - with spots of rain & sun. We hung out in the room, taking it easy, packing, reading, and deciding what to do for our last day. Our plane doesn't leave until 8:30 tonight, although check-outi is at noon, we still have one day left. We know we won't do any swimming - who wants to deal with a wet swimsuit that has been packed away in luggae for 12 hours?
We checked out around 11 am and decided to drive to Mana, a town that no longwer exists, but is as far west as the road allows. This took us past the Waimea Canyon turn-off - which was as far as we'd gone before. Further on, the guidebook described how the land was different here - all the run-off from Waimea river, further east, had been washed ashore here, and hillsides built up again. This build-up of dirt,silt, sand & sea made for excellent growing conditions for sugar cane. We found out that sugar cane is not grown any longer on any of the islands for commerical production - and out here is where the last of the fields were harvested in 2009.
We drove all the way out to where there was just a fork in a little dirt road. Both roads ended in a high fence noted "U S Naval Property - Magazine Area - Keep Out'. This is all Navy property from where they conduct Star Wars Missle Tests every two months. I guess submarine manuevers take place constantly off the coast as well. On the drive back, we stopped @ McArther Park - where the beach literally is at the side of the road, walked around a bit and watched a couple kite surfers fly around the high waves.
Back in Waimea, we stopped @ the Shrimp Station - which fitting as it was across the road from Island Taco - the first place we ate on on the island . It also was fitting as we ate our last meal at a little place like this on O'ahu. The food was good - Mike had Thai Shrimp & rice, I had Sweet Chili Garlic; shrimp w/fries. The food was made in a little building, and the only seating was outside at picnic tables. That's one thing I didn't get to do a lot of on our trip - the South Shore, where we were based, is resort area, and there are very few (if any) little roadside places to eat. Nearly everything is bigger, high-end restaurants - even the non-fancy "family" type places are aimed at tourists with a lot of money to spend. Those are fine , but it's fun (and cheaper) to sit at a picnic table in March in 80 degree weather, and eat a tasty meal with the locals.
Another check in teh guidebook, and we drove past our resort to the far sourth-east corner of the island - ANOTHER spot where the road ends. First we stopped at a small turn-off with parking between Shipwreck Beach and Makewehi Lithified Cliffs. The last camera batteries had died at this point and that was too bad, because the views here were spectacular. We climed up on the cliffs from the beach, and could look far out into the ocean and the massive waves, and watch the surfers down on Shipwreck. It was REALLY windy up here - you could really see how the wind & sand had scoured the cliffs along here, and shaped the small trees into oddly shaped scrub brush that clung to the rocks.
Then we went further back on the road, to where it turned into dirt and was HIGHLY rutted. It brings to mind a joke we heard a few days ago ... "What the difference between 4-wheel drive & a rental car?" ........................"A rental can go ANYWHERE!". That almost seemed true. The roads are completely pot-holed - it was like driving an obstacle course, and you were constantly bouncing around in the car. We drove all the way to the end, and way back here it seemed to be a hang-out for the local teens and such. We didn't stay long - it was pretty back here, and the guidebook mentioned some interesting things to see along the cliffs, but we distinctly stood out as "white tourists who had all their belongings packed up in a rental vehicle" and thought it best to stay within a sightline of our car. So back along the road, bumping along between the 12-foot high grass and weeds blowing all around us.
From there, we headed north to see Wailua Falls. This was pretty amazing - at the end of THIS road (yup, that seemed to be the theme of the day) there was this waterfall that had a 173 foot drop. It's taller than Niagra, but less water. It still was pretty spectacular. You COULD hike down to the bottom, but as we didn't want to end up all muddy and stuff for the plane-ride, opted just to check it out from the top.
From there we drove up into Waimea again, to a little shopping area, and walked around, and looked into the shops. You could buy a "life size" feathered wire-frame rooster who would cluck or crow when you clapped your hands. Pretty funny! We didn't buy anything but sometimes it's fun just to walk and browse, and we were a few hours from needing to be back from the airport. We drove around a bit more, looking for a woodworking shop mentioned in the guidebook (hey - maybe ANOTHER carving?) but by the time we found it , it was closed. Nearly everything around here closes @ 5 pm other than some restaurants. Even those all seem to be closed-down by 9 pm. But I suppose when the sun goes down year-round before 7 pm, life is a bit different.
We stopped at a little place called "Nawiliwili Tavern" across the road from where we started our Helicopter Ride & also ate our shave ice for a quick bite to eat & drink. We just shared an order of Steak Quesadillas, but they were REALLY tasty. I have eaten very little beef on the trip, and so maybe that was part of the reason why it tasted so good.
Then on to the airport. Technically, that is still today, but I'll include our final journey home (which would last until Monday) in the next blog entry.
No pictures for today, since the camera batteries died, but I forgot to include a link for yesterday, so if you go back to those days now, I have added the pictures links.