Our trip is almost over, sad to say, but we've been gone for a week and a half now, and it will be nice to get back to our own home & puppy dog. PLUS we have heard a lot of snow is melting!
Today we decided to go see the North Shore in a different way - on a motorcycle. Mike rented a Harley Davidson, and I rode on the back. I'd never done that before, so that was a VERY new experience for me. We first headed out for breakfast @ Joe's on the Green (golfcourse restaurant)- Mike got Banana - Macadamia Nut Pancakes w/Bacon. I got a breakfast burrito. Both were good, but nothing to write home about. Then we headed over to the nearby craft fair to continue our search for a wooden chicken. There WAS one table of guys carving tiki gods, but that was their only product - and we bought one in Maui from a similar fair that time. Then off to the North Shore!
We stopped by a crafts fair, but there was little there other than a very friendly Asian woman who was hoping we'd buy a lot of trinkets. I later saw a sign for "Hawaiian Hardwoods" just as we passed it, so we decided to stop there on the way back.
It's about 75 miles one way,but that take a lot longer to get there when the max speed limit is 50 MPH, and there's a lot of slowing down in between. This is the area of the island that has a lot of 1-lane bridges. When approaching a bridge, you first have to slow down and check for on-coming traffic. If there are cars coming from the other way,you stop behind the line in the road and wait for them to cross over. Typically, once 5-7 cars have passed over, the next person on that side should stop and let the other traffic come across. I don't think we ever saw that many cars come over at once - maybe one time - usually we either got there and could cross right away, or else only wait for a couple of cars.
We stopped off at Kilauea Lighthouse - we didn't actually go all the way to the lighthouse, but stopped at the overlook there for a rather magestic view of waves crashing into a small bay, turquoise water everywhere. We took a picture here of the two of us (camera sitting on a post nearby) - my hair definitely has the "helmet head" going on, since I'd been wearing my helmet for over an hour now. Oh well - it's vacation. :)
We got to Hanalei Bay, which is a big, horse-shoe shaped bay at the "top" of the island. It is where Puff the Magic Dragon lives! Yes, I know that "Puff the Magic Dragon, Lived by the sea, and frolicked in the autumn mist in the land of Honnah Lea" isn't REALLY about a dragon, but that didn't stop me from humming most of the trip (and it was a welcome change from humming the Gilligan's Island theme, which was a daily occurance in my head as well). I guess out here it's described as the "Beverly Hills" of the island. The towns of Princeville & Hanalei aren't fancy looking at all, but once you see a few of the places on the beach, you know that's where the millions of dollars are spent. This is where a number of movie stars have their beach homes.
Then on to Tunnels Beach - which is supposed to have the best snorkeling on the island. It is protected by reefs, which is good ,because the winds were high today and the entire east shore of the island had high surf warnings. The water really was calm there, and I was excited because even our beach by the resort had gotten waves too high to snorkel since the day I tried it. We changed into our swimwuits and waded out. And WOW were there fish! Colorful, amazing fish. It was like swimming in a giant aquarium and just being surrounded by these gorgeous creatures. Every color you could think of , every shape and size - it just blew me away. Mike didn't have snorkel gear, so we'd switch off wearing the mask, and enjoy the fish. A quick half-mile walk up to Ke'e Beach State Park to shower off led us right past a monk seal resting on the shore. That was pretty neat to see, and when we got back we found out they're an extremely endangered species - only 20 or so left on Kauai - and if you bother it , there's a $25K fine AND up to 5 years in jail!
On the way back , we remembered to stop at "Hawaiian Hardwoods" - we missed the turn-off because you didn't see the sign until you were almost past it, and we weren't positivie where it was. But we turned around and it took us back about a mile on a dirt road up to someone's yard. A sign on door said "Showroom - Welcome" so in we went. It was a small room with BEAUTIFUL work. A lot of the items were large - carvings of various animals and furniture. His work was all based on the twists in the wood - everything unique and different. But no artist. He had a sign up stating "call me with questions - you can pay for small items in the deposit slot with cash or check". Completely on the honor system. There were a couple dozen or so small items - things he'd carved out of weirdly shaped branches & such into either a recognizable or unrecognizable form. BUT we actually found a chicken! well, I thought it was - Mike said he'd believe me. It looks like a hen sitting on nest that he'd carved from a u-shaped branch made of Hawaiian Red Oak. We bought it because we KNOW it was made here, and we KNOW that it's the only one like it in the world. Very cool memento of our trip.
Then back to Lihue to drop off the bike. When we arrived, we a little less than an hour left on the rental, so we stopped for shave ice. This is a Hawaiian treat where they put a scoop of ice cream in the bottom, and then shave ice over the top - in a 4 inch tower! Then they put flavored syrups on that for a rainbow effect. Mike had peach & strawberry - I had vanilla, bannana & strawberry, and we both agreed that the vanilla was the best of the flavors. Then we dropped off the bike 5 minutes before it was due.
Back to the resort to relax a bit. We tried to see the sunset, but it was too cloudy & behind the mountains. Then to Plantation Restaurant - the restaurant on our resort. We shared pork potstickers, Mike had a pork loin skewered on sugar cane, and I had lau lau (seafood wapped in a ti leaf, and then steamed). Mike really enjoyed his food, and mine was pretty good, but I think it needed something "Extra" - a sauce or something, but still was quite good.
Then back to the room, where we were very exhausted and fell asleep within an hour. It was a very large day!