Ok, so I can deliver on that promise of a big adventure, but you will have to bear with me. This post has 51 pictures, and quite a lot of text. I probably should have split it into 2 posts, but I just didn't have time while Drake was here. However, since Drake has gone home I am once again free to sit around. It all began last Saturday, as I recall...
I had woken up early that morning, refreshed after our great hike the previous day. I was reading the newspaper at 10 o'clock, when Drake limped in. The hike had not been kind to either of us. We were both having problems pointing our toes. The pain felt great. Well, at least to me.
I asked Drake which activity he felt comfortable doing. We could swim, go for a short drive to a nearby senic spot, or do a two day marathon road-trip around the island, seeing every sight between here and Volcano, sleep outside with no tent, hike through an active volcano and do it all in a Toyota RAV4. Guess which activity I was hoping to do.
Well, after a little bit of coaxing , Drake decided that he too was interested in the last trip. So, at 11 o'clock, after 15 minutes of packing, we set off in our Toyota RAV4, henceforth referred to as "The Adventure Mobile". Our first stop, as is so common on road trips, was at the gas station. Our second stop was the health food store. In the checkout line of the health food store, I realized that Drake had never had Li Hing Mui (a delicious Hawaiian snack). I asked the woman behind the counter if they carried Li Hing Mui mango, and I was shocked to discover that she had never even heard of Li Hing Mui. She asked the woman in line behind me what Li Hing Mui was, and the woman behind me began to chastise me for wanting Li Hing Mui, claiming that it contained MSG (it doesn't) and that it gave her a head ache. I thought, why does she care what I eat? And then I realized how smokers feel. Actually, though, this seems to be a problem for me. I always seem to meet such unfriendly people in health food stores. Next time I go into a health food store, rather than risk being attacked for asking about an inoffensive non-organic food, I think I'll just ask for 6 pounds of Fur Seal meat and a pack of Malboros and get it over with.
Well, after the health food store we bought some confounded Li Hing Mui at Longs Drugs, then went to a local fast food place in Capitan Cook. Then we headed down to Pu'u Honua o Hounaunau in the Adventure Mobile. Just so happened there was a cultural festival that day. This is a fish lure that looks like a baby turtle.Well, we set off from Pu'u Honua o Hounaunau for South Point. My mom once told me about a trip that her book club went on to South Point which ended with a bunch of my high school friend's mothers going cliff diving. When I heard that middle aged women had jumped off a cliff and I, a 23 year old male on a mission to make my life more interesting, had not, I decided I had to do it. Drake and I found the place with out much trouble because of the crowds. Very few people were actually jumping, though. There was one Russian girl there who was just standing on the edge on the verge of tears because she wanted to jump but was just too frightened. I got up to the edge to jump, stood there for 15 seconds clearing my mind. I jumped, hollering like I was on a roller coaster and flailing my arms and legs the whole way down.
When a person hits the water from about 10 meters elevation, they are hitting the water at a speed of about 9 meters per-second. Flailing my legs turned out not to be a good idea. Hitting the water felt like getting punched in the croch and in the chest at the same time. That said, I would have gladly done it again, if not for the ladder which I climbed up to get out. Drake jumped in as well, as you can see in this movie. His form was much better than mine, but he still had to climb out.
After cliff diving, Drake and I continued our Ultra Senic Island Tour. We made a stop in Na'aleu, where a fair and Rodeo was taking place, went to Punalu'u sweetbread Factory, and visited the Black Sand Beach.
Around sunset we made it to Volcanoes National Park. Here is Drake at a steam vent...
A shot of the Adventure Mobile sitting next to an active volcano...
And the most iconic shot of Hawaii that will ever be taken. Observe: Sunset, Mauna Loa, Kilauea, 2 Nene Geese and Leis. The Nenes were eating the Leis. They let us get really close, and even record their call.
After the sun had set, we went to Thurston Lava Tube for some nocturnal spelunking.
Thurston Lava Tube was not so bad. It had lights on the inside.
But we also decided to go into the part where there were no lights. That part was REALLY scary. I'll jump off cliffs, but the dark is not my favorite place. Still, I made it to the back of the cave.
We left the cave and went to the place where we had decided to make camp. Having no tent, we slept underneath a tarp beneath these Koa trees. I slept very well, despite the lack of creature comforts. By the way, we camped next to a group of middle schoolers on a retreat. As we were going to bed, they put on a performance of "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuess.
The next day we got up early and visited every single crater on chain of craters road.
Then we left the park and started driving to Hilo. On the way, we stopped at an orchid farm.
Check this one out. It looks like a bug!
You may have noticed by now that it is hard for me to resist factory tours. I love factory tours. So when I saw that Mauna Loa Macadamia nut company had a factory tour, we had to go. I tried watching the video in Japanese, but it was way to difficult for me. By the way, the tour is mostly dull, but the gift shop is well designed. It would probably be better to go on a week day when the machinery is running.
When we actually reached Hilo we discovered that Hilo is closed on Sundays. Really, this shop was the first place in downtown Hilo that was open.
The farmer's market was operating, and Drake bought the biggest pineapple that I have ever seen in my life. It was delicious, and I didn't understand a word the woman who sold it too him said.
Then we stopped by the Kaumana Caves, endeavoring to do some more caving.
Alas, we did not get farther than the entrance due to a dual flashlight failure. We did manage to find some very old graffiti.
We then drove up saddle road and made a stop at Pu'u Hulahula nature reserve, where I took a heavenly nap.
On to the Onizuka Visitor's Center at 9000 feet. Drake bought a ton of gifts for all his nerd friends.
After adjusting we began to ascend the mountain in the Adventure mobile, which had a top speed of 9 MPH going up hill. Floored, it went 9 MPH. I had decided that we were going to visit Lake Waiau, one of the world's highest lakes, which is located near the top of Mauna Kea. We parked the car above the lake and hiked down this trail (which was only a half mile).
Walking to the lake took us half an hour. Beautiful little lake, though. I don't know if "Lake" is a really good term for it, though.
The lake had amazing algae formations.
Here is us walking back, which took another half an hour. We had to go slow because of the altitude.
Well, we drove up to Keck, the place that Drake wanted to visit above all else and discovered that, like Hilo, it was closed on Sundays.
Here we are as the sun is going down.
We decided to watch the sunset from the mountain. I wasn't really dressed for the cold, but that was ok because just as the sun started to get near the horizon bus loads of Japanese visitors showed up. I must be scary or something because the same thing happened to me three times. Me: (Some harmless comment in Japanese like "Cold, isn't it?" or "Would you take our picture?" Japanese Visitor: Oh, you speak Japanese very well (three seconds later they would walk to the other side of the mountain and not come back even though I was sitting in the best spot to view the sunset). I must figure out how not to scare people, I seem to do it a lot.
Sunset between Subaru and Keck.
Drake and I then headed down to hill to the visitor's center in the hopes of doing some star gazing. However, the moon, lights and inexperienced people with flashlights ruined it for us, so we just left.
We returned home and slept. Alot.
The next day we drove up to Honoka'a and had Tex's Drive-In for lunch. Monday was Drake's shopping day. We basically hit up every gift shop in the Honoka'a/Waimea area.
But before that we went to Waipio.
Tuesday we went to the beach, and I made a drip castle.
Tuesday also happened to be 4th of July. In order to fill the time before the fireworks, Drake and I drove to Waikaloa to see the 15th annual rubber duck race.
Now I am a big fan of cheesy stuff like rubber duck races, especially when it is for a good cause. But, the DJ that was the announcer was so bad that the entire experience was made painful. We left before it even really got underway, we were so annoyed. Instead, we went to Puako and saw Petroglyphs.
That evening, Drake and I attended the fireworks at the Mauna Kea. As we waited, we tried some night time photography.
Then the fireworks started. Not a bad show.
Drake and I returned home and proceeded to try to blow up the shell of the pineapple he bought in Hilo.
Here it is, packed with sparklers.
It was cool to watch, but we weren't able to blow it up.
And lovely as well.
Here is what the pineapple looked like when we were done. I had no idea pineapples were so flame resistant.
Drake playing with a sparkler.
Wednesday we went to Pu'u Kohola and other historical sites, then finished off the day by having dinner at the Hilton's Japanese place. We ended up sitting on the same table as some famous guy who is on T.V. all the time, I am told. I had no clue who the guy was. I don't watch T.V. I corrupt myself with the internet!
It was Teppenyaki, so our cook put on a show for us. This is Mauna Loa made of onions.
Then, on Thursday, Drake and I cooked for mom and dad. Mango flavored dishes.
Drake was able to see the sunset in Hawaii one last time before we took him to the airport and he left for California.
Having Drake come was great. I got to do more stuff that I have always wanted to do but haven't had the urge to do alone. I hope he had as good a time as I had. The guitar was too much, though. We'll just have to give him Kira to make it even.