I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Maui: Our Last Day and Iao Valley State Park

the view from our balcony where we spent the morning watching the whales

Today was our last day in Maui. We have a late evening flight out so we needed to figure out how to spend our time until we needed to be at the airport. We had a nice, slow morning finishing out packing. Danny and I enjoyed taking turns with the binoculars and spotting whales from our balcony. Without the binoculars, we could see them breaching and spouting, but the binoculars brought us much closer. We were glad we brought them. We checked out of the hotel and went into Lahaina to finish last minute souvenir shopping and lunch. We ate at a local spot where I had my last delicious fish dish and some more of the fabulous Liliko'i cheesecake.

the last fabulous fish dish in Maui

another wonderful Liliko'i Cheesecake!

watching an artist at work painting Kimo's

After lunch, we drove out to Iao Valley State Park to do a little hiking. The Iao Needle is a 1,200 foot famous landmark in the park. It is known as the phalic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean. During periods of warfare, it was used as a lookout by warriors. It is actually an erosional remnant. It's at the end of a ridge composed of a denser dike stone. The softer rock around the dike stone was eroded by streams and waterfalls.

The Iao Needle

Shaka....Hawaiian for Hang Loose

After hiking in the park we drove to a local mall and changed clothes for our journey home on the airplane. We then went to Glenn's office to say goodbye to Glenn and Madelyn. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time to relax before our flight home. We have absolutely loved Maui. Danny and I tell friends that we are not "beach people". Well we are now "Maui beach people". There is so much to see on the Island and it is all so beautiful that we are already looking forward to a return trip in the future. Shaka everyone!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maui: The Road to Hana

Today was another early day as it was “Road to Hana” day! The Road to Hana is a 52 mile, very winding, twisting road with 617 hairpin curves and 56 one lane bridges. Andy, Laurie and I popped our Bonine pills for motion sickness and we left the hotel about 6:30 am. We stopped in Paia at the Kuau store for some lunch provisions and began our drive to Hana.

One of the things I was looking for were the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. I had read about them and seen pics on the internet, but I have never seen them in real life. Well today was the day! I had heard they were between mile marker 4 and 6 on the Road to Hana. We found a grove of them on the left at Mile Marker 6. They were sooooo beautiful. The colors in the bark were so vivid that they looked like they had been painted!

The Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees located just before mile marker 7 on the left

From there we drove on and using the Maui Revealed Book and the Gypsy App, we were able to see everything we planned to see. We stopped at certain waterfalls and a favorite stop of all of us was at Ching’s Pool, a deep clear cold pool of water with a waterfall at the end of it. People were swimming so Danny and Andy eased themselves into the cold water and swam around. Laurie and I stayed closer to shore. Actually, I only had my feet in the water but Laurie went out a little deeper. Danny was watching the cliff jumpers and decided that was a little too dangerous so he climbed up on a rock jutting out into the water and did cannonball jumps from there. We stopped for Banana Bread at Aunty Sandy’s and Halfway to Hana to compare the two. The Aunty Sandy’s bread was fresh and hot right out of the oven. It had a poundcake like texture and the flavor of banana was not as strong as Julia’s from the other day. The Halfway to Hana bread was closer to Julia’s but still not as strong Julia’s. We thought they were both good.

we saw beautiful waterfalls all along the way right from the road

and then we tromped through the rainforest to find hidden beauties

we found this hidden gem while going off trail

this rooster with "furry feet" was so cute!

Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread

Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread was tasty but dense

we ate our banana bread on this lava rock beach

This old stone church is called “Ihi’ihio Iehowa o na Kaua” church in Hawaiian. It was built in 1856 and is the only surviving building from  the April 1st, 1946 killer tsunami. This tsunami wiped out the entire village on the Keanae Peninsula

Danny and Andy's favorite secret find, Ching's Pool. A hidden waterfall and pool perfect for swimming

The water was so clear we could see the bottom

We stopped for lunch at the Black Sand Beach and ate the lunch we had bought earlier at some picnic tables. We had banana bread for dessert. Andy and Laurie were trying to remember from 10 years ago where was the black sand beach and lava caves she went into. They pretty much convinced each other that we were at the wrong beach until an opening caught Laurie’s eye. She remembered that it WAS the correct beach and she had been in that Lava Cave before. We all ducked our heads and went inside and at the other end was an opening out into the surf! It was  really cool. Before we ate lunch, Danny and Andy had done a similar thing, ducking into a lava tube along the side of the road and popped out into a green oasis of tropical trees. They said it was really cool. Laurie and I were resting while they did this because we had just climbed down to the Three Bears waterfall which required going down a long ladder and then crawling hand over hand on large boulders. We were just a bit tired.

Laurie and I climbed down this rickety ladder to find the Three Bears Waterfall

The Three Bears waterfall

Danny and Andy went exploring in this lava tube

The Black Sands Beach where we ate the sandwich lunch we had bought earlier in the day

Through that tiny little cave is a tunnel out to the ocean

Inside the tiny cave. Another secret find.

After leaving the Black Beach, we stopped at Hana Bay to see if there were any ukelele players out. Andy and Laurie had enjoyed hearing them ten years ago and wondered if they would still be there. Andy had some ice cream and we enjoyed looking at the bay while he ate it. From there, we headed out to the Seven Sacred Pools. There really aren’t Seven and it really isn’t sacred, but that is what they are called. This was a huge disappointment for us. Andy and Laurie did not get to see this when they came 10 years ago because they were caught in the middle of a ton of rain! We made a point of going this time for them only to find the pool water murky and dirty from all of the people swimming in it.

Waianapanapa State Park

I always wondered what a Mongoose looked like!

view above Hamoa Bay

Halfway to Hana's Banana Bread

The strangest little crawly bug

The Seven Sacred Pools

The pools empty out into the ocean

We stayed for a few minutes and then decided to go ahead and head back to Paia for our dinner reservation at Mama’s Fish House. We decided to drive back on a road that previously had been deemed not passable. The roads were rough and some parts were gravel, but the views were amazing. It was very surprising to us that the views were so drastically different than what we had seen already. We were treated to a beautiful  sunset as we drove and stopped at the last minute to watch the sun literally drop into the ocean.

the road away from Hana

We made it back to Mama’s about an hour before our reservation and had to wait, but just being still after driving all afternoon on those twisty road was a welcome diversion. Our dinner at Mama’s was absolutely delicious.

Coconut Chiffon Pie

Kuau Chocolate Pie

Polynesian Black Pearl...Liliko'i Chocolate Mousse in a pastry seashell

We arrived back to the hotel about 11:00. Tomorrow morning we pack and then begin the process of using up our time and energy to be ready for our late evening flight. Until then…..