Travel Date: Saturday, Nov 21 2015
I woke up really early and packed my bag just a few hours before the flight. That is it for 8-9 days on the  Hawaii islands.

Made a pit stop at Sugar Shack donuts for some coffee and donuts before the long drive to Washington Dulles Airport.

I got to my gate at the United Airlines terminal and was in formed that my flight was delayed and overbooked. Fortunately I have a confirmed ticket.

After a flurry of various texts from United Airlines changing the delay of the flight from 1 hour, to 30 mins, to 45 mins, and back to 30 mins, we finally get ready to board the flight.

I’m wearing my amazing five finger shoes. I feel so connected to the ground.

Finally… on the plane and ready to go.

It is time to indulge in some in-flight food and beverages (bourbon and coke).

Watching the changes in landscape as you on a clear day from the United States Capital in Washington, DC to Los Angeles, California, makes you appreciate the geological diversity on this country.

Flying over Los Angeles and preparing for arrival. One 6 hour segment of travel completed!

I walk around and text my travel buddy Justin and we meet up at one of the airport bars. I met Justin in Roanoke at a John Park event. And then as I traveled across the United States we reconnected in Salt Lake City, Utah where he and a friend hosted me for a couple of days. It was great to see him and exciting to share this adventure with him.

Our flight is on time. We all get on board and I’m excited to watch the sunset while flying.

My neighbors Nat and Tamara are a traveling couple. As we talk and get to know each other we find out we have a lot of things in common.

We are still on the plane and the sunset is beautiful. Unfortunately, it looks like we are NOT taking off. The toilet in the back of the plane is leaking. When the pilot announces that on the intercom, it is never a good sign. After an hour of diagnosing the issue they realize the only way to fix the toilet leak so we can take off is to get everyone off the plane and into a new one. But the new plane is at the hangar. It becomes one of those days – or a typical day with United Airlines from what I hear.

United informed us it was going to be a 30-minute wait. There is no way it will take 30 minutes to get the airplane from the hangar to airport gate and have them ready for us to check-in.

So Nat, Tamara, Justin and I go the one of the bars at the airport called BGrill. Read your receipt carefully. They charge a 15% or 18% service charge. I don’t know what that specifically represents.

We socialize and get to know each other better. I am frustrated at the airline because of the delay. And I’m trying to accommodate for our arrival in Hawaii. Our plans were to arrive in Hawaii at 9 PM, pick up our rental car drive 2 hours to the south side of Big Island to our AirBnB location. Unfortunately, since our flight gets in around midnight it was going to be difficult to co-ordinate a rental car and our AirBnB arrival.

Fortunately, having Tamara and Nat around helps turns around my frustration with the airline and the delay. Finally, after about an hour we begin to board the plane. And after a lot of intermittent naps, we end at the airport on Hilo, Hawaii.

I call our rental car agency located outside the airport: Island Discount Rentals. She picks us up and drives us the shady location.

We pick up our “UGLY CAR” and drive off to the southern part of the island in pitch darkness with barely any street lights. There will be more specifics about our ugly car in the next post.

Our AirBnB host Macadamia Meadows Farm, in the town of Naalehu, Hawaii. It is about a 2 hour drive from the airport. We arrive just past 2 AM and I’m so grateful to our AirBnb host Sherri for waiting up for us.

Reflections: 
There is nothing like the feeling of adventure again. It has been just under a year (11 months) since my last serious excursion anywhere. The travel bug bit me hard, and Justin and I talked about traveling somewhere. We both decided on going to Machu Picchu, Peru but as it turned out that was not in the card of life.

So we decide to travel within the US but not the continental US: the islands of Hawaii. I have been to 48 states and he has been to 44. So this was 45 for him and 49 for me.

The first flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, California was great. Minus the hiccup of the flight delay everything went well according to schedule. The second flight was bizzare, but fortunately meeting Tamara and Nat was a great fresher for the trip. They reminded me about staying positive and helped me reframe my thoughts of the second delayed flight with United Airlines in a positive direction.

It was great to see and spend time with Justin. I know he has been through a lot and it was good that we were traveling together escaping the busy-ness of life and with the plan to hopelessly wander around the various islands of Hawaii.

Expenses: $435.45
Breakfast: $8.30 (Sugar Shack Donuts)
Gas: $18.31 (Kroger Fuel)
Lunch: $8.99 (United Airlines)
Dinner: $63.71 (BGrill)
Hotel: $133.00 (AirBnb)
Car Rental: $203.14 (Island Discount Rentals – 8 days)