Travel Date: Monday, Nov 23 2015
Justin and I wake up too early in the AM to drive to the Kona International Airport. The plan is to go to the island of Kaua’i.

We stop by a gas station to get some breakfast. Apparently all the Tesoro’s are the ‘popular spots’.

I get a Tornados tortillas wrapped over Portugese Sausage. It makes me feel Goan immediately. My Indian friends can relate to this. If you don’t know what I am talking about google Goa and its Portugese historical influence on Catholicism and food.

It is not that great of a meal, but it is all about the experience right?

The airport has an outdoor look at feel to it.

After getting through security, and making it to our gate it appears that it truly is an ‘outdoor airport’.

I love this way of boarding a plane.

So we learn that Honolulu, Oahu which is the capital is the central hub of getting to most of the islands. So rather than fly from one island directly to another, you transit through Honolulu ‘most of the time’, which is annoying for reducing your travel time and maximizing your adventure time.

Fortunately with a little bit of luck and asking the gate attendant, we discover that a few people are late to an earlier flight, so I inform the attendant that we are on the next flight to the same destination and if there is extra room or if the people don’t show we would love the opportunity to have their seats. She takes our information and the next thing you know after patiently waiting through the last calls, we get on the earlier flight.

It reminds me about what Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” and then what I followed up with “If you never ask, you will never know. So always ask.”

I love flying in planes. And witnessing the islands on the incoming approach.

After we arrive in Kaua’i we stop at the Dollar Car Rental and instead of getting a ‘non-ugly car’ Justin gets a Jeep upgrade. And I force him to take a picture with it.

He is truly in heaven. He gets the same one he has at home minus all the perks he purchased on his Jeep.

Time to drive across all Kauai to the west side of the island and see the Waimea Canyon State Park.

I already love the tall trees. Kauai is AMAZING.

We start driving up hill towards the Waimea Canyon State Park: which is said to be the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

The island of Ni’ihau in the distance.

The various views of the beginning of the canyon.

I love the red color change, and the small waterfall and pool. The word Waimea is Hawaiian for “reddish water”, a reference to the erosion of the canyon’s red soil.

Back to the crazy canyon and canyon lands.

We pass the official State Entrance point.

And head over to the Canyon Lookout point.

I love those deep structures. It truly does look like the Grand Canyon minus the color.

We continue driving to the Pu’u Ka Pele Picnic Area, and stop by there to capture some other views. The Waimea Canyon State Park is only ten miles long so the views are about the same, but the angles are different.

Below is the view from across the Pu’u Ka Pele Picnic Area.

We continue driving but venture into Koke’e State Park and decide to turn around and drive back. Our next adventure is taking a boat tour of the Na Pali Coast. I text the captain asking for good local places to eat at and he recommends The Shrimp Station.

I order the shrimp tacos, and they truly are really really good. Justin orders the popcorn shrimp which equally delicious.

After lunch Justin and I get some gear from the local supermarkets and head out to the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor to meet Captain Cody and get a tour of the Na Pali Coast. (Upcoming blog. Stay tuned)

After an amazing boat tour of the Na Pali Coast and even more stunning sunset, we drive back to the east side of the island to our hotel: Marriott Courtyard at Coconut Beach.

A funny story during check-in is that they asked us (Justin and I) if we wanted a king size bed or two queens. It is that awkward moment where you look at your travel partner and say to him “I like you buddy, but not enough to share a bed with you tonight!” I tell our hotel receptionist “Two queens please.” and she chuckles.

After checking in and getting 4 free drinks as part of our reservation we headed to the firepit at the hotel to relax and appreciate the day.

‘A Bro-mance Picture’ with Justin at the fireplace. Poor guy. 🙂

We also ordered some traditional Ahi Poke: raw cut fish with varied spiced seasoning served with salad. It was amazing.

The full moon is ridiculous tonight… and I’m probably four deep Mai Tai’s in.

Reflections:
Getting up early was a little difficult, but necessary. We are here to explore and on a sort of vacation. I definitely appreciate Justin’s TSA-Security clearance. I don’t have to take off my shoes and we go through security much more quickly. Unfortunately, I still have to take out my laptop and accessories.

Getting on the earlier flight was a wonderful surprise, and I appreciated it a lot. We get to spend more time exploring Kaua’i, which is amazingly beautiful. Waimea Canyon was really pretty to see, and the pictures I took don’t do it justice, especially with the cloud cover blocking the sun. I am grateful that it didn’t rain on us.

The Na Pali Coast Boat Tour and sunset was EPIC, and I will speak about that in another blogpost.

Arriving at the hotel, and seeing our accommodations made Justin believe in acquiring a Marriott membership. We received a front row view of the beach, which will come in hand during the sunrise tomorrow and the 4 drink tickets (2 for me and 2 for Justin) which Justin gladly gave me his share since he prefers beer.

Hanging out at the fire pit, appreciating the moonlight, conversing with some of the guests and talking with Justin, and general appreciation for the full day made the day complete. It was a long day and evening, and our adventure today for me felt full.

Expenses: $207.59
Breakfast: $2.58 (Tesoro)
Rental Car: 3612 points (Dollar – Justin Paid for upgrade to Jeep)
Lunch: $13.50 (The Shrimp Station)
Hotel: $156.51 (Kauai Coconut Beach Hotel)
Dinner/Beverages: $35.00 (Kauai Coconut Beach Hotel)