Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Part 7

On our last day in Oahu Kari and I once again beat the sun to get in our final hike of the trip. This one was a doozy! Koko Crater Stairs. I was secretly hoping that we wouldn't do this hike because the more I researched it, the more intimidated I got. The incline is seriously terrifying, especially when you arrive and can barely make out the 'stairs' at the top of the crater. Now that its been done, I'm really glad I did it and it was a serious test of endurance and strength!

Koko Crater Stairs are hardly stairs at all, in fact they are old railway ties that would take supplies up to the military lookouts at the top! Some of ties were missing and replaced with boards, some were replaced with rock, and there was a section of probably 30 ties that they called a bridge because if you didn't get your footing right, there was about a 10 foot drop to the ground before you rolled 1,000 feet to the base of the crater.

When we got back to the house the Vikings game had just kicked off. Unfortunately we couldn't get it to come in on the tv, but we were able to listen to it thanks to KFAN and bluetooth speakers.

Since we were poor planners, we lucked into getting in on a four wheeling adventure at Kualoa Ranch. Go-pro video coming on that one. There were three or four groups of six and I was the first in line in our group. Our leader was awesome and took us a little faster then we were probably supposed to go, but who wants to putter around at 10 mph?

Since Kualoa Ranch is where a lot of films and tv shows are filmed, we toured around and stopped at the location where Godzilla's footprints were (sadly had to be filled in because the ranch cows kept falling in and getting stuck 😂!!), we drove through a structure that will be in the new Jumanji movie, swung by the scene from Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates where they were four wheeling (I was way too excited about that one) and then the biggest surprise of all came when we went to the spot where Jurassic Park was filmed and we almost got attacked by a Dinosaur!

We survived!

To wrap up the tour we stopped at a WWII bunker in the side of the mountain that had been used as a lookout when one of the military bases was near by. Now it's used for shows such as Hawaii 5-0, Lost, Jurassic World, etc.

Between the hike up Koko Crater and a dusty ride on the four wheelers, I'm still cleaning dirt out of the clothes I wore that day. No lie. I it were...

To wrap up this vacation recap, let me leave you with some airplane shots.
Goodbye Hawaii 
Hello Mt. Rainier
Hello Home (and you wonder why it's the land of 10,000 lakes!)

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Oahu, Hawaii 2016 Part 6

To check off another sunrise hike, mom, Kari and I were up before the sun to make it to the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail. This trail is on the southern tip of Oahu and a very easy hike since it is a gradual climb on a newly paved path.

Kari and I went at our own pace and met mom at the top. Before meeting mom back at the bottom of the trail, we climbed a little higher to check out some pill boxes and the view on the other side.

When we all reached the bottom, we took another path that was flat and took you to a hidden beach where some kids were camping.

Taking it all in

After our hike, he headed back to the house before loading up the car and driving to the North Shore.

We went to Giovanni's Food Truck in Hale'iwa for some shrimp.

Then we went to the Dole Plantation for Pineapple floats and a ride on the Pineapple Express (you can skip the train ride).

Did you have ANY IDEA this is how pineapples grow??
Trying to kill some time before meeting family for dinner, we went to Banzai Pipeline beach to watch some surfing. I am a pretty darn good swimmer, but even these waves intimidated me!

After we got some sun and I finished day dreaming about moving here forever, we quickly changed and met some family at Turtle Bay. We were a little early for our dinner reservation so we grabbed a drink and watched the sun set.

Rainbow on one side of the resort

Sunset on the other
As we watched the sun set there was a man playing the ukulele and singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'. I don't think Nicholas Sparks could have scripted this any better.

We had dinner at a restaurant at the resort which my family agreed was our least exciting meal and pretty standard hotel restaurant food. Pretty disappointing considering it is Turtle Bay. All in all though, it was a lot of fun for me to be able to explore the North Shore of Oahu!

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Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Part 5

Aside from surfing, the other event I was really excited for was the luau! We went to Chief's Luau and sprang for the Royal Experience where you had priority seating, a welcome drink, 3 drink tickets and your lei of choice.

We were one of the first to be sat so we had primo seats, front and center. I highly enjoyed the show and would recommend it to anyone looking for an interactive, funny yet informative luau.

As soon as the show started it began to pour down on us. Out of no where staff came running out with hundreds of yellow ponchos for everyone, literally have no clue where these people came from. It rained off and on throughout the night, but the show continued on!

They rotated between the men and women dancers and would do dances from the different Polynesian Islands before the ended the show with some very cool fire dancing!
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Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Part 4

Our whole reason to go to Hawaii was for my cousin's oldest daughters wedding.

We spent the first half of the day playing in the ocean and soaking up as much sun as we could until we had to get ready for the wedding.

Jane and Drew got married at Kualoa Ranch which was right across the street from the house that we rented. Since the house was on a main highway, we just had to drive down the road about a quarter of a mile to the entrance of the ranch, nice and close.

Of course the wedding was beautiful, how could it not be?

And as always, it was great to see family that has spread out across the country and world!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Part 3.

Before we arrived in Hawaii, the group as a whole hadn't discussed much of what we would do or when we would do it, so our third day took us to Pearl Harbor and Waikiki.

We got to Pearl Harbor around 8:00 AM and did the self guided tour. I thought I was going to be bored going through the tour, but it ended up being one of my favorite things that we did and really opened my eyes to what happened that day.

When you do the self guided tour you have a headset that allows you to listen about the different parts of Pearl Harbor. A few of them would have an extended clip that would be a survivor from that day sharing their story of where they were, the people they lost and what they remember from that day. Extremely emotional. Ufdah.

USS Arizona

 We spent a couple of hours walking around, reading, listening and watching what happened back in 1941.  I'm so glad we made this a part of our trip.

After Pearl Harbor we decided to spend the rest of the day in Waikiki. Waikiki is exactly what I thought it would be, busy streets, shirtless guys walking around with their surfboards, packed beaches, etc. It gave me a real appreciation for the quieter side of the island that we were staying on.

By the time we finally found a public parking garage near the beach, we were all pretty hangry. Trying to avoid any Hard Rocks or Cheesecake Factories we walked to Duke's, a restaurant we were planning to go for dinner.

While trying to figure out an actual plan for the rest of the day, we had a drink and shared some appetizers before settling on spending some time on the beach and coming back to Duke's for dinner.

Tropical Itch comes with a back scratcher
Since Duke's is part of a hotel, we were able to rent an umbrella and chairs and I was able to take a surfing lesson! This has been a life long dream of mine and I can't believe I was able to check it off in Waikiki of all places!

We only spent about 10 minutes on land before we paddled out to the break and had a solid 1.5 hours out in the water. I got up on my very first try and almost every time after that. I would guess I caught around 10-15 waves. That paddling business though, wears. You. Out!
Getting the 1, 2, 3, 4 on surfing
Knees, front foot, back foot, airplane
Waikiki Beach
After my surfing lesson we went to  Mai Tai at the Royal Hawaiian Resort for some pre dinner cocktails. The Mai Tai bar on Waikiki beach is where the Mai Tai was first concocted, and probably the best ones I had on the trip.

One of my co-workers recommended Duke's for a nice dinner and said to ask for table 11. Since we were a group of four, we we sat at table 12, just as nice with primo sunset watching.

Our server from lunch, Amu, was still around when we arrived for dinner and came over to check on us a couple of times. He even brought his brother over to the table, can you say tall, dark and handsome times two!?! As we were settling up for the night, our dinner server brought over a dessert that he said was complimentary from Amu. I kept joking to Kari about how much she must have tipped him at lunch for the great service to continue through our dinner!

Just as we were about to leave, the Cubs were in the final inning of game seven of the World Series and we were able to watch the game winning play in the bar with everyone cheering on the Cubs! 

This day was far and away one of my best days ever!

✔Learn to surf

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