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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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Part 2.

Our first morning waking up at the Sugar Mill Beach House was like waking up in a dream. Listening to the waves crash against the sea wall right outside my bedroom door was something I could easily get used to.

Since Minnesota had a five hour time difference we were usually up before 5:00 AM. Kari and I took advantage of our early mornings and went on a couple of hikes. The first hike that we did was called the Lanikai Pillboxs trail.

We started the trek up the mountain to the pillboxes around 6:00 AM and we wrapped it up around 7:30 AM. The pillboxes are old concrete platforms used in WWII that housed high-powered observing instruments to fix a maritime vessel's position from the station.

The beginning of the trek up was probably the most challenging since it was the steepest part of the trail, loose dirt and only a few branches to help pull you up. Once we hit rocky terrain it became more of a path that you could easily navigate. Going back down was by far the trickiest part for me.

Anywhere you looked, the view was breathtaking!

The Moks at sunrise
View from pillbox 1

View from the top of pillbox 2
View from the top of pillbox 2
When we arrived back at the house we cleaned up and headed out for lunch at Kona Brewing Company. Their main restaurant and the location where they brew the beer is located on the Big Island, but since we were such big fans of their commercials and slogan, we wanted to stop by for a visit and some nice cold beers.

In honor of Prince they had a beer called Purple Grain and at 11% abv it was quite delicious. I opted for the sampler and really enjoyed the beers that I chose.

After lunch we did what any family does that works for a giant retailer, and we checked out the local Costco and Target. Not exactly how I would want to spend my afternoon in paradise, but sometimes you just don't get to have a choice when traveling with family.

On our drive back to the house we took the scenic route. Once we turned a corner and came out of a mountain I saw one of the most amazing views, the kind of view that makes you want to cancel your ticket home and stay forever.

For dinner we went to Haleiwa Joe's in Kaneohe. This location is less touristy and is located in the Haiku Gardens. The restaurant is open air, the staff was incredibly friendly and the food was delicious!
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Monday, November 14, 2016

Oahu, Hawaii November 2016 Pt. 1

Bright and early Halloween morning, Kari and I headed off to the airport to catch the first leg of our flight to Hawaii! Of course nothing goes 100% according to plan and someone forgot their ID at home. Luckily I think being at least two hours early for any flight is the latest you should be at an airport, so Kari's boyfriend was kind enough to drive the 30 minutes back to their house to get the ID and drive 30 minutes back to the airport.

We were able to get through security relatively quick and had just enough time to pull up to a bar near our gate, scarf down breakfast and a mimosa and we were on our way to Seattle!

When we landed in Seattle we had 45 minutes before our connecting flight took off so we headed straight to the gate where there just so happened to be a bagel shop. We each grabbed a bite to eat to bring on the plane and before we knew it we were back up in the air.

We flew Alaska airlines the whole way. Somehow I completely lucked out and had an empty seat next to me on what was supposed to be a sold out flight. When flying to Hawaii, Alaska offers a special juice. I ordered that, along with a little vodka to get the trip started off on the right foot.

As we were getting closer to descending, the flight attendants came around with complimentary Mai Tai's. I was sitting close enough to the front of the plane and was offered one from first class, which just meant I got a spear with a cherry and pineapple.

Mom and Dad got in a little earlier than us, so we just met them at the rental car pick up and were off to our VRBO rental for the week!

I had been doing my research and found a house called SugarMill Beach House. It is on the East side of Oahu and right across the street from the wedding that we were going to later in the week.

View from upstairs bedroom
View looking down the stairs
View looking up the stairs to three bedrooms and a bathroom
View from backyard
My morning view every day
We couldn't have asked for a better place to stay. Since it was just the four of us, we each had our own bedroom, two had oceanfront sliding doors that led to a wrap around deck on the second floor of the house. There were two very large bathrooms with double vanities, showers and plenty of hooks to hang towels and wet swimming suits.

Most of the houses that you see on Air B&B or VRBO in the area that we stayed in are actually across the street from the ocean, even when they say beachfront. Our house was right on the water with a beautifully green and flat yard. There was a seawall that I spent many mornings sitting on watching the sea turtles pop out of the water, the crabs scurry along the wall, gecko's bolting through the yard, and the funniest pair of Brazilian Cardinals that always showed up as a pair and got oddly close to us. One was a bit more brave than the other and got very close to getting inside one morning. We were also lucky to have a chicken next door one day. Chickens are everywhere! I had no clue we would see them all around the island. I highly enjoyed the group of chickens and chicks hanging out in the McDonald's parking lot. Not sure if they knew what they were getting themselves into with that spot.

We spent the first day grabbing some groceries, getting acquainted with the house and we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Dean's Drive In, that had been featured on Diner's, Drive In's and Dives.
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