Molokai – The Friendly Isle (Day 2 & 3 – North and East Side…Plus a little car key mishap)

BugleIn case you missed our first day on the island, catch – up here.

Day 2 started out perfect.  We woke up to birds chirping and cool and refreshing breeze blowing through our little hotel room.  I was a little worried about how hot the room would get at night, but with the sliding door and windows open, the breeze was perfect.

We ate at Kanemitsu’s Bakery for breakfast before heading to the north to see Phallic Rock and the Kalaupapa Lookout.  I thought that this would take the better part of a day to accomplish, but the drive was a quick, but scenic one.  After a short walk down a paved trail, the trees parted and we were at the edge of a cliff overlooking the pacific and the settlement of Kalaupapa.  The settlement of Kalaupapa is the main attraction on Molokai.  There are only three ways to see the former leprosy colony, you can hike down by foot, ride down on a mule, or fly in via a plane.  We were not able to take the tour because you must be 16 or older to enter the colony and we had Ellie with us, so maybe next time.  It was such a sight to see this small settlement surrounded by the world’s tallest sea cliffs.  Talk about isolation, even by today’s means of transportation.

After the outlook, we walked in the opposite direction for another short walk to view Phallic Rock.

On our way back toward town, we stopped at the Old Sugar Mill and attempted to look through the museum and mill, but Ellie was running around and starting to get cranky, so we had to cut our visit short.  She passed out as soon as we put her in the car.  We headed back to Kaunakakai, the main town, and grab us some burgers to go and headed to a park to eat them.  We stopped at this nice park right past our hotel and ate our burgers near the water.  It was nice to look out and see Lanai directly across from us.  You can even see the evidence of the ancient fish ponds that used to dot the south shoreline.

It was still early in the day, so we headed off to the east.  It was such a beautiful and scenic drive.  Since the road runs next to the water, we had perfect views of the water throughout most of the drive.  The further we went the narrower and winding the road became curving in and out of coves and hugging the mountain.  Towards the end, we came around a deep curve and a beautiful waterfall came into view.  You can actually set up to take a tour through the Halawa Valley and to the falls, but again, we had Ellie with us and didn’t want to drag her through a 4 mile hike.  We were content seeing Hawaii’s tallest waterfall from a distance and driving to the end of road to view the Halawa Valley.

We noticed this little sandy beach along our drive and decided to stop on the way back to enjoy a quick break.  Ellie had just woken up from her nap, so it was the perfect time to stop.  Our quick break turned into about a three hour ordeal…why you wonder…well silly me lost our keys.  In my defense, I think the ocean decided to play a trick on me.  I forgot my camera in the car and went back to grab it and am not sure what happened to the keys after that.  Our cell phones, water, snacks, you name it, were all locked in the car and no keys in sight.  Thankfully some locals were enjoying the beach as well and were gracious enough to help me call the Alamo Roadside Assistance…luckily I added the package to our contract when we picked-up the car…the extra $5 a day is soooooooooo worth it.  So there I am on the phone with roadside assistance and we get to the part in the conversation where we have to locate where we are so they can send someone out to us…well…we have no idea where we are.  The people helping us said that we are at a beach called Sandy Beach….go figure.  The guy on the phone kept asking me if we were near any landmarks…no…houses…no…anything…no.  I am guessing at this point in time, the guy on the phone has never been to Molokai or else he would understand the lack of anything that would be near us.  All I could say was that we were directly off of the only paved road on the east side of the island on some random beach in a small cove.   Finally after him looking on google maps, he thinks he has found our location and will send someone out…fingers crossed.  The people that had let me borrow their cell phone also gave us some bottled water, a baggie full of trail mix, and even let me borrow a sarong to wrap around my shoulders that were becoming burned.  I had to stand next to the road in the midday sun in order to get phone service…in fact, if we were about 100 yards in either direction, we wouldn’t have phone service.  We pretty much didn’t have any phone service on the island unless we were in town…or….where we were at that moment…talk about lucky.  The locals that were helping us had to leave before the roadside assistance showed up, but they said that they would come back in a couple of hours to check on us.  It warms my heart how helpful these people where, not only did they loan out their phone to us, but the snacks…and the water…and the sarong, which she let me keep…and I could just go on and on.  They also stopped by the fire department and sent them out to see if they could help us.  The fire department and the roadside assistance showed up about the same time.  While the roadside guy worked to open the car, the fire department scoured the beach in search of our keys.  The airport did not have a spare on hand, so they were hoping maybe I somehow dropped it in the car or on the beach.  Whatever happened to the keys…they were gone…never to be found again.  We grabbed all of our belongings out of the car and hopped into the roadside assistance car and headed back to the airport to get another car.  Thankfully the crime rate is really low on Molokai, so the chances of our rental being there the next day without a scratch was pretty high.  We were given another rental at the airport and we were on our way again….just in time to grab dinner and head back to the hotel for the night.  I’ll take a beautiful beach to be stranded at any day.  Despite the key mishap, we had another wonderful day and had one more to look forward to.

Our last day on the island was really relaxed.  We grabbed breakfast at the bakery again and then headed to a different beach on the west side.  Kepuhi Beach was beautiful, but the surf was rough, so we just relaxed on the sand until it was time to head back to the airport.  We grabbed some sandwiches at a one of the local grocers and headed back to the same park to picnic.  Afterwards, we headed back to the airport, boarded our little prop plane, and headed home, just in time to beat some bad weather making its way over the mountains.

This is one of those vacations that will remain at the top of my favorites list.  We didn’t do much, but something about not doing anything seems to make the best vacations…even if the most exciting thing to happen was to lose the car keys.

Molokai – The Friendly Isle (Day 1 – The West Side)

BugleOne of our goals while living here in Hawaii is to visit all of the other Hawaiian Islands that we can…minus two that are kind of difficult and probably won’t happen.  First up for the Yetman family…Molokai – the Friendly Isle.  Talk about an amazing weekend.  We left early Friday morning, spend two nights, and came home Sunday afternoon.  The perfect amount of time to see this quaint little island.

We flew with Makani Kai Air in this tiny 9 seat prop plane.  I thought I would be nervous or be more prone to motion sickness, but it was just the opposite for me.  It was such a nice flight.  Of course, it helped to be able to see out of the front of the plane.  Ellie loved every second of it.  She pointed to all of the planes we pasted on the runway and just stared out the window the whole time.

After landing, we grabbed our luggage from the baggage claim bench…this place didn’t even have a baggage carousel…I knew at that moment that we were away from crowds of Oahu and entering small island living.  We grabbed our rental car from across the street and were off to explore the island. 

Check-in wasn’t until 4pm, so we headed off to explore the West side of the island.  We went through the old pineapple plantation town of Maunaloa.  It seemed like a ghost town minus this cute little kite shop.  Ellie was sleeping so we decided to go back later.  The paved road ended and a dirt road continued to which Matt said “YOLO” and kept driving down it in our two-wheel drive Nissan Altima.  Lessoned learned…rent the 4-wheel drive jeep next time.  We ended at what looked like and old harbor where there were some locals fishing.  We enjoyed the view and then turned around to go back up the same route we had just descended.  Lucky we made it out without a scratch on the car…phew.  I on the other hand needed to reapply some deodorant and air out my shirt, but it was worth the view and part of the fun.  Matt kept turning to look at me the whole time laughing at the look on my face. 

After our dirt road fun, we drove back down the “paved” road to find a beach….and boy did we!!!  We stopped at Papohaku Beach just as Ellie was stirring from her nap. After walking through a cute little park and burning our feet on molten hot sand (I’m not convinced that the volcano that made this island is extinct…that sand was hot!!!!) we made to a beautiful, pristine, and almost empty beach.   WHAT???  An empty beach all to ourselves!!!  The water was very rough, but we had fun just playing and lounging in the sand.  I walked down the beach a little ways and found a treasure trove of shells.  The tide was starting to come up at that time and was creating a little pool area as the waves washed over the berm, so Ellie started stomping around the water while I combed the beach for some amazing sea shells.  It was then about time to head back to town to check-in at the hotel and find some dinner.

Our hotel was super cute and had this Polynesian village feel to it with beautiful blooms, roaming chickens, and hammocks strung between palm trees.  Our room didn’t have any air conditioning, but had this huge sliding door with a screen to open at night.  We dropped our luggage, freshened up…which really means wash the sand off of us…and headed to dinner.  We found this Pizza Café with some arcade games, quarter ride toys, and a monkey machine that dispenses dinosaur toys.  Ellie was having a blast while we waited for our food.

After we ate, we stopped by the grocery store, grabbed some water bottles, and headed back to the hotel.  Matt and Ellie enjoyed a quick dip in the pool, while I sat on the side swirling my legs in the water and watched a beautiful sunset.  What a perfect first day.

An Evening Hike – Kolekole Pass

BugleWhat better way to end a perfect weekend than with an easy evening hike in the mountains.

The Waianae Mountain Range is the group of mountains that inhabit the west side of the Oahu (made from an old extinct volcano rather than your typical tectonic plates merging).  Nestled in this range is Kolekole Pass.  This was once a road for traveling between Wahiawa in the middle of the island to Waianae in the west, but a landslide has since ruined the road and the Army has been using part of the area for live fire training for a while now.  Off of the former pass road is where you will find the hiking path.

To access the pass, you need to either have a military id or be able to get a visitor’s pass to get onto Schofield Barracks.  If you go to the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Website, it will tell you how access the trail and also when the trail will be open, since it is used for live fire training, it is only open on certain weekends.

I saw on the Hawaii Army Facebook Page that the pass would be open this weekend, so on Sunday evening, we packed some essentials and headed off.  You basically drive until you reach a big gate and stop sign at the end of the road, and just park.  We were at the beginning of the path within minutes of driving and it felt like a whole other world.  So peaceful and quiet….and with a perfect crisp, cool breeze blowing.  There are hiking trail signs pointing you in the right direction making it easy to follow.  There were very few people at this time, but I have heard where the path can get pretty busy.

We came to a few clearings where the scenic views were absolutely breath taking.  On one side, you could see clear to the ocean and on the other side, across Central Oahu.  I think I found our new picnic spot.  Everyone always talks about the beaches here, but the mountains here…in my opinion…are just as amazing.

Welcome to Hawaii

BugleI know that you have been dying to hear updates on us in Hawaii.  We landed in Honolulu last Tuesday and have been running around ever since.  It is a lot different living here than vacationing…I can tell you that right off the bat.  We have been going to appointment after appointment and errand after errand trying to get settled in here…and it feels like we have barely made a dint.  We did get to catch somewhat of a break during Labor Day Weekend since most offices and places are closed.

We were able to drive up to North Shore and find a couple of beaches to check out and spend some time at.  We pretty much drove half the island on Saturday looking for some fun beaches that were calm enough for Ellie to swim.  The only place we found on North Shore was a little tidal pool that she was able to crawl around in…and boy did she have fun.  She cried when we left to go and find some lunch.

Lunch ended up being this little side of the road diner-type place.  Talk about good food!!!  The lunch plates were huge and everything was absolutely delicious.  Matt ordered the Kalua Pork and I had the Fried Chicken…yum yum.  This place will most definitely see us again.

I have learned a few things after being here for about a week now.

1.)    It is fairly easy to get around here.  You have about two options to consider…driving around the island or going straight down the middle one of three major highways

2.)    Air conditioning is optional.  I am finding that places either don’t have a/c or they don’t really use it.  But it is understandable since the breeze around here is nice and cool.  I am just glad that living in South Louisiana has prepared me for this type of weather.

3.)    The names!!!!  From city names to street names…I am tongue tied all the time.  Sometimes you get lucky with Richard or Forrest Street…other times you get Kamehameha Hwy…say that five times fast…and that’s an easy one!!!

I am so excited to be here and be able to take our time exploring the island.  I can’t wait for all of the adventures to come.

Oak and Pine Alley

BugleWe were on our way back from running some errands and Ellie fell asleep in the car.  What were we to do but drive around for an hour instead of attempting to make the transition from the car to her crib.  While we were driving around town, I remembered a neat little spot that my dad brought us to years ago…Oak and Pine Alley.  I know your first thought is Oak Alley Plantation…but no my friends…there is a place called Oak and Pine Alley.  It is not nearly as famous as Oak Alley and there isn’t an amazing plantation that awaits at the end, but it is a neat little alley tucked away between some sugarcane fields with a little bit of history behind it.

The historic sign explains most of the story, but basically a sugar cane farmer planted this beautiful row of oak and pine trees where it became the backdrop for the wedding of one of his daughters.  The night before the wedding a bunch of spiders were let loose to make webs.  The next morning the webs were sprinkled with gold and silver dust where the bride rode down the pathway in a beautiful carriage.  Unfortunately, the alley has seen better days, but after multiple hurricanes, the alley still stands strong, though somewhat worn down.

There is a creepy aspect to this little place and local folklore has that if you drive down the alley late at night and turn your lights and engine off, you can hear the chains and moans of former plantation slaves.  We did try this a few years ago with a friend of ours and nothing happened, but I was more than creeped out just sitting out there in darkness listening to silence and the occasional cricket.

Hawaii Here We Come

Bugle

We are moving…in just a few days…ahhhhh.

I get so many mixed emotions every time we move.  Just as I was settling into a nice routine here at Ft. Benning, we have to pick-up all of our stuff…actually the moving company contracted out by the military has to pick-up all of our stuff…and move again.  I absolutely love our little historic house and neighborhood at Ft. Benning.  I am really sad to have to leave it so soon, but also very elated to see what adventures await us at our new home.

Before we can officially become islanders, we have to ship our cars, ship our household goods, and fly the Yetmans over the Pacific Ocean.  So please pray and hope for safe travels and the easy transfer of goods…because we all know those horror stories of PCS moves gone wrong are lingering in the back of our minds.

I know there are many tips and tricks to surviving a PCS move already out there on the wonderful world wide web, but in the coming weeks, I want to share my experiences as well since so many of these stories helped me to better prepare for our moves.

Welcome to My Blog

Bugle

I have decided to start a blog.

I have been throwing this idea around for a while and since our little family is making a big move very soon…more to come on that…I wanted a place where friends and family can keep up with our happenings.  I also wanted a place where I can share all of my fun, creative DIY projects, since that is what seems to take up most of my free time…minus the chasing around a crawling baby part.  So go and check-out my About Me section and sit back and enjoy.

P.S.  Just bear with me while I work out the kinks and accomplish this whole new learning curve.