To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we took a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi (read the previous parts here). It was our last day in Kauaʻi, but we were determined to make the most of it…
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
We woke up to a bittersweet morning. Today was the day that we were going home. Yes, it would be good to see our loved ones and animals again. However, I know people always say it is good to be back home in your own bed, but we had been sleeping just fine in the Grand Hyatt bed. Kauaʻi had been very good to us. And we still had a good day ahead of us before going home, thanks to our overnight flight.
One last look around our hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Resort. Sorry we are not some of those “professional” travel bloggers who straighten up the room before taking a photo.
The bathroom and shower, with the bedroom beyond. Yes, there were sliding doors to close off the bathroom.
As always, we started off with one last breakfast at Ilima Terrace. I was hopeful that they still had us down for the breakfast plan on our checkout day, and they did. And our server for this last day was one of our favorite servers from earlier in our stay. That was a nice way to end, too. We were seated at the inside area of the restaurant, but that was okay, because other people needed to enjoy the views of the beach, too. Interestingly, there were more birds than usual inside the restaurant today. It was interesting to watch them try to scrounge for food from plates of people who had left. And fortunately, they did not bother us, except that one or two of them landed on the back of one of the vacant chairs at our table a few times.
After breakfast, we once again enjoyed a leisurely walk around the hotel grounds. We looked at the offerings of the vendors in the lobby area, enjoyed the views of the beach in the distance, and looked around in the hotel gift shop. I needed some tape to cover the end of my spare camera battery since I forgot to bring tape from home, but the gift shop was selling it for $4.99 a roll. I figured I could get it cheaper somewhere else, so we passed on that.
We went back to our room and packed up what was left in our stuff, carting it all back down to the Mustang. We filled up the trunk pretty well with our stuff, but at least it all fit. And we thought we had all of our stuff packed pretty well for our flight that night, too. We went to the front desk to check out just before the 11:00 check-out time. When we were asked how our stay was, we said, “Excellent! Home will seem so ordinary!”
Laura had seen several mentions about glass beaches. A glass beach is a beach with bits of glass in the sand. Fortunately, the water has rolled the glass around enough that it does not have sharp edges to cut your feet or anything like that. It sounded interesting to see, so she found one on the map and we headed that way.
We drove to the wonderfully named town of ʻEleʻele. Our city and street names were also going to seem very ordinary when we got back home. Along the way, we stopped at a scenic overlook that we had passed by on the way to and from Waimea Canyon a few days before. We figured that it was our last chance to see sights like this. And besides, we were not on a tight schedule. So we stopped and enjoyed the view for a few moments before driving on.
Checking out the view one more time.
A nice model with a nice backdrop.
The Glass Beach at ʻEleʻele was near an industrial area, but behind the buildings there was a road with several cars parked along the side of it, so we figured we were in the right place. We had not quite known what to expect, but the beach was actually covered in sand, as you would expect a beach to be. However, there were lots of small bits of glass here and there. We wondered if there had been more at one point and it had been picked through, but we did not know that for certain. There were several interesting theories as to where the glass came from in the first place, but I got the feeling that there was not some underwater glass factory out there creating more.
The Glass Beach at ʻEleʻele
There was also a good bit of lava in the sand. While this was not a pure black sand beach, there was quite a bit of black in the sand, as well as several larger lava rocks, too, from pebbles all the way up to boulders. Oh yes, and the view was quite nice, too. This beach had some of everything!
Glass, lava, and sand. A pretty cool beach.
It was not a particularly large beach, and there were a few other people there with us. But once again, it was definitely not crowded. We had not planned on getting in the water besides maybe just putting our feet in, and we had plenty of room to walk around.
Just one of many crashing wave photos from this trip.
Some other people arrived after we did, and they asked if they were in the right place for the Glass Beach. We said that they were, and we showed them a few pieces of glass in the sand. Like us, they had not known what to expect, either.
The mixture of sand types makes an interesting footprint.
Laura at the Glass Beach
We enjoyed just being there and hanging out for a while, seeing what all we could find in the sand, enjoying the sun and the breeze, watching the waves roll in, and just generally enjoying our last day in Hawaiʻi. Being there at the Glass Beach was a good reminder of all that we had done over the past seven days. And it was a pretty good way to end our stay by enjoying yet another nearly perfect beach. Even if we did have to share it with a few other people.
Across the way, on a point that jutted out into the water, we could see what looked like a cemetery. I watched while we were at the beach, and I saw other people go up there, so we decided that we should check it out, too.
The hill in the background is where the cemetery is located.
A look in the other direction before we walk away.
And one more look at the sand, too.
It was not far enough to drive, so we walked along the short red dirt road that led slightly up the hill, and we found that in fact it was a cemetery, just as we had thought. And like the cemetery we had visited earlier, this one was also a Japanese cemetery. We enjoyed seeing all of the different Japanese grave markers, many of them with writing in Japanese that we of course could not read. It was all quite interesting to see, and it was obvious that many of the graves had been there for a very long time. There were also some above-ground crypts as well. And there were some nice shade trees here and there, too. As we walked on, we also found some engraved characters that we could read, and most all of those names looked to be Spanish. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the history behind cemeteries sometimes?
The industrial area behind the beach, seen as we walked to the cemetery.
This cemetery was quite peaceful, as you would imagine for a cemetery being near the ocean. The breeze was gently blowing, slowly moving the trees back and forth. The waves were crashing down below, but not too loudly. There was a quiet stillness that was quite enjoyable. We looked around at it all for a while, just leisurely passing the time.
One of the many Japanese markers at the cemetery.
As we reached the edge of the cemetery, we could see that there were some large rocky areas down below at the edge of the water. We enjoyed the views, looking down at the tidepools on top of the rocks. As always, we liked seeing the waves crash against the rocks, often throwing up large sprays of mist and adding more water to the tidepools. Some adventurous type people drove up, parked their vehicle, and climbed down onto the rocks, but we were content to look at it all from above because the rocks were quite steep. In fact, for the couple we were watching, the guy eventually went off and left the girl, because she apparently had gone as far as she wanted to go. I could understand that. After all, we did not want our last day in Hawaiʻi to be our last day. As with the cemetery, we probably stayed there longer than most people would have stayed. But that was fine.
We were eventually lured away from the cemetery by the longing for lunch. We checked our options, and decided not to do anything too outrageous on our last day, knowing that we had some travel ahead of us. So we settled on McDonald’s. That may not sound that Hawaiian to you, but you might be interested to know that the garbage cans in the restaurant said Mahalo instead of Thanks. So that counts as a Hawaiian restaurant, right?
We ordered our food and then sat down to our meal. At the table behind Laura, these two surfer guys came and sat down. One of them was younger, and the other was older but desperately wanted to be younger. And the older one had a loud, obnoxious, almost fake-sounding laugh, too. Thanks to their loud conversation, we were quite entertained during our lunch time. I didn’t know we were getting a show with our lunch!
In the same shopping center as McDonald’s was a Big Save grocery store. We went in there looking for some tape, hoping to find it cheaper than at the hotel gift shop. Tape at Big Save was only $1.49. Score! Maybe that is why they call it Big Save, because we saved big.
With our tape purchased, we got back in the Mustang and started our drive to Līhuʻe. That was to be our final destination, because we had a flight to catch from the airport in Līhuʻe, but that was still several hours away. We knew that we could find plenty to keep us occupied until then, so we were not worried.
Earlier in the week, we had seen signs for a plantation railroad, so we decided to stop by the plantation where that was located, since it was close to Līhuʻe. We turned the car into the parking lot at Kilohana Plantation. We did not know if we would necessarily take the train ride, but we thought it would be interesting to see what was there.
We discovered that Kilohana Plantation was an old plantation house, as you would expect from the name. But now, it was a shopping area, with small shops located in each room of the plantation house. It was interesting to see the shops in the rooms, and to see the signs outside of the rooms showing what those rooms had originally been. Very clever. At the ground floor was a fancy restaurant. We were actually mistaken for a couple who was expected to come and make their wedding arrangements. Nope, not us. We took care of that 25 years ago. Although when the couple arrived, they looked to be close to our age. Not that anything is wrong with that, of course.
We enjoyed looking around in the different shops in the house. One shop owner was particularly talkative. When he heard that we were from Memphis, he started asking questions which gave away that he had more than a passing familiarity with the area. As it turns out, he had lived in Dyersburg, and he still has family in that area. Pretty cool. In another shop, the owner lady asked us where we were from. As a general rule we just answer Memphis, Tennessee, because who has ever heard of Williston? The lady said, “Wow, you are a long way from home!” I said, “That’s what everyone says,” because that was not the first time on this trip that we had been told that. I suppose we were a long way from home, and it probably seems even longer to someone who has not been here before.
We went out and enjoyed the view of the grounds around the house. I checked on the time and price for the train rides and we decided against it, although it was not unreasonable. I particularly enjoyed the view of the mountains from in front of the plantation house, because they were the opposite side of the mountains that we could see from our hotel room back in Poʻipū. There was also a lone chicken out in the yard, and I liked being able to get both a chicken and the mountains in one photo. Because besides the beaches, those were some of the things I would remember the most about Kauaʻi. How fitting that they would give us a final send-off.
After that, we drove to a mall we had passed several times, so that we could pass some more time there. We looked around in the different shops to see what all was there. We were in a shoe store when the salesman said, “Here on your honeymoon?” “No, we are here for our 25th anniversary.” “Wow, you guys are like dinosaurs! There aren’t all that many people who stay married that long any more!” While I might not necessarily like being called a dinosaur, I know what he was meaning. But at the same time, I don’t feel like we have accomplished anything that remarkable, because it seems like we got married just a short while ago. I guess it depends on which side you are looking at it from, the past or the future.
Then he said, “Where are you guys from?” “Memphis, Tennessee.” “Wow, you are a long way from home!” “That’s what everyone says!” It was starting to get a little humorous by that time, but I did not mind.
Our next stop was Walmart. Yes, we had already been there before, but we figured we could look around some more there. And it was a good thing that we did, because Laura found some Hawaiian print material that she would not be able to find back at home. So we were glad that we stopped there, even though that meant that we had a few more things to try to fit into our bags for the flight home. But we still had not had to break out our extra bags, so it was all going to be just fine.
Keeping with our idea from lunch of easy meals, we decided on Subway for supper. Something nice and easy, just to be on the safe side. It was a good meal as Subway meals usually are, and we were the only ones in the store besides the people who worked there. Nothing like having the place to ourselves for our last Hawaiian meal.
Our time in Kauaʻi was drawing to a close. We drove back to Walmart, but not to do any shopping. We figured the parking lot was a good place to sort through our stuff and repack our bags for our flight home. We had considered changing clothes before our flight since it was going to be an overnight flight, but we decided against it. So those clothes went back into our bags to be checked. And we had to make room for our most recent purchases, too. We also poured out the ice from our cooler. Pretty cool that the cooler had kept the ice cool from the time that we filled it up at the hotel in the morning until the evening. Fortunately, the cooler bag could just be dried out, folded up, and stuffed in one of our bags. We checked that we had everything packed up, and headed out on our last drive in the Mustang.
It actually was not very far from Walmart to the rental car area of the Līhuʻe airport. We made sure to get all of our stuff out, and then waited for the quick inspection of our car by the rental company guy. Happily, we passed! We then had a short wait to catch the bus to the terminal. That bus ride was not quite as exciting as the opposite direction ride when we had gotten there, but that is to be expected.
We got to the airport terminal really early, which seems to be how I do airports. Our flight was at 10:00 PM, and it was just after 7:00 PM yet. So we had plenty of time. We were all checked in by 7:15 for our 9:15 boarding time. Overachievers. We checked our bags, and we were getting ready to go through the security line when one of the officers told us that there was a secondary security line that was much shorter, although it was only going to be open until 8:00. We headed down that way, and it was indeed mostly faster, except that the couple with the small baby right in front of us had not planned well, so that they had to take everything out of their diaper bag, which held us up for a short time. But not for too long.
Once we were in, we walked down to the gate where our plane would be. As we entered the gate area, we had to go through another baggage x-ray. They had a sign on top of the machine that said, “Yes you have to do this again,” so I guess they get asked that a lot. This check was an agricultural check, looking for plants and fruits. Interestingly, the corridors were all open air, but the gate areas were enclosed and air conditioned. It was pretty cold in the gate area, and we would have been better off waiting in the corridor area, except that there were not as many chairs in there.
I had thought it would be a good idea to fill up our water bottles from the hotel for our flight home, so I went for a walk. I got all the way to the main terminal with its shops and restaurants, but I could not find any place to fill up our bottles. So I went back to the gate.
As you might imagine with us getting there so early, the gate area was pretty empty. We claimed some seats near an electrical outlet so that we could charge our phones before our flight. The area did fill up for a while, but that was for a flight that left just after 8:00. It was interesting to see the people arriving on that flight and to compare them to those leaving, because it was quite a contrast. The area emptied out again, and then gradually filled up again. And then eventually, it was almost full.
One family seemed to be upset about something. The parents were upset with each other, and the husband kept calling the airline, trying to work something out. The mother seemed slightly afraid of him, probably because he was pretty angry about whatever it was. I am not sure what the issue was, and I did not know if they ever got it worked out. Just a reminder to me to be calm and collected whenever an issue comes up. I don’t think it was a life or death situation, except that the husband seemed to think that it was.
The airline people started announcing that due to some weather along the way, they would need to take on extra fuel, which meant that they would need to reduce some weight by leaving a few passengers behind. They were offering $1000 travel vouchers to anyone who would give up their seat. It was indeed tempting, except that we did not have a place to stay for the night and we would have people waiting for us back home. I guess someone eventually took them up on the offer, because they eventually stopped asking.
Pretty soon, the time came to board the plane. Our seats were toward the back, but I knew that ahead of time because I had selected them. It started raining right as we were about to take off. The plane started down the runway. And then we turned around. After we had sat there for a minute, the captain informed us that they were recalculating some things due to the rain. I was a little concerned that we might be later getting to Phoenix, but there was not anything that I could do about it. The couple behind us, an older couple, was talking. Talking about the rain, talking about Hawaiʻi, talking about the plane, talking about whatever. The talked and talked and talked. Eventually, thanks to the noise of the airplane engines, we were finally able to drift off to sleep, knowing that it would be much different than the Grand Hyatt bed and that it probably would not be the best sleep we had ever gotten.
But that is not quite all! Check back soon for going home and reflections from Kauaʻi in the 2018 Kauaʻi Trip Report!