2018 Kauaʻi Trip Report Part 13: Going Home and Reflections

To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we took a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi (read the previous parts here). As the trip concludes, we wake up somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on our way home…

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I woke up somewhere along the way, although I really am not sure what time that was. Flights that cross more than one time zone are like a time warp to me, and I just have to wait until we land for my phone to figure out what time it is when we get there.

Thanks to the very limited free wi-fi service on the plane (I did not see the need to pay for more), I was able to check and see that our next flight out of Phoenix had been delayed by almost an hour. So there was no worry that we had left Līhuʻe a little later than scheduled. So I rested as much as I could, and I did my best not to wake Laura up, too.

As we got close to Phoenix, the people behind me were getting rather agitated. These were the same ones who had been talking the whole time after we left. I think they talked the entire night, but I am not sure because I was able to sleep for a little while. The man was concerned because they would only have a few minutes between when our flight landed and when their next flight was supposed to leave. And unfortunately, they were on the very back row of seats in the plane. Once we did finally land, they got off as quickly as possible. I wonder if they made their flight?

We landed in Phoenix at 7:15 AM, which actually was very close to our scheduled time. But then every time I checked to see when our flight to Memphis was supposed to leave, it would change. Sometimes a little later, sometimes a little earlier. Nice and confusing.

Even though it was early in the morning, there were already lots of people at the Phoenix airport, which was much different than the much smaller Līhuʻe airport. We found some stuff to eat for breakfast from one of the airport gift shops, since we were not hungry enough to get a restaurant breakfast. We went to the gate for our next flight, but it was already full of people waiting for a flight that was about to leave. So we walked down a few more gates and found some seats so that we could eat our breakfast. We also got some bottled Cokes to take with us on the next flight. Or to drink before we got on that flight. We figured since we did not get much sleep, the caffeine would help.

Once the earlier flight left our gate, we moved over to that section, just in case we needed to hear any announcements about more time changes. But there were not any more. However, it looked like our flight to Memphis would be just about full, just like all of the flights we had been on.

When our group was called to board, we made our way onto the plane. I already knew because I had selected the seats for us, but this time we were on the back row of the plane. And there were only two seats on each side of the aisle because this was a smaller plane. However, our row did not have a window. No big deal. I could probably sleep on this flight, too. But then the stewardess said that we could move over to the other side, which had a window, because no one was going to sit there. So we did.

The flight was going along pretty well, but then weather got in the way. I had already let my Mom know that we would be getting there later than the originally scheduled time because our flight had left later. But the captain came on the intercom and said that there was a big thunderstorm in Memphis, and that we were going to have to land in Little Rock to wait it out for a few minutes and take on more fuel. He described it as a “quick down and up,” but I figured it would be a little longer than that. Fortunately, we got cell service while we were sitting there in Little Rock, so we were able to text that we were waiting, and then text when we were leaving. Unfortunately, Mom and Jaylin had already left to go to the airport, so they ended up having to wait for us there.

It seemed like we were in Little Rock for a long time, but it probably was not much more than 15 minutes before we were in the air again. The flight from Little Rock to Memphis is not a long one, except when you are ready to be home. But we finally arrived at 4:10, which was much later than our original 2:35 time.

Mom and Jaylin were waiting for us in the baggage area, and fortunately, we did not have to wait too long to get our luggage before heading out. After that, we went to my parents’ house to pick up our car, and then to Milano’s near home to get some supper. And then home, bringing the trip to a close. It had been good.

In a swing on the beach at Kauai


As if the previous 28,000 words were not enough reflection on our trip, here are a few more thoughts to close things out.

First off, we absolutely loved it, if you cannot tell. Kauaʻi was beautiful. We had lots of fun. We relaxed. And we enjoyed being together. That is about all we can expect out of a trip.

Here are some questions and answers:

Would you go back? That is a good question. My first answer is that next time we would probably try a different island, just to see more of what is there somewhere else. For the last several years, I have been wanting to see more of the world than just going the same places over and over again. However, there was so much more that we could have done on Kauaʻi. So many more beaches, waterfalls, and trails. Not to mention organized tours, helicopter rides, boat cruises, and more. We could easily spend another week there and do completely different things, if we wanted to. So we might be back someday.

If we do go back, we would definitely look into the Grand Hyatt again. It was a fantastic place, and we greatly enjoyed staying there. Beautiful grounds, a nice room, and friendly staff members. Just what we wanted in a hotel.

Was it what you thought it would be? That is another good question. I had purposefully not looked that much into all there is to do there before we went. So I did not know exactly what to expect. I thought there would be some nice scenery and some beaches. And I knew I wanted us to go to Waimea Canyon, but that was about it. Based on that, Kauaʻi was much more than I thought it would be. Because we did not spend too much time overdoing our expectations, we were more than happy with everything we saw and did. So for that, it definitely exceeded our expectations, because we had not built them up to unrealistic levels.

And this is not a complaint, but in some ways it was not what I expected, because it was not nearly as “touristy” as I thought it might be. Yes, there were quite a few of us tourists there. And yes, there were plenty of things that catered to tourists. But there were no hugely tall hotel towers anywhere. There was not a gift shop with tacky souvenirs on every corner. There were not even hula girls with leis to meet us at the airport. And we were fine with all of that. That was one of the main reasons that we chose Kauaʻi in the first place. But it was even less “touristy” than I thought it might be. That made it easier to relax.

What was your favorite thing about the trip? That is an easy one, because my favorite thing was being there with my favorite person, which of course is Laura. We have a good time no matter where we go. Would we have had fun if we had gone someplace different? Yes, we would. Are we glad we went to Kauaʻi? Yes, we are. But being together and being away from all of the pressures and responsibilities at home were definitely the best parts of the trip.

Beyond that, my favorite thing was visiting all of the different beaches that we went to. We are beach people, and it was quite interesting to see all the different sorts of beaches that we found there. Also, as I have already mentioned elsewhere, the scenery was magnificent, so that would be a favorite as well.

Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. Keep in mind that you might not like the things that we like. But I don’t know of any reason that I would tell anyone not to go to Kauaʻi. There is something there for everyone, I think. You would enjoy it. Just maybe not in the same way that we enjoyed it.

Did you feel like you missed anything by not going to other islands? Not really. I know everyone says you should see things like Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head, but again, we liked the more laid-back feeling of Kauaʻi without all of the “gotta do this, rush to see that” kind of feelings. Plus, the time that we would have spent going from one island to the other was spent in more pleasant ways. As I mentioned above, we would like to go to another island sometime, but we were glad that we did not try to pack absolutely everything into this one trip.

So now, we have passed our 25th anniversary, and we have taken our big trip to Hawaiʻi, just like we always said we would. What does the future hold? Who knows? But if you have the right person to enjoy it with, no matter where you go, you will have a great time.

Thanks for joining us for the 2018 Kauaʻi Trip Report! If you missed some of the parts, click the banner below. Also, there are still lots of photos to be shared, so keep watching for those, too.

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.