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While at Kailua-Kona, one of my big plans was to take a tour to the summit of Mauna Kea to be among the observatories at sunset, and to spend some time viewing the stars while up there. Unfortunately, the night I had reserved months in advance was one of the few nights during the year that is cancelled due to bad weather. I had even been taking altitude medication in preparation for it. As Mo consoled me at the time, “Well, we’ll just have to come back again!”
We left Kona and drove along the northern half of the Hawai’i Belt Road, skirting around with Mauna Kea on our right the whole way. While we did stop at the Gemini Observatory operations building (in Hilo), that was as close as I got to that dream.
snow covered Mauna Kea peak
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Early on Saturday morning we caught a flight with Hawaiian Airlines (that left ½ hour early!) to the big island. We arrived at Hilo, and spent the rest of the morning visiting Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii and the planetarium program there, where I was researching for my upcoming evening on the top of Mauna Kea.
We made the short drive to Volcano, HI to our home for the next couple days, Aloha Junction B&B. It was great to find that we were only a couple minutes from the entrance to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. In turn, it was about ten minutes from the observatory at the edge of the active crater of the volcano. We spent some time watching the plume before heading back to the B&B, but it was so awesome, we went back again near midnight to see the orange glow of the lava on the rising cloud.
Kilauea Volcano crater in daytime and (insert) at night
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When we were making our Hawaii plans, one of the things we’d kicked around was touring the movie sites on O’ahu as a way of seeing some more of the island. We had our eye on KOS Tours, and found ourselves down in the hotel lobby early in the morning for our pickup time; we had no problem identifying our ride: a large gray Hummer.
Besides Mo and I, we had the pleasure of riding with a young couple from Melbourne, Australia. On our way to the north side of the island, Jeff, our driver, pointed out several film locations, including one from The Descendants that Mo recognized right away. The majority of the film sites though were located in the picturesque valley of Kualoa Ranch.
a view of the ocean and Kaʻaʻawa Valley
There were many vistas that we recognized from LOST, as well as Jurassic Park and others.
For our 25th anniversary, Mo and I began laying the groundwork for a vacation in Hawaii — finding flights to use up our American miles (they were TWA miles when I got them, and I fly Southwest now) and hotels for our Hilton points, plus identifying different sites our tours we wanted to take in while there. When all was said and done, we ended up with ten nights on two different islands.
We arrived at the Waikiki Embassy Suites after our long day’s worth of flying there (via Dallas), with warm, sometimes misty weather greeting us. Mo hadn’t been to Hawaii for ~30 years, and while she knew the area around Ft. DeRussy pretty well, she was quick to point out how much things had changed.
There’s a rainbow on the Hawaii license plate, and on the drive to our hotel it was easy to see why — we saw plenty. The winner was the double rainbow outside our hotel room that went all the way to the ground.
the end of the rainbow? Ft. DeRussy Armed Forces Recreation Center
We had reserved a time on our first day for seeing the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and we packed up a small picnic and took the bus over, eating our meal and walking the grounds there. We wandered through a few of the exhibits there before watching the tour movie and catching the boat ride to the Arizona. I was sure to snap a few photos of our state’s namesake, the U.S.S. Missouri as well.
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Following our wonderful stay in the Portland / Salem area, Mo & I boarded the Amtrak Cascades for our trip northwards. I had thought that it would be a neat idea to take the train northward on what is a scenic route, but we were partially thwarted when BNSF decided it needed to do some bridge work north of Seattle. We decided we would still take Amtrak, but instead of riding their bus service from Seattle to Vancouver, we would instead rent our car there and drive that portion.
Mo & I decided that it would be nice to take a week-long vacation for our 20th anniversary this year, and the trip we finally put together was our first visit to Portland, OR and to see Vancouver, BC prior to the Olympics next February. We chose to leave in early October, since it was after K had moved out to college, but before the rainy season in the NW begins in earnest.
The first part of our vacation was spent in the Portland / Salem area. One ulterior motive of seeing Portland in the first place was to visit our good friend Jenny and her new husband Pat, and by extension, Jenny’s parents Steve & Laurie. We ended up making home base at S&J’s beautiful 10-acre home near Salem.
Pat was a gracious driver for our two outings while in Oregon; the first day, we drove westward and saw many beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean from Lincoln City down to Newport.
Pacific Ocean at Depoe Bay
Posted in Oregon
Tagged anniversary, Chanticleer Point, Columbia River Gorge, Crown Point Vista House, Depoe Bay, Latourell Falls, Lincoln City, Multnomah Falls, Newport, Pacific Ocean, Portland, Salem, vacation