Friday, October 10, 2008

Waimanalo, Hawaii: September 10, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008:

As tired as they had been the night before, golf and Larry really did not find it difficult to wake up early this morning. Larry went out and fed the meter while golf found the ice machine and a soda machine for her morning Diet Coke (only Larry drinks coffee). After making themselves presentable, they ventured out to a bright Hawaiian morning and went for breakfast.

The previous night, they had found out that a couple of places close to the beach in Kailua that they had been interested in had been rented since emails of a week or so ago, but the “horse ranch” (Open Palms Plantation) was still available, and with directions from Kitty, the owner, they planned to head that way.

First, however, the Wal-Mart visit: There is one in downtown Honolulu, but it wasn’t easy for them to find. But they needed to find it this morning to provision themselves (because the only Wal-Marts on Oahu are in Honolulu and Pearl City, both on the leeward side of the island), which endeavor, again, even with a map, was an exercise serving only to illustrate their ineptitude in navigation. They actually came upon it almost by accident. Supplies were acquired. Now the trick was to get from where they were to the Pali Highway to head over the mountains. Again, mission accomplished, but not the easy way, never the easy way!

For the ride, golf was pretty consistently looking at the maps (in spite of Larry’s objections, she bought a regular Oahu street map at WM – which came in VERY handy for the entire trip, so with respect to this acquisition, golf was right and Larry was . . . less than right). But she was so busy checking the map on the drive that she forgot to look for the Walker Estate and didn’t even realize the Pali Tunnels were coming up until the car entered them. She was crushed! She wanted to get a picture!! (So the only ones she ended up getting were heading from the windward to the leeward side.)

Traffic was pretty heavy coming into town as they were heading out. Larry again commented that he was glad they wouldn’t have to be dealing with all that on a daily basis – they can see bad traffic in Atlanta – they don’t need to go on vacation to be stuck in traffic jams.

Up and over the mountains and down the other side, taking a right turn onto Kalanianaole (!!! does that sound FAMILIAR???) Highway. Directions were perfect to find the place, nestled up at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains.

They met the owner, Kitty, and got settled in – it was a wonderful place for them to stay – golf considered it her own personal Robin’s Nest (minus the security and the Dobermans!).

The road approaching the ranch.

The road just in front of the ranch, the driveway is just to the left.

Turning in, the "gatehouse" (actually the stables) are just on the right.

Fully into the entry, one sees the driveway leading into the property.

Then a slight turn to the right, and one sees the entire spread, with a WONDERFUL, HUGE monkey pod tree in the middle of the front yard.

A view of the entire house from the left.
Looking back toward the house and under the shade tree from the driveway approaching the studio apartment on the right side of the main house.Our large studio apartment (with Poseidon, the golden retriever, the main dog on the premises)

Larry wanted to get interior shots before they trashed the place in their usual fashion, plus pictures of the outdoor "dining room" to the right of the driveway shown above, where they cooked out and ate nearly every night.

The eating area outside -- just wonderful!

First, south toward Hanauma Bay to see if they wanted to go snorkeling there. (Of course, unknown to Larry but setting golf’s and my senses tingling, she and I knew we were going to be driving by Robin’s Nest in order to get to Hanauma Bay).

To explain a little geographically, in order to get to Hanauma Bay, we had to drive southeast down Kalanianaole Highway, getting closer to the shoreline the farther southeast we went. First past Bellows Air Force Station (the beach here is open only on weekends, they found out later). Looking at the map below, our ranch was where the yellow arrow on the left is. The blue line is Kalanianaole Highway. The red arrow is Robin's Nest. The long white stretch of beach to the right of the blue line (highway) is Waimanalo Beach.

To put into some perspective as to where we were heading, the map below shows a more distant view where the white arrow is the lighthouse where the lady was thrown off, and the green arrow is pointing at Hanauma Bay.

Okay, got all that?

As we (I guess I can say "we" now since I'm with them for this jaunt -- well, I was with them for most jaunts, but we'll get more into that later) progress down Kalanianaole Highway (I just LOVE saying that!), the first stop is Waimanalo Beach Park. golf has some advice for you if you go there: DON'T go barefoot! All those little black studded seeds all over the grass are SHARP
and if you move to what looks like clover patches, it's NOT clover - it's stickers!!!

But the beach is GORGEOUS!

I speak from personal knowledge . . . .

(This is going to take for-freaking-ever to report this! This is only the first half of the first full day there . . . . .)

Back in the car, continuing down the highway, we pass the gate at Robin's Nest. golf casually says, "Oh, there's the gate to Robin's Nest." She knows better than to ask him to stop now -- she knows they have to come back past it on their way back to the ranch.

The next location of interest: The Makai Research Pier (a/k/a Island Hoppers):

Nary a helicopter in site . . . . :-(

Back into the car and past the Sea Life Park, Makapu'u Beach, and Makapu'u Point (with the lighthouse).

We passed Hawaii Kai Golf Course, and golf and Larry agreed to check into greens fees to come back and play there later in the week.

Next was Sandy Beach, which had really high surf and there were lots of surfers there. It too was stunningly beautiful.

Finally, we made to Hanauma Bay, which is a big park, pay to get in, try to find a parking place (we'd heard it's really crowded unless you get there early in the morning), so we just stayed there a short time, long enough for Larry to take a couple of pictures looking down to the bay, and we decided to come back when we had acquired snorkel equipment.

So, at this point, it behooved us turn around and head back to the ranch. THIS time golf was able to keep track of when they were about to pass the gate to Robin's Nest and convince Larry to stop. He was very gracious about pulling off to the left, so golf could grab me and the camera and dash across the street to the gate.

As golf was dragging me away from the gates, after prying my clenched fists loose from the bars, and heading back across the street, another car pulled to side behind Larry in the car, about 30 yards back, and we watched another couple rather sheepishly get out of their car and approach. golf made a dash for the car -- "Quick! Take off!" Larry just laughed. It was obviously some other MPI fans stopping to take pictures at the gate too, and Larry said he was surprised golf didn't go back to them and speak to them. I think golf was actually embarrassed about possibly having to explain me! She's never had a problem with that before, but then that was usually after she had had a few drinks . . . .
But golf still had a little more to do. About four buildings northeast of the gate was a parking lot to Kaupo Beach, as in four buildings away from Robin's Nest. "Let's go here and check out the beach." Larry pulled in, and they got out, as there appeared to be people snorkeling there. They went down to the beach to ask them if this was a good snorkeling place. The people in the water said they were really just watching a couple of sea turtles that were swimming around at that time. golf told Larry that the tidal pool was just around the corner and she really wanted to walk over there as long as they were stopped at this beach. It was high tide, and there were pretty strong waves slapping the retaining walls along the beach past the building toward the tidal pool, but it would have taken a team of sumo wrestlers to keep golf from going to the tidal pool when she was this close. Because of the surg and the lack of sure footing, she didn't take the cameras this time, nor me, alas! But with dogged determination, if not very good sense, she persevered.
There were a lot of local pole fisherman there, just outside the tidal pool, and then suddenly golf was walking on the beach of the tidal pool. Of course, it was under water at high tide, but still . . . . She walked up to the gates and tried to peer through the foliage to catch a view of the estate house, with little success in being able to see anything due to the thickness of the foliage. She could see the tarps on the building, covering most of what little she could see. She WAS able to see most of the boat house. She was grinning ear to ear. And a couple of times she just stood there and absorbed the feeling. It was awesome.
She reluctantly realized she had to return to Larry, so she struggled back through the surf to get back to the beach where he was patiently waiting. Mildly unfortunately, one wave knocked her off balance and she managed to recover her balance but ended up jamming her left foot down between two rocks , then in extricating her foot, managed to rip off most of the toenail on her left "ring" toe -- mild "ouch" factor and a little blood, but nothing serious.
Back at the beach area where a few people had been, now there was quite a crowd. A couple of tourist buses had come in and a tour director was directing a couple groups of tourists down to the beach and to the left, NOT to the right toward Robin's Nest. golf couldn't figure out why they were stopping there. Waimanalo Beach, the long, gorgeous beach was only another 500 yards or so away, with its own parking lots, etc., so why stop here if you weren't pointing out Robin's Nest and the tidal pool? Never did figure that out. But golf had had her "fix" for the day, and they headed back toward the ranch.
To wrap up this day, FINALLY, they headed into South Kailua to the Enchanted Lake area Safeway and got steaks for dinner. Back at "home," Larry grilled the steaks while golf wandered around the yard taking pictures. They enjoyed delicious (and on sale) New York strip steaks for dinner, after which golf went out to the table under the monkey pod tree with the laptop, edited pictures, and "communed" with the Magnum-Mania forums.
Just about as soon as it was full dark, they wore out and crashed for this night. But it had been a busy, fun, and visually interesting and rewarding day. I was happy for this day, just having visited the Robin's Nest gate today and am hopefully awaiting a soon-to-come personal visit to the tidal pool. I anticipate sweet dreams. 'Nite, all!

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