Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

You may have to click on the card to see the details...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Still alive!

Well, sort of.

Sorry for the long stretch of time. I guess that's why I began blogging when I was still in Hawaii...because I assumed that I would not get around to blogging about the trip very quickly AFTERWARDS. So, our stay in Hawaii was 14 days long. 7 nights of that were spent in a tent, 2 nights in the car, and 5 nights in cheaps hotels/hostels.

I would say it was definitely more of a work trip than a pleasure trip. We made it to the beach once, but did manage to do some sight-seeing. To see all of the potential shopping areas on each island, we literally circle the perimeter of each island. We drove a LOT, and I was sick a LOT. It didn't help that the is the first time I've ever had "Morning Sickness" in droves...oh wait...did I just write that? Yup...due July 5th-ish.

So, we arrived on the Big Island for the last 5 or so days of our trip. We visited every major shopping area we could (the not-so-fun-part-of-the-trip-to-blog-about), and also managed to see where the recent lava flows are. We were driving on recently paved roads over stretches of dried volcanic rock, such as this.

This lava flow is fairly recent, and covered whole communities. So what do they do? Rebuild on top...
And please note the steam from the STILL ACTIVE lava flow viewable from the house...
We drove up to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a total of 30 minutes, or however fast we could make it through. They had notices for high sulferic gas levels, and encouraged visitors to not stay long if they felt unwell. Jared is trying not to get burned from the steam coming out of this hole...
And I am simply trying to BREATHE. Steam was coming out EVERYWHERE you looked. It reminded me of Yellowstone.
Volcanic tubes can be found under the dense rain forest-type canopy...really amazing!

We ventured to the Southern tip of the Big Island, and saw some turtles laying around...

And despite what the GPS says...we didn't go boating or swimming.

The Southernmost Restaurant in ALL of the US.
And skipping to somewhere else...

Random Hawaiian-style graffiti (white rocks placed on dried lava rock)
Beautiful Temple on the Big Island
I've seen speed BUMPS, but never a speed...
Went to a restaurant that had this plastic bag of pennies nailed to the wall. I asked why, and they said it had to do with giving the business prosperity, and keeping the flies away (not in a literal sense...but in a "blessing" type of sense)
This is how I felt almost the whole trip...YUCK.

We also visited another area, south of Kona. A large portion of the Western Shore looked just like this...dried lava flows, with housing developments going up right on top of them!
We stopped in and saw Jim & Teri Richards (remember Jim? He's Soapy Smith from the Days of '98 Show across the street from us in Skagway)! He bought this property 20 some years ago (2 lots for $7,000...that's the kind of price you can get for building on VOLCANIC ROCK!), and has built this house from scratch. We posed for the camera (with the trash...and yes, that was strangely intentional...but that's Jim)...

Some random National Park we visited...
Very pretty & educational. But don't ask me to remember anything...or the name of the park, etc...

And although I'd love to keep a better record of the trip, for my own personal reasons...this will have to suffice. I made a photo album on my Facebook account that has some more scenic you can check them out there.

Since returning from Hawaii, we built an entirely new website, added entirely new product, visited Southern Utah to find new Wood Watch accounts, and then drove cross-country through Colorado, Kansas, Tennessee (and many in-between), and we've finally landed in the Atlanta, Georgia area for the winter. We are so thankful to not be living out of a suitcase (after 2 1/2 months of that)!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hawaii - Day #9

On Day #9, we woke up at 6am, packed up the tent (7 days of camping!) and flew to the Big Island (the actual island named "Hawaii").

We visted some businesses, and did some sight-seeing. Some of the names in Hawaii make me laugh...

And other signs keep me smiling...
Cool tree in Hilo
The PeePee Falls, I think...
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Hawaii - Day #8 - The Road to Hana

On Day #8 we drove the Road to Hana, clearly the best thing you could do in Maui. If you've come to Maui and haven't driven the Road to're a fool!

A cool looking chapel somewhere along the road...
The road is full of small 1-way bridges built into the mountain side...
We stopped at a black-pebble/sand beach with lava tubes, etc.

Instead of driving the 3-hour "Road to Hana" back the same way we came (which is the normal route), Jared (OF COURSE) wanted to continued driving around the entire East side of Maui on a less-traveled road. It was rough at times, but offered a beautiful, untouched view of Maui.
His favorite view of Maui!

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Hawaii - Day # 7?

On some other day in Hawaii (probably Day #7?) we probably drove around and visted more businesses. We also probably saw some more beaches (no swimming...but wading is always long as you don't get unexpectedly soaked...)'s hard to keep the days straight...

Then, we drove to the highest point in Maui (10,000+ feet)...basically a was a beautiful drive.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hawaii - Day #6

We drove up West Maui, and visited Lahaina's Front Street. There, we found a gift for Ella that we couldn't resist. This man does Korean "Leather Brush Art," and made this picture (with Ella's name) right in front of us within minutes. Look closely...there is a whale, dolphin, hula dancer, and turtle! So cute!

After walking the front street several times, we were pooped. We drove further up West Maui, and found a swim-able beach (a lot of the beaches are really rough this time of year--not very good for swimming). We played in the ocean for about 2 hours. It was GREAT! I can't remember the last time I was just able to play in the ocean without kids...hmm...6 years ago...I remember now...WOW.

Can you believe that it took us until Day #6 to actually get to SWIM in Hawaii? We are definitely working tourists...
After swimming, we drove back to Front Street, and were surprised that it was packed and lively! Since we hadn't been able to speak to any owners earlier, we popped our heads back in and met a few. We got a confirmed order (that demanded exclusivity, of course) and walked out successful! Wohoo!

We went back to our campsite, did laundry, and watched "27 Dresses" in the car (it was from a Redbox-type Hawaiin Rental box), which I was very excited to finally see. It was only after it started that Jared informed me that we HAD seen it. While it seemed vaguely familiar, it was still all new to me. I really have NO memory for movies. Seriously...we've rented and seen this movie before, and I had no idea what was going to happen next in each scene. Pathetic.

Fell asleep exhausted, and showered the next morning in the open-air cool showers. Thank goodness it's not Alaska glacier-fed water, because it was still cold enough for my taste...

This is our campsite at Camp Olowalu. It's $20 a night for the two of us, and it is set right on the beach among a mess of branches and trees. It's a pretty wild camp site, but very very quiet and yet full of people. It's so dang hot's hard to sleep inside a tent...oh well!
Day #7 begins...wish us luck!
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Hawaii - Day #5

Woke up on Thursday morning, put on the swimsuits, and drove out of camp to go find a swimming place. Stopped at the office on the way out to pick up on their free Wifi, check emails, and decided to book a flight leaving the next day for Maui. Booked the flight for an unbelievable deal, and then proceeded to book a car rental. It was at that point that I realized I had booked a flight for THAT DAY. Yup--leaving in 2 hours. And we were 1 1/2 hours away from the airport. OOPS. A CLASSIC Alisa moment.

So, we rushed back to our tent site, packed our tent and bags as quickly as possible, and dashed to the airport. We returned our car (paying the excess fee to have them fill up the car because we couldn't do it in time), and ran up to the checkout counter. Too late. Darn. So, we called the reservations place (saved us the $50 fee they charge you at the desk) to change the flight for an upcoming one. Had to pay $30 more each for the more expensive ticket (I told you we got a good deal!), and overall, the experience cost us an extra $90. Oh well.

We were booted out of Oahu fast, and we weren't that disappointed. We were happy to fly into Maui, pick up a new car rental, and track down our impossible-to-find campsite (only because we got bad directions from the camp manger who wouldn't answer her phone). Found the site--quite pleased with it! And now...Day #6 is a work day. Here we go!!

Hawaii - Day #4

On Day #4 we again woke up to the Roosters, and then drove up to the North Shore and found a few interesting shops...talked to an owner...didn't have a lot of luck. It's amazing the excuses business owners will give you about why they don't think a product will sell...but for goodness sakes...we had a comparable business...and the watches sold DESPITE all of those reasons! Believe me--we came up with all of those reasons originally, too...but they sold like crazy! Oh well...what do you do?

We enjoyed some Shave Ice at the North Shore

We watched some surfers on some very large waves

We visited the BYU Hawaii campus.

And then we went to the temple. It is closed and not due to reopen until next year. But we got some photos...

Next was the Polynesian Cultural Center. It cost a boat-load to get in, but I guess it was worth it. After all, where else are you going to see a place like this?

Their grounds are divided into different Polynesian "Villages," and you can go to the different villages throughout the day for a cultural experience particular to that island, etc. We got there a bit late, so we only did a few got a lesson on how to crack open a coconut, hula dance, and climb a palm tree.

The Somoa guy was HYSTERICAL:

Then, we enjoyed the big evening show, which was like seeing just the best parts of "The Living Legends" BYU performing group (the Polynesian dances are always the best, in my opinion!). Maybe I'll post a video later...I'm running Jared's patience thin (sitting outside of Barnes & Noble's WiFi spot, in the car, to blog)!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hawaii - Day #3

We finally drove out of Honolulu, and we were relieved. Yuck...who really enjoys living in cities?

The drive up and around the Southeastern tip of Oahu, and then up the Eastern cost was beautiful.

We stopped at a beautiful beach along the way, and were astonished how soft and squishy the sand was. Why do your feet sink in the WET sand here, unlike the Pacific Northwest coast? Hmm...a mystery...

As we were wading in the water, a huge wave came up on us without warning. Oops!
We spent the night at a nice campground just north of the Polynesian Cultural Center (and BYU Hawaii and the LDS Temple). We discovered once we got here that camping in Oahu isn't highly recommended, and can be rather unsafe. However, this particular campground comes highly recommended by all, so we were relieved to finally get here!

One surprise, however, is that this campground is overrun with MORE cats. At one turn of the road, there were over a DOZEN cats staring at our headlights in the path. Weird. They are EVERYWHERE!

Also surprising was in the morning when we heard roosters singing "Cock-a-doodle-doo" nonstop. I tried to count seconds between their roosts (?), and it was less than 5 seconds from one to the next. I stuck my head out of the tent, and could see almost 10 roosters roaming around.


P.S. Saw the star of the TV sitcom "Glee" in Waikiki the other day. Jared and I both looked at each other and said, "Did you see that guy just walk by? That HAD to be him...or else his twin?!" We enjoy Glee...although it is quite inappropriate for the age group it is intended for...
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