Nifty 50: Hawaii Travel Report


I’ve at all times wished to journey in all 50 U.S. states. I’d been caught on 49 since about 2005, after I crossed Alaska off my record. I lastly made it to 50 final month, when E and I went to the large island of Hawaii.

This wasn’t one in every of my typical highway journey holidays. We stayed for every week with a relative of E’s who lives in Kona (that big, Little Store of Horrors-esque agave plant within the picture proven above is on their aspect garden), so we had a secure base location and ate virtually all of our meals at dwelling. However we ventured out for varied day journeys and actions — seashores, parks, snorkeling, and many others. So as an alternative of my standard day-by-day highway journey travelogue, I’ve compiled an inventory of two dozen attention-grabbing issues we encountered and did throughout our keep, starting with…

1. The Southernmost Level

The southern tip of the large island is the southernmost level in the US, so after all we needed to go there. (As you might recall, we additionally went to the northwesternmost level within the contiguous United States throughout our final trip.) It’s a suitably desolate spot that actually does really feel like the sting of the world, with waves crashing spectacularly into the lava rock.

The picture above, taken by E, exhibits me taking pics of a household we met out on the rocks. One of many relations then took some pics of us:

Listed here are some brief movies (the primary one by me, the second by E), simply to present you a way of the crashing waves:

In fact, the video and images might have been taken anyplace. How have you learnt that we actually went to the southernmost level? Right here, try my cellphone’s blue dot:

2. The Extremely Blue Water

When you look once more at these images of the southernmost level, you may see that there was an attractive band of light-blue water simply offshore. This was a constant factor in every single place we went. You may see it within the video above, and likewise on this subsequent picture:

None of those pictures absolutely seize the crystalline great thing about this blue water. I couldn’t cease marveling over it.

3. The Lava Rock

Hawaii is a collection of volcanic islands, and lava rock is in every single place. Generally, as proven within the picture above, you may actually get a way of how the lava was fluid, as if it hardened in mid-flow.

Lots of the highways are additionally surrounded on either side by massive fields of lava rock. At first I mistakenly thought these had been fields of soil, as a result of the rock was typically darkish brown and seemed like piles of grime, with occasional patches of grass and different vegetation sprouting up right here and there:


4. The Steam Vents

In the future we went to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the place we went on some good hikes and walked by means of a lava tube. Sadly, not one of the volcanoes had been lively, so we couldn’t see any pink/orange lava, however we did get to see some steam vents, the place the earth actually lets off steam. Right here’s a bit video I shot (you may see that some individuals have tossed cash into the vent, like at a wishing effectively):

5. The Street Markings

As quickly as we began driving round, I observed these odd markings on the roadways — some had been zigzags and others had been extra like shark’s enamel. They jogged my memory a little bit of the University of Hawaii athletics logo. Based on this report, the markings had been added in 2015 as a traffic-calming measure: “Zigzag strains are painted on the road at busy intersections and at school zones to get motorists’ consideration to decelerate, making our streets and highways safer for everybody. Daring stripes like shark’s enamel are painted on blind curves and are particularly efficient at night time because of the excessive reflectivity of the striping.”

The visible similarity to the U. of Hawaii brand is outwardly only a coincidence, as a result of this page says, “The zigzag idea was imported from Europe. It’s at the moment utilized in solely three places in North America: Virginia, Hawaii, and Ottawa, Ontario.”

And talking of freeway graphics…

6. The State Freeway Markers

Every state has its own state highway route marker design. I used to be shocked and, frankly, a bit disillusioned by Hawaii’s — such a plain design for place with such vibrant colours. (The license plates function a rainbow, which appears extra applicable.) Additionally, I don’t like how the quantity sits so low on the white background — feels prefer it needs to be vertically centered. Hrrmph.

7. The Large Boot

Hawaii doesn’t have a whole lot of roadside Americana, however we loved this big cowboy boot within the city of Waimea, which was put in in 2008 to mark the centennial of 4 native residents profitable a rodeo championship in Wyoming. Listed here are some further pics:

8. The Birds

We noticed these stunning saffron finches in every single place. Think about attending to see these day by day — so beautiful. Even prettier had been the yellow-billed cardinals, however I didn’t get any pics of them.

However essentially the most plentiful birds, by far, had been chickens. We noticed numerous them and heard much more of them — in every single place we went, a rooster was crowing. It was quite comical, like an absurdist giggle observe that was at all times taking part in within the background.

9. The Geckos

The island is stuffed with geckos scampering hither and thither. One among them by some means even ended up in our rental automotive! E noticed this one on a pink tower ginger plant.

10. The Bushes

We noticed numerous bushes that had grown at uncommon angles, apparently resulting from fixed wind publicity. The one proven above was essentially the most spectacular instance we noticed; to totally respect it, you must see it from just a few extra angles:

11. The Tiny Church

This minuscule Catholic church is situated close to the place we had been staying. And sure, it’s a real church. It was closed, however we peeked within the home windows and will see the very small pews. (Not seen on this picture: a gecko on the wall subsequent to the door.)

12. The Cliff Divers

Not removed from the southernmost level, we came across a bunch of younger guys — all of them gave the impression to be about 20 — who had been leaping off the sting of a cliff and into the ocean, a couple of 35-foot drop. I requested one man if I might video him, and he mentioned certain; after he jumped, one other man got here up behind him:

I’d have performed this myself if I’d been sporting a washing swimsuit. As an alternative, I simply sat on the finish of the cliff, which made E very nervous, so she took this picture from a distance:

13. The Fish Head

Not removed from the cliff divers was a fisherman who’d caught a marlin and was hacking up its head with a meat cleaver, all of which was a bit surreal.

14. The Moose Department

E loves antlers, so we had been each very amused to see this beachside tree department that seemed sooooo very similar to a moose (which prompted me to say, “Hey, Rocky” in a Bullwinkle voice for what was most likely an annoying variety of instances).

15. Shark!!

In the future we went to a close-by seashore and found that the ocean was off-limits as a result of a 12-foot tiger shark had been noticed shortly earlier than we arrived. The usual protocol is to shut the waters for 2 hours and to name for a helicopter fly-by. If the copter pilot doesn’t see something, then they permit individuals to return within the water.

16. The Double Rainbow

It rained virtually day by day we had been in Hawaii. By no means for very lengthy, and normally not very exhausting, however we had to make use of the windshield wipers for at the least a couple of minutes day by day. Then the rain would cease and it might be sunny once more. I stored considering, “These appear to be good circumstances for a rainbow,” but it surely by no means occurred. Then sooner or later we walked out of the home and there it was — an impressive double rainbow. It was a lot brighter and extra vivid than this picture signifies, too. Actually magical!

17. The Wall of Hangers

Whereas strolling down a avenue within the city of Hilo, we handed a store that had this glorious show of outdated picket hangers on the wall. I like how most of them are barely tilted downhill, and I additionally like how the handles type an enormous array of query marks.

18. The Wall of Ukuleles

Not removed from the store with the hangers was a music store with the largest show of ukuleles I’ve ever seen! Granted, I don’t spend that a lot time in music retailers, so perhaps this isn’t all that atypical, but it surely appeared spectacular to me.

19. Akaka Falls

Why are waterfalls so compelling and mesmerizing? I might watch even small ones for hours. Anyway, sooner or later we went to Akaka Falls State Park, whose titular 442-foot waterfall is a stunner. Right here’s a shot the place you may see the total vertical drop into the gorge:

20. The Loopy Coincidence

At one level we had been at a beachside bar and talked to a man named John Wagner, who’s a retired U.S. Customs and Border Safety agent. (That’s his spouse, whose title I not recall, seated subsequent to him.) I requested if he used to put on a uniform on the job, and he mentioned sure. So then I requested if he had any images of himself in uniform, and he promptly pulled up a shot of himself throwing out the primary pitch at a Mets recreation, in full uniform, on Aug. 14, 2014. Right here’s a greater view (picture by Josh Denmark):

As you may see, John is a lefty, as I’m. So we bonded over that, over the Mets, and over uniforms. How weird that I’d find yourself sitting subsequent to such an individual!

21. The Largest Payments Fan in Hawaii

Hawaii is a good distance from Buffalo, so I used to be shocked to see this automotive within the car parking zone of a grocery store we visited. I particularly appreciated the Payments-ized remedy of the Hawaiian islands:

As I used to be admiring the automotive, its proprietor walked up. Seems he’s initially from Buffalo and his automotive is simply the tip of his fandom iceberg — he additionally has a Payments key ring, a Payments pockets, a Payments tattoo, and doubtless just a few different issues I’m forgetting. Additionally: His title is Invoice.

23. The Most Error-Crammed Check in Hawaii

In the future we stopped at an antiques store with an unusually sloppy-looking signal. The letters are all askew, misaligned, and mis-spaced, the “N” is upside-down, after which there’s “g ot antiques?”

Happily, the signal was significantly better at this subsequent place…

24. Paul’s Place

Included for apparent causes. Actually like how the signmaker dealt with the apostrophe — good angle and spacing.


And there you have got it. I ought to add that we additionally went to the Pacific Tsunami Museum, which was glorious — extremely advisable! — though I didn’t get any images.

My thanks, as at all times, for letting me share these journey experiences with you. You may see different travelogues from previous years right here.



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