The Hawaiian Chronicles – Our Hawaiian Adventures
Chapter title – Episode I – The Journey Begins
To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary the wife and I ventured to our 50th state. Many hours of planning and deliberation went into this journey. Our first debates centered on the method of transportation. I wanted to drive while the wife felt an airplane might be better. Much discussion centered on this controversy, and I am chagrined to admit I finally had to relent. Hours of research led me to believe that there is no highway to Hawaii, a serious omission on the part of our road builders. No road, no car! The wife was right, we had to fly.
So now that we had determined our mode of travel, what to do upon arrival? The wife wanted to sightsee! You know, actually drive around and look at things! Just like a couple of tourists. My idea was to hang out at the beach and look cool, just like they do on Baywatch. The wife made some snide remarks about my unique physique. The remarks intimated that it was not conducive to looking cool on the beach, which led to more discussions. Our negotiations soon centered on a cruise or a dogsled tour. The wife seemed to think that there weren’t any dogsleds on Hawaii, so the Hawaiian Cruise won out.
We would tour the Hawaiian Islands aboard the ship SS Independence of the American Cruise Lines. The tour would include four islands and five ports in seven days. Beginning on Maui in the port of Kahalui on Sunday the ship would proceed to the port of Hilo on the island of Hawaii, the Big Island. We would spend Monday in Hilo. It would then proceed to the Kona Coast port of Kailua on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, we would spend on the island of Oahu in the port of Honolulu. Friday’s destination would be Nawilili on the island of Kauai. Saturday we would return to Maui
for the flight home.
The AAA travel agency in Columbus, Indiana handled our travel arrangements. Our itinerary included:
Packing and other preparatory arrangements were a nightmare. The wife wanted to pack scads of clothing. I said, hell, everyone in Hawaii walks around in swimming trunks and flip-flops, we don’t need any clothes. She said I been to too many Jimmy Buffet concerts, which led to more discussions. Which I lost. Again. In the weeks before departure, the wife was in a frenzy of activity – shopping and picking out clothes to take. There were clothes hanging all over the house. They hung on doors, chairs, and chandeliers. Shoot, I went to sleep watching a basketball game and awoke to find six pairs of pants and some shirts hanging from my big toe. On the day of departure, we had twenty-five suitcases, six duffels, three backpacks, her purse and my wallet. I said this seemed a little extreme as we only had two backs, how could we use three backpacks. I actually won this point! EEEhah!
The day of our departure finally arrived on February 17, 2001. Our initial flight was out of Cincinnati, Ohio on Comair Flight 6009 to Dallas, Texas at 7:00 AM. Anyone that flies a lot probably hates it. However, this was only my second flight by commercial airline and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We have done a fair amount of traveling, but always by car. The take off was smooth, the sunrise above the clouds just spectacular. I am amazed at how hard the flight attendants work rolling the cart up and down the aisle – always with a smile. We arrived above Dallas about 9:30, landing at 9:45. This is, as all times will be for the flight out, Indiana Time. Dallas looks nice from the air. There must have been heavy rains as the rivers and streams looked flooded. We breakfasted at the airport, and then departed Dallas at 11:25 AM for Los Angeles on Delta Flight 2119. I had a window seat so I had a good view of the landscape underneath until we got to the Rockies. Since clouds now obscured the view, we passed the time reading.
Arrival in LA was around 2:30 PM. Here we had a rather lengthy layover so we ate, read, and slept. We finally boarded the plane for Hawaii at 5:45 PM. Delta Flight 1579 left LA at 6:15 PM for Honolulu, Hawaii. The view of the receding California coast was the last thing we would see for a while, as the sky over the Pacific was mostly cloudy. Seeing the mainland slip away was both exciting and scary.
When the plane began its descent to the islands, it was about 11:30 PM Indiana time. This is about 6:30 PM Hawaii time, so it was still daylight. We passed over the island of Oahu and started our approach to Honolulu International Airport. Honolulu is impressive from the air at night. The city is lit up above the sparkling Pacific waters. The volcanic mountains constitute a striking backdrop. It is a beautiful sight.
Although we were flying on the same plane from Honolulu to Kahului, we had to leave the plane so they could clean it. I told the flight attendants that the wife enjoyed cleaning. Would the consider a discount on the far if she vacuumed while I finished my nap? While the attendant considered this request, my shin developed a rather sharp pain. Needles to say, we left the plane. The flight crew noticed my limp.
We departed Honolulu for Kahului at about 1:00 AM. It was completely dark now, so we could see nothing of the island below us except lights. All our flights that day had been smooth, so the flight from Honolulu to Kahluiu was memorable for its uniqueness. The plane passed over two mountain ranges, and I swear the plane hit every mountain in them both. Moreover, they didn’t fully pressurize the plane’s cabin. My head felt like an over inflated basketball on the way up, and like the inside of a flushed toilet on the way down.
We landed at Kahului at 1:30 AM (Indiana Time) – 8:30 PM Hawaii time. Representatives of the American Hawaiian Cruise line met us at the airport. They collected our luggage, which by this time was in much better shape than we were. They herded us on a bus and took us to the port for check-in. Here another representative of the Line greeted us. By this time, my head felt like someone had stuck it in a jug, sucked out all the air, and then smashed the jug with a hammer. OOOh the joys of air travel. By 2:00 AM, nineteen hours after leaving winter in Indiana, we were in the tropics! The Cruise Line had a special lunch prepared for arrivals. We ate, found our way back to our stateroom somehow, and immediately fell asleep. Welcome to Hawaii!
NOTE: This trip occurred in 2001. Sadly, the American Cruise Lines has gone out of business and the SS Independence to the scrap heap.
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