Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2008---7th trip to Kauai, Just the two of us: bike path; Keiki Hula; Moir garden; north shore waves

During the past year, we added to our collection of weeks here at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. We bought another 2 bedroom EOY week resale to go with the other 2 bedroom unit EOY week we had. Only thing different this time was that we had the 2 bedroom unit all to ourselves this year.

Weather this year was the best yet. No rain, 80's almost every day, and calm on the north shore for the whole first week. Ordinarily that would have meant we would have hurried up there as soon as we could. But after a long flight, the next morning we were more into hanging around the east side and getting rejuvinated. That didn't mean we did nothing, though. We decided to take a walk along the new walkway/bike path (Ke Ala Hele Makalae, which means “the path that goes by the coast”). With lots of access and great views of the ocean, this is a great path. For non-hikers who want an easy trail, this is great.



I'd love to rent a bike and ride the whole trial sometime. I understand the first 2 miles of Phase 2 has only been in use since early 2008. The full route of Phase 2 is 4.1 miles and goes between the Lihi Boat Ramp in central Kapaa and Ahihi Point in Kealia. Phase 1 is 2.6 miles by Lydgate Park. Phase 2 was finished in 2009. We probably did about 3 miles rt of the phase 2 section just north of Kapaa. I understand phase 3 is being worked on now (2009) and phases 4, 5, and 6 are also planned. When completed, there will be an uninterrupted path between Anahola in the north and Nawiliwili in the south.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2007--our 6th trip to Kauai, alone again, naturally: Tandem surfing; Moir Gardens; Secret Beach; Mahaulepu Beach;

This was the EOY that we have the 1 bedroom condos at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas, so we had no family join us this time. We had to just enjoy Kauai by ourselves---which wasn't too hard to do!
This year we noticed this flower covered barn just down the highway from our resort.  Of course I had to stop and take a few photos.  This is one of those one time photos that I may never have the opportunity to duplicate.

One of our first plans was to get down to the Sunshine market in Koloa. This one is on Mondays starting at noon. Noone gets in until they sound a whistle. Then everyone takes off like it's an Easter Egg hunt. The place was packed, but the goods were excellent. After stocking up on some produce and flowers, we were on our way again.


I've also fallen in love with the lilikoi chiffon pie from Hamura Saimin in Lihue. I've tried to make it at home many times, but can't get it to be as tall and fluffy. One trip I just bought the whole pie and ate on it for the 2 weeks we were there. But usually I just go in and get a slice to go. If I remember right, it's only about $2.75 for a slice. We ate in Hamura once and the skewers of meat and saimin was really good, but it's a really crowded place. The place isn't much to look at, but prices are very reasonable and the food is really good.

One of the elusive rainbows that we've seen on Kauai.

2006-Our 5th Kauai vacation, Tim and Faith's 2nd, Dad's 3rd: Kauai Museum; Queen's Bath; Limahuli Garden; Sleeping Giant hike; Smith's luau; Kukuiolono Golf Course; Napali cruise;

We usually go to Kauai the end of Feb./beginning of March, but this time, we went the end of Jan./beginning of Feb. As I recall, this was the year they had really devastating rains in March. But while we were there the weather was really beautiful for our 2 weeks.

We had visitors most of these 2 weeks. Part of the time they were even overlapping. Since we had the 2 bedroom unit at our Kauai Beach Villas resort that my dad went in on with us, he stayed with us and Tim and Faith stayed at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy in Kapaa for the first 5 nights until Dad left, then they joined us.

One of the things we did with my Dad before Tim and Faith arrived was to go to the Kauai Museum in Lihue. In it is a permanent display of art and artifacts of Native Hawaiians. While we were there they also had a beautiful exhibit of hand made quilts and a photography exhibit--not sure if those are permanent or were special exhibits. The building was built from 1922-1924 as a public library in memory of Albert Wilcox by his wife Emma. When the Albert Spencer Wilcox Memorial Building became too small for it's library collection, and changes to buildings on the National Historic Register can't be made, a new library was built in 1969 and the Wilcox building soon became part of the Kauai Museum. I think admission at that time was about $8@, but it was an interesting museum in a really beautiful historic building.


Since Dad liked hiking and photography, we also took him on the short Queen's Bath hike. As I mentioned in my 2005 blog, the Queen's Bath area is very dangerous, especially in the winter, so when we do that hike, we make sure it's at times of low tides and surf and dry weather. (and we don't get near the edge like the people in this picture!)

Last time we really didn't even know which pond was the "bath", but we decided this is the actual bath. It looked rather calm at this time, but there were still large waves that did break over the outter wall on several occassions. After a short look around, we headed back up.

It is a moderately easy hike, but there is a spot near the lava shelf that is a bit tougher, as seen here in this photo. Again, if it's raining, this would be really hard to walk up or down.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2005-Our 4th Kauai visit, alone this time: Queen's Bath; Napali/Niihau snorkel tour; Waimea Canyon; Kipu falls;

Another year passed and February finally rolled around again. At the end of the month we were heading back to Kauai for our 4th time there. Instead of renting another week, we picked up another 1 bedroom/1 bath unit at Pahio KBV off Ebay for about $1200 for another EOY ownership. We were again upgraded to a 1 bedroom/2 bath unit and were able to stay in the same unit for both weeks. It seemed a little odd being there all by ourselves for both weeks, but we had a great time none-the-less.

Our daily routine is usually to check the forecast for the north shore in the morning. If it looks like it's going to be sunny there, we head north. Sometimes we luck out and have lots of nice days there, other times hardly any. Being the rainy season when we're there, the north shore gets a lot more rain then the south side.

But we were able to head north right away this trip. This is just one of the gorgeous north side views from the car as we were heading north.


I had read so much about the controversial Queen's Bath that we decided to give it a look. We weren't expecting to swim, but the hike sounded short and pretty. We really couldn't tell what was suppose to be the Queen's Bath "pool". There were a lot of waves crashing in and we stayed as far away from the edge as we could. Every year we read about people drowning there. We have gone there a few other times since this trip and have seen some real idiots tempting fate in the rough pool. Even talked to others who had been there and had been beaten around pretty good. One time we went and the water was extremely calm and inviting. I probably would have gone in if I had been wearing my swim suit, but I wasn't expecting it to be so calm in the winter. But we really do enjoy the shaded walk to the lava bed. That's another trail I wouldn't try after it's been raining, though. This is one of the waterfalls you can see along the trail.

It was a calm day on the north shore beaches, though, so we headed to Kee and did some snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.


I even discovered a little gravel trail that led around the corner of Kee and leads to this view of the Napali.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

2004-our 3rd Kauai visit, Dad's 2nd, Tim and Faith's 1st: Keahua Forestry Arboretum; Smith's luau; Waimea Canyon; McBryde Gardens; Fern Grotto tour

March 2004---back on our island. This was the first use of our 2 bedroom/2 bath ownership at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. Again I rented a 2nd week and we had visitors join us for both weeks---Tim and Faith for one week and Dad for the other. The week Tim and Faith were there turned out to be one of the worst ones weatherwise that we've encountered. It was rather cool and rainy the whole week. But they were still impressed enough with Kauai to go back (their 3rd time will be coming up soon). I think the only day they saw sun was on the day they were leaving.

Here they are on the lanai of our timeshare condo.


Before Wyndham took over, Pahio use to run some interesting events at the condo. Here I'm participating in one where they brought dried coconuts and paints and let us paint one. I painted a Bird of Paradise flower on mine. Later in the week we took it to the post office and mailed it to Tim and Faith. I thought it was interesting that you can mail a coconut without wrapping it. They just staple the postage onto it and away it goes. I don't remember how much postage was, but it wasn't too much.

Just a few more pictures around Kauai Beach Villas---

the lush landscaping

the beach


More landscaping


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2003 - Kauai trip 2, Dad's first Kauai visit: Kalalau Trail; resort scuba dive; South Pacific Dinner Show; Waimea Canyon

In 2001 we took our 1st trip to Kauai and fell in love with the little island. Since we owned an every other year week in Pahio Kauai Beach Villas there, in 2002 we went to The Big Island. With 2 trips to Oahu, 1 to Kauai, and 1 to The Big Island since 1999, we were anxious to get back to Kauai in 2003. But this time we knew 1 week wasn't going to be long enough. So I rented another week in our resort complex and we went back for our 2nd Kauai vacation for 2 wonderful weeks. My Dad even joined us for one of those weeks.
Our resort: Kauai Beach Villas---

 Sunset from C building looking towards the ocean

Friday, January 8, 2010

2001--our 1st trip to Kauai: helicopter tour; Blue Dolphin Napali tour



Back in 1999 Ken and I went to a timeshare presentation in St. Louis that was selling weeks in a newly renovated condo complex in Kauai. We had never been to any of the islands of Hawaii. Didn't really figure it would be somewhere we'd frequent. But did like the idea that we would supposedly be able to trade it for anywhere we wanted to go. We were pretty naive about the whole timeshare thing back then, but I think we pretty well lucked out with our first timeshare purchase, even sight unseen. So for $8,000 we became the owners of 1 week every other year at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. Since we actually had reservations already for our first ever trip to Hawaii (Oahu) at the time we bought into KBV, we went ahead and banked our first week into RCI as soon as we became owners. 2 years later we decided to check out our purchase before banking anymore weeks. So in 2001, we booked 4 nights on Oahu since we had liked it so much in 1999 (just in case we didn't like Kauai) and booked our week at Pahio Kauai Beach Villas. After a week in Kauai, we were sad to be heading to Oahu for the rest of our trip! We fell in love with Kauai and never banked another Kauai week. In fact, we've since bought 4 more every other year weeks.

From the moment we drove onto the Pahio KBV properties, we were impressed. We had purchased a 1 bedroom/1 bath "garden view" unit. "Garden view" actually means "parking lot view", but we were upgraded into a "lagoon view" 1 bedroom/2 bath unit near the pool. We both agreed we could live very comfortably there for a lot longer than a week. The pool was a bit cold, but at that time KBV owners were also able to use the pools at the adjoining Radisson hotel complex without a fee. Those pools weren't heated, either, but the jacuzzi was bigger and the pools were more interesting, so we did take advantage of that benefit quite a bit. We also enjoyed the "lighting" ceremony at the Radisson pool a few evenings. I think they still do the free hula and lighting show there, but we haven't checked that out in a few years---since we're no longer welcomed in their pools when the Radisson was bought out by Hilton. They've just been bought out again and we're hoping we'll have access to the pools again. Anyway, not only did we love the Pahio resort, but we also loved the location. It was isolated enough to be quiet, but close to 2 of the main towns on Kauai, Lihue and Kapaa. It makes a great base for winter stays since it's about equal distance to the north shore or the south shore. We watch the weather forecasts and if the north shores are calm and dry, we head north. Otherwise we usually end up going south. We do drive alot while we're on Kauai, but with the beauty of the island, I've never minded the rides. Back to KBV----it's on the beach, although most of the units aren't oceanfront. The beach there isn't swimable, but the beach is a beautiful one for walking on. It's truely a home away from home to us.

This being our first trip to Kauai, we tried to see as much of the island as we could in our too short week long stay. In our driving around, we stopped at various viewpoints. Here's one on the east
side of the Wailua River. The Wailua River begins near the Waiʻaleʻale crater (whose summit averages more than426 inches of rain a year) and enters the Pacific Ocean by Kapaa. It is the only navigable river (by boats larger than kayaks) in the Hawaiian Islands.

Across the street from the Wailua River viewpoint is the Opaeka Falls viewpoint. It is a 151–foot waterfall that flows over basalt from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago into the Wailua River.
It's name means rolling shimp, which comes from the time when freshwater shrimp were abundant there and could be seen tumbling over the falls.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Oregon Coast


Time to get started on some of my Oregon trips. Since we've taken so many trips there, this blog will just be about some of the places we've been to along the Oregon coast. My parents and brother's family moved back to the Wilamette Valley (Dallas, Oregon) when I got married and left me in St. Louis. For the next 33 years, my husband and I (and our kids) made this our main vacation every year. Although we stayed with my parents most of the time, we would venture off for a few days each year and see different parts of Oregon. Quite often we headed 30 miles due west of Dallas to the mid-coast area of Lincoln City. We would usually stay somewhere between Lincoln City and Depoe Bay, but we did travel the whole length of the Oregon coast a few times. For this blog, I'll start in the far north and work my way south.


Astoria--This charming little town is full of historic Victorian homes overlooking the coast and mouth of the Columbia River. Just north of the town is the 4.1 mile long Astoria Bridge which goes over the Columbia River to Washington. Fishing for salmon, sturgeon, and crab are very popular here as well as exploring the shops and galleries along the Riverwalk area.