06/22/2012 to 07/3/2012  Hawaii!!
Friday was our trip to "The Big Island" and it was a very long day.  
We left RV at Wilderness Lakes RV Park near Riverside, CA at
5:00 AM.  Arrived at my brother's house a little before 7:00 to drop
off Fishie.  Headed to the airport car park place, but got stuck in
traffic, but since we were in LA, we had allowed enough time for
that.  Got our truck dropped off and to the airport exactly two
hours before our flight.  Breezed through security so had a long
wait before boarding.  Long flight to Honolulu, long 2 hour lay
over, short flight to Hilo.  Rented a car and drove 2ish hours to
Kona where we finally checked in at about 8 PM local time.  We
figure we've been traveling for 17 hours straight.  Yikes!

Saturday, even though we were worn out from the night before,
we got up early because my mother called at 5AM, not knowing we
were in Hawaii already.  Guess I should learn to talk to my mother
more!  We had a nice complimentary breakfast in the hotel, then
walked around in the tide pools by the hotel where we found lots
of cool stuff.
No, we didn't break it
open.  It was already
broken when Richard
pretended he had taken
a bite.  Then, while he
was pretending, he
noticed that it was still
alive, it was wiggling
around in there.  Weird.
Then we headed to Kona and Ali'i drive.  We went
to the farmers market where I really wanted to buy
one of these travel protector things.  How cute are
they?  Hawaiians hang them in their cars to
protect them while traveling.  I figured I needed
the biggest one since we travel, well,  always.
We are really loving this place!  We headed out to drive the marathon course so we would know what we were getting
ourselves into.  Several miles of the course runs past an old lava flow.  I was amazed to see how stuff was not only
surviving, but actually growing out of the lava and thriving.  I hope I can do the same tomorrow!
Then we went shopping at Costco and
Target (needed groceries and a cell
phone charger - the one I brought with
me quit working) that made Richard start
to not love this place.  It was Saturday
and all, not a good day to try to maneuver
through Costco.  But then we hit a few
thrift stores and his mood improved.  We
were there to buy some folding camp
chairs, but we only found straw mats and
a boogie board.  
We went back to the hotel to rest a bit, then headed back to Ali'i drive at 6 to eat supper with some
Marathon Maniac friends.  Sunday we were up early again for the marathon start.  I wanted a fast time.  
Being at sea level should have helped, and it did for the first half, but then the sun came out and ruined it.
 Slow finish again.  I guess I'm just going to have to live with that during the summer months.  I got to see
Richard during the run since it was an out and back course.  
Kona race recap here.
I crossed the finish line
(located conveniently in
front of the host hotel)
and rushed up to the
room to shower and grab
the camera for Richard's
big finish.  He ran his first
marathon!  He had been
in training for it, but got
sidelined by a few injuries in April, so he definitely wasn't trained like
he should be, but this marathon offers a lot of time to finish, so he
took it slow and easy and got it done.  Along with his medal and
finisher's shirt, he got two of the biggest blisters I've ever seen.  One
on each foot.  Plus blood blisters on both pointer toes.
This may be a long vacation...  We went out for some tacos for dinner,
then watched the sun set behind the hotel and went to bed.  

Monday we bought Richard some sandals on the way out of town, hoping
to keep his feet from hurting too bad, and stopped in to check out the
WalMart because Richard's phone charger had also decided not to work
(long story, tried to be savvy on the packing and brought the USB cords,
but just two USB outlet boxes, and one car USB plug, and for some
reason, neither phone cords would work in any of those.  Weird...) After
making our last stop in Kona at the Community Center for a camping
permit, we headed north along Queen Kaahumanu Highway / 19 to Kiholo
Bay.  We accessed it south of the 81 mile marker from the state park, and
walked in along the beach.  Remember, Richard's feet hurt, they are
swollen and blistery and gross, and we don't want to get sand in his shoes
or sand in his blisters, so we made the good (?) decision to have him wear
socks with his newly-purchased sandals.  The guide book said "turtles
abound here" so after walking several 100 feet and not seeing a turtle I
shouted, where are the damn turtles, and just then I looked to the beach,
and there was one right there.  How we didn't see it before we were clear
up on it, I'll never know, but there it was and I needed a picture so off
Richard went to get in the picture with the turtle (so you all would believe
just how close we really were, and didn't think this was a fake pic or
anything, got to have us in the pic you know) so off he plods, into the
ocean with his socks and sandals on.  Sheesh...
The turtle did not like Richard being between it and the water, so it booked it back into the water.  (We found out later that you're supposed to stay
25 feet away from all turtles - just FYI...)  On we went, wet feet and all, and found another-more tired-turtle who let us pose with it.  We also saw wild
goats running the shore line.  Dang, I wanna wrangle me some of those goats and tame them up.  
Richard hobbled back to the car and changed into his
flip flops and we proceeded on to the Hamakua
Macadamia Nut company where we saw a "factory tour"
(the factory, behind glass, at 4 pm - nothing was
happening) and ate a bunch of samples and headed on
again.  We had hoped to stay at Spencer Beach Park,
but getting our permit the same day we wanted to camp
didn't work in our favor, and it was booked up, so we
had booked to stay at Mahukona Beach Park instead.  
The scenery was beautiful, but the other folks at the
camp, not so much.  An entire extended family and
friends had taken over the park and they were loud and
obnoxious.  Also, although there were "showers", the
one in the mens room was clogged up, and none of the
water was potable, so I really didn't want Richard
washing the sand out of his blisters with that stuff.  Yuck!
Do you see the goats?  They're in the picture, they are
really well camouflaged.  
After we got our tent set up, we decided to take a dip in the ocean.  There was no beach
here, so we had to climb out on lava rocks.  There were many tide pools up in the rocks
that I thought we should soak in, but when we got there as the sun was going down, it
was way to cold to get in, so we just soaked our feet.  Salt water has to be good for
blisters - right?  As we were climbing back over the rocks to the tent we saw the cats.  
First one, then another, we counted at least 6.  Then I washed Richard's feet (yuck!) with
bottled water and we watched the sun set.  The view from our tent was amazing!  Then
went to bed (with party music and whooping and hollering right outside our tent.  Good
thing we were tired!)  We got woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of two cats
fighting - or maybe mating.  Either way, it was seriously annoying, and then we smelled
the piss.  Ugg!  A cat had pissed on our tent.  All night from then on, every 20 or 30
minutes, I would wake up smelling cat piss again.  All the cats were coming up to mark
our tent.  Damn it!!

Tuesday morning I was trying to scrub the piss off our tent when a lady showed up with a
two wheeler of cat food and wheeled it out in the woods.  At least 300 cats showed up.  It
was unbelievable.  Oh I was mad.  This lady thinks she is doing something good?  These
stupid cats are breeding like crazy, and instead of spaying or neutering them, she is
feeding them!  A guy showed up to help her and I asked him if they spay or neuter the
cats, and he said, "well yeah, the ones we can catch."  Then I asked him if they mark the
ears of the cats they fix.  He assured me that they did.  So when I walked over and
looked, I was not surprised at all to see that NONE of the ears on these cats are clipped.  
Great.  

So we loaded the piss tent up in the car and headed to the north tip of the island to see
what we could see.  We got to the end of the road on 270 and looked down the hiking
path into the Waipi'o Valley.  It looked steep.  Richard's feet hurt.  I was tired.  We took
some pictures and left.   
We kept heading south, stopping at the mandatory "Donkey Balls" (macademia nuts
covered in chocolate) factory (also yum!) and continuing on to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.  
I dropped Richard off at the entrance so he wouldn't have to walk so far, and even
offered to push him in one of the funky big-wheeled wheel chairs they had, but he
toughed it out and walked through the park to see the sites.
Then we headed south through Waimea and back down
near Kona on 190.  We veered off on 180 and headed to
UCC Coffee farm.  They had sponsored the marathon,
and had put free ice cream coupons in the runners
packet, so we had to go collect.  Besides, we're suckers
for a farm tour.  We even got to pick beans right from the
tree and eat them raw.  It was fun and the ice cream was
yummy, and now I wanted goats and a coffee plantation.  
On we went, wanting to get to the next campsite before we waited to long to get a spot.  
Ho'okena Beach Park is first-come, first-serve.  When we got there, there were already
about 12 tents set up, but not in the spot closest to the parking lot.  I snagged the parking
spot right next to the tent spot, so Richard could save his feet.  Once we got the tent set
up, I went on a run, and then to cool off I headed into the ocean.  Richard just had to go in
with me.  More sand in those damn blisters, and the showers were a long walk away.  I'm
sure people thought I was crazy, helping him wash out and dry off his feet, putting vaseline
on them, putting his socks on for him.  All things he could be doing for himself if we were in
a hotel, but there were no benches or anything, and sand all over below these outdoor
showers, so I had to do it for him.   $12 to camp vs $100 for a hotel, I guess for that I can
wash his damn feet.  This park was a lot nicer.  We did see one cat when we got there, but
just the one, and it filled up with nice quiet families.  Something did piss on our tent in the
night, in the same spot.  Guess it's now a nice target for all the feral animals.  

When we woke up Wednesday, we talked about staying a second night, but with Richard's
feet hurting, there wasn't much to do around there, so off we went again.  I had snagged a
real estate magazine the day before, and saw a house I wanted to look at, so although our
plan was to go south, we first drove back north to check it out.  Tempting...  Then we
headed south.  We stopped at the famous Black Sand Beach.  I thought this was an odd
sign, but later on we got to a nude-allowed black sand beach, so I guess they were just
making sure tourists didn't get confused.  
Since Richard's feet were avoiding sand,
we headed on and started back up the
east side of the island to Volcanoes
National Park.  We cruised through the
campground (in the rain) and checked it
out.  This one is FREE!  But it was too
early to pitch our tent so we went in to the
visitors center to ask about seeing the
flowing lava.  I was depressed to hear it
was a 5 mile hike over rough hardened
lava - and takes an hour per mile, but no
way was that going to stop me.  Per the
park ranger's suggestion, we planned to
do the hike first thing the next morning.  
Then we headed out on a shorter 4 mile
hike through the rainforest, down into
Kilauea Ili Crater and back up, then
through a lava tube.
It was raining, and I found out a very important piece of
info that I sure wish I had learned sooner.  My raincoat -
which I've had for at least 9 years - is no longer
waterproof.  Fine time to find that out.  
So, soaked through and exhausted, we headed back to the campground, where it was still raining, and was now pretty damn full so all the sites with
picnic tables were gone, and what was left was all on the lower ground.  And poor Richard hasn't really cleaned his feet well in two days, and he just
went on a soaking wet 4 mile hike.  Okay, fine.  I got my phone out, hit hotels.com and searched for the cheapest closest thing.  The best thing I
could find on such sort notice was in Hilo.  Damn.  Off we went, 40 minutes away, through the dark and rain, to a hotel that said they could book me a
room "all the way in the back" which normally wouldn't have been a problem, but there was that walking thing...  We finally got there, got checked in,
hauled all our crap "all the way to the back" which in this hotel was seriously like a quarter mile because it was one of those old style hotels, one
level, with lots of courtyards and crap.  The church behind the hotel, where the congregation could literally see into our bathroom window, was
singing their hearts out and sermoning and such.  I grabbed our tent and walked another quarter mile to the laundry and shoved the damn thing into
the washer.  The guest laundry closed at 8, and I shoved it in there at 7:40, so clearly there wouldn't be time to dry it, so I brought it back and set the
thing up in the hotel room.  The whole time Richard was soaking his feet and working diligently at getting all the sand out from under his blisters.  
Somehow he fell asleep while the choir was singing, but I didn't get to bed until they finally dismissed at 9:15.  
We woke up early Thursday to drive back to Volcanoes National Park for our hike to
the lava, but check out wasn't until noon, and we were tired, so we slept.  Besides, I had
only washed our tent.  I still had a load of clothes to wash, so we hung around and were
lazy (and Karma got me  - the only washer open when I got there to do my clothes was
the one I had washed the tent in - still full of sand - so I had to clean it before using it.  
Sheesh!)
We had relaxed, we had washed, we were ready to suck it up and camp in the rain, so
with positive thoughts that it wouldn't be raining, we headed back to Volcano to set up
camp and be ready for an early morning the next day for lava viewing.  First we
stopped off at Volcano winery and sampled some Hawaiian wines.  Richard got carded
which cracked me up.
While we were at the winery, we talked to a local who said it was nonsense to hike to the lava in the morning.  He said the park tells folks that cause
it's safer to go over the lava when it is daylight, but that it is almost impossible to find the lava.  Since the glow doesn't show up during the day, and
since it cools so fast, it is very hard to find.  He insisted we needed to hike in late afternoon, view it at dusk/dark, and hike back in the dark.  Well,
sounded good, but scary too.  We considered it as we headed to the campground.  We pulled in, saw lots of open spots, but all were wet and it was
still raining.  Yesterday I had been driving and Richard was navigating.  Today he was driving and I was navigating so I had checked the guidebook
for lodging.  Sure enough, there was a cheap place right down the road.  I called and wouldn't you know, they had a room for the same price as the
stink hole we had driven to in Hilo, and they were only a few miles away.  AND they had a hot tub.  Sure wish they had been on hotels.com!  We
headed over and checked in.  I mentioned that we were planning on getting up early to hike into the lava, and he said that was nonsense, that we
had to go in the afternoon.  Well, it was afternoon.  This was the second time we had heard this opinion, we had nothing else to do the rest of the
day, so we stopped at the hardware store for some cheap disposable rain coats and a flashlight for my ball cap, and off we went.  So exciting!  The
park had told me there would be beacons 1/2 mile apart for the first 3 miles.  These beacons are very hard to see in the daytime, and we were trying
to not climb over the toughest spots of lava, so we did a lot of zig zagging, which probably added miles.  The lava was so interesting.  Some was very
hard, some was brittle and broke easily, some was rough, some was smooth, it was many different colors, it had huge crevices, words just cannot
describe and pictures just don't do it justice.  But, we took a lot of them anyway, so enjoy!  
Just starting out.  Looks easy to
hike over, right?
Some lava was smooth, some wrinkly like this.  Some was very
hard, some was very crumbly.  At least 100 different versions.
This is why we have to hike.  
The lava has covered the road.
The sun came out, we were on our way to the
lava, so much fun!  We were both wearing our
Kona Marathon Finisher shirts - just to remind us
that we were tough enough to do this.  
(Check out the hillside behind me.  Nothing going
on right?  Or so you think...)
You would think lava would be black, but it is all colors.  Lots of rainbow,
oil-slick-looking rocks.  Lots of red that later as the sun went down would make me
think the rocks were hot.  I heard it is from melted metals that oxidize and rust once the
lava cools.
About mile 3, we noticed a glow up on the hill.  
That wasn't where we were supposed to be
heading, but at least it's a start.  Do I look excited?!
Starting to rain, and the wind is fierce!
Finally, at mile 4.7 I saw the glow.  I picked up the pace and poor Richard (who
still had injured feet, remember) kept telling me to be careful and watch where I
was going.  He was just sure I was so excited I would walk right into the lava.
(Look in the background - there is a glow there!)
Soaking wet, but we've finally arrived.  SO COOL!!
Still excited...
It quit raining long enough for us to take some videos and enjoy the experience.  I didn't want to head back, and suggested
we just sit and watch it.  Which we did, for about a minute until we saw the cooled, grey, boring lava in front of us suddenly
push up into a pretty strong flow.  Richard had already pointed out that deep in the cracks of the rocks we were standing on,
it was glowing.  (As seen in the video above.)  I wasn't worried that the slow-moving lava could get us if we were standing,
but after seeing this flow start, sitting down seemed a bit silly.
It was, of course, pouring rain, and we were soaked through.  I had worn jeans to protect my legs and keep me warm for
the hike back, which I was now regretting because they were so heavy with rain that they were falling down.  No one
else was out there at all, so I contemplated taking my jeans off, and hiking back in my undies, but after about 20 minutes
of standing at the lava, they were almost dry.  Not only was the heat drying them, but the wind too.  The warm air coming
off of the lava creates some sort of weather pattern that pulls cooler air in off the ocean and the breeze is very strong.
Not much happening, should we head back?
So glad we stood around drying off!  Got to see lots of new breakout flows.
Still drying off...
Got my headlamp hooked on my ballcap.  Just discovered that it is not very bright.  And
we have to walk back, with clouds covering the moon, on black jagged lava.  Great...
And you can't stand around on tired feet all day, so we finally, reluctantly, headed back.  In the pitch black,
over treacherous lava.  Heading for an itty bitty blinking beacon in the distance.  This part sucked.  I fell down
once, tripped a bunch of times, cussed, grumbled, etc.  With about half a mile to go, during one of the
downpours we had been subjected to every 30 or 40 minutes, I slid on a slick rock and slammed my toe into
another rock.  I was sure I had either cut it off or broken it.  That made my foul mood even worse.  Richard,
with blisters the size of grapefruits on the bottom of each foot, just trudged along behind me quietly, a pillar of
strength.  We got back to the car at 12:30.  We were whooped.  It was still a 45 minute drive to the close
hotel.  So glad we weren't driving back to Hilo.  On the way we were lucky to see some Nenes.  These are a
Hawaiian goose - related to the Canadian goose, but found only in Hawaii.  We had heard that the only
difference is that on their feet the webbing is much less to allow them to walk on the lava rock, but they look
quite a bit stockier too.  $250,000 fine for intentionally killing one.  We got back to the hotel, showered and
crashed.  
Just so you know how bad it really was, here is a pic of my broken pointer toe compared to the other, little,
non-broken pointer toe.  
And here are my
shoes, the pair I
wore on the lava
hike compared to a
new pair.  My old
shoes are torn,
melted and
shredded on the
bottom.  Walking on
that lava was brutal!
The Volcano Inn was much nicer than the hotel the
night before, more of a bed and breakfast without
the breakfast being included.  Much more homey
feeling than a hotel.  The bed was comfy, the
sheets were comfy, we were tired.  It took a
surprising bit of persuading, but we were still
sleeping in on Friday when I convinced Richard that
we should stay a second night.  (It was 20% off
your whole stay if you stayed more than one night,
so the second night was a lot cheaper.)  We ate a
late, very yummy, breakfast at the hotel, soaked
our tired bodies in the hot tub, then Richard
napped most of the afternoon while I wasted hours
on the computer looking at jobs and property in
Hawaii.  Then we went out for supper and went
back to the park to see the Kilauea Vent.  The flow
we saw is the Pu'uO'o flow and there is also a
Pu'uO'u vent.  They both are sub vents/flows from
the main Kilauea volcano.  The park has made it
very easy to see the Kilauea vent, you can park
right there and walk less than 50 feet.  That works
for our broken and blistered feet.  Same story here
though, you are supposed to arrive in the late
afternoon to see it, and then it puts off the pretty
glow at night.  Supper took less time than I thought,
and we were there way too early.
We gave up and headed back to the hot tub, but did return right before going to bed to check
it out.  Pretty impressive, but nothing compared to the lava flow.  And the moon was out
tonight, sure could have used that moon last night!  Saturday we got up and had breakfast at
the hotel again.  This time I was on the computer trying to get a camping permit for that night.  
Should have done it the day before instead of playing around looking for houses to buy.  
Once again, our targeted park was booked, so we picked the next one down the coast.  We
were checking out the Puna side of the island.  First stop was the town of Pahoa where we
had a yummy second breakfast at Black Rock Cafe.  (There aren't a lot of "towns" here, so
Puna was one of the larger places we've been.)  Next up was Lava Tree State Park.  Here a
bunch of lava hit wet tree trunks and cooled before it could light them on fire.  They then
rotted away and left these tall, hollow, lava blobs.  (There is probably a small lava stick down
under the new lava flow from last night.)  There was a long lovely trail through the park - or so
we were told.  Broke Toe and Blister Feet took the short path.
On we went, sadly passing the hike-in trail to the
Champagne Ponds.  Gonna have to move here now
so I can go swim there when we are all healed up
and can hike again.  Further down was the Wai'opae
ponds.  These are beautiful tide pools where
snorkeling is highly recommended.  When we got
there, we saw that it was tide pools made out of -
surprise - lava, and there was no way we were up for
walking on that stuff again.
Back in the car again, we headed for Ahalanui.  This is a warm pool, fed by a warm spring and the ocean, but no hiking, and build out of smooth
rock, sidewalk, etc.  Great, that sounds like what we're looking for.  It was also what everyone else was looking for. All the parking spots were
taken, so we crankily drove on.  We got to Mackenzie park, where we had the camping permit.  It was way to early to set up, but we thought we
would drive on through to check it out.  It was not at all what I was expecting.  This place is like the park that time forgot.  The road into it is literally
half gone, and further on it is just a dirt road with potholes so big our entire little economy car could fit in them.  The 'bathrooms' were pit toilets
with green mold growing on the walls.  There were two on the women's side.  One had the door broken off, the other the door was stuck shut.  No
sinks, no showers.  That morning I had called the guy we're couch surfing with tomorrow to confirm with him, and when he found out we were
staying at Mackenzie Park he said that "tweekers" hang out there and there was a murder there 5 years ago, so that had already added to the
charm.  He insisted we could drive back to Hilo today and stay with him.  The guide book says to look out for guerrella gardeners, which I had
always assumed meant growing marajuana, but while we were there, trying to pick our potential campsite, we saw a dirty hippy-looking guy coming
out of the woods with two pineapples.  Okay, so have I misunderstood that this whole time?  Are they back there with tomatoes and green
peppers??  We picked out a spot we thought wouldn't be too bad if there weren't drug dealers or farmers market folks lurking around.  Then we
bounced our way out of the crappy park, still trying to decide if we were tough enough to camp again, or if the park was bad enough to forget
about the $19 I had paid for the camping permit, and make the long drive back to Hilo.  Next stop was the black sand (sometimes nudist) beach of
Kehena.  This beach is down a super steep cliff, and although we tried, we could not see it from up above, and we were too unsure about what
was down there to attempt it.  A guy walking up told us it was wonderful down there, beautiful, and dolphins come and swim with the folks every
morning and afternoon.  They weren't there now, per his report, but should be there this afternoon.  So, on we went, to the end of the road.  This
is the road on the other side of the lava flow.  Same road, but doesn't go through any more.  On this side it is private and county property, so they
have hired security to keep people from hiking out to the flows.  We walked up and talked to them and asked how the guides get away with it.  
(You can pay a guide $100 a person to hike you in from this side.  It is shorter {and the lava looked smoother!} but $100?!  Damn!)  The guides
have gotten authorization from everyone who owns property they are walking on, and a permit from the county.  There goes my idea to buy it all
up and build a boardwalk.  Also, since the county still "owns" the road under the lava, they have to hire this security firm to keep folks off because
if someone gets hurt, they could sue the county.  Then we got to hear all the injury stories.  We also talked about how long before it is "safe" to
build on the lava, and who had built and been flowed back over.  Here are a few of the houses that have built on lava in the last three years.  
We had killed enough time standing under the noon sun on hot black lava that we were hot and sweaty and I decided we could manage the steep
climb down to the black sand beach to swim with the dolphins.  We grabbed our suits (well, I grabbed mine, and I insisted that Richard at least take
his in case there weren't really naked people down there) and our snorkel gear, and the boogie board and off we went.  Ouch, broken toe, ouch,
broken toe, ouch, broken toe.  It went on like that the whole way down.  We got down there and it was pretty and all, but I had been cautioned by
the guide book about not taking pictures cause of the nudists, and so I didn't, but only a few folks were naked.  But the beach was half rock, half
black sand, and it was pretty crowded.  I struggled to discretely change out of my sweaty clothes and into my suit.  I know, it was silly to do it
discretely on a nude beach, but I did.  Then we walked to the ocean.  It was pretty rough.  Pounding waves, but kids were playing in it, so couldn't
be that bad right?  I had my snorkel stuff in one hand, and our water camera in the other, and the ocean grabbed me and tossed me around a bit.
 Sand went everywhere.  Ladies, you know that little liner in the crotch of the swimsuit, and how it usually isn't sewn shut at the top?  Yup, that
whole thing, filled with sand.  Scraped up my knee, and now I wanted out of the ocean, and even though my top was falling down under the weight
of all the sand, I knew it was no time to try to be discrete, so the whole beach got a shot of my boobs as I bolted from the ocean.  There was no
way to rinse the sand off, I kept trying, it was futile.  So once Richard finally boogie boarded his way to shore, we climbed back up the steep cliff
and drove back to the warm pool.  This time there was a parking spot, and I was nice enough to try to shower all the sand off before getting into
the warm pool.  After soaking and showering again, we headed back to Mackenzie park to see how bad it was.  Just one camper way on the other
side, and three fishermen on the cliff by the spot we had picked.  We figured the fishermen and their dogs would keep us safe, so we set up our
tent in the quiet peaceful park and slept well.  It really was a nice park now that we knew what to expect.  
It had rained over night, so Sunday when we got up the tent was pretty wet.  We got everything else packed up, but wanted to let the tent dry, so
while we waited, we headed over to check out what the fisherman had caught during the night.  These guys were fishing off a sheer cliff, out on this
little rock, with huge fishing poles.  The whole thing seemed a bit crazy, but these guys had a special fish in mind, and come out every other week to
fish off that cliff.  They had all the equipment they needed and stuff.  We had seen them hanging bells on their poles the night before, so when I
asked if they had caught anything, they said, "you didn't get woken up by our bells did you?"  Nope, no fish.  We hung out with them for about an
hour talking about the island, where to live, etc.  They of course thought the best place to live is where they do, in Hawaiian Paradise Park.  So we
packed up our tent and headed to Hilo, with plans to stop and drive through Hawaiian Paradise Park on the way.  Before we got there though, we
had to drive through Pahoa, and wouldn't you know it, Black Rock Cafe was open again, so we had to stop in for breakfast.  Continuing on with our
bellies full, we saw a huge farmers market, and one of the booths had a big sign, "THE REALTOR IS IN".  Well, I had to stop and see what the
realtor had to say.  She said, heck yeah, but property here.  Surprising, huh?  Then we sampled mangoes and talked to folks selling goat cheese
and bought Richard a shirt with guitars on it and had a great time.  Then we drove through Hawaiian Paradise Park and Orchidland Estates
(recommended by the realtor) but by now it was hot out, and nothing makes me want to move here less than sweating, so we drove on to our couch
surf host's house and hung out with him and two other couch surfers for the rest of the evening.  We told them they had to go see the lava flow, and
they told us to go see the Waipi'o valley from the other side, and go to the top of Mauna Kea.  
Monday we got up and headed to breakfast.  The place our couch surf host recommended was closed, the place around the corner wasn't great.  
Then we hit thrift stores for warm sweatshirts to wear to the top of the mountain, then we headed to Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots (total tourist
traps, flooded with busloads of people) but we did see a pretty cool banyan tree there.  You can't tell where the "main" tree is.  They are all just
roots off one another.  The falls were pretty, but like usual in Hilo, it was raining.  
In the morning, Richard made a surprise discovery.  There were
pineapple plants everywhere.  Once he recognized them as pineapple
plants, we started checking them, and right next to our tent was a
pineapple 'grove' and there were two pineapples!  They were well
hidden!  So, of course we picked one - after carefully looking around
for guerella gardeners.  It was a bit under-ripe, but we ate it anyway.
Then we headed north on 19.
 We started by stopping at
every side diversion the guide
book recommended. One of
the first ones was to Honoli'i
beach.  We sat in the shade
up by the parking lot and
looked out over the ocean as
we ate lunch.  We were
watching the surfers and
paddle boarders, and started
noticing a turtle, and then
another.  There were
probably 5 turtles out there,
also surfing the waves.  They
looked like they were playing
chicken with the boogie
boarders.  It was a lot of fun
to watch.  Do you see the two
turtles flanking the surfer?
Anyway, the game is, you drive up, watch the sun set, drive back down to the
visitors center at 9,600' where they have telescopes set up and you look at stuff.
 I thought looking through the telescopes would be dull, but I got to see Saturn,
and there was it's ring.  That was pretty cool.
After 5 or 6 "scenic drives" we finally had to stop checking it all out in
the interest of time.  We had toyed with the idea of hiring one of the
companies who takes you down into Waipi'o valley, or even hiking
down (our feet are starting to get better, might as well take a
strenuous hike - right?) but we got there so late we just looked over
and headed on.  Remember the view from the other side, way back
on Tuesday we stood on the other viewpoint.  
Then we headed up Saddle road to Mauna Kea.  Mauna Kea is the
tallest mountain on the island, 13,300' at the top.  The atmosphere
above it is not turbulent for some reason, so stars don't twinkle from
there, so they have all kinds of expensive telescopes up there.  
Tuesday we did touristy stuff.  We ate breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes, got haircuts so we would be ready for my brother's wedding, then hit
the Big Island Candy Factory.  That was enough excitement for us, so we headed back to our couch surfing host and packed up all our stuff.  We still
had time to kill, so we headed out to drive around and look at houses to buy.  After lots of excitement discussing the pros and cons of houses that we
aren't yet prepared to purchase, we headed to the airport for an overnight flight to LA.