Day 16- From Missiles to Peace

Mike and I had a date with the military this afternoon.  In early June we found out we could apply for guest passes to Majors Bay Beach at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.  We filled out the application, had a background check conducted and waited for them to call us to schedule an appointment to check ids, rental car information and insurance.  Last week they called and scheduled our appointment for this afternoon.

We were up early so Mike and I headed for a beach walk.

Our morning jaunt made us rather famished, so back to the homestead we returned to enjoy papaya boats, papaya juice, toast and of course coffee.

IMG_4856 After that it was time to head out, we needed to make a stop at the most popular tourist attraction on the island, Costco. From Costco we headed to Dark Roost Coffee Bar for a cappuccino and a pour over. Hands down one of the best pour overs we have ever enjoyed.

We decided a quick-lunch was in order and went to Kalaheo Cafe.  After lunch it was time for us to head to the MRF to get our IDs issued.  We didn’t take any pictures and we didn’t head to the beach.  It was an easy process and everyone on base was so friendly.  We plan on going next week to spend some time at the beach.

Last week, our friend, Cheri, told us about this Waimea Shingon Mission. We thought we should stop in and see this for ourselves after visiting the base.


This mission has 88 Buddha shrines.  The shrines are in the shape of an artillery shell, They were erected after WWII in the hope that we will have no more war.

The Rev. Kohtoku Hirao came out to greet us and to tell us the history of this place, the best he could, his English is limited and he is learning.  He explained that the land the mission sits on is sacred ground to the Hawaiians and in the cliffs behind the mission there are ancient Hawaiians buried in the holes in the cliff.  As he was telling us this, he pointed to hole in the cliff and there was a skull.  It gave me chicken skin and a chill ran through me.

After he invited us into the temple.  He encouraged us to take a paper that was meant for us, each slip was different and told our fortune.  This was something we haven’t experienced in a mission before.

Mike’s fortune
Ann’s fortune

Our time here was meaningful, touching and an unexpected treat.  To fully digest all this and fortify ourselves for the long drive home, we stopped at Kauai Island Brewing for a beer. Is it bad the workers are starting to recognize us?

On our way home we decided to stop at Kauai Juice Co. for a hot sauce and a juice.  Awesome hot sauce and the juice I picked up was great.  Another place we will visit again.

We arrived home in time to start dinner, grilled shrimp on greens for me and grilled shrimp on a grain mix for the boys.  While we had adventure filled day, we learned our nephew  enjoyed some reading time at Tunnels Beach, while we were out.

We cleaned up the kitchen, gathered up the beach towels and headed over to Tunnels Beach for sunset viewing.  The beach was busy tonight.

As I watched the sun set, I reflected on how we made the choice today to go from a military base set to protect us in one way to a Buddhist mission that has 88 shrines dedicated to peace and no more war.  We truly went from missiles to peace today.

Day 14 – A Pilgrimage to Aloha


Today we made a trek to the Lawai International Center. This centers sits in the valley of healing, on an ancient heiau in the configuration of a honu.  There are 88 Buddhist shrines here representing the shines of Shikoku, Japan.  After an introduction by the director, Lynn you are invited into the temple, for we are blessed, and then walk the hillside visiting each shrine.  Inside of the shrines people had left offerings/trinkets.  As I wandered up the hillside I repeated a name of a friend’s daughter who needed healing and other names of people who came into my thoughts.  This is a spiritual place and you must be open to it and respectful of its Aloha spirit.

The grounds also had goats and a donkey to visit and the best port o potty, I have ever been in.

Our pilgrimage to honor the power of Aloha lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Our next place to find aloha or rather caffeine was the Kauai Coffee Company. We did some tastings and purchased a few bags. IMG_4799

Our final destination of the day was Kauai Island Brewing in Port Allen.  I enjoy their Lilikoi Ale, so we were this close and needed lunch, so why not stop? Plus what are the odds that we would be sitting at the bar, in front of the stickers, from our three our local breweries? Talk about Aloha spirit!

See that plate with chips? There were 2 fish tacos on it, that we inhaled before I thought of taking a photo..

By the time we ran a few gift buying errands and drove home it was close to 3:30, enough time to relax, nap and drag out leftovers for dinner.

We headed off to the prime time sunset viewing with Aloha in our hearts.

Day 8 Local Knowledge

Once again we had a plan, but once again mother nature decided she didn’t like our original plan. The plan was get up early and hike the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail. She decided to drop some rain on us and we know when we see the mountain flow of water from our house, we know the trail will be too slippery to hike. Little piece of local knowledge we gleaned.

So what to do? hmmm sit back and enjoy a leisurely breakfast of papaya boats and coffee. fullsizeoutput_1716

The new plan was to go to Koloa area for the afternoon farmer’s market.  Before that though we would go over to McBryde Gardens part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.  On our first trip to Kauai, we decided to become members and support their mission.

Before we left the house, our neighbor let us know the other neighbor had fresh caught ahi for sale.  It helps to be repeat visitors, the locals come to trust you and share that type of information. Off I went to get 2 lbs of fresh local cut ahi. Talk about local, it was in a cooler on the back of the guys truck under his house.

Finally we were on our way to the Gardens.  A lot has changed in six years, the trams are buses now to get to the garden, more walkways were added, new sections were put in,  and the bus guides are more knowledgeable. I feel like the gardens are growing up.

After our jaunt around the gardens it was time to head back on the bus.  We then drove over to the Koloa farmer’s market. Once again we picked up more fresh fruit.  We figure while here, eat as local as possible because in CT, fresh veggies are NOT year round.


Our next local thing to do was go to Costco!

As we drove home we decided to explore a bit and went on a new to us road, Kealia Road.  What views of Kong we had.

We stopped at the aging Spalding Monument.  This monument bordered the Kauai Ranch. 

The drive down the road was just as stunning.

We arrived home in time to make dinner.  We were so busy today, we forgot about lunch. So while I prepped dinner, Mike made guacamole from a butter avocado we picked up at the farmer’s market. OMG, I only want to eat butter avocados from now on. While I cooked we snacked on salsa, guac and chips.  Dinner was a jambalaya with local shrimp, veggies and sausage.


After clean up it was sunset viewing time.  We learned on our first trip to leave our slippahs at the beginning of the beach, like locals do.


Post sunset we returned “home”. I put dessert together wrapping the banana in the lumpia, then baking for 25 minutes.  The bananas are a perfect size to wrap up and the taste was out of this world. Though a drizzle of chocolate would make this out of the ballpark amazing!


With a little bit of local knowledge, we avoided a trail that could be slippery, purchased fresh ahi, visited  local food places (farmer’s market and Costco), went on a road less traveled by tourists and placed our slippahs in the correct spot.  Local knowledge is a blessing.

Day 7 – From Burnt Toast to Burnt Toes

The morning started with burnt toast. It really wasn’t my fault, it was the rainbow’s fault, it distracted me.


We took it as a sign to go for a beach walk, before continuing breakfast.  Hopping in the car, we drove a short way up to Cannons Beach, just past Haena Beach Park.  The hidden flora entrance has been relocated from six years ago, but we found it.  We followed the tunneled path to one of my favorite walking spots.


The views here always take my breath away. Makai sky was filled with gray clouds and the mauka sky was brilliant blues, a contrast in colors.

As usual with a Kauai sky it rapidly changes.

Returning to the house I attempted breakfast making again. This time I was successful, not burning anything.  We enjoyed sautéed swiss chard (from yesterday’s farmer’s market) and fried eggs with a side of unburnt toast smeared in mango jelly.

Breakfast time included making more grocery lists and we headed out to pick up a few more supplies.  We did get stuck sitting in traffic, waiting for one lane bridges to be safe to pass. We didn’t care when the views are beautiful.


We stopped for lunch today at Hanalei Dolphin.  There was room at the bar for us. We split fish tacos and a house salad.  Perfect light lunch to share.


We decided to spend some of our afternoon on the beach.  I debated between wearing flip flops or  my water shoes.  I should have gone with the water shoes.  On our last trip here, after we hiked part of the Kalalau trail, we took off our shoes, walked across the sand to get in the water at Kee Beach.  At 2 p.m. in the afternoon the sand was so hot, I burned the bottom of both feet, they peeled like crazy.   Today, I went with flip flops, mistake for my sensitive toes. I burned each of my big toes in the sand.  The healing thing  to do was to get them in the water and float for a bit.

Following the float we walked back to the house and prepped dinner and dessert.

I even had time to squeeze in a little nap before dinner.  Dinner was simple fresh local greens with local veggies, even peppers grown by the neighbor thrown in, topped with Mike’s marninated Kauai Shrimp. Dessert turned out to be very good, next time I’m going to fill the sheets with sliced bananas.


We had a bit of time before sunset viewing, so I decided to go on an orchid hunt in the yard.  I was blown away by our friend’s gift for gardening.

Sunset viewing hour was upon us and off we ambled to Tunnels Beach.  Clouds hid the sun hitting the ocean, but having fisherman in the water provided us with another type of wonderful viewing.

Today I burned the toast, I burned the bottom layer of my toes, but hey at least I didn’t fry myself sitting in the sun!

Day 6 – To the Other Side We Go

Today was our move day to the other sound of the island to our friend’s home on the North Shore.  Time to spend a month here house sitting.  We are very blessed to have house sitting/caretaker gigs going with friends here and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

It was a typical morning for us, big breakfast with coffee. Today we enjoyed papaya boats with yogurt, granola and more fruit.  This is my new favorite breakfast creation, can’t wait to add in some fresh mango!


Following breakfast it was time to pack up and head out of the Waimea House.  Our first stop was the Kauai Coffee Company, now that we are further away, we wanted a few extra bags.

Our next stop was one of my favorite farmer’s markets, the one at the community college.  We picked up some great veggies, fruit, jams, goat cheese and guess what, more coffee.

We had one final stop in Lihue, Costco.  Our big purchase was Kauai Shrimp.


On our way up to the house, we stopped at a road side stand to pick up eggs. We picked up the eggs, saw the price and put the eggs back down. I thought $12.00 a dozen was a little overpriced. Though they did have wonderful micro greens, so we did purchase a bag.


Finally we arrived at the house and were greeted by the largest papaya we’ve ever laid eyes on. Our friend left it for us as welcome back gift. Perfect for a very large smoothie tomorrow.


At this point we were starving, so back we headed to Hanalei/Princeville. We thought about Sushigirl Kauai, but her line was ever so long. Driving past Hanalei Dolphin the bar was empty so we decided after our brief stop at Foodland, we would return, have fish tacos and a beer.  Returning to Hanalei there was no parking at the dolphin and the place was packed, guess rain showers drive the people off the beaches and into food places.  We had high hopes that Sushigirl Kauai wouldn’t be packed because of the rain.  She wasn’t that busy, so in we pulled and ordered.

While I waited for the order, Mike went to the house to drop off the groceries. On his way back his family from the midwest was attempting to facetime him from the family reunion.  Cell service was spotty, so we had to wait until he picked me up and we landed back at the house.  We face timed with Jenni, Chris, Matt J., Matt B., Mark, Nancy, Mary, Monica, John and Karen (they made me put in their names).


Once we showed the family around via the phone, we finally sat down to enjoy our lunch.  The food was amazing, so fresh and flavorful.  I have a feeling we’ll be regulars over the next month.

We rested, prepped all our veggies, chatted with neighbors and waited for sunset viewing hours.

It felt so natural to take the path to the beach, sort of being with an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time, just feels right to be together again.


The sunset wasn’t spectacular but we didn’t care because we were on our favorite beach to view the sunset, Tunnels.

But what was spectacular was the monk seal that swam by us. How is that to end the day? Perfect way to start living on the other side of the island.

Day 4 – Plan B

What’s that adage, “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”? Yup that was our motto today.  We made plans but it all changed.  Did we get upset, irritate or place blame? Nope we went with the flow, anger is only wasted energy.

Over breakfast we made a plan.

Kauai Coffee, local eggs with portuguese smoked sausage and tomatoes, portuguese sweet bread with lilikoi jam. Yes Mike’s screen saver is Diamond Head, not a Kauai photo, please don’t take offense.

Our plan was to hike Alakai Swamp Trail, lunch at Salt Pond, so we could have a swim, hit the farmers market at Hanapepe, grab dinner and watch sunset.  Only two of those things happened.

Every time we try to hike the swamp the rain moves in. It looked clear from our lower spot in Waimea so we thought it would be clear at top, nope! The closer we got to the top the more rain moved in.  We stopped at Kokee Lodge and reassessed. Swamp was out, plan b was called for. We would instead hike Cliff and Canyon Trail. Back down we drove to the trail head. We encountered a little spits of rain, but we knew the helicopters (or as we call them large mosquitoes) were flying, so views were to be had. Out we went and got our hike on.   In New England you have to go up first to get a view and the return hike is downhill.  In Hawaii, it is the opposite, you go down first and then up.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

The views were stunning, well worth the hiking and the huffing.  My advice get up there early, bring water, shoes with sturdy soles and if you aren’t sure footed bring a hiking pole. Here is the profile from our gps:


The plan was after the hike to head to Salt Pond Beach park to enjoy our lunch.  What really happened was we noticed our rear tail light was busted.  Oops, not cool.  So we knew we had to return to the house and call the rental company.  We learned that some credit cards won’t insure a car rental if the car is rented past 30 days, crap we fell into that category.  Oh well no use getting upset, things happen. We weren’t fans of this car, to big, pulled to the right, seats weren’t comfortable.  I’ll turn the negative into a positive we can get a better rental. We did!

Hertz was great about it and to welcome our new car, we decided to stop at Hilo Hatties to get free shell leis and a dashboard hula rooster to bling out our new ride.


By the time this was over, we had missed the farmers market. We opted for an early dinner or rather happy hour at Kauai Island Brewery.  I do enjoy their lilikoi beer.  Their fish taco and ahi bites were ono and just enough to fill us up. While there we talked with one of the waiters, who was a local boy.  He overheard us talking about the hike and we had a great conversation about conservation, protecting the endangered species, pig hunters and stupid “hikers” who don’t come prepared for the trails or do dangerous things that end up closing down the hiking trails.


After the early dinner, we returned home, packed up and went down early to Salt Pond to catch the sunset and have a swim. Surf was high and the flags were out, but we were in the protected area, so we knew we were ok to get in the water.

I think the universe decided to make up for the mishaps today and gave us a green flash at the tail end of the sunset. Unfortunately our camera couldn’t quite capture it, but trust us it was there.

look to the right of the sunset, there is a flare. Others did see the green flash, so we know we didn’t imagine it.

So today wasn’t what we planned at 6:30 a.m. this morning, It had a few twists and turns along the way, but we are ok with that, we’ve learned to accept what happens and find the best in it.


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