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The Ramblings of a Seamstress, Gardener, Chicken Keeper, and Housewife

Proof of My Adventures (and Misadventures!)

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OK, it's seriously time to get caught up.

I'm here and alive!  Sorry for the radio silence for the past...oh geez, the past month!  Yikes.  Well, I can honestly say it's been a bumpy transition from OMG-get-the-house-in-order to holy-crap-amazing-vacation to blah-back-to-real-life.  My ability to just roll with the changing situations reached its limit and some stuff (like posting here) fell by the wayside despite any intentions I had otherwise.  Allow me to remedy that now!

Ben's parents arrived here safe and sound.  I know the drive from Indiana to Texas must have been draining for them.  They got to town, immediately got a hotel room, and slept.  For the next couple days we spent a few hours every day showing them some of the cool stuff the Metroplex has to offer (like the Dallas World Aquarium, the historic parts of downtown Dallas, and some of the great restaurants here.)  A few hours a day was enough to tire them out, which I guess says a little bit about the sleepy little town they live in.  Ben's dad, as it turns out, is allergic to cats so they didn't end up staying with us.  At first I was a little bummed since we overhauled the guest room with them in mind, but it's far more important that they stayed somewhere comfortable.  Luckily there are several little motels just up the road from us and they found one they really liked.  Perfect!

The flight to Hawaii was the first time Ben's mom had ever been on a plane and she loved it!  Ben is a nervous flyer and I was worried she would be too.  The flight itself was just over 8 hours, and let me tell you...that is no fun at all in economy!  Next time we'll splurge on first class tickets.  All the little annoyances were totally forgotten when we stepped out of the airport.  Not only was it great to be on solid ground again, but Ben's sister Katie (who lives on the island) was there to greet us with handmade leis!

I'll try to describe a little bit about Maui.  The air is balmy, even at night.  We looked up the record low for the area we stayed, and it's 57F.  Kinda crazy!  There are colorful blooming flowers everywhere and it makes everything smell wonderful.  The ocean is the most amazing shade of blue...words just aren't enough to truly capture everything I remember about it.  I'll just let the pictures do most of the talking.

The white building in the distance is our resort.  We learned that they'll be closing in 2016 and converting the rooms into condos, so I'm glad we had the opportunity to stay there.

This is the view from our balcony:

We watched the sunrise from near the summit of Haleakala, the crater of a now-dormant volcano:
Haleakala Sunrise

The moon during that sunrise was equally stunning:
Haleakala Moon during Sunrise

We visited Iao Valley State Park, which was chock full of trails and cool mountain runoff streams.  We wished we'd had more time to hike, but we didn't want Ben's parents to be sitting around bored while we explored for hours.
Iao Valley 1

Iao Valley 3

Iao Valley 6

We braved the road to Hana, which is a 3 hour journey each way through hundreds of hairpin curves and one-lane bridges.  We stopped at a scenic overlook and saw this at the bottom of a cliff with a particularly tight curve:
Road to Hana Dangerous Cliff Car Wrecks

Road to Hana One Lane Bridge

Road to Hana One Lane Road
Hana itself is historically significant because the mountain streams collect into 7 pools on the way out to the ocean.  Hawaiian queens used to bathe in the topmost pool, but we didn't hike to see it since it was 5 miles one way from the start of the trail.  We did get to swim in one of the lower pools, but neither of us got any pictures of it.  Instead, here's one of Ben and I at the coast near where the streams empty into the ocean:

We watched sea turtles come ashore to rest for the night at Ho'okipa beach:

Hookipa Rocky Beach
It's a favorite spot for surfers:
Hookipa Surfers
One thing I didn't expect about Hawaii!  There are wild chickens EVERYWHERE.
Hookipa Wild Chickens

On Ben's birthday, we all went to a famous restaurant called Mama's Fish House.  It's the fancy-pants restaurant that locals don't often visit, but famous people do.  They've got a wall full of framed and autographed headshots.  I enjoyed a beautiful chocolate mousse dessert called the Black Pearl:
The restaurant had amazing views of the ocean.  This is the view from the parking lot:
Mamas Fish House 2

As you might expect, we spent a lot of time various beaches.  The resort beach was excellent, and just a short walk from our room:


Just down the road from the resort was a black sand beach:
Black Sand Beach Me
Some coral had washed ashore, but it was such a big piece I left it for the ocean to take back.  You can see the beach sand under it.  Not entirely black, is it?
Black Sand Beach Washed Up Coral

We snorkeled several times.  I went out early one morning and got to see a yellow tang and a needlefish.  No pictures of that though.  We also tried snorkeling at the fish reserve area on a day with high tides...the Pacific Ocean took a bite out of Ben and I when we got dragged across some sharp rocks.  Lesson learned!  Ben and Katie went deep sea fishing one day, but sadly didn't catch anything.  I spent that day relaxing at the resort and getting my first ever massage.  Now I realize what I've been missing all this time!  We got to see where Katie lives, which was pretty cool.  It's on the jungle side of the island, and it's a little off-grid studio apartment at the end of a bumpy one-lane road.  She has solar power, rain catchment, and propane.  There are bananas and starfruit growing on the property, and we got to try some of each fresh from the trees!  We got to meet her fiance Marcus, and it's nice to be able to put a face to the name.

Being there had a pretty profound effect on Ben.  He told me that no place he's ever been has made him feel relaxed and happy like Maui did.  That's a pretty strong statement coming from a guy who could be a professional worrywart.  I'm not sure if it was the lull of the ocean (this was his first experience with one) or the island as a whole.  So it's a safe bet that we'll be visiting again in the future, and maybe even moving there someday.

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Oh wow! Very cool about the band and lol about Yoko. :-)

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