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Today was an explore on our own day. We left probably a bit later than D. had hoped (I was a bit slow getting going this morning, as we had awoken to flash flood warnings on our phones. I turned on the news to catch a weather report, and well, got a little distracted with local news, shall we say?  My parents were news “junkies,” and it appears the apple may not have fallen far from that tree. The sun was shining in Waikiki, and it appeared whatever storm had blown through overnight had blown out to sea.  It was another beautiful day in paradise!

We headed out to the North Shore by way of the USS Bowfin Museum store as we’d seen something there on Sunday which we’d not seen anywhere else. Time to stop looking and just run in and get it. The only item on today’s agenda was a visit with one of my daughter’s best friends (affectionately known in our family as Daughter #2, and yes, occasionally “favorite”daughter when mine was being a typical teenager) and her son whom I had not yet met. 
First stop, Waialua Coffee Company (and tea) which was quite yummy.  They had a very eclectic collection of coffee advertisements from around the world on the walls, and a small cafe area. A more local, hipper vibe than the chain coffee stores…locals in with their laptops, visiting with friends, and us tourists thrown into the mix. (We tourists likely brought the “hip” vibe down a notch, but we did purchase a bit more than the locals, so it seemed a good balance to me.)  

A beautiful drive along the coast to Haliewa where we wandered around for a bit. I managed to find some Christmas gifts, got some ideas for craft projects, and took pictures of things that brought back memories while we waited for Daughter 2 to meet us.

This was the main “highway” around the island when I called Oahu home. One lane in each direction kind of highway!

Queen Liliuokalani Protestant Church, Haliewa, HI

Seriously, does it get much better than this?

I believe my father had this LP. (Mom will let me know if he didn’t!) If he didn’t, he should have because I have a memory of someone having it!

We definitely had a set of these…at least 6.

We had a wonderful lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (I believe garlic will be oozing out of my pores for the next few weeks. Apologies to anyone standing or sitting close to me!) combined with a visit with Daughter 2 and the cutest little surfer dude I’ve ever seen. I could tell he was a “local” as he arrived barefoot and was walking around the rocks as if it was nothing. Flashbacks to my brother at the same age many, many (ok, maybe only one many) years ago. We got some ideas of further places to explore, said our farewells (yes, for those who know me well, my eyes leaked), and we were on our way. 

Our directions were head “that way, left at the stop sign and around,” or something like that…we were headed somewhere, and that was really all that mattered.  When you’re on an island you really can’t get too lost!

As we are driving down this road, we pass a sign…Camp Mokule’ia. Seriously?! This was my first ever overnight camp. I think I was 7? Maybe 8? I still have the shirt with my name embroidered on it. This was such a trip down memory lane – especially as I had recently scanned my father’s slides from when they dropped me off and picked me up. I couldn’t have found this place if I’d tried. But I could yell “Stop! I need a picture!” 

We kept driving and came upon another long stretch of beach. I opened the car window for a picture, and D. commented “Now this smells like the beach.” I couldn’t have agreed more. Outside of Waikiki with all its aromas mingling with the sea air, you really don’t smell the beach. On this stretch, you really smelled the salt air, the sand, the sky, the Beach. (Yes, at The Beach you can even smell the sky.)

Love the wind power in the background.

We came to the end of the road at Ka’ene Point in Molokai and headed back to see where else the road would lead. A few turns later and we stumbled onto The Old Sugar Mill in Wailua. It has been turned into shops, boutiques, and a coffee roastery. One of the wonderful things about Hawaii is how people take care of one another.  Here in the middle of the old sugar factory, which likely employed most of the community at one time, was the Community Kitchen.  Where anyone can come for a meal. How much better would the world be if we broke bread together and shared our abundance with our neighbors? 

It was still relatively early, so we headed for Waiamea. On the way we crossed Rainbow Bridge.  I immediately thought of my Auntie S. who tells the BEST stories about the heavenly Rainbow Bridge. I didn’t see any fish here, so this one was good to cross. 

We were hoping for the lighthouse, but saw signs for the Waiamea Falls and turned in there.  Unfortunately the falls were closed by the time we arrived, but they had a wonderful farmer’s market going on, and we had a great time exploring it. And we may be back next week to explore the falls and surrounding area further. Lots of Hollywood movies have been filmed here, and it definitely peaked our interest. I was able to get a few pictures from outside the entrance, though.

We started back to the hotel, but made a detour back to Haliewa Beach to watch the sun set. This is where we swam with the turtles on Monday, and it was fun to sit and watch for them to poke their heads up out of the surf.  And yes, I am my father’s daughter, and if one sunset photo is good, more are better. Fortunately I will only share one…ok, two.

WWII Veterans Memorial at Haliewa Beach


Tomorrow the actual “work” part of this trip begins, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be out exploring. I believe there may be a mouse involved in tomorrow’s adventures.