Every vacation has transition days and down days. This was a down/transition day. After all of the activity and excitement the day before we were all very mellow and a bit sad to be packing up to leave the house in Hilo that had provided so many incredible surprises.
Rusty and Cal hiked down to swim in the tide pools one last time before moving on. It was fun, but it didn’t measure up to the discovery of the day before. The tide was lower, it was overcast and there were some locals picking mussels off of the rocks so it was no longer quite as secluded (although two guys picking mussels didn’t make it crowded; we no longer had it all to ourselves). This time we brought along face masks so we were able to see the fish. So that aspect was fun.
We were scheduled to spend our next three nights in a condo in Kona — a resort town on the west side of the Big Island. We decided to travel to Kona via the north road instead of down around the southern tip which would have brought us past the Volcano for a third time. We figured it would be good to see something new. It was fun to see the lush green hills and valleys that are part of the northeast coast. There were thick eucalyptus groves and even cattle farms. For some reason seeing cows in Hawaii seems a bit strange.
The trip is about 120 miles and we figured it would take us about 3 hours. We lost time early on looking for a Quiznos sub shop in Hilo. We promised the kids a special lunch along the way and they had seen a Quiznos when we first drove up route 11 from the airport. For some reason this time around we just couldn’t find it. We had to make due with rice cakes and crackers to settle their stomachs until we came to the next town of any size. That came about 90 minutes later. We had lunch at Subway and a deli at a strip mall. It wasn’t very good and it took up another half hour of time. Right after that we entered North Kona county and immediate got stuck in a traffic jam. We left Hilo at noon and we didn’t make it to Kona until 4pm.
When we drove through town, everything looked so different we were already missing our private house in Hilo. There are huge resorts, fast food, Wal-Mart, restaurants, and worst of all, traffic jams. We had gone from an undiscovered region to a very discovered region. We looked at row after row of condos and got nervous about the place that we’d be staying in. Luckily our place was about 5 miles south of the main tourist area. It turned out to be a cookie cutter condo, but it is at the end of the development and has a great water view of Kona bay. It also has a fancy granite kitchen, a porch, and two nice bedrooms. If this had been the first place we saw in Hawaii we would have been thrilled, but we were still having trouble comparing it to the Turtle Reef house.
We shopped for food and bought pizza to eat in the room as we watched the sun set. The kids watched some junk TV for an hour or so and we were all asleep by 9:30.