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Trip Report Tale of Two Siblings in Kauai...how did we end up in Honolulu?

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You must know that DH & I cherish each week we have spent in Kauai. It is such a short time on this magical island and we love having it to ourselves. We have it down of what we do when we are there so when my brother announced he wanted to go with us my first reaction was that I didn't want to share "my" island. I'm the oldest, by 3 years, and I've always had a problem sharing! Also, we are complete opposites...as polar as you can get. I like structure and schedules...he is laid back and goes with the flow. I don't drink and I don't care about nightlife...he likes to drink and is a night owl. See where I'm going with this...so here is how I survived a week in Kauai with my polar opposite younger brother...

We: myself, DH, my brother, and my brother's fiancee (whom I will call K so I don't have to repeat 'brother's fiancee' throughout the report). As you all know I am obsessed with Kauai...this made trip number 5 for DH & I! This was my brother and K's first trip to Hawaii. We were there to show off "our" island and to celebrate DH & K's bday which is May 31. You read that right...DH & K have the same birthday...DH turned 32 and K turned 27!

Day 1: Saturday May 25...Journey to Paradise

When scouring for airline tickets we kept checking daily for the price to drop. The tickets were holding right above $1000 so one morning the price dropped to $883, on United, but would leave at 6am. We figured we could make up the sleep on the plane...oh, what a fateful decision that turned out to be...more to come.

We arrive at the airport, get through security, and no more than 10 minutes of being at the gate there is an announcement. Our departure time will be delayed because of a mechanical issue...hydraulic leak. We are working on it and will hope to be leaving soon. Our plane was taking us to SFO with a 1 hour layover before our flight to Lihue. I decided to take charge and got in line to talk to the gate agent with only one person in front of me. A guy at the counter was also talking about his connection to Maui. We were starting this trip off on the wrong foot. When it came to my turn the gate agent began look at alternate flights for us because if we missed our flight in SFO then we would have no way to get to Kauai that day. She found a flight that was leaving in a couple of hours from AUS to LAX then on to Lihue, arriving at 4:55 which put us losing 5 hours of the day from our original arrival. I asked everyone so they said we couldn't risk so go ahead. We are still getting to Kauai and that's all that matters. While in the midst of switching our flight, the plane is fixed and they are going to board...NOW! We tell her that we want to stay on this flight. She makes a quick call, the luggage is boarded on this flight and we are good to go to stay. We are leaving 30 minutes later than scheduled and I'm hoping we can make our connection!

We arrive in SFO hoping to grab food for the plane but we find our gate and it is boarding. We get on the plane, wait to back off from the gate so we can take off. An announcement is made...a light is illuminated that shouldn't be for the emergency door because the emergency door is fine...we have to get this checked out so we will let you know more soon. Are you seeing the pattern emerging? We couldn't believe this...two planes in a row! After about 20 minutes we are told that we have to deplane but to stay close to the gate because if it gets fixed we are back on and on our way. We get off the plane, upset but thinking we have time to get food. My brother and K go off to get food while DH & I hang at the gate. When they returned we went off for food but the moment I arrived to get food my brother called and said we are boarding again! Back on our way but w/o food...it will be a long flight. Got the snack pack and board and watched my Kindle. Five and half hours later I, er we, were landing on Kauai!!!! I see that red dirt...I'm back...finally!!!!!

My brother & K had checked luggage but DH & I have mastered the carry on. We had to wait for their luggage then shuttled over to the rental car. I had the car in my name so I waited in the longest line I have ever waited in while everyone else sat outside with the luggage. I waited 30 minutes at Dollar. I normally use Budget but even when trying to book in January, Budget was out of convertibles. The sales clerk I got was a jerk. I heard him talking to someone else trying to get them to upgrade the car, get gas there, major sales pitch, etc. I always decline that so I was hoping not to get him so what happens...I do get him! It was just his attitude about the whole thing...he came across as thinking I was the clueless tourist. Telling me that I need to get the insurance because the top of the convertible could get slashed, windows broken, I've seen a car get smashed leaving the airport. I finally told him that I've been here five times and I know how it works. Also, I added DH as a second driver, which is free at Budget, and it added $96 to the total. I told him to take it off and that over at Budget it is free. He said it may be free in California and some other state but not here in Hawaii. I told him it is free in Hawaii and I just did it this past September. I was not trying to be haughty with my "five times" comment and I keep karma in mind. I always hope that nothing happens during our week because I do decline the insurance. I felt that he was trying to scare/bully me into and I didn't like his tactic. He was not helpful at all and I will never use Dollar again. It was a Dollar/Thrifty office.

We finally get our car...I was exhausted from the flight issues and getting this car! The island is ours for a week! We headed to Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo...a tradition of ours. The windows were open...gingham curtains blowing in the breeze and rain was falling. It felt so good to finally be there! My brother and K loved the Brick Oven. From there we made our stop at the Wal-Mart for a few things then onto the Sealodge.

Finally after a long day journey we made it to the North Shore!

Coming up...hiking the NaPali coast and the best lemonade we've ever had!

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    louistraveler!! You're back! So excited to read about your trip to your other "home". I'm sorry to hear about those flights...that is a bummer but at least you made it on the same day. I'm always worried about connecting flights. And that Dollar agent...ugh, so annoying. I've not had good experience with Thrifty either...never rented from Dollar though. But, you have convinced me to try Brick Oven Pizza when I go to Kauai. I don't really eat pizza in Hawaii - since I am from NYC and we are picky with our pizza and I figure I would eat stuff I can't get back home. But you make pizza in paradise sound delicious. :)

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    Waiting for mo' LT5!

    Love Hanalei Pizza too but too far to drive. :))
    But you do have to keep an eye on the people who work there with the "short term memory loss". :-"

    As for Da Brick, we always order whole wheat, well done and drench the crust in garlic butter. =P~

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    Day 2: Sunday May 26...In which we tackle the hike!

    DH & I attempted the hike...along the Na Pali Coast to Hanakapiai Beach back in 2007 during our first trip to Kauai. I remember we didn't prepare...no snacks and not too much water. We didn't know what we were getting into and we ended up turning around before the beach. I've always wanted to try the hike again and this trip we planned to do it. We carved out a day for this hike and today was it.

    Awaking at 6am...11am at home...I sat by the window gazing out at the vast Pacific feeling grateful that I was there for a moment in time. I like to be the first one up and sit with the view and my thoughts. Everyone was stirring and it was time for breakfast...which consisted of eggs, bacon, and cinnamon rolls. My brother made our eggs & bacon every morning. Another opposite we share...he is good in the kitchen...I am not.

    After breakfast and lounging, we decide to get ready to head out for the hike. DH & I came prepared...we brought backpacks! We made sandwiches, had snacks, and plenty of water. We made our obligatory stop at the Chevron for ice (for the ice chest when we were back from the hike) and my brother went into the Foodland to look for a backpack. He found one...a black vinyl with turtles on it, surprisingly only $12. K had also brought a backpack so we were all set. Now to the end of the road...

    We arrive at Ke'e Beach to a swarm of cars! I knew what to expect...it was around 10am on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. I know it is like this not on a Sunday not on Memorial Day weekend! We followed suit and parked along the side of the road. We got our backpacks on and walked to the trailhead. Our plan, before the trip, was to hike to Hanakapiai Falls. When starting the hike we all agreed to see how we felt and what time it was when we reached the beach before deciding to go forth onto the falls.

    We are doing this...we are on the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Beach! I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said about the views: amazing, awestruck, beautiful, gorgeous, unbelievable! I thought the hike was harder than this...I do mean only the first 2 miles. 2007 has been awhile but I really thought this hike was harder back then. I think what may have helped with tackling this hike again was that I was mentally prepared. I knew what I was going into, we had backpacks filled with water and snacks. I really wanted to accomplish it. There were a few uphills that I needed to take a short break...slow my heart rate and drink some water. There was one part that kept snaking up, up, and up and I was thinking okay, I need a moment. Other than that, I felt good! I loved the hike and it is one of my favorite things about this trip. I want to do it again! Seeing the beach was breathtaking! It was beautiful! We wind down the trail and after some boulder hopping...we made it! We made it to Hanakapiai Beach! I did it! We found some rocks to sit on and ate our lunch. We got our feet in the water; walked along the beach; just enjoyed every moment of being there. Also, to our right, when facing the ocean, we walked to that end of the beach to find a cave. You could walk in one entrance and out the other. It was a quick upside down horseshoe shape but it was cool and fun! It was during the 1 o'clock hour so we decided to forgo the falls. We felt that we could make the next two miles to the falls but the four coming back instead of two back might be rough on us. We decided to head back and swim at Ke'e. We all agreed that was the perfect decision. We headed back to Ke'e and I was feeling good that I made it to the beach! Along the way we took more pictures and we were all looking forward to diving into the water at Ke'e. From the views, along the hike, Ke'e looked so inviting. The turquiose waters sparkling in the sun! Oh, that's another thing to add...the weather was perfect! It was the perfect day for the hike. It was dry, bright, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. It worked out so well!

    We made it down...we did it! We completed the two miles to the beach and back! Awaiting us was a free spirited couple selling homemade lemonade and popsicles out the back of an suv. They had strawberry and blackberry lemonade. It was the best lemonade we've ever had!!! We downed our lemonade...plopped our stuff in the sand...and dove into the perfectly turquoise crystal clear waters! We swam and floated in this perfect lagoon feeling good that we conquered, if only part, the Kalalau Trail!

    On our next trip, I want to arrive a couple of hours earlier and make it to the falls.

    That night we ate Bubba's for dinner; watched a movie then slept to the sound of the waves.

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    BRAVO...BRAVO =D>=D>=D>

    Congrats. I was gald when you said the ice chest was for the way back and you weren't going to lug it up there with you. lol

    There were a few times when we didn't have time to hike to the beach so we went as far as "Oh my God Turn". That's the area after about 30 mins into the hike of a LOT up uphill, you get your first full glimpse of the NaPali.
    We'd sit there and offer to take people's pix....right after they's stop and say "Oh my God"....

    I sat by the window gazing out at the vast Pacific feeling grateful that I was there for a moment in time.
    Could not have said it any better. :-X

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    Wow, I would love to do that hike! It sounds amazing! Was it really difficult? I don't mind hiking uphill honestly, it's the downhill that i am scared. I think I am always scared of slipping and falling and if it's muddy, forget it! - do you recommend getting some special hiking shoes or are sneakers ok? How many miles is it to the beach?

    What a fabulous first day! Looking forward to more.

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    tifa: Thanks for the comments and I'm so glad your reading and loving my report!

    Thanks, as well, to everyone else!

    My memory from 2007 pegged this hike as difficult but this successful attempt has me feeling different. We were prepared for this hike. It is 2 miles to the beach so 4 roundtrip. It rotates from uphill, downhill, leveled out. As for the downhill...the 2 miles to the beach has a wide trail and I never felt any danger/fear of falling down the side. I know going on to the falls is more inland and jungle so there would be no cliffs to fall from. I have read that past the falls there are parts that can be cliff hugging. Anyone gone past the falls to report on this?

    I have read many warnings that if it has been raining on the North Shore to wait for a few dry days before attempting the hike. The day we hiked it was a perfect dry day. There were not long stretches of hiking in mud but there were a few mud puddles. Also, when down at the beach there is a stream filled with boulders that you have to cross but we boulder hopped off to the right and did not have to get our feet in the water.

    We all wore athletic shoes...I wore a pair of Nikes. I did think about hiking boots but went with my Nikes.

    Day 3: Monday May 27...In which we shop, shrimp, and bike!

    Awake to our morning routine where I'm first up then breakfast to follow. While eating our breakfast, rotating between ocean and Bali Hai views, we said so this is what it's like to win the lottery! Don't have to go to work, eat leisure breakfasts, lounge around, and decide what's in store for the day!

    We decide to head to Kapa'a to shop, eat at the Shrimp Station then bike along the path. Opposite alert: my brother likes to shop and I don't but this is their first trip and DH & I have been many times and will continue to return so we took one for the team. If DH & I are on Kauai then you can bet we are bummin' it on a North Shore beach!

    We head into Kapa'a, park along the street, and start going in and out of shops. I've just never been shopper; I keep things in good condition and keep them for a long time. My brother takes after our mom and likes to update things more often and likes the newest gadget. New things pique their interest. I'm not like that and my money goes towards multiple trips to Kauai! We are in and out of shops until we reach the Shrimp Station. You must know my mom's side of the family is from Louisiana and my mom's parents and her siblings moved to southeast Texas when she was a little girl. They/we (my brother & I are part) Cajun. We like our seafood (my brother more so than I but I like it too). We had to eat some shrimp...I got the fried, they were jumbo, and my brother got the garlic that he had to peel. We sent pictures via text to mom and made her green with envy! The Shrimp Station was a success!

    After we were full on shrimp it was time to bike it off. We headed to Coconut Coasters for bikes. We got on our beach cruiser bikes and off on the path we go! My brother and K had fun on the bikes and you as you know from my 2011 report I'm in love with beach cruiser bikes so DH & I had fun repeating one of our favorite activities. I love this path, the breeze, the smell of salt water. At the end of the path you can take a little red dirt path down to a vast bluff overlooking the ocean. Rocks littering the red dirt overlooking the ocean and a secret cove it looks as if you are walking on Mars. My brother climbed down some rocks and took some poses to send to mom as if he were going to dive into the ocean! Made her nervous and Mom said she was going to kick his butt when we got home! We got back on the path so we could return the bikes and head back to Hanalei. DH & I had Hanalei Pizza for dinner and my brother & K had Chicken in a Barrel.

    Back at the condo for a movie and to fall asleep to the ocean.

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    Chicken in a Barrellllllllllllllllll

    I hope they complete the bike path in my lifetime.
    We were so happy they opened a Shrimp Station in Kapaa but never went this past trip! Go figger'.

    I've never worn hiking boots on any Kauai hikes. Chacos with the big lug soles or Keens with the big treads.
    We hiked it once about a day after a rain and picture Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. weeeeeeee.

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    Can't wait to try Chicken in a Barrel in Hanalei! 5 more days!

    We hiked up to the Hanakapiai Falls. It is a longer hike than it appears as there is a fair amount of scrambling over the rocks as the "trail" crossess the creek a couple of times. It is pretty easy to loose the trail in a few places. My husband slipped and fell off the trail and sprained his wrist. The falls are a worthy payoff, but the trail is a bit of a mess. I'd rather hike the Pihea Trail around the top of Kalalau Valley and head up to the Alakai Swamp area.

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    wekewoody: 4 days for you = :& for me! Do you go every June? How long have you been returning?

    Day 4: Tuesday May 28...Beach bums for a day!

    We've been hiking and biking so now it's time to plop our bums on a beach. DH & I had to return and show off Lumahai so after our breakfast routine off we went.

    We technically were to the east of Lumahai at Kahalahala:
    If you scroll down to the beach video, that still is what the beach looked like that day. The tide was very low and it was like a shallow swimming pool! When we first arrived there were some clouds but after a quick rain shower the clouds went away. When the clouds are away the water just sparkles! Also, in that still, on the far right there is sand curving into the rock well water was spilling over from waves coming in and that area formed a little pool of water that you could sit in. It was a perfect low tide day for swimming! It was a blissful beach bum day! My brother and K loved the beach. K loves to swim so she had a lot of fun. My brother was surprised about how few people were on the beach so DH & I told him that's not hard to find on the north shore.

    Some more clouds start to roll in and we've had plenty of sun so we decide to call it a day. We are grilling tonight so we need to get a few things and K wanted to check out the Juice Bar at the Big Save grocery parking lot so we head into Hanalei. K buys the most fragrant pineapple we've ever smelled at the Juice Bar! We get steaks, potatoes, and corn to grill at the Big Save. Back at the condo, my brother & K hiked down to Sealodge beach and DH & I relaxed on a bench on the bluff. My brother & K are back...time to grill! There is picnic table and grill station at the Sealodge. My brother put some shrimp and steaks on the grill. We were having such a nice time, when we realize that K & I are getting eaten up by mosquitoes! DH runs up to the condo to get the Off. We spray ourselves but with other gnats flying around we all decide to take the food in to eat. We head back into the condo to eat my brother's deliciously grilled food...told you he was a good cook! Our family joke is that I'm the first pancake...you know the first one always gets burned...;) and he got all the talent!

    Relaxing at the condo...the sun sets on another day in paradise!

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    Hi Lou,
    We usually go in either July or August. This is our first time in June. We started going in 2002 and went every year until 2007. Then there was a 5 year drought (why???) until last August at which time, we rebooked for this June. :) Five years away from Hanalei is CRAZY in my book and we'll never let that happen again.

    Carry on!

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    lookin_glass: We stayed in the D7. I actually found out when we returned home that they will not be taking reservations after August because it is being sold. I am hoping it will be available for rent again with the new owners. When it's just DH & I we like the B10.

    wekewoody: We went through a drought too! Our first time to Kauai was May 2007 then we found a great flight deal and went back, for a shorter stay, in August 2007. We decided to go every two years so we planned for October 2009 but DH got laid off one month before the trip! We decided to cancel and finally made it back in May 2011. We were away four years! We said the exact same thing...it will never happen again! Since the May 2011 trip, we went in Sept 2012 and this trip I'm reporting on, May 2013. We are planning to return next year, most likely Sept. We are making up for those lost years...4 years away = 4 years in a row! Hey, I just realized...May (11), Sept (12), May (13), so I must go next Sept (14) to keep my pattern!
    Where do you stay...Hanalei, Princeville?

    Day 5...coming soon!

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    Day 5: Wednesday May 29...

    Before the trip my brother was planning to carve out one day, with a separate car rental, for him & K. They could explore the island at their own pace, stop at shops and DH & I could enjoy a beach day to ourselves.

    We are doing our morning routine of breakfast and lounging and all the while I'm thinking that DH can take my brother & K to the Princeville Airport to get there car. Well after a bit my brother says something about Lihue. I say, your car is at the Lihue Airport? He says he thought I knew so I spring up to get ready. Off we go to get their car...

    We head to Lihue and drop off my brother & K then we take off with plans to head to a north shore beach. We have the island to ourselves! We get back to the condo to get beach ready; get a few things at Foodland then search for a beach to plop on for the day. But we realize that the clouds are not moving out, they are settled in for the day along with a haze. We decide to head east where we came from and where the sun was last seen. I figured we could head to Moloa'a but I didn't have the blue book with me and we couldn't, for the life of us, find this beach. We've been to it but just couldn't remember how to get there. Back north to sit on a cloudy beach...:(.

    I check in with my brother & K, who are on the south shore, with sunny skies...not fair! They are doing some shopping with plans to head east to the Coconut Marketplace. They said we could meet up at Brennecke's for boogie boarding but it was 3:00 and we were up north. That's our plan for tomorrow since we are returning the car in Lihue. There was nothing we could do...we were stuck with the clouds and haze. At least it was only 1 day of a weeks stay.

    My brother & K make it back to the condo around dinner time so we all head to Hanalei. On Sunday when we ate at Bubba's, my brother had chili fries and they smelled so good. Tonight, I wanted chili fries so we ate at Bubba's. My brother & K had planned to look for something else to eat but settled on Bubba's as well. One thing that I hadn't mentioned is that K is on gluten free diet. She has an allergy so she didn't choose it but she feels so much better. The first night at Bubba's she ate the lettuce wrap burger. It works out that Bubba's serves grass fed beef because she can't eat other beef. Well, this night she couldn't find anything to eat so while sitting at Bubba's I notice a sign below the menu that says, Kauai Organic Salad. K got that salad, I don't eat salad, and this salad looked delicious!!

    Looking back, after the trip, I would have done this day differently. I mentioned from the post about Monday that I'm not much into shopping in which I stated that I took one for the team with the Kapa'a shopping. Our Wednesday beach day did not work out because of the clouds. It would have worked out better to do one big shopping day...Kapa'a, Coconut Marketplace, Koloa, with my brother and to not get the extra rental car. We could have done Brennecke's on Wednesday since the south was sunny and then an extra north shore beach day on Thursday.

    Back at the condo...holding on to every moment because the trip is winding down.

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    How nice that you are able to travel to the hell hole again!

    We rent in Hanalei. Love it. If we want to spend $1,000,000 for an 800 sq foot shack we might end up moving there. Who knows?

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    I'm gonna have to check out the sealodge for our next trip to Kauai. It looks like all of you love it there. I must admit, the views look beautiful, but I am the sort of person that cranks the air-conditioning when it's hot. For those of you who love it...is having no A/C ok? Do you notice it?
    Louistraveler...loving the trip report and looking forward to more!!!

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    Kal: I forgot to tell you when you gave me the "bravo"...that I'm taking a curtsey!

    Songdoc: You're back! I was just thinking about you yesterday! I was wondering if you made it back yet and if my trip report caught your eye! Can't wait to read your next report...hint, hint...;)!

    tifa: Having no a/c has worked well for us on all of our trips to the Sealodge. I worried about it before our very first trip but it worked out so I never gave anymore thought for return trips. I love the Sealodge so much because I love being on the north shore; the Sealodge has great prices and is situated perfectly on a bluff with the best ocean views! This most recent trip there was a strong breeze through Tuesday so we had great breezes in the condo. We slept with just a sheet and the first two nights I woke up chilly and had to add a light blanket. While watching tv the breeze was blowing in and it felt good. While you are gone through the day you do have to keep the windows closed in case of any rain so when you return from being out the condos can feel stuffy but if you open all the windows it doesn't take to long to feel some air.

    Here is the condo we were just in: http://www.summitpacificinc.com/pics-sl-d7.html
    The window behind that lounger and behind the couch had good breezes blowing in.

    Here is the one when it's just DH & I: http://hestara.com/b10.htm

    Here are some that I've looked at for future trips if I'm not in the B10...
    Scroll down to G4

    Day 6: Thursday May 30...Wave Action

    DH has been looking forward to this day...boogie boarding at Brennecke's Beach on the south shore. We have our breakfast then get beach ready. We head south; first stop to get boogie boards in Kapa'a then to drop off my brother's rental car in Lihue. We go through the tree tunnel...I love the tree tunnel then arrive at Brennecke's for the day.

    We just love how Brennecke's is perfectly set up for boogie boarding. We eat lunch on the beach then I get the camera because I want some good shots of DH, my brother and K. I get a lot of great pictures then join them in the water. After awhile my brother, K, and I have had plenty of wave action so we get out for a rest but DH stays in. He loves Brennecke's and loves being in the water! I lounged and read my book; my brother & K decided to have a drink at Brennecke's Beach Broiler. After a long while DH finally came ashore, waterlogged! Also, while we were eating our lunch watching the waves we noticed three sea turtles in the water catching their own waves! It was really cool to see! They were just floating along with each wave!

    It was late afternoon and we made a quick stop in Koloa to look around at Crazy Shirts then made the drive back to the north shore. We got ready for dinner and headed back into Hanalei. Tonight we ate at Kalypso...DH & I haven't eaten there before so it was a first for us too. Everyone enjoyed their dinner! It was a long day filled with sun and waves...we slept good!

    Next up...DH & K's birthday!

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    Day 7: Friday May 31...Happy birthday to DH & K!

    DH & I have been together 10 years and my brother & K have been together 9 years. Even after all this time it is still so funny to me that they have the same birthday! I mean, what are the odds!! Actually there is more to the story...DH also shares the same bday with his mom but, sadly, she passed away almost five years ago. One more bday to add to this day...my brother & I's grandpa (our mom's dad) has this bday too but he, also, passed away many years ago.

    Today DH is 32 and K is 27! Birthday breakfast...DH & K lounged while I helped my brother in the kitchen. We enjoy a leisure morning because we don't have to anywhere until 11:30. We are going big for the birthday...we are ziplining! DH & I have talked about doing it on previous trips but we never have. My brother & K have also never ziplined. We booked it with the Princeville Ranch.

    I was a little nervous before arriving at the ranch then I see the harnesses and I get butterflies. I'm not really afraid of heights, but of the idea of being hooked up to something that could unconnect. We all wanted to do it and I wanted to go through with it so I hoped with all my heart that nothing would happen. I figured that people are doing this all day every day! My brother is a little afraid of heights but he wasn't showing it.

    We get in an open air truck with our group and are taken to the ranch. It is over 2500 acres of private land and it is beautiful! We get to the first zip and go around revealing our names, where we are from...there is a guy in our group that's also enjoying his bday! So many bdays on May 31! The tour guides were so funny and sarcastic...they made it a lot of fun!

    The first zip is short about 300 feet. I had nervous butterflies when you have to step up on the platform. The guide is hooking me up to the line and pulling on my harness. I've always worried that what if I got unhooked from the line and fell to my death! After running down the platform and when you are actually zipping across, there is no time to think. It happens so fast and you feel secure on the line so I had fun actually zipping! Just the platform and the moments before are nerve racking! Each zip got longer...until the 1200 foot King Kong!!! Oh, actually I forgot to mention the...dun dun dun...drawbridge! Between two of the zips we had to cross a drawbridge that had slits between each board. Open slits with no netting. We were hooked to the side of the bridge but it was not fun crossing this swinging bridge with nothing under it! I don't like slits in stair like objects! My brother did not like it either. He went in front of me and the guide starting bouncing the bridge! I said, that's not cool! The guides were like this...having fun with us! I started crossing the bridge...one foot at a time...veeerry slooowwwlllyyy and the guide says, you know this is only a two hour tour!! Now onto King Kong!! We have to climb up to a tower...this was my only fear of heights moment. We are atop this very tall tower, being hooked up, trying not to look down, and this one does not have the platform to run off you just jump! This one you race with who you are with on tour and its supposed to be the best but I didn't like this one as much. DH won because I took to long to get off the tower! It was a fun experience, we all had so much fun and we're glad we did it! Lots of fun for their bday!

    We head back to the condo to decide what's up next. We have dinner plans for the Hanalei Dolphin so we needed to talk about what to do. Back at the condo it was almost 3 o'clock. I wanted to go to Lumahai for some beach time and throughout the week, while driving past my brother noticed a miniature golf next to Banana Joe's. My brother, and sometimes DH, play golf back home. My brother thought about playing golf in Hawaii but it is very expensive and for me, I didn't want to take any precious time away during my time on the island. The compromise was miniature golf. My brother thought it would be best to do the golf because we didn't have too much time for the beach before dinner and we could go to the beach the next morning before having to leave to go back home. We all talked it out and agreed that would be best. Also, DH & I have never had Banana Joe's and always wanted one so we headed out to get a banana frosty and to play miniature golf!

    We arrive at Banana Joe's...DH & I have seen it so many times and were surprised by the inside. They had fruit, breads, jams, snacks and so many other things. They even had gluten free bread! Perfect for K but we are leaving tomorrow! We all get a frosty...so yummy! We finally got one after all this time! We head over to the miniature golf. The course was so pretty...plants, flowers, waterfalls. Each hole had an information card about local plants, floral, coffee, and Hawaiian/Polynesian/Asian facts. Ya'll are not going to believe this...DH & K got a hole in one! I almost did...it skimmed the edge and I got robbed! When we started the course the girl at the counter said there was a mystery hole in one. If you get then you can play a round for free next time. When we returned to the counter after playing we find out the mystery hole is number 5, which happened to be the hole in one that K got! What are the odds! I told the girl at the counter that it was DH & K's bday so she gave them a free scoop of ice cream! How nice! What a great day it has been! It couldn't have gone better!

    We head back to the condo to get ready for their birthday dinner at Hanalei Dolphin. We arrive at Hanalei Dolphin and only had to wait 10 minutes. We sat at the outdoor seating while waiting and the sky was turning pink from the soon to be setting sun...just beautiful! Oh, how I love Hanalei! I just feel so grateful to be there! We are seated "inside" as it is under a roof but open air. I love the windows that are perched open which have cutouts of dolphins, sea horse, etc. The grounds are lit up, tiki torches are burning, and candles are on the tables. The food was absolutely delicious...my brother had a steak/butterfly shrimp; K had Alaskan king crab legs with asparagus wrapped in prosciutto; DH had a steak; and I had butterfly shrimp. DH & my brother both said it was the most tender steak they have ever had. I tried DH's and it was so tender. Absolutely delicious! K's crab legs were delicious as well! We got birthday dessert with candles in them...DH & I shared a macnut brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and I'm not sure what my brother & K had. It looked sort of like flan with a glaze and it also came with ice cream. The meal was absolutely scrumptious! It was the perfect ending to a perfect birthday and to the end of our trip!

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    That is so cool how there are so many birthdays on May 31! It seems to be a special date for your family and so it's wonderful you got to spend it in paradise! I must try a banana frosty too! Is it like a smoothie? Have definitely put lots of things on my list of to-dos and must eats on Kauai! Thanks for the Sealodge info! I'm glad to hear the lack of A/C isn't really an issue, I'll definitely be checking it out when we go to Kauai.

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    tifa: I found out about Banana Joe's from another travel blog. Just a frozen banana, nothing else, is blended and it comes out as creamy as ice cream. It was delicious!

    Day 8: June 1...All good things must come to an end!

    We wake up to our last morning in paradise (as far as we knew, more on that later). It's been such a great week that I'm so sad to see it ending. We have our last breakfast looking out at the ocean and Bali Hai. We decide to visit Lumahai, or Kahalahala, before having to pack up and leave the condo. There was actually a week open at the condo between us leaving and someone arriving so we had late check out. DH & I have never done a beach day on our last day. It worked out really well and I'm so glad we had the time there. It was as calm as a swimming pool. We had so much fun in the water and we didn't want to leave...:(. It was really tough to say goodbye but we needed to get lunch then pack up at the condo. Back on Thursday when we ate at Kalypso we saw a sign that said "Hawaiian grilled cheese". We had been wanting to try it all week so we headed there. DH & my brother went with the grilled cheese and K needed to get a salad from Bubba's so I decided to go with Bubba's as well. DH & my brother said the grilled cheese was really good although they didn't go Hawaiian which included a pineapple. DH noted that he was now curious about putting a pineapple on it so he will try that next time. We sat at a picnic table outside of Bubba's just soaking in the last glimpses of Hanalei. I love that town so much! We finish up lunch and finally head to the condo as I give Hanalei one last wave. Until next time...

    Back at the condo it is time to get packing. We get everything packed and loaded into the car. One last once over through the condo and time to say goodbye. Now my heart is really heavy because it's time to leave the north shore. We head east and wave bye to the north shore. First stop, ABC store in Kapa'a next to the Safeway. My brother and K get a few things. DH & I got some mac nut pancake mix for his grandma at her request! We then make our way to The Pineapple Store to find they closed at 1pm. I wanted to check the store out to find out about a pineapple for my mom. I know I've seen the pineapple boxes at the airport but wanted to see what was there before the airport. Oh, well...I'm hoping to get mom one at the airport. We then stop by the airport to turn in a couple of checked bags for my brother & K but the agents are not at the desk until 3 hours before the flight and it is around 4 o'clock. We head on to Koloa to the Crazy Shirt store. We get a shirt for mom & dad...dad's is Kona coffee dyed and mom's is dyed in Blue Curacao. We then proceed to Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo for one last pizza and a piece of chocolate cake! The pizza and cake were delicious and we spend the time reminiscing over the great week it has been and how much we don't want to leave!

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    Day 8 cont'd: How we ended up in Honolulu...

    We get to the airport and the security line is massive! DH & I have never seen it this way. Our flight is usually the 10'clock flight but this trip we are on a different airline so our flight is at 8:30. Another security line was opened but it moved slowly. We finally make it through but we don't see a gate for our flight. I head over to the gift shop because I want to get a pineapple for my mom but the freezer is empty. No pineapple for mom...boo! The airport is really crowded, more crowded than we have ever seen. We are wondering why there is no gate assigned yet so my brother goes to find out. We find out there is a gate and we are boarding! Thanks a lot United! We rush over to the gate and are a few of the last ones to get on the plane. We get settled on the plane and prepare for a flight of barely any sleep that will bring us back to the mainland. Boo! We take off and my heart is heavy that the trip is over and I'm leaving Kauai.

    About an hour into the flight...an announcement is made...I'm sorry but we have to turn around, we have a fuel pump out and will have to turn back to Honolulu. Before we land in Honolulu, we have to fly around for a bit to burn fuel because the plane is too heavy to land!! We just thought we were leaving paradise! After turning around and flying to burn fuel, we land in Honolulu. DH & I never thought we would return to this island. We went to Oahu for our honeymoon, I didn't know about Kauai, found Kauai and would never return to Oahu. We sit on the plane for about 20 minutes to conclude with an announcement that the flight has been canceled. We deplane to wait in a long line to get our taxi/hotel vouchers for the night. We are given vouchers for the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki. We stand in line for the taxis to arrive; we stand in line in the hotel lobby; and finally are in our rooms at almost 2:30am Hawaiian time. We just couldn't believe this was happening...especially with the mechanical issues we also had on our way to Kauai! I have never experienced mechanical issues on any other trip. This was unbelievable! We were at the point where we accepted our fate that the vacation was over and it was time to go home so now you just want to get home! Our flight is now scheduled to leave Honolulu at 1pm bound for Los Angeles. We wake up and decide to walk to Waikiki Beach so my brother and K can see it/take pictures since we are there. When DH & I were on our honeymoon we stayed at the Double Tree at Ala Moana so we knew the area. It has been almost 8 years ago so it was further than we remembered. Our taxi was scheduled to pick us up at 11am so we walked the area to a couple of shops and back to the hotel. We didn't want any mishaps after what we have already been through.

    We get to the airport and our flight takes off at 1pm with no mechanical issues. We land at LAX at 9:30pm so it is too late for any flights going to Austin. We have to wait in line for customer service to see about a hotel voucher and a flight to Austin. My brother took care of everything...we got a hotel for the night, a nice one, and a new flight to Austin leaving at 6:30am on American Airlines! We did have a new United flight that was leaving at 7:35am but it was canceled, notice by email when we landed at LAX so our United flight was going to have us leaving LAX at 11:30am, onto Houston then home at 5pm. After everything that happened to us, they put us on an AA flight. We all agreed that the mechanical issues were horrible and unfortunate but the customer service was great. For all of this trouble we got either $200 certificate to fly in the United States or 20% off anywhere United will fly. I definitely wouldn't want it to happen again just to get a little money off...it's not worth it. We all agreed that we are not flying to Hawaii with that credit! We don't want to take any chances with it being that far and all the mechanical issues/delays we experienced. The AA flight was a breeze and we were home in 2 hours and 30 minutes! I never thought I would be so happy, after leaving Kauai, to be home! There's no place like home, there's no place like home!

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    The most frustrating part about the flight issues was not knowing when we were getting home. When we had to stay the night in Honolulu I was worried about our flight the next day. Would we get off the ground without another issue? When we got to LA, when would we be getting home? Would there be more problems with United?

    The only positive to our delay in getting home was that we got to sleep in beds going back to the mainland instead of sleeping in an airplane chair. We got six hours of sleep in Honolulu and four hours of sleep in LA. I forgot to mention that we landed in LA at 9:30 but we weren't at the hotel until midnight! We had to wait in line at the customer service for United then we waited so long, almost an hour, for the shuttle to the hotel! LAX was just insane! All of the people waiting for shuttles and taxis...and it was so loud! All the people honking and it was just a frenzy! It was 11 o'clock on a Sunday!

    Other than our two day journey home, it was a great week! Before the trip I never would have thought that I would have liked sharing my island. I loved our week there and I'll always remember my week with my brother. When we got home, I actually missed him and K too! We were there, together, morning, noon, and night. It's simple but I miss our breakfasts together and not just because he cooked...;)!

    My brother & K loved the island and they want to go back! We are already talking about returning next year! There are other things we want to show them that were missed; more beach time; and we want to make it to the waterfall on the Kalalau Trail. It will either be next July, for my brother's 30 bday, or next September! Can't wait!

    Thanks for reading and for all the comments!!

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    Fantastic trip report again Louistravler! I can feel your pain about leaving paradise but at least you all got home safe despite the mechanical issues! You know a similar thing happened to me when I was younger...I think I was about 13 or so years old when my mom and 3 sisters were traveling back to Singapore from Los Angeles - our plane had a fuel leak and we had to stop in Honolulu! It was a nice surprise because we were not expecting it at all, and even though we were only on the island for one night leaving the next morning, we got to stay at what is now called the Outrigger Luana (a lovely hotel and one which I returned to with DH on our first trip to Hawaii in 2003) and experience an amazing breakfast with fresh tropical fruit...so it definitely gave us the Hawaii itch!

    I'm glad you had such and amazing trip and that you got to share it with your brother and K. There is nothing like memorable family trips! I hope you guys get to do it again!

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    Wow. You had quite a trip--both good and bad. So sorry you had such a huge hassle with the flights!!! But SO glad you had a wonderful time sharing paradise.

    Fantastic that you made it to Hanakapiai Beach--and rewarded yourself with a swim at Ke'e.

    I'm having a blissful time. Drove DP to the airport to leave paradise this morning--and will enjoy my quiet/writing time until my sister joins me to share paradise in two weeks.

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    This makes me want to book a trip to HI, if I can convince DH that it won't be too much seat time in the plane.

    Better to spend an extra night or two in a hotel than to risk a problem with a plane in the middle of the Pacific.

    Thanks for reporting.

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