Growing up as a Boodel, most of our vacations when I was younger were to Florida. We would visit my grand parents in Pompano Beach and my aunt uncle in Boca Raton. Right around our honeymoon, The Wife and I were driving to visit Boy Genius & his wife Jackie (Brother and Sister-In-Law) at their place in West Palm Beach and I was trying to remember the condominium where my grandparents lived. I remembered it about 2 months later, back in Vegas while we were driving on The 15 to The Strip. I remembered it and shouted “CRANE CREST!” The Wife first told me to take it from a 10 to a 2, then asked me if I needed medication for turrets syndrome. Now, randomly, she’ll yell out “CRANE CREST” to make fun of me. I’m rambling.
When we visited Florida, we spent much of those trips either at the beach, the pool, or indoors. Occasionally we’d do something adventurous like Disney World, but that was pretty rare. My later childhood travels were specifically related to horse show schedules. On all of those trips, we mostly traveled by car and went to towns in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona – not to mention many towns in Colorado where we lived. Lets just say, vacations after we bought our first horse weren’t really vacation – all work. Not very exciting when you’re 8-16 years old.
Now on the other hand, many of the kids I went to school with went to places like California, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. I always thought it would be great to visit those places, but the closest I ever got was in 9th grade when my uncle took me with him to the Florida Keys. We stayed in Islamorada and I fell in love with the ocean. I didn’t see the ocean again until I was about 28 years old and traveled with some friends to Hermosa, Newport and Huntington Beaches in California. It was on that trip that I decided to make Surf City, USA my home. For nine months. It was way too slow paced for me by then and The Wife was living in Las Vegas, so it didn’t make much sense to be in a city full of beautiful women on surfboards when A. I didn’t surf, and B. I had a girlfriend in another state. That’s how I ended up in Las Vegas.
But the one place that always stuck in my head was when kids I grew up with would go to Hawai’i. I don’t know why, but I always had a stigma about Hawai’i. I guess it always seemed like it was so touristy and cliche. I boycotted it once I could actually afford to travel there on my own. At one point, ArNald, a Fraternity brother, lived in Maui and always wanted me to come visit. I was still boycotting it, so I passed. It didn’t last long for him either before he headed back to the Main Land. I’ve avoided Hawai’i trips for so long that I should have known that when the couple that introduced The Wife and I invited us a third time, it was time to go. They had been married in Kaua’i in 2002 and we couldn’t join them, with my move to Huntington Beach and The Wife’s move to Las Vegas at the time. They invited us again earlier last year – we again had to pass with The Wife’s brother’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. When the third invitation came, we decided it was time for us to go.
And So I was introduced to The Big Island, AKA the Island of Hawai’i. I’ve always been confused about Hawai’i. People always talk about Kaua’i, O’ahu and Maui, not to mention about 2,000 other city names I can’t remember. I’d heard people refer to The Big Island in the past, but I always thought it was used as common speak in reference to whatever island had Honolulu – I never know it was O’ahu. I never realized it was actually called The Big Island, nor that there was actually a big island in comparison to the other islands. I have to say, though, this experience was incredible. For anyone who hasn’t been to Hawai’i before, or who has been to the other islands but haven’t visited The Big Island, I highly recommend it.
Here are a few interesting facts:
- The Big Island is larger than all the other islands combined. I guess that’s not including The Big Island as that wouldn’t make sense. It takes about 10 hours to drive the loop around the island.
- All of the Hawaiian Islands are formed from Volcanoes. The Big Island is formed from 5 Volcanoes, two of which are still active and one of which (Kiluea) is still erupting molten lava.
- The Big Island is made up of one massive volcano (Mauna Loa) that is actually the largest mountain in the world if you measure it from it’s base which is 18,000 feet below sea level. That makes the mountain 32,000 feet which is significantly taller than Mt. Everest. Sorry to Sir Edmond Hillary – he could have gone to Hawai’i and surfed, then climbed only 14,000 feet of actual mountain and not frozen his Frerking (big ups to The Greatest Vet of All Time, Dr. Thad Frerking) ass off, though it does snow on the top of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea between December and May.
- British Royal Navy Captain James Cook introduced the rest of the world to Hawai’i. When he visited The Big Island, it was during the time of worship that centered around peace, so they welcomed him and his crew. When he left, his boat broke (cracked mast), so he turned around and upon arrival, the Hawaiians were worshiping the gods of war instead of the gods of peace. So, they killed him. Lesson learned – always carry a spare mast as you never know what’s around the corner.
- Waimea is a city in the north that houses the headquarters of The Parker Ranch which is the largest privately owned ranch (about 175,000 acres) in the United States.
- Sunsets – they are spectacular when you can see them on The Big Island. Much of the island gets covered by the haze from the Volcanoes, so there are times when the sunset is blocked out. However, because of the haze, when you get a sunset you get a great view. There’s this phenomenon called The Green Flash – it’s the couple seconds as the sun passes below the water – has to do with refraction of light or something along those lines. I guess you’re not really supposed to stare at it – it is the sun – but it’s pretty cool if you can see one. I only saw one real sunset. The rest disappeared into the haze.