Author Topic: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai  (Read 19948 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2015, 12:05:19 PM »
Great segment! I agree with MP, Queen's Bath looks similar to the Olivine Pools on Maui, which were indeed excellent. I think one difference seems to be that the Olivine Pools have a lot more shallow water to stand in.

Too bad for the rain though! Having been on vacation in a place where all the activities are outdoors during a rain storm I know what it's like to not be able to do the things you want to do. At least you were able to drive to the sun, which wasn't the case with us in Rio.

Nice pics!

Offline stbaum

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2015, 12:25:41 PM »
just spent the better half of my morning reading through the whole report (so far). your incredible details in this and your other reports makes me feel like i'm a part of your trip. thank you! where are we going next? :)
My greatest achievement? I am fluent in FRIENDS quotes

Offline Ergel

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2015, 01:18:52 PM »
Ever consider investing in a real camera?
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Offline noturbizniss

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2015, 02:12:09 PM »
Ever consider investing in a real camera?
Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
READ THE DARN WIKI!!!!

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Offline Ergel

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2015, 02:14:32 PM »
Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
And there's probably a puddle that you need to walk throught to get to the store, so...  :P
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2015, 02:40:23 PM »
Wow!!!!!! Great start to the TR! Looking forward to reading the whole thing, despite it being the size of a novella. Way to go!
+1. great shabbos reading!
READ THE DARN WIKI!!!!

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Offline @Yehuda

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2015, 03:50:22 PM »
Looks to me like Kalalau.
Good, got it right. :)

Great segment! I agree with MP, Queen's Bath looks similar to the Olivine Pools on Maui, which were indeed excellent. I think one difference seems to be that the Olivine Pools have a lot more shallow water to stand in.

Too bad for the rain though! Having been on vacation in a place where all the activities are outdoors during a rain storm I know what it's like to not be able to do the things you want to do. At least you were able to drive to the sun, which wasn't the case with us in Rio.

Nice pics!
Thanks, can't wait to try out the Olivine Pools one day! Yeah, the rain was a damper on our day, but like I said, didn't detract too much from our vacation. Thanks, I'm glad I took many more than I have on previous trips.

just spent the better half of my morning reading through the whole report (so far). your incredible details in this and your other reports makes me feel like i'm a part of your trip. thank you! where are we going next? :)
Haha, thanks! I do try to bring the reader into the story. I wish I knew... you can come with me to my in-laws :P

Ever consider investing in a real camera?
Not really. While the better quality would be nice, I don't want to be carrying around another thing on trips, and we really like that all our pics get instantly saved to Dropbox and can be instantly shared to our friends and family on FB. The photobook pictures (our other use of our pics) are so small and low quality anyway that even when I've looked at other people's books who used a real camera, the pictures were just as grainy as mine. The only time I wish I had better quality pics is when I want to blow up a picture into a canvas. Nu nu, I'll live with the lower quality canvases.

Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
lol

And there's probably a puddle that you need to walk throught to get to the store, so...  :P

Offline AharonInIsrael

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2015, 04:27:30 PM »
Wow, great TR! Thanks for sharing all the details! The hard work is appreciated :)

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2015, 04:38:40 PM »
there was a sighting of lox.. from regal.. I guess they didnt want c"v to go away from the minhag from many generations

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2015, 08:54:34 PM »
Wednesday, 8/19

In case you thought I might have caught up with the jetlag by this point, I woke up this morning at 5:30AM. My wife had been doing a decent job of sleeping in till a more normal hour, but not I. After Davening Shacharis and getting breakfast from the Grand Club, we were ready to head out for the day. The plan had been to go up to Waimea Canyon, but we decided we’d get in some beach time before going for the drive.

In less than 5 minutes from the GHK, we pulled up to Po’ipu Beach. There were a bunch of parking lots across the street from the beach, so we pulled into one and then checked with the store nearest to the lot to make sure we were actually allowed to park there. All was good, so we grabbed our stuff from the car and headed to the beach. The beach is made up of 2 half-moon/arch shapes, and we settled down on the Po'ipu Beach Park side.



Before 9AM, the place was basically empty.


Left side of the left half-moon


Right side of the left half-moon

The sand wasn’t too incredible as it’s attached to a park, so the sand was interspersed with grass until pretty close to the water (as you can see in the pictures), but we weren’t there for sunbathing. The water was a bit cool at first, but within a few seconds, we were comfortable. With a lifeguard on duty and the wall of lava rocks on the left side to protect from the waves (see left of top picture), we felt very comfortable swimming here. The ocean floor at this point is not too sandy, so my toes got pretty cut up, but what we saw made it all worth it. The water was so clear, and with goggles, we saw some beautiful fish. A few minutes with goggles made us hungry for more, so we found the closest snorkel rental place across the street and rented sets.



While I thought we would go to a Snorkel Bob’s to rent gear (and we did pass one while driving), this one was right next to the beach and did a fine job for our first time snorkeling. It’s funny because I had done research into the type of snorkel we should rent, but we really just took whatever they gave us. The only specification they really gave was shoe size. Rentals were $6.25 after tax for the day, which was expected based on my research, and a great price in our opinion. I decided to pass on the float vest, which I had been planning to get due to my comfort level in the water (which, by the way, has changed drastically because of this trip!), and I’m glad I did, as I was fine. We walked back to the beach and got on our gear. After 2 minutes, we both threw off the flippers as we simply couldn’t understand how one is supposed to walk or swim in them. Even my wife (who is a good swimmer) hated wearing them. Lesson for next time, though, is to get water shoes to keep my feet from getting cut up on the rocks/shells below.

Snorkeling was an awesome, awesome experience. I feel like almost everything was a highlight on the trip, but snorkeling was definitely one as well. The lava area in the water provided great snorkeling, despite being shallow enough to stand up in. It was so cool to swim on the same level as the fish, and we saw huge schools and some stupendously colorful fish. We swam out to the right and the closer we got to the right half-moon of the beach (not in my pictures), the fewer fish we saw. There were also more people on the right side, so we quickly turned around and stuck near the left side.

I had brought one of those waterproof bags for my phone so I could take underwater pictures, but that totally didn’t work. #1 my screen was too dark to see what I was taking a picture of, #2 the bag kept interfering with the clarity of the picture, and #3 I totally forgot that wet fingers can’t do anything on touch screens – and that principle applies to touch screen bags as well. I had to press 10 times to get 1 picture. Afterwards, I realized I could have pushed my volume buttons to take the pictures and couldn’t believe I forgot that at the time. Oh well. Either way, this was the *best* of all my pictures. Haha



If you can somehow see the fish on the left side, it was gorgeous. We saw several of these, and they were beautiful. But yeah, my pictures didn’t work. It looks more like this in real life:


Courtesy of Google Images and some random site

After 2 and a half hours, we were finally getting tired, so we packed up and headed out, taking our snorkeling gear with us in case we made it to another beach that day. When we left at 11:30AM, the beach was busier.



I didn’t expect to stay that long, but we had a great time, so we didn’t regret it despite delaying our journey to Waimea. However, once we were in the area anyway, I had to delay Waimea for just a drop longer. We drove 5 minutes down the road and pulled up to Spouting Horn. We parked in the lot and walked past the little shops selling souvenirs until we got to the viewing point. I’m not quite sure where people can climb down to actually go to the water, but we had no interest anyway. Seeing the geyser from above for 5 minutes was fine for us. It got different heights on different blows and was a cool stop on the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                 

Back on the road for about ˝ hour, we turned onto Waimea Canyon Drive. I expected a larger intersection, so watch out for it carefully. The drive up was very nice. The road is on the narrower side and has plenty of sharp curves, but it’s not too bad. My wife slept for most of the ride up, and I went slowly and enjoyed the views that change with every turn. There were plenty of convertibles throughout Kauai, but they were especially noticeable on this road. Any time a car got close to me, I pulled over and let them pass, so I could take my time comfortably. It was at this point that my phone battery/charger started acting up (it hasn’t been the same since) and within a few minutes, my low charge went to 0 and the phone wouldn’t recharge or turn on. I knew the drive was just straight to the top and back down, so I wasn’t nervous about that, but it meant no phone for pictures. We decided we would go all the way up the mountain to see the different lookouts and then stop for a hike on the way back down.

30 minutes after turning onto the Drive (driving slowly), we made our first stop at Waimea Canyon Lookout, which is about halfway up the mountain. There is a big parking lot next to the lookout point. The vastness that opens before your eyes is awe-some! The view of the canyon with its red and green mountains, jagged slopes and waterfall on the left side is gasp-inducing. It was a shame we couldn’t grab a picture, and I was quite upset, but thankfully that would soon change.

We headed back to the car and continued driving towards the next lookout. The mile markers were marked clearly, and with having looked at the book’s maps, I knew when to expect the lookouts. The plan was to head to the top where the book suggests to skip the more-popular Kalalau Lookout and go just 2 minutes further to the much nicer Pu’u O Kila Lookout. We arrived at the Kalalau Lookout about 30 minutes later (again, I was driving slowly), and decided we might as well just turn off and take a look. The main reason to normally skip it is because it’s crowded, but we could see the parking lot was nearly empty. There was a reason for that. The only thing we were looking out upon was a big cloud of fog. :( We jumped back in the car and figured we might as well try the Pu’u O Kila Lookout, but 2 minutes later, we found ourselves once again staring into a big cloud. I guess that’s why they say to make this trip earlier in the day before the clouds set in. While up here, it started lightly raining, so perhaps that also led to the cloudy afternoon. We ate our bagel lunch in the car and then headed back down the mountain. The whole time my wife was playing with my phone and charger and finally got it to turn back on and sort of accept the charge! With less than 10% battery, we decided to jump out at Waimea Canyon Lookout once again and snap some photos. Unfortunately, the clouds were making their way over here, so the pictures came out slightly dark.




Panoramic view with waterfall (thin, vertical grey line on the left) in the distance and the vast red and green canyon below

We continued down the road for just a bit because the hikes we were considering were right nearby. I had picked out 2 options – the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls and the 1st half of the Po’omau Ditch Trail – based on my tastes and the book’s recommendations, but when we pulled over we had a decision to make. The rain was heavier now than it was back up top, and we were really tired already from swimming all morning and driving for a long time. We weren’t sure how wet the trails were and whether we were up for it, but we knew that this would basically be our last chance to go for a hike in Hawaii, and it would be a shame to miss out on that experience. My kind wife left the decision up to me, but between being tired myself and the weather, plus seeing how she wasn’t really into it, I decided we would pass. Despite debating the pros and cons of the different water bottle options here, and deciding to create my own insulated water packs (just $10 each!) and put them in our already-owned backpacks, we headed back down the mountain.


@YehudaBaks

On the way down, I pulled over to snap a picture when I noticed the island of Ni’ihau in the distance.



A bit further down, as the sky was getting clearer ahead (again, the craziness of Hawaii), I pulled over to get a snap of the Camaro.



I also grabbed a sweet shot (if I may say so myself) of the scenery ahead.



Once we reached the bottom of the Drive, we had another decision to make. The plan had been to make our first (and only) trip to the West Shore and swim a bit in Queen’s Pond and then check out the 12-mile-long Polihale Beach for what’s supposed to be a beautiful sunset. But, we looked at each other and knew that instead of turning right to the West Shore, we would be turning left and heading back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped by a souvenir store and picked up a Kauai shotglass – got one with roosters on it ;D – and less than an hour later, dropped our snorkel gear back off at the surf shop and made it back to the GHK.

As the books warns, it’s not difficult to get caught up in the beauty and comfort of the GHK and so we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the pool and saltwater lagoon.




Once again, the lagoon was almost empty. This time, at around 4PM

After some fun in the sun, we grabbed some sodas from the Grand Club (again, nice to have that), went back to the room, Davened Mincha and warmed up dinner. Tonight’s menu was the chicken cutlet for my wife and the BBQ chicken nuggets for myself. The cutlet looked pretty standard but it was actually very good and the nuggets were fantastic. Splurging the extra $2 for the asparagus (which turned out to be of the white variety) was totally not worth it. Next time it'll be cauliflower and roasted potatoes for us for every meal. :P





After Maariv, I called UA to see if they could move our seats for our return flight, since we were in the back row (because it was our honeymoon), and the rep said, "Sure!" and put us in row 7 – turns out that’s Economy Plus. :) I then Davened Maariv and we began packing up our stuff a little before it was time to call it a night on our last full day in Hawaii…


Thursday, 8/20

Believe it or not, I didn’t write down what time I woke up today, so I don’t remember. :P

After Shacharis, we packed up as much as we could and then headed to the Grand Club for breakfast before going out for one last trip to the pools/lagoon. Originally, the plan was to do Po’ipu Beach and Spouting Horn this morning, but since we had done them yesterday, a chill hour or two at the hotel pools would be fine for us and less hectic. As you can tell, we loved – and were really comfortable at – the hotel, which, combined with being tired most afternoons, limited some of our activity-doing. Nu nu, we still had a blast!


One last goodbye to the pool…


…and one last goodbye to the lagoon

Around 11AM, we cleared out of the room (it was weird leaving all our leftover drinks and a toaster oven – but what else are you supposed to do?) and checked out of the hotel. It was suggested to us to use GasBuddy to find the cheapest place to fill up the car, but the site was simply inaccurate.



While Costco was the cheapest option (but I don’t have membership nor was I interested in dealing with getting Costco gift cards just to save $4), the Chevron station we passed was actually $3.38, and on our own, we found a Shell station that was actually cheaper by a few cents (thought I wrote down the price, but I can’t find it). Gas cost $45 to fill up (it wasn't completely empty and that's definitely cheaper than the ~$60 we would have paid if we pre-paid) and within a few minutes, we pulled into the Dollar location. We dropped off the car and went to the cashier, where we had to wait a short while in line while someone ahead of us complained about the car they were given. When it was our turn, we changed the credit card on file to my A+ so we could cover the charge with points as mentioned above, jumped on the shuttle that was waiting and were in the airport 3 minutes later. Now that we no longer had our POM box to take with us, and since we were flying in coach, we opted not to use our United credit card to cover the bag fees and rather take our bags as carryons (not taking a chance of losing a bag again!). Without checking bags and with having TSA Precheck, we were through security in no time, with plenty of time for one last souvenir shopping trip in the airport. Shotglasses here were actually the same price as in the shop we got our first one, so this time we got a generic (but beautiful) Hawaii one.

Once on the plane, we realized our bumped up seats were actually the first (bulkhead) row of Economy Plus! Free extra space is always nice. :)


Economy Plus bulkhead legroom

Once we were up in the air, we asked the stewardess if she would mind warming up our last POM meals. I pulled them out to show them to her and she said sure, but not until she first goes through her service run through the cabin (which, of course, makes sense). Once she was done, it was clear that she forgot about us, so I brought the meals to the back, and she apologized for forgetting and had no problem warming them up. After what felt like forever (although that's what we’ve gotten used to with POM meals), our penne alla vodkas arrived and were as scrumptious as ever! We settled in for the 5.5 hour flight, and with that, said goodbye to Hawaii!



We landed on time and found ourselves in a fairly large LAX airport. With not having to pick up any bags, we were outside in a reasonable amount of time where our wonderful host, Yehoshua, picked us up to take us to his home. Not too much chitchatting later and we were sound asleep – sad to have left Hawaii, but glad to have an LA extension to our vacation!

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2015, 09:22:23 PM »
In the future keep in mind, you don't need membership to get gas in Costco. It's for sure like that in the tri state area, I think it's all costco's though.

Offline coralsnake

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2015, 09:23:59 PM »
In the future keep in mind, you don't need membership to get gas in Costco. It's for sure like that in the tri state area, I think it's all costco's though.
Depends on the state and sometimes the county.
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Offline tzifanya54

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2015, 09:28:06 PM »
Depends on the state and sometimes the county.
That's funny I have been to like 10 different ones all over the tri state. I never needed membership.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2015, 09:37:55 PM »
Wow, Wednesday and Thursday in the same post! Impressive! Too bad about the top of Waimea Canyon, but it definitely looks like you had a great time overall. I don't think I could've spent that much time at any hotel just relaxing if you paid me!

Offline coralsnake

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Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2015, 09:44:24 PM »
That's funny I have been to like 10 different ones all over the tri state. I never needed membership.
You need to get out more:
http://m.costco.com/gasoline-q-and-a.html

"Q: Can anyone buy fuel at a Costco Gas Station?
A: The Gas Station is open to Costco members only. There is an exception: Costco Cash Card customers do not need to be Costco members."


ETA- sorry for hijacking the thread @Yehuda. Now back to your regularly scheduled TR
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