drive to kona by way of 8 climate zones

saturday we decided to drive across the island to kailua-kona (the popular/touristy side) which is full of fancy hotels, more people, and some beautiful beaches! we began our drive early enough- i was the captain- red bull in hand.
and andrew was the driving photographer. this is him trying to show what a slow driver i am (people passing me on the one lane highway).
remember last week when i told you about our drive up the volcano with toby? the first bit of our drive was the same stretch of road. but this time it was much more sunny.
sheep crossing.
the hills are rolling and covered with every color you could imagine!
i would not have guessed that this is hawaii!
some clouds came in here and there- but it made the green grass even prettier.
the scenery kept changing- eventually all the trees looked like this.
even needle trees!
and horses!
a little over two hours later, we were almost there.
just a few last twisty- twirly turns...
and after a very crazy drive over a lava field (obviously not still hot) we made it to the water!
ahhhhh what a great sight!
it amazes me how different all the rocks are here. you can see all the colors in the sand.
we strolled a bit.
and watch the crystal water bounce light off the wet sand.
and then we made a short trek over to the best swimming spot.
andrew stopped to throw a coconut.
and then we were there!
of course we brought the football.
look at the colors in those waves! especially right where it is breaking on the left- so beautiful.
there were a few other families here, but the difficult drive in makes this beach much less crowded.
we posted up by a tree. (yes that is my navy/green bag on the top branch- and yes it was my diaper bag as an infant)
these kiddos were having so much fun.
and then came a honu (sea turtle)!
he found a warm spot right by our feet and we actually had to get out of his way. hawaiian sea turtles are very protected and it is illegal to get very close to them. this one totally kicked us out of our spot by the tree!
after a lot of swimming and a bit of sun tanning, we made our way back to the car. see?? i told you the path was treacherous for little blue!
god speed little blue.
we made it out of there will all four tires in tact- but our tummies were grumbling. we are not familiar with kona in the least and really just wanted to sit by the water and eat a bite. like any tourist town, all the best spot are monopolized by stupid restaurants with outrageous prices and chilis-esque food.
but we went anyway. a cold beverage and some wings hit the spot after the long day of driving, salt, and sun.
and so we began our journey home. just as we made it back up into the hills, a thick fog landed on us. i even stopped for a photo of this tree.
yikes! we could barely see!
that sign out there is a picture of smokey the bear asking you to prevent forrest fires.
the fog finally went away and soon we were home.
and toby was so excited to see us!! (this is the classic "toby's excited circle spin")
he was moving too fast to get a non blurry picture!
we thanked him for being so patient by giving him a puppy snack.
munch munch.. i forgive you.. munch munch crunch...
better get all the crumbs!
then we went for a long nighttime walk. i tried to take a photo of andrew and toby but one of them was moving their head in every shot. andrew moving here.
and toby moving here.
that'll do tobe.
(read as the farmer in babe would say, "that'll do pig").
the good thing about toby is how quickly he forgives a wrong when bribed with snacks... and we promised to take him to kona someday.

hope you are having a beautiful weekend!


first sampling of hawaiian cuisine

last night, our dear hilo friend, allan, invited andrew and i to a high school fundraiser/recognition dinner. we had a table with all their friends and it was so nice to sit and chat with people over some amazing food.
here is andrew and allan at our table.
and here is my food! from top left clockwise:
pulled pork and white rice,
some sort of long rice chicken thing (basically noodles),
something with salmon and other stuff chopped up,
green mush that actually tastes amazing- has calamari in it and i think maybe seaweed?
a cube of coconut stuff- sweet and delish,
and that cup on the left is poi.
and any hawaiians that just read my description of this food are now laughing ("green mush?").
but the good news is- i have officially eaten hawaiian food! and it was oh so good.
this is allan's granddaughter mika. his company, big island candies, makes the most delicious sweets you have ever tasted. the amazing "mika mints" are named after this little cutie below. and introducing... new mika passion chocolates! i'm quite sure they are also amazing.
see? big island candies table- with my name misspelled at the bottom! woot!
here is our table with lovely centerpiece.
here are our boxes of sweets. yum!
and allan got us an alumni cook book! of course, he has a recipe inside.
and here it is! note his suggestion at the end: if it doesn't turn out, order pizza!
love it. loved the evening. loved the food. thank you so much for including us!