Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hana Hou, Na'alehu, Hawai'i

I may have been remiss in not showing you the southernmost restaurant in the United States. We were running a little behind, timewise, as we had to be at Mauna Lani for dinner and we were at the southern most point of the Big Island . To give you some perspective, here is a map of the whole Island


here is a close up of the south part


If you add up the miles it doesn't appear that far but roads are narrow, and you have to slow down in the small towns. Usually you are only travelling 35 MPH. We have to budget 1-1/2 hours to go the 55 miles back to Kailua-Kona, and another 45 minutes to go north the 35 miles to Mauna Lani, plus a buffer. They patrol the speed limit very agressively. There are speed readers everywhere the limit drops to 35 MPH and you will not recoqnize the HPD. We saw a Black Mustang GT with blacked out windows pull someone over. Lights were flashing behind the grill and behind the windows. There would be no way to know it was a enforcement officer. We also saw a black 4 dr Charger with chromed mags so we thought all their cars were black, until we saw the White 4 dr Toyoto SUV.

(Hana Hou Restaurant: southern most restaurant in the United States)Latitude: 19deg 3'57" north)

I just had to have a meal here


we were in luck, the sign shows "MMMMM good . . ." so it must be


of course, who knows when I will be back this way again so I take a few more pixs


There are pictures anc accolates all over the wall for community involvment by the owners. I noticed this sketch since it includes a Corvette


I have noticed that the Hawai'ians consider pork to be a staple, so I ordered the pulled pork with Mac and potato salad, which is also an islander favo(u)rite. I think they call it Mac Salad, sort of a potato salad with macnamonie (macaroni to you adults)


Mrs Skoot had the same pulled pork but in some sort of a wrap so as to minimize carbohydrate intake. The soup was really good, either that or we were too hungry to wait for the photo


across the street is a huge bakery which serves the entire Kona coast (from here).


again it has the Key West feel, even though I have never been to KW. I suppose all tropical places have verandas and overhangs


one last shot and we were off heading north towards our prearranged dinner


If you find yourself in this area, stop by for a meal and head over to South point. The food was delicious and not because we were hungry


other than that weathered sign (above) there is no fanfare about the location. There are no markers or other commercialized anything, there are no trinkets to purchase and no one to sell you anything. It is a place of solitude, to gather your thoughts and watch the water as if on a warm summer's day . Charlie6 (<-- click link) asked a previous question about those wood structures at the edge of the cliff. I found out by accident. Just google Cliff diving at south point and many videos will pop up for you to view.


We felt as if we had driven to the edge of the world, just don't fall off

(Ka'Lae: South Point, the edge of the world)


Nearly forgot, here is a short video showing you the inside of Hana Hou

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Historic Holualoa, Kona district, Hawai'i


By chance, we just happened to 'stumble' upon this historic town by taking the Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 180) after our tour of a Kona Coffee Plantation. We find that by taking the roads less travelled sometimes you end up at interesting locations with great scenery. The roads are narrow with little room on the shoulders to stop for photos.


It turns out that Holualoa was the only sugar town in the area. Land was cleared for sugar cane and this town became its commercial centre for 27 years. It was also headquarters for the Kona Telephone Company established in the 1890's . Mules were used to string wires from Hilo across the island to Kona.

(Historic Kona Hotel)

Which is now known as the PINK HOTEL


Tourism has kept this town alive by turning houses into Art Galleries, studios and shops. Of course, not being a native of this region I am not that smart to know all this information.

(Ferrari Kona Coffe Co., prev: Garage & Ikeda Gas Station 1920's)

It comes from a Driving Guide along with historic pictures supplied courtesy of the Kona Historial Society's archives

(Koike Feed Store, prev: Koike Barber Shop & Pool Hall, 1925)

(Private residence, prev: Yoneyama House, 1920)

It's all laid out on this walking guide


The building in the background is still there, Paul's Place is the local general store


The Holuakoa Cafe & visitors' centre used to be Toyoki Ueda Garage (1920)

(Holuakoa Cafe has excellent reviews)

(Private residence)

The main landmark in this town is the "Pink Hotel" (<-- click link), otherwise known as the Kona Hotel, which was built by the Inaba's and is still operated today by Goro & Yayoko Inaba.

(view from Ferrari Coffee, which used to be a garage)

If you happen to be driving past and notice this pink hotel, it would be time well spent to stop and have a gander


I asked permission to walk about inside to discover its secrets, and I may reveal them in part two, Maybe . . . if you are "good"

A preview . . . to tweak your interest


Sunday, January 24, 2010

January in Vancouver

It was bound to happen. Our vacation to an exotic land is over and back to the routine mundane life of a struggling worker. From perfect 85F temperatures in T-shirts and shorts to grey skies and threatening clouds. Compared to the rest of the country we are doing quite well at 8c (47F). A virtual heat wave if you consider the ice and snow on the prairies, or the tumultuous rains down in California, or the massive snow storms we had to endure last year. It had been a few weeks since I had ridden due to frost and ice in the mornings, and I didn't wish to tempt fate by riding the week before our trip just in case slippage should happen a week before our trip


This morning I rolled my Wee out of the carport, got a chamois and wiped all the dust and dirt off some exteriors and checked the tire pressures. Lucky thing since the tires were low. The fronts were 29psi, rear 28psi, when they should have been 41 and 33 respectively. I got out my portable craftsman air compressor to fill them up


The compressor has a built in digital pressure gauge making the job easy. Just pull the trigger until the desired pressure is reached. We have been lucky this year. No snow so far and the temperatures are very mild leaving our roads devoid of sand and salt. It was good to ride around town and having the freedom that being on 2 wheels affords. I thought it best to stay around town and concentrate on slow speed maneuvers and play tourist in my own town

I first headed over to the Scooter Hive to visit with Christian. They seem very busy working on Vespas getting them ready for the new riding season. Spring is nearly here. He is a master mechanic


I decide to ride along the waterfront where I notice a lot of security because of the Winter Olympics it is being heavily patrolled and they are enforcing no parking alongs its perimeter. The parking areas are also chained-off


I make my way down to Canada Place and the security truck is driving past very slowly giving me the eye. I don't think they like people taking pictures of the area. Further east they have the approaches to all the waterfront docks cordoned off: NO access allowed. There are guards stationed on all the ramps and approaches. I was surprised to find this road open


As I am heading through the downtown core, I decide to stop along English Bay to snap a photo of the Inukshuk, the symbol of the Winter Olympics


The skies are Grey with threat of rain. A huge change from the sunshine and heat we had become accustomed to in Hawai'i . I wished that I could have ridden over there but it just didn't make sense to rent a bike at $150. per day, when I got a screaming deal on my rent a car which was only $105. per WEEK, plus taxes.

I decided to pose my Wee in front of the stainless steel crab which is located in front of the Planetarium, which is officially known as the HR MacMillan Space Centre (<-- click link)


I head over to the Government dock down in False Creek adjacent to Granville Island to pose my Wee and watch the locals.


I find it a peaceful place to contemplate and watch the vessels in the harbo(u)r. There is a very popular fish & chip vendor here and along the docks today they are selling shrimp and salmon, fresh off the boat.


That's the fish & chip place in the background. There is generally a line-up


Here's a photo of the Shrimp we purchased at Costco in Hawai'i . Fully cooked with garlic and cilantro added and only $8.95


We wanted to shop where the locals shopped and ended up here. I just couldn't pass by the cooked shrimp so we had to purchase a POUND and devour it at the bench outside


It makes me hungry just looking at it. Now it has made me hungry for more shrimp

(Vancouver Docks)

There is no activity on the docks during the weekend and I find it a relaxing place to snap a few photos of the idle cranes.


As I think about where we had been the previous week and the lack of riding gear which is considered acceptable in a tropical environment I think of all the layers that I had to don in my quest for a ride in the city. Blue jeans, riding pants with liner, flannel shirt, riding jacket, thermal layer, leather gloves, helmet, fleece neck warmer and leather riding boots, not to mention all the inner wear.

(Typical scooter rider attire, note flip flops on the right)

If I lived in Hawai'i (or even Key West, FL) , then this would be IT

(I had to squeeze the Pink Crocs in, somehow . . .)


Spotted in Kona, Hawai'i: 12 Passenger Mazda pick-up truck

(8 in the box, with at least 4 in the Cab)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Ali'i Street, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

When we were planning our vacation, all of our plans were to go to Kona and rent an oceanview condo . We arrived at the Kona International Airport (KOA). Little to our surprise the locals don't call this place Kona, but rather Kailua-Kona. I can only surmise that it is an amalgamation of two places to make it sound larger. Even when I went on Accuweather there was no Kona, but they listed Kailua (without the Kona).

As much as I prefer driving/riding on unfamiliar roads and taking pictures, near the end of our trip we had to allow for a souvenir day. This is a day to walk about as tourists to survey the trinket stores with the idea of bringing back some little momentos to give away when we get home. There is one main road which threads its way through town known as Ali'i . (pronounced: Alee-eee)

There are lots of places where you can sit and enjoy a meal while people watching


Or you could enjoy an icy snack and sit on the lava rock wall


There is definitely a lack of visitors due to the economic situation and you can have the stores to yourselves


you could even have the streets to yourselves as you will notice by the empty roads


With so few customers all the storekeepers were very friendly and helpful. As January is in-between seasons as far as merchandise is concerned you weren't always able to obtain the correct size in your desired pattern, but if you were lucky to find your size then you could take advantage of the discounted/clearance pricing. Large discounts or two for one


I also noticed this Beemer rider with the requisite Hawaiian riding gear, with matching passenger


This reminded me of Key West Florida, even though I have never been there, this is the type of building that I imagine is there


I looked up and noticed this palm tree which makes me feel that I am in a tropical place


most of the side streets are narrow and one way


If you were young with no money and had no where else to hang out then you would find yourself sitting in this lane next to a hot dog stand, which is just behind the Hostel


there are lots of moped (49cc) scooters in Kona as they are cheap to operate, require no insurance or even a driver's license


halfway down the strip (Alii) there is a Farmer's Market which is open Wednesday to Sundays. They have all sorts of stuff, especially jewellry and other art crafts, trinkets, aloha shirts, mu'u mu'u's . Most people say MOO MOO but that is wrong, it should be pronounced MOOO-OOO M000-OOO, that's why I put in the apostrophe to emphasize the second OO.

(John is on the right, who sells orchid Lei's, which he makes himself)

This photo means nothing, I just included it for Jack "r" as his attention span is short and he keeps nodding off.


Earlier in the week I was ambling around the area with my tripod and too a few night shots


there weren't many folks mucking about and the streets were quiet. A few stores were still open hoping for the odd sale


I noticed this welcoming sign: "Welcome Bring Money Beautiful Price"


Another view of Ali'i street looking south


it was a pleasure to be able to walk about in the evening in a warm place with not so much as a sweater. I must be in paradise