"Major Gear Shift"    [ 13 ]   
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July 2016
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  This trip completely blew my mind!

I prefer to fly Hawaiian Airlines whenever I return home to the islands.

Still on the tarmac at Sky Harbor Airport (Phoenix, AZ) as soon as I step aboard: the music, fragrance, smiling trans-cultural service, and overall decor serves as an instant gateway to Aloha. I look forward to boarding the plane almost as much as simply arriving in Kauai, as even this experience highlights the good times and memorable adventures to come! I flipped through their inflight magazine "Hana Hou" seeking new places to explore beyond my list of usual destinations, only to be mesmerized by an article featuring ocean rowing champions. You read that right: "ocean-rowing". These are people who, for a wide spectrum of reasons, decide to jump into a lithe sea-going vessel and row across an entire ocean using only the strength and determination of their own bodies . . .

I stared out over view Pacific Ocean six miles below me, never ending during my six-hour flight to Hawaii (and that's only halfway across its expanse), my mind reeling at that sort of unstoppable ambition. Obviously, I researched the lives and means of people like Roz Savage and Jason Lewis during this vacation, utterly bewildered at how they (and a few select others) can just row across the Atlantic Ocean, or the Indian Ocean, or the globe-wrapping Pacific... I mean, just imagine that.. . but see, they don't have to, because they have done it . . .

This absolutely bends to the breaking-point my perception of what is possible. But it would not be the only eye-opener for me during this trip. I also met passionate creative entrepreneurs such as Mallory Roe, and Danny Cruces & Diane Rubio who comprise the musical duo Falling Down Romance. 'Mal', as she prefers to be called, is a first-rate photographer and world-explorer. She landed in Kauai after years of globe-trekking and evidently sensed the soul-stirring call to nature that tugs so deeply in the hearts of untold artists here. She found Kauai and never left. Danny and Diane are about the most grounded professional musicians I have ever had the pleasure to befriend, with years of shared experience between them, winning awards and composing music for the likes of Cirque du Soleil. [!!] Everywhere I went, it seemed, people kept sharing with me precisely how they came to live in Kauai, always with the unbidden but consistently refreshing invitation, "You should make the move!" — Such an offer · · as if spoken by the very voice of Kauai!

Back in 2007, 2010, and 2014, I had to coax, in turn, each of my 14-year-old daughters along with me in one wild adventure or another. This time, my 25-year-old son-in-law, Ben, joined me on this, his first-ever trip to Hawaii. (Danielle remained at home in Alabama due to extenuating circumstances, but both were A-OK with this) What a difference it made to drag along a strapping male traveling companion rather than uncertain young-teen chicklettes. Good thing too, because we got caught about three miles back on a dark overgrown jungle trail deep into the night one evening .. . We doggedly slipped and trudged and clutched at cliff-hanging branches all the way out. My daughters, for all their bravery, probably would have imploded on the spot.

I brought along my spiffy new GoPro 'Hero4' (Silver) complete with backup batteries and a stabilizer (worthless piece of gear ~ or I'm just that incurably spazzy) intending to capture highlights along our many adventures. Which I did. Hours and hours of footage that I have since been trying to wade through and edit down on my gimpy 'Acer' computer, which itself was just a stopgap I plucked from the shelf at Fry's Electronix last year, never dreaming I would someday try to EDIT VIDEO with it! ~ so non-conducive! I hope to score a Smokin' Laptop a few moons from now. But alas, that day is still a ways off, and the clock is ticking for my 25-blogs-per-year for 2016. Despite multiple wrestling matches with my CPU-choking copy of 'GoPro Studio', the only thing I have managed to produce since purchasing this default-fisheye video camera has been a 10-minute demo showcasing some of my keyboard playing as a requirement for a musicians network I've joined here in the valley. (That can be viewed ♪ here ♫ if you're interested ◄ this link to DropBox may take a moment to open in a different browser window, but will play with one click of the mouse)

[XTRA·NOTE: The last two tunes were filmed from a bad vantage point and did not pick up the keyboard ♪'s very well — I’m in the mix, but you have to listen closely.  At least you can see a bit of finger work, and how I change nuances of the keyboard while playing.  It's a shame we weren't playing something like "Sinking Deep" or "Cannons" or "Manifesto" that weekend, which would showcase more diverse playing... Also, "Don't Stop Believin'" was the first and only time we ever played it 'live' after just a couple of practices, so it was a bit rough.  Another performance or two and I would have had it down perfectly, I'm sure!  Anyway, if you're interested (or just bored), here you go]

Right now, I do not possess the necessary tech-production capability to produce a fun video montage of our adventures. And joining Integrity Worship Network (IWN) is also crowding out my time - in a good way.  :-)  I play keys/synth &/or piano pretty much every weekend now churches throughout the valley. This is GREAT but also requires grippa time to practice various songs and styles. I have also been asked to lead and host a new Bible study Home Life Group for our church (DBCC). All Good, again, but also more challenge to the hours required for any real video editing - and that's if my computer doesn't crash and vaporize everything I've carefully structured until then... (which I have experienced so far) ~ If I ever do manage to put something together, I will retro-wedge it into the bottom of this web page. For now, I will just lay down a bunch of ROLLOVER IMAGES to commemorate our adventures!  :-D

Another major gear shift concerns the conclusion of this entire blogging enterprise. I have hardly opened Scrivener at all since acquiring it back in April (2016·05). Seeking to master it and produce original manuscripts has fallen to the more immediate demands of learning my GoPro camera and editing software.. and this blog / and IWN / and family trips / ~ All things considered, I am going to have to tie off this blog entirely and just walk away if I am to leverage my time properly toward professional writing and eventual publication. All well and good, as I have been knocking these out since 2010 and feel it has run its due course. I have decided to pull the plug after an even 100 entries, as that is such a nice solid number.  :-]  Of course, completing this will carry it well into 2017... but that's OK. I plan to maintain TomboStudios for a few more years afterward and may or may not post new original (not necessarily blog-) material as time, inspiration, and circumstances may allow. As the saying goes, one must be willing to say NO to a few good things in order to say YES to even better things!

And another gear shift is that this same son-in-law has just been offered a brand new USAF gig in Las Vegas, so they should be waving goodbye to the deep south and relocating Out West in the next few months! (Ben, pictured above, on his way to Vegas) This is Great News as they (and my grandbabies!) will now only be a 4-hour drive away! Oh, and devoting monthly weekend visits to go hang with them is another [essential] situation to prioritize! (Ah - such wonderful problems!)

OK, back to our Hawaii trip:

Have you ever wanted to zip a stylin' Jeep along the crashing waves of a deserted beach in Hawaii? — We totally did this!
We also 4x4'ed our way to the end of Kuamo'o Road — Next Jungle Hiking Goal: the 'Weeping Wall' under Mount Wai'ale'ale!
We naturally checked out Hanapepe's Friday Night Festival & Art Walk! (always a great evening)
And engaged in the most EPIC "Tunnels Hike" (including a couple of cliff plunges, nearly breaking a leg, and nightfall in the jungle)
I drove Ben all over the place so he could score untold "Pokémon Go" treasures
And we discovered the excellent Kauai Museum ~ a real find!
He positively flipped over authentic 'Pineapple Whip' @ Hilo Hattie's! (it is really good, and only available Disneyland elsewhere)
We tubed through some long, dark flooded tunnels into a picturesque convergence waterfall and a natural jacuzzi (upstream)
Ben leapt into the ocean from a high cliff at Shipwreck Beach (I did it thrice last time w/daughter #3 so just filmed his jump)
We explored Ke'e beach and spent a luxurious day just chillin' in Hanalei
I shot time-lapse footage of amazing rainbows, sunsets, and even filmed behind the raging Wailua Falls!
And we enjoyed such good food wherever we went! (details below)
And we snorkeled a bit but spotted no honu (sea turtles) * though we encountered more rainbows than I've ever seen in Kauai!
   
* This is really strange. During my previous trips, honu just became more and more numerous from beach to beach. I told him we should just be positively swimming in turtles this year .. but we encountered none.  :-\  ..weird..
   

▼      MOSTLY  ROLL-OVERS     ▼

 
They upgraded me to a Mustang, but I quickly switched to a Jeep  :-)
 Mustang
Life is just so much better in a Jeep!
 Life is just better in a Jeep
 
Chased fish around all over the reef
 Snorkel Ben
Good Times at Shipwreck Beach
 Shipwreck Beach
 
Koloa Town & Dinosaur Valley
 Koloa Town & Dinosaur Valley
A couple of Rainbows  ~  everywhere on this trip!
 Rainbows
 
One of the coolest bookstores in the entire world (Hanapepe) where you can also befriend 'Celeste' the cat
 Talk Story Bookstore
 
Where the mighty gate for JURASSIC PARK once stood (filmed in 1992)
 Jurassice Park gate
Just a pair of cement posts remain
 Jurassic Park gate
 
Tubin' through a long dark tunnel to a waterfall grotto
 tunnel & tree
This epic tree overlooks a natural jacuzzi in the jungle
 Tunnel Falls / Tree / Jacuzzi
 
It rained every day - hats came in handy
 coolio
JURASSIC CHICKEN Tshirt & Vader Bro
 Tshirts
~    Action Ben    ~
 Action Ben
 
Driving along the shoreline
 Jeep on the shore!
Get a Jeep in Kauai — it's the only way to go!
 Jeep = Good
 
Ben snoopin' around
 Ben snoops around
All signs point to AWESOME
 excellent signs
 
Cruisin' along with the Beach Boys ♪ "50 Big Ones" ♫
 Cruisin'
A couple of Tom's in Hanalei and some distant waterfalls
 coupla Toms
 
Local Goodness
 Ben fun
Na Pali Coast to Wai'ale'ale Valley  ~  Makai & Mauka!
 makai to mauka
 
The dramatic Makawehi shoreline
 shoreline
Just a couple of massive trees in Kauai
 Hawaii Trees
 
New Humuhumunukunukuapua'a hat & Ni'ihau
 Humu Ni'ihau
Pokémon Exeggcute & more island weirdness
 Pokémon Exeggcute
   Just chillin' out in Hawaii!    :-)
 hangin' around
 
Writing out on the 'lanai'
 Lanai Mornings
Good Hiking selfies
 Mauka Dudes
 
Cruisin' on over to venture behind Wailua Falls
 Wailua Falls
What it's like to be back there (but much louder than this)
snorf
 
Glancing up behind the falls
 Looking Up...
       And (trying to) look out through them . . .
 behind the falls
 
Before & After our Tunnels Hike
 before & after Tunnels Hike
Another Rainbow / Jungle Creek
 good views
My gear & sunset on Hanalei Pier
 Tombo island
 

 The Tunnels Hike
 
Tearing up Kuamo'o Road to the 'Tunnels' trailhead (10 mi)
 Tunnels Hike drive
Rain poured down all day long, making the entire trail · XTRA · muddy!
 Tunnels Hike start
 
The overflowing river at Danielle's Turnaround / we took lotza breaks
 Danielle's Turnaround
This sodden plank bridge spans a steep ravine before the first tunnel
 the plank bridge
 
Tunnel #1 - Ben readies for the 1-mile trudge through shin-deep water
I survey the entrance / Ben navigates an opening near the end
 tunnel entrance
 
That same near-end exit and its lush mountainside waterfall
 Tunnel 1 more
Emerging after a mile of Tunnel #1
 Tunnel 1 outro
 
Preparing for another challenging river-crossing
 Tunnels Hike valley
Upper Hanalei Valley & soggy bamboo
 River Crossing
 
The formidable jungles of Skull Island (Kong country)
 Tunnels Valley
Upriver in the mountains of Kauai
 Tunnels Valley
 
What it's like to slip and fall from a muddy cliffside jungle trail
How To Fall
Sharing our Adventuring Perspectives
 Jungly Goodness
 
This ladder drops down to the overgrown entrance of Tunnel #2
The flooded, crawling-out end of Tunnel #2 (¾ mi)
 Tunnel 2
 
Ben is pretty much done  ~  and the rain just keeps on falling...   :-)
 Ben is done
The rocks are super slippery here!
 Grotto rocks
 
The left side of the Grotto ("Ka'apoko" on the map)
 The Grotto
I slipped off a boulder and nearly broke my leg, all captured on GoPro!
 Grotto Fall
 
A closer look at 'Miyazaki Falls'
 Miyazaki Falls
Deeper in the Grotto
 Miyazaki Falls
 
The 'Dr. Seuss hillock' & water forever raining from overhanging cliffs
 Grotto Hill Cliff
Looking out from the enclosed waterfall valley
 grotto valley
 
Hanging out in the Grotto (very cold)
 Grotto Tom
 WE MADE IT!  ( Ben does a little dance if you mouse-over quickly)
 We Made It!
 
A couple of last photos before (unsuccessfully) trying to beat nightfall
 Grotto View
        All we have to do now is hike all the way back out —  :-)
 Grotto Return
 

 Good Eats

We never did make it to The Dolphin restaurant, which I kind of wanted to check out. Maybe next time.  :-)  Also, Joe's on the Green at the Kiahuna Golf Club around the corner from the Poipu Shopping Village (located at the lower right edge of #3 on the map) is the perfect place for an open-air Hawaiian breakfast! I was too busy scarfin' down their hearty loco moco to take any pix . ..

[1] Hamura's Saimin!
 Hamura's Saimin
 Good Eats (map)
 
 Hā Coffee Bar
 
[2] Hā Coffee fruit blend bowls  ~  Look out!  It's purple!
 Hā Coffee
Hangin' Loose at Hā's
 Hā's Coffee Shop
 
[3] Their pizza is severely overpriced, but excellent!  (in Koloa)
 Pizzetta
[4] Makai Sushi = the best poke bowl on the island!  (in Kukuiula store)
 Makai Sushi
 
[5] Fantastic Thai food truck in Hanapepe (Friday Night Art Walk)
 Thai dinner in Hanapepe
[6] Shenanigans - located in the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF)
 Shenanigans
 
 health food sucks
 
[7] Freshest and Bestest Bakery on the island  (2 mi west of Hanapepe)
 Aloha Sweet Delites
[8] The Best Shave Ice on the island!  (Hee Fat general store in Kapa'a)
 Aloha Sweet Delites
 
[9] The view from Bubba's Burgers in Kapa'a!
 Bubba's Burgers
Of course, there's always pleny chicken rownbouts . . .
 Lotza chickens
 
Hanalei Valley
 Kuamo'o Road
 
Every night is glorious here
 Hawaii sunsets
Sunset on the pier in Hanalei Bay
 Hawaiian Nights
 
Twilight in Hanalei Bay
 Hanalei Bay Twilight
 
Falling Down Romance (Danny Cruces & Diane Rubio)
 Falling Down Romance
Last morning in Paradise
 Last Day
 
Beautiful paradise skies
 Hawaii sunsets
Lunch at Stinger Ray's in Honolulu International Airport + rad clouds
 outbound
 
 
Kuamo'o Road  ~  before the mud
 Kuamo'o Road
 
 
Mauka Tom ─ 'Makai' means toward the ocean in Hawaiian; 'Mauka' means toward the mountains
 Mauka Tom
 
 
~        Just Another Kauai Sunset        ~
 Kauai Sunset
 
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