Rain Delay

Our solar installer was supposed to be here at 9 this morning to do the official site survey and roof inspection so that they can submit the paperwork for permits and PG&E approval. But the weather outside was frightful, and when the surveyor arrived, he said that it was too windy and rainy to do the inspection. As he put it, “when the ground is wet, the roof is usually wet, too.”

That wasn’t the most exciting thing that happened today; I could show you photos of the piles of manila folders I sorted through and refiled, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Riches beyond belief

We got to the JCC for the eighth time this month, thereby winning their February challenge and earning our choice of the goodies on offer. I chose their workout towel.

Our accumulated mail arrived, including a settlement in a class action against AT&T – I am now $15.61 richer than I was before. I’m not quite sure what the actual complaint was (something about administrative fees not being properly labeled, I think), but at least the settlement was cash instead of a coupon!

Catching up

I spent the day doing very mundane things like shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. We watched a couple of hours of TV, and I read the Merc.

We ate a lot of fish on our trip, but it was mostly mahi-mahi and Ono, so we picked up some ahi at the Farmers’ Market and I made it for lunch.

I’d hoped to see snow on the hills from Friday’s storm, but it was too cloudy to see the tops of any of the mountains; the forecast calls for more snow this week, so there’s still a chance.

Not an exciting day, but I didn’t mind.

Big Island Wrap-up

We’re home. The flights were uneventful; we had an exit row on the flight from Kona to Honolulu, and it had plenty of legroom. I wish I’d been able to save some of that legroom for the flight from Honolulu to San Jose, but it wasn’t quite as cramped as some flights I’ve taken.

I can definitely recommend Big Island Revealed and the companion driving guide app if you’re going to the Big Island; they have a lot of overlap (much of the driving guide app is the author reading sections of the book as you reach the appropriate point to appreciate the info) but I liked having both. We didn’t have time to stop at every point of interest along our routes – one place that I regretted having to zip past was the Donkey Ball Store, so I was delighted to find several varieties of Donkey Balls in the gift shop at the Kona airport.

We each had one for dinner tonight – it was delicious.

I love it when a plan comes together

We came to the Big Island with very few fixed plans, but visiting the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden (HTBG) was one of them. I had thought it might be possible to do it on the same day as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which shows how little I knew before arriving.

Today was our last chance to visit HTBG; the weather forecast wasn’t promising, but we decided to go for it, and I’m glad we did. It rained – sometimes pretty hard – but we had the rain ponchos from Wednesday at the volcano, probably the best $3 investment we’ve made in years.

We took the Saddle Road over to Hilo and drove north on the Belt (Hawaii 19) to the gardens. We started listening to the Big Island Revealed driving tour once we left the Saddle Road; he includes optional “diversions”, and the road to the Garden was the second one he offered. His description said to allow about an hour to explore the place; we were there for almost three hours.

I’m not going to try to describe the Garden in detail; their walking tour map shows 31 different areas, most of which focus on one particular kind of tropical plant (ginger, anthurium, hellaconia, orchids, and many more). Nor am I going to give you an extensive listing of the plants we saw, but I will share a few of my favorite photos from the Garden and urge you to visit if you can (admission isn’t cheap, but what’s another twenty-five bucks added to a trip to Hawaii?).

We didn’t get very far after leaving the Garden; there was another “diversion” a minute away, this time to admire a man-made waterfall (local legend says that the water is coming from a lava tube, but it’s really coming from a pipe!). The tour claims you can go swimming there, but only if it hasn’t rained recently.

We continued up the scenic road to What’s Shakin’? for Ono wraps and delicious smoothies (well, I had a shake to avoid bananas); it had been recommended by the clerk at the Garden and by our tour book, and it lived up to the recommendations.

Our next diversion was to ‘Akaka Falls State Park. ‘Akaka Falls is a 442-foot tall free-falling waterfall; the park also hosts Kahuna Falls, which is only 300 feet high and is broken into a few cascades and fairly difficult to see. And there’s greenery and bamboo everywhere.

We left the park and drove the rest of the way back to the hotel on Hawaii 19; it’s a very pretty road and there were many other diversions on offer, but we were tired!