Our trip started early on Wednesday morning when my brother showed up to take us to the airport. My mom was supposed to take us, but my brother volunteered at the last minute. Shocking. A younger brother willing to get up before 7AM!
We ended up getting to the airport way too early. With the TSA and all the security crap in the news better safe than sorry. As it was, there was absolutely no line at security. Better yet, no full body scanners or pat downs, just a basic walk through a metal detector. Gotta love our little airport. With the quick run through security we had a good hour and a half to kill before our flight took off.
Altogether we spent most of Wednesday cramped together in a
sardine can airplane. This was the longest flight either of had ever been on with the longest leg of the flight being from Denver to Honolulu and lasting about 7 and a half hours. I was able to do some reading, catch some Z’s and watch a couple TV shows on my iPod so it really didn’t seem too bad to me. I could have used a little more leg room, but I think that goes without saying on a plane.
We have a layover in Denver where we had lunch at what was 10AM local time. Nothing like overpriced Mickey D’s at the airport. I think the only times I have had fast food in the past year have been either at airports or a post race craving. The Third Pound Angus Burger Deluxe is heaven between two buns.
At the Denver airport, as we waited for our flight, I noticed a bunch of people wearing matching jackets. They were all members of the Ho-Chunk nation, a Native American tribe out of Wisconsin. The jackets were for their Youth Running Program. Apparently the kids (aged 13-19) all train throughout the year and then run the Honolulu marathon. Here is an article, albeit from 1999, about the program.
As we boarded the plane to Denver, there seemed to be a delay at the gate. The captain came over the speaker and announced that they were having some problems with one of the overhead bins staying shut and he said, “Um, we are fixing it by, um, taping it up.” Yes, you heard that right. When the plane breaks, break out the duct tape. That stuff can fix anything!
Thankfully I had plenty of reading material as both inflight movies were a bust. Eat, Pray, Love and Charlie St. Cloud. You’d think this was a chick flick flight or something. Jennie watched Eat, Pray, Love and part of Charlie St. Cloud. I tuned in for some of the TV shows after the movies – 30 Rock and Arrested Developed (one of the funniest shows ever). For reading, I used my new Kindle that I got as a Christmas present from work. I was skeptical at first, but I absolutely love it. It’s going to be hard to read a actual book after reading one on the Kindle.
On the flight, the flight attendants passed out a customs declaration form that had to be filled out. Customs declaration?? I didn’t think we were leaving the US?!?!? It was basically a form where you had to declare any fresh fruits, animals, or plants that you were bringing into the state so that you didn’t disturb their ecosystem. That meant we had to eat our Clementine oranges on the flight – didn’t want to go breaking any rules.
After we finally landed, it was off to pick up our rental car and then to check in at the rental house. We ended up with a Jeep Wrangler, a car near and dear to Jennie as she has had 4 different ones in her lifetime back when the car companies were flourishing and made lease cars available to employees’ families for cheap. The car was practically brand new. Only 600 miles on it total. I’ve never driven a car that new before.
Anyways, we headed off to the rental property in the midst of 5:00 rush hour traffic. The H1 highway was a standstill in places. The supposed 15 minute drive ended up taking close to 45 minutes. As we approached the house, we drove right past it the first time. It is a divided highway in the front of the house so it was a long drive down before we could do a U-turn and loop around back.
The owner, Hollie, was waiting for us in the drive way and welcomed us in. She gave us a quick tour of the place and gave us some pointers on shopping and dining. She was very friendly and seemed very interested in making sure that we enjoyed our stay both in the house and on the island in general.
The house is awesome! It is a one bedroom unit with a full kitchen and living room. It is actually on the lower level of the house with someone living fulltime upstairs and a second rental unit on the lower level as well. Despite the close quarters, it has seemed to be very secluded. We could occasionally hear someone upstairs or next door, but not really any different than a hotel.
After getting settled, it was time to find some dinner and get some groceries. Dinner was at the Kona Brewing Company which was both on our list of places to go and also recommended by Hollie. The food and drinks were excellent. I had a pulled chicken BBQ sandwich with a Kona Longboard Lager and Jennie had a pepperoni pizza with a very strong mai tai. Her drink had three kinds of rum in it and it was a good thing I was handling the driving. On the way out I bought a pint glass (the same as I am holding in the picture below) to add to my collection.
One odd thing during dinner was all the people exercising indoors! Our table overlooked a small pond area that had a fitness center in it. I bet there was at least two dozen people on treadmills and ellipticals. Come on people! This is Hawaii. Get out and enjoy the weather! I think they need a good dose of snow to whip them into shape.
After dinner we headed to the local grocery store to stock up on food. We purposely rented a house with a full kitchen so that we could avoid eating out every meal. We both enjoy eating out, but after a few meals out, it really starts to wear on us. Our goal was to have, at most, one meal out per day. So, we stocked up on bread, peanut butter, jelly, pasta & sauce, some supplies for tacos and some other foods for snacking. It was shocking to see the prices for everything – nearly twice as much as at home. Bagged lettuce was $5 a bag versus $2 or less at home. $6 for a package of tortillas ($1.50 at home), $5 for a gallon of milk ($2.50 at home), you get the picture. Nevertheless, we figure that it would be cheaper than eating out every meal.
After unloading groceries, it was getting really late. Ok, maybe only 8:00, but it felt like 1:00AM to us, so we crashed quickly.
Stay tuned for Day 2.