Black Sand Days

Another gourmet dinner by Henna and Noel

After three low key days in Wailuku (a quirky but decidedly suburban feeling place with roosters) we headed toward Hana. The highway to Hana is mostly sharp blind turns punctuated by one lane bridges so narrow that branches will almost definitely scratch up the rental. The endpoint though is even wilder than the drive. Things to see once you get there include black sand beaches, bamboo forests, giant waterfalls, cliff side hikes and faded religious shrines. And by camping at Wai’anapanapa State Park for three nights we pretty much had it all to ourselves (or at least between the hours of 6 PM and 11 AM). For the second time this trip we also made friends while camping. This time it was a cool family from Toronto.‬ Together we pooled our resources to cook veggie and not-so veggie hotdogs over the fire (our coals their dogs) and sipped estate grown coffee in the morning (their coffee our stove). It was like a low key commune. We also met a few locals including a long since married couple who met while hiking at Wai’anapanapa in the early 80s. Besides giving great advice (my favorite involved cows in the pasture) they also gave us fresh guava. Not sure which was more valuable (definitely the sweet sticky fruit).

The black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park

Makahiku Falls (Haleakala National Park)

A section of the bamboo forest at Haleakala National Park

Glen’s Coconut Ice Cream- sold both on the highway and also in Hana. Delicious!

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Haiku and other trip rambles

Hello there~

Day 3 on the island and we finally feel normal. We are never really “normal” but we feel better adjusted to the time difference. We will be leaving our air BnB tomorrow (or today if your reading this 7. 13) and heading to the Hana Highway to camp. The locals are all talking about the rain that is coming, remnants of a far off ocean hurricane that will be hitting exactly as we are camping. Ah such is life and travel. We are ready for whatever comes our way, or at least we will have a good story to tell.

Today we ventured out, stopping in the town of Haiku (which inspired this haiku):

Town Haiku saw us

A hammock we did acquire

With Kumbucha sweet

Says it all. Bought a hammock and drank some sweet Kumbucha on tap. Awesome hippie/artist town that sees few tourists. We were mistaken for townies, which always makes us feel cool. Next we headed down the road to join the real tourists along Twin Falls Hike, which follows upward along a rushing creek, past warning signs of flash floods and high water levels, through a gate that says-not to enter, forging a rushing creek to a waterfall replete with swimming hole….oh and about a dozen or more people. Oh the people. But what nice people. As we crossed the creek, the water was running so fast that it seemed to want to push us over the falls. I was leading our little army across and could here Henna saying, “I’m getting dizzy” because the water was rushing past so fast that it messes with your eyes. I knew I had to get her across and quick, but each step was met with uneven rocks and nudging from the water. We made it across only to see Noel planted in the creek with his shoe flowing with the creek over the fall and on toward the ocean. Noel was fine, aside from a bruised ego and some expletives he shouted. But now he had no shoes to wear along this rocky path. People were so kind, and as Noel plugged upward wincing in anguish they all empathically shared his pain. We made it to the waterfall and Noel enjoyed a swim. The hike took a bit more time then it should have, but it ended well; with some shaved ice while watching surfers brave the waves. Although my pictures always show smiling faces, there are countless stories to tell of ups and downs along this journey. Each day has something of a high and a low. Such is life.

Corey

Henna testing out the Hammock

oh the people

Noel tempting fate before he lost his shoe

The gate everyone passed through in spite of the warning

rushing creek

the payoff

shaved ice payoff

surfers below

my thirsty boots

cows!

his feet were SO sore.

41

All trip we’ve been haunted by the number 41. Our campsite in the Tetons? 41. The day after was room 214 which I know is not technically a 41 but, wait for it, the following night we lodged in room 241. But the biggest sign we live under a specific odd number cloud came today when flight 41 ferried us from San Francisco to Maui. Crazy.

Other patterns this summer have involved cats. Cats tucked in Baby Bjorns being lugged up mountains. A cat used as a service pet by a nervous worker in the Tetons. And a whole mess of cats in a parked car next to us at a gas station in Nebraska. Then today on our first night in Maui we fight jet lag to see a beach and run into people volunteering their time and money to feed the 40+ feral cats hanging out at a harbor near Wailuku. They come nightly to pet, feed, and listen to the cats (whose plaintive meows clearly speak of their anxiety).

Another surprise in Maui are the roosters. They not only crow outside our modest Airbnb rental but they also crowd the unlikeliest places like the Safeway parking lot. Cats, roosters and the number 41. Rock and roll.

On The Edge of 50

So it’s a little after nine and we are chilling at a Comfort Inn off Route 1 in Half Moon Bay, CA. So far today we have checked out a few cool art galleries, wandered around San Francisco, walked a section of the Golden Gate Bridge and packed for our flight tomorrow to Maui. We should be exhausted. In fact we are exhausted. But also excited. And ready to be somewhere new, to hike on trails unknown. If we could drive to Hawaii we would. But instead we will tackle long term parking, airport shuttles, and rental cars. Yuck. Will let you know how it goes.

Not so easy packing up the camping gear.

Going up?

Along the Truckee River in Reno

At the Holiday Inn in Reno. It’s morning and I just stepped into an elevator. Woman inside asked if she was on the 15th floor. I told her there are only nine floors. “That’s OK, I always leave a big tip.” Hmmm. She said something about being in the field too long. Then as she walked into the lobby she muttered “just want to take a shower.” We’ve all been there.

The sprawling desert along Route 93 from Twin Falls, Idaho to Wells, Nevada

A Nation of Distance

The falls at Idaho Falls

To paraphrase “Alice Isn’t Dead” (a super cool podcast that Henna has hooked us on), we are a nation influenced as much by distance as we are culture. You feel it when you drive from Chicago to Valentine, NE to Dubois, WY down through Pocatello ID and then to the truly lovely town of Twin Falls where we watched three young men base jump off a bridge into a crazy deep canyon. And we haven’t even driven the road to Hana yet. Anyways here are a few photos from the last few days. You can watch the base jumpers on Corey’s Instagram feed (thirstyboots2).

Entrance to ranch near Victor, ID.

At this canyon in Twin Falls, ID is one of the few places you can legally base jump

Got a little too close to these moose in Cascade Canyon (Grand Teton National Park)

Cascade Canyon. Actually prettier in person than in this picture

4th of July traveling

Every year we are away for this celebratory day. Often we are in Canada, and peace and quiet reign supreme. This year, we are staying in the quiet of Teton National Park choosing to avoid the busy town of Jackson. We woke late, feasted on books, hash brown and eggs then had some adventures; kayaking and exploring. We enjoy the more subdue kind of day in which we stay clear of crowds, drunks and loud noise. Tonight we hope to enjoy the sunset from our back porch and sit by the fire (it’s cold at night). Tomorrow is our last day here in the park and we have a big hike planned to keep us busy all day long. This place is very special to us, and each time we come we find a new spot we have overlooked. I hope you all have such a spot, and if your not there tonight hope you are very soon.

Corey

A little roadside humor

Outside the Klown Doll Museum in Plainview, Nebraska

How do you know if your fence is goat tight? Throw a bucket of water at it. If a drop slips through then it ain’t goat tight.

That was the joke I overheard while waiting to see Urinetown at the Fort Robinson Post Playhouse. It was told by one rancher to another. Both of them looked like they knew what they were talking about.

The only other conversational tidbit worth sharing was the man who approached me while I was pumping gas in O’Neill, NE. He told me that I must be happy to be anywhere other than Illinois. When I pushed back a bit he laughed and handed me a business card. Only instead of listing a business it showed a picture of a rabbit in distress saying “What a harebrained idea.” I laughed. No one does humor like Nebraska.

Outside Valentine, NE

A Hipster’s Guide to North Central Iowa

 

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A few beers in at Single Speed Brewery (Waterloo, IA)

 

For the twentieth time Corey and I left Chicago in order to spend a Summer away from home. Henna of course is also with us but this is only her fifteenth time tagging along (16 if you count the time she was in Corey’s womb). And what did I learn from the experience? Well today I learned that Waterloo, Iowa has been taken over by a band of benevolent (we hope) hipsters.

 

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Expect a lot of camping this summer, but tonight we chose AC and a comfortable bed

 

Maybe a dozen years ago we would have been camping tonight but with this humidity… forget about it. After a brief flirtation with Dubuque we stumbled upon a former John Deere warehouse in Waterloo that has been repurposed quite nicely by Marriott into an affordable Courtyard. Our hotel room ceiling have to be at least 12 feet tall and are supported by the original columns which are almost as wide as they are tall. We could have spent the night wandering the John Deere museum (well, if it was open we might have; this is still Iowa so everything pretty much closes around 5). Instead we checked out Single Speed Brewery which, of course, is also located in a former factory. Over Brussel sprouts roasted in hoisin sauce and flat bread sourced with local goodies we toasted our amazing luck stumbling upon this Pilsen of north central Iowa. Then we stumbled back to our room ready to begin again tomorrow.

 

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Even the Waterloo bathroom stalls are hip!

 

20:50

That time of year as come yet again.   Road trip/adventure time.  We want to thank everyone who follows us and tolerates/enjoys our posts along the way.  This humble blog started as a way to keep the parents/family in tune to our crazy ways, but then became a cool way to chronicle our travels (plus it keeps Noel’s creative juices flowing).  Noel and I have two very different styles of writing, but as our relationship proves these two forces do quite well together.  Some day we are hoping that Henna will contribute her wit and wisdom; I mean this blog is called Henna…Cor…Noeli days.  Feel free to bug her about this and guilt/encourage her to add her voice.  It’s a smart voice; I’d love for you all to hear it more.

This year is crazy significant for so many reasons.  As by our title, it includes two huge numbers that blow me away. The first one, the 20, signifies how long we’ve been doing this together. Yes, this is our 20th summer sojourn together.  Yikes.  The 50 represents the closure of visiting every state together as a family.  Not that Henna remembers all of them (insert cute shocked smiley face), but like we always tell folks who are in awe of all her travels, we didn’t start doing this for her.  She simply has to come along, whether she derives anything from these adventures is her call….half the time her nose is in a book!  Ha!

It also is an emotional trip because Henna graduated 8th grade this year, and will be heading into high school next year.  Holy crimey!  Where has the time gone?  20 years?  High school?  I want to press the stop button right now.  I don’t recognize this young person we will be taking with on vacation this year.  Honestly.  She used to fill up a back pack with all sorts of toys, crayons, paper, small games, binocular, insect cages, you name it!  This year it was like, ok…a small purse, my phone (so many podcasts to catch up with), and some books.  Next year she might be driving a bit on our trip.  gulp.

grad pic

I know as a parent, each year as traditional events occur, we are more aware of the passing of time and it gives us a punch to the stomach as to how fast it goes.  And where does it go…., and how come I don’t notice the changes in everything until it’s too late…, or how come you don’t ever notice the last time you do anything for your kid?  Like when was the last time I read a book to her?  Or the last time I needed to help with homework?  Last time I HAD to tuck her in or she couldn’t sleep?  So as with every summer, and this one more then ever, I will be holding my finger on that pause button (even if just for 6 weeks). I will be take a long look at this smart, beautiful young person and listen to every word she has to say.  I will savor every moment together and bottle it up inside for when I wake up and can’t see her younger self as clearly as I once could.

I mean come on….look at this face?

baby pic

Who is this little girl?

So now you know my style is the super sappy one.  The- this is where my emotions are in the moment one.  The- I remember things based on how I feel one.  The-I love these two people more than life itself one.  The- gonna savor every single moment I can one.

Time is moving way too fast people.  So have an awesome summer!  Please feel free to comment and let us know what your up to this summer.  We love everyone and will miss you all.  But we always come back more humble, better humans, and ready to better friends and family.  Or at least we try.

Cheers,

Corey of HennaCorNoeli days crew.

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