March 12 Leaving Kauai

March 12 Time to go home

There aren’t many flights from Lihue on Alaska and our reservation didn’t leave the island until 10:30 pm, so we were wondering a bit what we would do during the 10:00 am checkout time and the 9:00 pm turninthecar time. But Karl and Rene came to the rescue with the offer to stay on at the suite since there wasn’t anyone coming in today. What a treat. It made what could have been a very tiring day into a delightful rest and easy packing day.

We walked down to the beach, visited with Karl and Rene a bit to thank them for everything, got a tour of their great new house and listened to Rene’s garden stories. She grows more bromileads than anyone anywhere, just poking them in every nook and cranny. Her favorite trick is to use the water in the little vases that they form in their crowns to root just about anything that grows. Sh
e also puts miracle-gro on her rock pathways so all the tree roots grow under and around the rocks and anchors them so they don’t slip around in the Kauai red clay.

She and Karl of course had some choice words for the politicians trying to stop the homeowners from renting their homes to visitors, saying that the big hotels are really the culprits and that it has nothing to do with culture and such. They pay several thousand dollars a month in room taxes, and Karl was snorting about just how the island economy was going to run without all that money.

Then of course, there was the car rental. I opted for the auto fill at the beginning of the contract so we wouldn’t have to find gas at the last minute. But I didn’t read the fine print, and it seems that that option is a full tank of gas, prepaid, no matter what you have in the tank when you return the car. Oops. And Mo being Mo couldn’t stand the thought of that, so we decided that instead of hanging out on a beach somewhere we needed to DRIVE.

LOL so off we went, but on an island with a 90 mile perimeter and a road that doesn’t even go all the way around the island, that took some imagination. We had a lot of fun exploring neighborhoods and side roads, and byways and canyons that we would have never seen any other way. And since Waimea was all the way to the west side of the island, we decided to go there once again. Turned out to be a really good choice, because this time the canyons were clear, and when we got to the viewpoint, there was no fog obscuring that fabulous world class view. I stood there thinking, gee, this is one of the primo spots in the entire world, on the entire planet, and here I am. What a treat.

Drove back down the canyon to Waimea and had the other great delight of the Shrimp Factory coconut shrimp, and my last incredible tropical shave ice, while Mo found a beach dress in the shop we had visited earlier. Perfect.

We got home early enough to pack and leave for the airport in plenty of time. Check in was a breeze, except for the soil in my suitcase. The USDA doesn’t allow soil to leave the island because of the nematodes, but to my delight, they did allow sand, so I will have some sand for my daughter Melody, who promised to make mincemeat of me if I didn’t bring her sand from the islands.

We were already primed for our red-eye flight and knew that the 7 hour layover in Seattle would be a bear after being up all night. But as we started to board, the announcement came, “we are canceling boarding of this flight temporarily due to an equipment malfunction”. Hmmm. Same old story. So more than 200 people sat in a closed airport with explicit instructions NOT to leave the secure area for 4 hours while Alaska Airlines supposedly had the handle to a fire extinguisher flown from Honolulu to Lihue. Hmmm again. It wasn’t particularly fun waiting in this tiny airport with no amenities, and way too much air conditioning, but eventually it ended and we boarded our flight for the mainland. The best part of all this was that there was a tail wind and what was normally a 6 hour flight turned into must 4.5 hours to get from Lihue to Seattle. Wow!

In Seattle it was gray and rainy and very cool, so we had breakfast at a restaurant there, watched the skies and shopped a bit. The 3 hour layover was much easier than the 7hour would have been, and I even got a massage at one of those massage bars.

The Horizon flight from Seattle to Medford was delightful as usual, with complimentary wine and some kind of great organic chips and a windy wild landing. Once on the ground the luggage came out in a manner of minutes, Mo got the truck, and we were finished. Home. Well, not quite. We had the long drive from Medford to Klamath, IN THE SNOW!!!, to pick up Abby at the boarding facility, and then back to the SNOW at Rocky Point, but once there, and once the fire was built, we were happy to be home.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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