Well, close to a year after I first expected to be here, and after 5 months, 49 states and about 32,000 miles, I finally made it back to the Big Island of Hawai’i. A journey through 50 states of Covid America has come to a close. I am going to cheat a little bit here. Years ago, I wrote a seven column series on the Big Island. I get a lot more into everything. Here it is:

Well, I was going to put it here WordPress is doing something weird, so it’s at the bottom. I really do need to get the pictures uploaded onto that. But anyway. I’m just doing the Facebook posts but with all of the pictures. Would you like to come to Hawai’i with me?

Good morning from Hawai’i!!!

I got in late last night, finally arriving at the AirBnb about 11. The flight was okay but it was still a flight, and then a 45 minute drive to get here to Waikoloa Village. This is what I woke up to though, my digs for the week. But I needed coffee.

Ready for the last and final edition of “Travels with Coffee”? The Big Island remains my favorite place in the US. When I was house hunting, my realtor told us that we would just know when we walked into the right house. That’s how I have felt about the Big Island since the first time I came here over 10 years ago. There is just a different feel to it, a different “vibe.” Slower and welcoming. It says to me, “you show me aloha, and all of my aloha is yours.”

I’m still missing that one piece of aloha. Mercy. But that is a story for The Coffee Chronicles.

In the Hawaiian language, “aloha“ may mean love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness or grace. … Living Aloha is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and express good feelings to others.

Shall we dance the final dance? The Big Island awaits us…

Here There Be Dinosaurs

Welcome to Pololu Valley, there they filmed the opening sequence of Jurassic Park where the helicopter is flying straight down. It is a hell of a walk, but a favorite of mine with a black sand beach. I’ve always meant to go deeper in. Are there dinosaurs back in there? If they existed anyplace on earth, this would be it.

Here, there also be rain and clouds. The island has a wet side and a dry side, or windward and leeward. Polulu Valley is more on the wet side, at the far northern tip of the island. It’s a great drive up here. You see the evolution of an island, from desert to lush rain forest, all in about two hours. Up route 19 to 270 for those keeping track.

You pass through Hawi [pronounced HaVee], a small artsy community that is also the beginning/end of one of my favorite drives on the island. 250 takes across the spine of the island between Hawi and Waimea, where you can jump back on to Route 19 or continue down along back to Waikaloa Village.

Just Drive–Joe Bonamassa

20 miles from Hawi to Waimai. It is a winding road that takes you across the spine of the island, through cattle farms with amazing views westward. After five months and all of the miles, I still smile when I see the herds of cows.

Waimai is home to the headquarters of the Parker Ranch, once the largest cattle ranch in the US, covering most of the Big Island. Have you ever received a gift and didn’t know what to do with it so just put it aside? That’s how Parker Ranch started. Somebody gave the Hawaiian king cows as a gift. Not knowing what to do with them, the king let them loose on the Big Island. Boy cows and girl cows did what boys and girls will do and a decade or so later, the island was overrun with the pests. So, the king brought Spanish cowboys over to teach his people the cowboy way.

I did hit a pretty good rain storm in Waimea, but it’s all moving towards the drier side and lower elevations. There I passed herds(?) of goats with their kids, just chomping grass on the sides of the road as cars drove by.

But that’s it for day one. Aloha!



Hawai’i: The Big Island