Volcano to Honomu – 26 January, 2019

Even though the government shutdown is over they still weren’t collecting money when we reentered Hawaii Volcano National Park this morning. We rewatched the video about the 2018 Kilauea eruption. I was able to understand what happened much better having seen all the locations. The lava traveled from the summit caldera near the visitor center underground twelve miles to Pu’u O’o Coldera where more lava joined the flow and then another twenty miles underground to fissures in and around Leilani Estates where the lava came to the surface and flowed to the ocean.

From Volcano we drove to Hilo where we walked through Lili’uokalani Gardens.

Then we visited the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

We are staying thirteen miles north of Hilo at Palms Cliff House Inn. Our room has a wonderful ocean view. For dinner we went back into Hilo and ate at Pineapples Restaurant. The setting is open air and very relaxing. We started with some really really wonderful Ahi poke.

Then Duke had coconut crusted fish and I had coconut crusted shrimp.

Volcano, Hawaii – 25 January, 2019

Today we drove to where last year’s Kilauea eruption occurred. The first signs of the eruption were at the summit and at the caldera near where we are staying but the lava actually erupted from fissures on the side of the volcano many miles from here. The lava went into the ocean in several places. They have just recently opened the shore road through the flow. We stopped at a beach park that was almost completely overrun. After that the road was still closed.

Next we drove into Leilani Estates where many homes were overrun. The lave flow is st least twenty feet thick and goes right across the roads completely burning many homes and leaving nearby homes apparently untouched.

Volcano, Hawaii – 24 January, 2019

We spent today in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park around the massive Kilauea Caldera. Many of the roads and hiking trails were closed because of the government shutdown but the visitor center was open and was manned by volunteers who were handing out a map of where we could go that wasn’t closed.

We even got to see a pair of Ne Nes, the endangered Hawaiian state bird.

Some of the roads were closed because of the big eruption last year.

We ate dinner st Volcano House in the park overlooking the caldera.

Kona to Volcano – 23 January, 2019

Today we drove from Kona along the Hawaii Belt Road (highway 11) to the little town of Volcano. Our first stop was at South Kona Fruit stand. We each had an apple banana and we shared a cup of Kona coffee made from beans grown on their farm.

Next we did a two mile hike in Manuka State Park. It was a good hike except for a few parts that were over lava flows on loose rock.

The highlight of the day was our drive down Road to the Sea, a very rough dirt and rock road through a very rugged lava field. The six miles from the highway to the beach took about an hour and the last mile absolutely required four wheel drive. We only saw one other car on the whole road going in. The black sand beach at the end of the road was deserted and exceptionally beautiful. In the green area at the back of the beach there was even some shade and a picnic table. It felt like we were the only people for miles around.

When we got back on the highway we drove around the south west corner of the island and into Hawaii Volcano National Park. We are staying a bit outside a little town called Volcano Acres Ranch B & B. For dinner we went into town and had the best meal of the trip so far at Kilauea Lodge.

Hawaii – the Kona Coast

Duke and I are at the beginning of a two week Hawaiian adventure. We flew into the Kona airport yesterday and have been soaking up the beauty and warmth ever since.

This is Duke’s first time in Hawaii. So our trip here means he has now visited all fifty U.S. states. I was last here in 1980. My first trip to Hawaii was in 1964 with my family on our first trip to Australia when I was 11. This is me and my brother and sisters.

Duke and I are staying for our first two nights here in a condo at Kanaloa at Kona.

This morning we started exploring. We visited Kealakekua Bay. In the picture below you can see the Captain Cook Monument in the distance.

From there we went to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Histotic Park and Place of Refuge. The parking lot and visitor center were closed because of the shutdown but we were able to park outside, walk in and explore.

Close by we stopped at the Painted Church.

When we got back to our condo we took a swim.

For dinner we ate at Sam Choy’s. I had my first lava flow and Duke had a pine colada.

We each had fresh fish for our main course.

Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire’s Favorite Son by Peter A. Wallner

I am working on reading a book about each of our presidents. You can see the ones I have read so far here.

Franklin Pierce our 14th president was an interesting man whose political life was based on preserving the union. This book only covers Pierce’s life up to his inauguration. Although it took me six months to read I found the book compelling. Pierce was 47 when he was elected, the youngest president up until his time. The previous biography of Pierce prior to Wallner’s book was published in 1931 and Wallner uses new sources and modern research to describe the life and times of Pierce. Here are a couple quotes from the introduction.

“The reality of the man did not seem to fit the reputation, and maybe it is the reputation that needs to be reconsidered in light of the reality of Franklin Pierce’s life and career.”

“His failings in these early years, and they were many, are consistent with the inability of the second party system to deal with the single-issue movements such as abolitionism and temperance and their moralistic, divisive, and often extralegal propensities.”

The most tragic thing about Pierce’s life is that he and his wife had three children all of whom died before he became president. The most horrifying death was that of his ten year old son Benny who was seated right behind his parents when he was killed in a train accident on the way to Washington for the inauguration.