Last year, when I visited Hawai’i – the Big Island – i heard from a few people that I should visit Kauai – The Garden Island of Hawai’i. I put it on the list.
On New Year’s Day this year, I went one of my favorite hikes and was a bit introspective as I sat on the shore of the swollen Potomac. I thought about the new year ahead and what I wanted to do in the upcoming year. Travel was at the top. I wanted to go somewhere again, like I had the previous summer. Where? I had a few places on the bucket list, but I left it open. Last year, a Scott’s Cheap Flights alert gave me an alert to Kona – $360 RT. Thus when I got an alert for a $427 RT to Lihue, Kauai, I jumped on it.
The difference between this trip and my previous Hawaiian adventure was I was totally unprepared. With the Big Island, I had a list of what I wanted to see and what I wanted to do. This Kauai trip was not researched before planned or booked. I had to purchase a travel book and talk to people to find out what to do and what to see. And this time, I would be staying at a hotel/motel instead of using a bunch of AirBnBs around the island. This actually worked out, because Kauai is much smaller than the Big Island.
As with the cheap airfare to Kona, the trip to Lihue had it’s downsides. I would have to fly out of BWI – about a 45-50 minute drive from here – and given my flight was at 0630, I’d have to leave my place around 0300. I suppose I was too focused on this part to really look into my return trip – put a pin in that for another post.
The night before I traveled, I didn’t sleep – which isn’t much of a problem these days – and drove up to BWI. The first leg of my flight was from BWI to PHX – about 5.5 hours. I had researched the aircraft before hand and thought all seats were equipped with regular 120V electricity. So I brought my laptop to distract me from the cattle car that is flying today. But on the airplane, I learned that electricity was only available to First Class and Business Class seats. No such luck for the Poors in steerage.
The second leg of my journey started with the Captain telling us he was asking for a “few hundred more pounds of fuel” because of the strong headwind. In fact it was so strong, our flight was delayed by forty minutes. SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS it took to go from PHX to LIH. And with moderate chop. The flight seemed to last forever. Oh and I didn’t sleep at all.
So because of the way the Earth rotates and travels around our Sun, we landed with a good amount of daylight left. I picked up my bag at baggage claim, got my rental car, and headed to my hotel.
This was the bizarre thing about this – I booked the cheapest room I could find. Everything in or around Lihue was expensive – even AirBnB. I’m driving the rental car from the airport to the hotel was a short distance but I was going past a shipping port, fueling depots, shipyards, and natural gas storage places.
It reminded me of the video game SimCity. There were three areas you could lay out in the game: Residential, Commercial, and Industrial. The hotel seemed to be thrown into all three. Drive next to the ship yard and across the street from the hotel were people’s houses!
I checked in, dropped off my bags, and went to a Wax-Mart for supplies like sunscreen, bug spray, and food. Since it was a Sunday evening NOTHING was open except for a KFC. Yes, I ate KFC on Kauai. I was starved, fatigued, and wondering WTF I was doing.
The adventure begins the next day.