KING COLUMN: A destination worth the lo-o-o-o-ng trip

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By Bill King
Pastor at Lanier Baptist Church in Lanett

I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get there. In fact, I was doubting that we were ever going to leave the airport. I was much like an impatient child that continually asks, “Are we there yet,” except I was asking, “Have we left yet?” Delta had a slogan back in the 80s and 90s that said, “Ready When You Are.” Well, it turned out we were well ready long before they were. Our big-ole-jet airliner wasn’t even at the gate at departure time. That was indeed a long day. We left our house in Opelika at 4:30 a.m. and arrived in Honolulu at 7 p.m, Hawaiian Time. That’s midnight in Alabama. We still had to catch a connecting flight to Kauai, and guess what? Yes, we had missed it! There was another flight at 8:15, but we didn’t have boarding passes for it. Finally, we arrived, got our bags, picked up our rental car, and found our rental house just in time for a quick nap before breakfast. 

After a couple of hours of screened-in porch time, I forgot all about all those problems. I watched the waves of the Pacific as they lapped against the sand, and I lapped up my first cup of Kauai Coffee. The next day we visited Kauai Coffee Groves and Company, where we sipped free samples and bought a half-dozen bags to have shipped home. We toured the coffee museum, saw an enormous rooster statue, and a giant coffee bean with arms that held a cup of coffee. That night we went to Luau Kalamaku. We ate so much from the buffet it was hard to stay awake (especially after our short night) to watch the show with hula dancers and singers.

We spent much of the next day touring The Grand Canyon. No, not that Grand Canyon, but Waimea Canyon State Park. It reminded me of The Grand Canyon but with greenery. I have now seen all three great American Canyons: Grand Canyon, Waimea Canyon and Little River Canyon! One day we drove the beautiful Eastern Coastline all the way up to the North Shore. There we visited the picturesque town of Hanalei, where Puff the Magic Dragon lives down by the sea. We didn’t see the dragon, but we did see the gorgeous mountains by the sea with fog rising above them. We drank coconut milk from a coconut shell and washed down home-baked-banana bread with it. Yum! 

One of the most beautiful spots we saw was Queen’s Bath, near Princeville. This was once a Pacific bathing spot for the royals. Since our name is King, we figured we had the go there, but we didn’t bathe. The shimmering blue pools of water there are surrounding by giant black lava rocks. The downhill hike across red clay and then slippery lava rocks was challenging for we older kids, especially Jean with her titanium knees.  The payoff of amazing scenery, including waterfalls on the trail and water spouts at the beach, was well worth the treacherous hike. 

Perhaps the highlight of the week was the giant-sea turtles. We were given the location where they come ashore each evening at dusk to lay their eggs in the sand. Finally, we saw three turtles swimming toward the shore. After about 30-minutes, one of them came up. What an amazing thing to witness such beauty in action!