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Old 06-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #1
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We're going to earn our Hawaii Camping Badge

Not a badge, exactly...but we'll be able to place the Hawaii sticker on our map that we use to track our states-camped-in.

I've had some airplane miles burning a hole in my pocket and we've never been to Hawaii, so...we are going And there is a company on the Big Island that rents VW Westphalias by the day (generally a week minimum, though). So we're going to fly to Honolulu in Feb, spend a couple of days there then fly to Hilo to pick up our camper, then spend a week tootling around the island seeing what can be seen.

We are told that there are lots of state parks and other public places to pull up to the beach and just chill.

We will have four days back on Oahu after we're done...haven't done any planning for that yet.

Any good ideas out there? Anyone want to join us? Feb shoud be a great time to go, I'm told.

Pat
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:41 AM   #2
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You'll have a blast! We camped in a tent on the Big Island (for a week) about a year and a half ago. You can sleep closer to the ocean in a tent on the Big Island than you can in a 4 star hotel in Waikiki.

Here's my short blog post about our trip:
1959 Airstream Overlander, "Someday": Airstream(ers) in Hawaii
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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Wow!

That sounds like a fabulous adventure - the best way to use miles!!

My thoughts for your Hawaiian trip:

On Oahu - Pearl Harbor is a must - visit the Arizona and tour the Missouri. It's very powerful and moving visit. I hope I can go back someday.

Big Island - Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is amazing. www.nps.gove/havo You could spend days there. The Lava tubes are very neat to explore, and just the warmth of the ground and Pele makes for a very fun visit. I am not sure if you can get out to the current lava flow, we were there 7 years ago and it was a 2 hour hike each way or a helicopter ride. Now, I wish we had done it, but the kids didn't want to walk all that way... Kids!!

Also, on the Big Island is Big Island Candies - their treats are amazing. I still get their catalogs and splurge once in a great while for a holiday - it's the shipping that's expensive. www.bigislandcandies.com. I am sure they have a store in Hilo, maybe you could even do a tour and get free samples

And of course, the pineapple is fresh and there is nothing like it off the island.

Have a wonderful time!!

Tina
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:01 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys - that's just the kind of information I'm looking for. Inland Andy has shared a bunch of his ideas, too.

We doubt we'll get there again, so we want to do all we can, without killing ourselves. Camping should be the way to do it.

Pat
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Way to go Pat! Since the early '90s I've done about half a dozen trips to the Big Island staying in pretty basic lodging -- tents, cabins, rough A-frames, hostels and the like. I suspect your RV rental company probably will be a better source than I. And they'll probably set some limits. Parking a camper for a few hours at remote parking (eg, to hike to Green Sand Beach) is not safe. Do not even think of driving down the Waipio valley road.

Namakani Paio campground is in a eucalyptus grove real close to Volcano House at Kilauea caldera; part of the National Park system -- Camping - Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. I'm vaguely familiar with that 2nd campground down the Hilina Pali road -- not sure I'd try to pull that one off. Namakani Paio is more central anyway. It can be pretty cool and misty on that side of the elevation change up from Hilo. But well worth it!

The Saturday morning farmers market in Hilo is a trip!

Don't know if they'll let you take the RV up the Saddle Road or onto Mauna Kea. The Onizuka visitor center at 9200' does nightly star parties with volunteers offering great viewing under dark skies. There might be tours sold in Hilo to visit the summit observatories.

Punalu`u black sand beach has some RV camping IIRC but it's been about 10 years since I've been there. Do some homework on it but this is the best spot in all the islands to see sea turtles. Snorkeling there is way cool if you're comfortable snorkeling in 10' depths -- warm freshwater seeps come up through the bottom of the bay and don't mix well with the cold salt water -- the water seems cloudy in spots but that's mostly a diffraction issue of the 2 waters not mixing.

I'd be curious if you could find a private campground upcountry at Kamuela/Waimea -- you'd think you just drove into Aspen or some upscale resort area.

Spencer Beach County Park north of Kona has some camping. As may some other beach county parks. In locations like this or Namikani Paio, let it be said that the mild climate might put you in a mix of some pretty rustic hippie folk but generally minding your own business works out well.

Pu`uhonua o Honaunau is well worth a visit. Check in advance if they're having any events.

February weather isn't much different than August. Main difference is that Dec-Feb is when the humpbacks visit -- more on the west & northwest side of Big Island. Some boat tours are available out of Kailua-Kona but it's an order of magnitude harder to find humpbacks here than between Maui & Lanai. However we were feeding a dozen and a half people at the picnic area on the beach just south of Pu'uhonuo o Honaunau once -- and just as dessert came out a humpback did a full breach hardly 200 yards out.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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A must do..

On Oahu, I highly recommend going to see Tom at Paradise Air. Get in his powered hang glider and really see the island. He will take you where you want to go and its amazing. One of the best experiences I have ever had. You feel very secure but get a better view than any helicopter, plane, car, boat, bicycle, well you get the idea.

I paid 190.00 for 45 min flight time and a Blueray recording and photos which he had mounted on his glider. I think I got a shirt for that price too..
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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I drove to Hawaii from San Francisco once but I wouldn't recommend it - the roads were terrible and it rained the whole way.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pmclemore View Post
And there is a company on the Big Island that rents VW Westphalias by the day (generally a week minimum, though).
Back in 2002, we rented a VW Westfalia for a week on the Big Island. I can't remember the name of the company but we loved traveling that way on the Big Island. We camped in the State Parks and even pulled over one night on the side of the road. From what I remember, the company was great and very accommodating. You're going to have the trip of a life-time!
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:20 AM   #9
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Man, the other day I had a huge long post typed out... swear I hit the button, but I guess not. Nutshell:

If you're stuck on Oahu for four days, I'd spend one day in Waikiki, do the tourist thing, and then get the heck out of there. It's like being in LA. Ridiculously overpriced and crowded.

Hit up the North Shore, specifically Haleiwa. Much less crowded and is more along the lines of the "real Hawaii". If you have some extra time left over, make the trip to Kauai. That place is magical.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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You guys are tops. I am SO pumped for this trip.

Canoe, you are right about the Saddle road and the road up the mountain; definitely OOB, along with the road down to Green Sands Beach. We've got some work to do fer sher.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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i'm still LOLing!!!
thanks!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:55 PM   #12
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I drove to Hawaii from San Francisco once but I wouldn't recommend it - the roads were terrible and it rained the whole way.
Good thing I wasn't taking a gulp of coffee when I read this!!!
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:59 PM   #13
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We completed our trip and everything worked out perfectly. Camping in the Westy all around the Big Island was an adventure (makes us appreciate even more the luxury of our Limited. Six nights was a lot of fun and plenty, too. We were glad to be mobile, as the rains caught us pretty hard on the SE coast - so we just picked up and moved to the West side. We spent the remainder of our trip in a house in Haleiwa. Big Ocean right on our doorstep.

Hawaii is a staggeringly beautiful place with a perfect climate.

Next stop, Alumapalooza.

Pat
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
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Gotta know- is that first picture at Laupahoehoe? Sure looks like it!
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