Friday, April 05, 2013

March 17 - Waipi‘o and Waimea

We drove along the coast to the end of the paved road, at a place called Waipi‘o, the valley of kings.

Chunlin at Waipi‘o Lookout

We stopped at the overlook. The beach was way down below us. Taro fields covered the flat-bottomed valley. A trail switchbacked up the hill on the far side. Many visitors. A group of college-aged people returned from a backpacking trip while we were there.

Waipi‘o Bay

Waipi‘o Bougainvillea

There’s a steep road down the hill -- four-wheel-drive only, not all-wheel-drive. Huh. Pedestrians must yield to vehicles.

25% Grade

Steep enough for you?

We headed back east to Honoka‘a and then inland up the old highway (which parallels the new highway) to Waimea/Kamuela. It seems most locals call the town Waimea, but the Post Office calls it Kamuela because there’s a larger Waimea in the state. We got lost, but found the Kamuela Inn hiding behind some other buildings. It was our cheapest room all week. Outside, it was dry but overcast. Down the hill westward, it looked like it might be sunny at Kona and Waikoloa.

Chunlin Back to Work

We took a walk around town. The sun came out. Waimea’s not really a walking town. We walked on the gravel shoulder of the highway. Big, red hibiscus grow in hedges all over town.

Red Hibiscus

Waimea/Kamuela is a quiet town, excepting for the busy highway connecting Hilo and Kona that cuts through the middle. We wandered to the Parker Ranch Mall. The food court is inside, but all the rest is a strip mall. Cattle ranching is the tradition around Waimea, so it's got an old-west decor.

Parker Paniolo

At the Keck Observatory offices, a “no pedestrians” sign graces the narrow shoulder. So we didn’t walk to the churches further down the road. We turned around and headed back to the motel.

Kamuela Waimea

Bird-of-paradise flowers grew in bunches outside the Isaac Hale Art Gallery, as did bananas.


Hale's Birds

We got back to the motel at 6 p.m. Not quite hungry, we ate a banana each for dinner -- from the grocery store, not the tree. I guess my loco moco lunch filled me up.

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