Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Windsurfing, a Luau, and the Black Smoke Monster!

Day 4 - Today was a GREAT day!  We started off early with getting Carleigh to her windsurfing lesson at Hi Tech Surf shop.  Barb is a big windsurfer and recommended the school that operates out of the surf shop to us and it was wonderful. Carleigh had a blast.

It was a 3 hour lesson and she was with 7 other "local" kids.  3 instructors, so she shared Neil with 2 other kids.  They started on land working on technique and within 15 minutes she was in the water and within an hour, she was sailing on her own.
Katie stayed back with Barb for a while, and then met us at the beach.  The beach was gorgeous and very calm, so Katie had fun playing in the water.
Then things changed and Don and I felt like we were on the set of  Lost!  Out of the trees appeared this:

The black smoke monster was coming for us!!  It turns out someone was burning sugar cane or something like that.   And it only lasted for about 20 minutes and the sky was clear again, but wow....for you Losties, doesn't it look like the evil, black smoke monster?  Pretty funny!!

After our morning at the beach, we stopped for lunch and came home to rest and get ready for the Luau.  Barb had done her research and found an authentic Luau at a place on the water in Lahaina.  It was not connected to a hotel, and was very classy and wonderful.  It was a five course meal with dancers and entertainment representing four different cultures - Hawaii, Tahiti,Samoa and New Zealand!  The food was out of this world, as was the entertainment.  And what was cool.....Barb and Edgar had never been there before either, so it was new for all of us!



After the meal and show was over, the dancers came out into the seating area and talked with the guests.  Our servers were wonderful also.  Here's a pic of the girls with our servers (on the ends) and some of the dancers:
It was about an hour drive home, and after the long day....both girls slept the whole way home, and almost had to carry them into bed.  Definitely a fun time was had by all!

Tomorrow we leave Maui and our "authentic Hawaii" adventure and fly to the big island to check into a mega resort - the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and as Don says begin our "artificial Hawaii" adventure.

We will spend three nights at the Hilton with snorkeling, zip lining and then travel to the other side and stay in a small B and B for two nights and explore Volcanoes National Park.  Then back to the Hilton for the fourth of July and head home on the 5th. 


Monday, June 28, 2010

We survived the Road to Hana and got the bumper sticker!

on the rocks at Hana

Day 3 – Survived the Road to Hana and then more Gelato!

We earned the bumper sticker! We left Barb and Edgar’s house in Nahiku early morning and headed the rest of the way to Hana – just to say we did it! It was only another 30 minutes down the road. We stopped at a few general stores for snacks and souvenirs. Then we began the journey back from Hana, on the same twisty, curvy, nauseating road to their house back in Haiku.

We did earn that bumper sticker and we bought four of them! The drive back was worse than going down yesterday. My stomach didn’t like it at all, but we made it.

When we finally landed back at Barb and Edgar’s house, they weren’t back yet. We beat them and had no key to our downstairs room. So….trying to be resourceful, we “broke in.” Well not really, we just sort of popped a screen off and lifted Katie into the room to unlock the door. B and E returned about two hours later and were proud of our accomplishment.

Turns out they were delayed because they have to close up the cottage. They put sheets on everything when they leave because of “Gecko Poop.” Yep, didn’t realize that they share that beautiful cottage with lots of geckos – very good thing that Katie didn’t know that. Edgar had told us about the wild pigs, wild cows and ferule dogs….but forgot the geckos.

After resting for a while, I took a shower (inside this time) and we got ready for dinner. Back to Paia town to a pizza restaurant and then to get a second dose of Gelato!! Great dinner and great dessert treat.

We then went further into town to Kahului, to find the place that Carleigh has to be at 8:30 tomorrow morning for her windsurfing lesson. Found the beach and then headed home. Now resting with Disney channel and to bed soon.

The view from B and E's lanai - and a panormic of the total view

They have 20 acres covered with banana, pineapple, coconut, lime trees - all hand planted by Barb and grown over the years.

Our bodies seem to have adjusted pretty well, it’s 8:30 and no one is asleep yet.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

day 2 - Another day in paradise!

Above - the view from the "cottage" in Nahiku - in the middle of the rain forest with a view of the Pacific Ocean - beautiful!!

June 26 – Day 2 Another Day in Paradise

We woke at 5:00 am and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the morning. After a simple breakfast, we packed our overnight bags and got started on the Road to Hana, which would lead us to Nahiku – where Barb and Edgar’s rain forest cottage is. The Road to Hana is a 52 mile scenic drive that twists and turns through the Maui countryside on the way to the town of Hana. It was BEAUTIFUL. There are many scenic overlooks, and a few places to stop. The first stop we made was at The Garden of Eden.

It is a botanical garden with beautiful flowers, waterfalls and many different hiking trails. We wandered around for a while, and snapped a few pics of Koopaka Rock – the rock that was used in the opening sequence of Jurassic Park.

Then onour way – we stopped at “Halfway to Hana,” a little roadside stand that sells lunch foods, snacks and drinks.

We were almost to Nahiku – at mile marker 26 we turned off the main road and travelled through thejungle – down dirt roads, through thick trees, over grassy knolls to cross the little bridge that Edgar built – to arrive at their little (40 acres) paradise in paradise. The house is meant to be a cabin in the jungle, complete with refrigerator, garbage disposal, electricity and an outdoor shower! Electricity is run by solar energy, and water is pure rain water, no TV, no phone…..This is roughin’ it high class! J

We unloaded our overnight stuff and then went for a hike to find a waterfall with a pool to swim in. We walked for a while through the rain forest till we arrived at a secluded, beautiful waterfall. Carleigh was the first in, and it was COLD!!

I decided to torture myself, when I realized that I would be the only one not in the picture. We played for a while and then headed back.

Then it was time to shower – here is the view from the shower – yes…outdoors, with no walls – just you, nature, the view and the shower nozzle!! The girls were a little hesitant, but even Don and I took the time to apreciate the view while…..

Dinner was great – definitely not roughing it – grilled chicken, baked potato, salad, rolls….

Early sunset, and again everyone was asleep by 8:30!! We were woken up many times through the night by the beating rain, after all we are in the rain forest. They only get about 300 inches of rain a year here in Nahiku!!!

A wonderful adventure in a beautiful place

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 1 - from 30 degrees to 90 all in one day!

We made it!! This is going to be a short post, hopefully with pics.  We arrived safely after being delayed in LA for 90 minutes.  The pilot made up time and we landed only 30 minutes late. We met Barb and Edgar and got Lei'd. 

Up at the crater of Haleakala Volcano before sunrise.  Very cold!! Luckily we borrowed coats from Barb and Edgar.

Don waiting for the perfect pic - my pictures don't do it justice, so you'll have to wait for his 500 later.

The crater after the sun came up - really neat!! Looks like the moon!  After the climb back down from 10,000 feet we stopped for breakfast at a cute restaurant - the Kula Lodge and then home to rest, recharge and eat lunch.  After lunch we headed to Baldwin Beach.  A nice beach about 10 minutes from the house.  It was pretty empty.

The current was strong, so we played along the edge for about 2 hours.

Then back to change and another fun dinner and shopping in Paia town.  Gelato for dessert. It was delicious and we might have to stop there again a couple of times before we leave.

Relaxing on the Lanai before we hit the sack at 7:45.  Sunset was at 7:30, so that helped.
Carleigh and Barb after sunset!

Today we are driving the road to Hana.  It's a twisty, curvy road that goes for miles to the town of Hana with lots of stopping points along the way through the jungles and rainforest to the other side of the island.  Barb and  Edgar have a second cottage in Nahiku, about 2 hours down the road that we are staying at tonight.  Very rustic, no internet tonight!! Back to Haiku (their house) tomorrow!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Time!

WEll, it's finally here!  In 3 hours we will be on our way to the airport and in 19 1/2 hours we will be landing in Maui.  I have a VERY long day ahead of me. :)

How does that song go, "All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....I'm leaving on a jet plane...."

We were able to squeeze everything into 5 pieces of luggage.  Unfortunately, when all is said and done, our luggage will cost almost as much as half of a person for this trip.  That is one aspect of the budget that I forgot to calculate in. 4 different legs of this trip with five pieces of checked luggage.  If you travel a lot on planes, you know that that will be costly.  But...oh well, gotta look cute in Hawaii!

Everyone is still asleep, to be woken up in 45 minutes and start the day going.  My mom is taking us to the airport, so we will drive to Ashburn and then she will bring our minivan back to her house for the two weeks.  To pick us up again on July 7th.  Even our car gets to go on vacation - to "The Old Folks Home" for two weeks! (just a joke mom and dad) :)

Don's sister Rose will arrive this afternoon to stay with Jack.  She and his other sister Chris will be tag teaming for the next two weeks.  They are great and we are so lucky to have them living nearby also!

I've attached a link below of our "schedule!"  If you want to follow us and see what we are doing - there it is for you.

Our Hawaii Itinerary - Follow Us!!

I talked to my uncle in Maui yesterday and they will be meeting us at the Maui airport (might we get Lei'd?) - then we'll get our car/luggage and they will head home to order pizza.  Think happy thoughts that our GPS cooperates and we can find their house in the dark.  We arrive at 7:30ish pm Maui time, and sunset is at 7:10ish.

Hopefully to bed at a reasonable hour because we are rising at 2:30 a.m. to begin our quest to conquer the summit of Haleakala Volano National Park for sunrise (which is at 5:30).  Many people have said that being on top of Haleakala for sunrise is a phenomenal, mind blowing experience.  You are above the clouds and you watch the whole sky just light up.  Haleakala is about 2-3 hours from my aunt and uncle's house - so hopefully Don sleeps on the plane and we can also find Haleakala in the dark! :)

Waking up at that hour probably won't be that bad because our bodies will think it is 8:30 am Virginia time. We shall see! 

Barb and Edgar have internet, so hopefully I'll post pics and let you know if our quest to get above the clouds before sunrise actually worked out!

Think Happy Thoughts for us and I'll talk to you in Hawaii!!!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Report Cards, Planning and Packing.....Oh My!!

    I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz!  Not sure which way to go. I know what my ultimate goal is, and where I need to be…but what is the best path to get there? 

    I pride myself on being able to multi-task, and that is exactly what I need to do right now.

    Don and I have two more days of work.  Cleaning our classroom, getting everything up off the floor (so they can be waxed), doing cumulative student files, finishing report cards to be mailed, closing out curriculum materials and our end of year Staff Recognition Luncheon.  I’ll be getting my 20 year pin and Don will be getting his 15 year pin tomorrow! Can’t believe that!!!

    I also have a hair appointment (have to get it colored and touched up before the trip), want to get pedicures with the girls, and clean the house before Don’s sisters move in for 2 weeks!

    My head is full of what needs to be done, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done, so I breathe, step back and decide what should be done first…..and then I spend 10 minutes doing that, and jump to another item that can be tackled in 10 minutes, and then I jump…..and then I jump….

    I dug this proverbial hole and now I shall fill it in?  Is that how it goes? Leaving for this GIANT vacation two days after we finish work was my idea, so I can’t complain (at least not out loud!). Very slowly, inch by inch, that hole will be filled in and we will all be on that plane at 12:34 pm on Thursday afternoon, bound for Hawaii.  If we forgot something, or don’t have the perfect outfit or pair of shoes…that’s alright!  They have stores in Hawaii, we will have a car and no one will care if our shoes don’t match our outfit!  I just keep telling myself that!

    On a happier note, Katie had a great second birthday party yesterday (with lots of family), and we also booked a 4 ½ hour snorkel/catamaran boat adventure while on the Big Island for June 30th.  Also, I’ve been e-mailing with my aunt in Maui, and we are getting set for food/adventures/and fun while in Maui.  And….I’ll be able to use her washer/dryer before we leave! (no need for 15 pairs of underwear to be packed now!)

    Off to give Don a buzz cut, and then again on Wednesday evening before we leave…..for the little amount of hair he has on his head, it sure grows FAST!!!

Enjoy your evening and Happy Father’s Day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Planning for a BIG Vacation! Type A Style

Well....if you know me, I'm not a last minute kind of person. I plan ahead, and then I plan some more, and then I plan some more, and then.........

Our trip to Hawaii is less than 11 days away and my lists are growing by the minute.  I am packing for myself and my 2 girls.  Don is on his own, and he likes it that way.  He will pack the night before we leave and won’t forget a thing.  I have been packing now for 3 weeks and will hopefully not forget anything. :)

So here goes...my guide to preparing for an extended vacation!

 Start planning a year in advance - people think I'm crazy, but that's how we vacation. As soon as we get home from one, we start planning the next. 

 Plan the budget a year in advance - we figure out how much it will cost for travel, hotel, and added activities and start saving!  Aside from a vacation account, we also have a coin jar which will usually cover about $100.00 of our incidentals.  It's amazing how much money you can save in coins during one year.

 Live on Tripadvisor.com!  I found this website by accident one day a few years ago, and it has become my travel lifeline.  You put in the name of a hotel, location, tourist attraction, restaurant and you will usually get many different HONEST reviews of the location. We've avoided many bad hotels, and restaurants because of Tripadvisor.com.  We've also found some great places that we wouldn't have even considered.  Trust me; use this site for your next vacation.


Convince everyone around you that you are not that crazy. Yes you are a planner (Type A Personality), but it is worth it to have a great vacation with good restaurants, fun shopping, great activities and great lodging!  Planning a year out gives you a lot of time to "figure things out."  Don has accepted this and actually appreciates the planning that I do.  We have GREAT vacations because I have done the research. 
Promise those around you that there will be some spontaneity during your vacation.  :) I may plan, but I don't plan every minute.  I do the research beforehand and figure out a rough plan for the time, but plans are made to be changed!

Clear out a room of your house to use as your "staging zone"  - ours is the extra room upstairs that is usually my sewing room, otherwise known as my put it there until I need it room. I will start putting things aside for our next vacation as soon as we start planning it.  Then the few weeks before the actual trip - like right now! - the room becomes Vacation Central.....

Make Lists!  If it is not on a list, then I wake up in the middle of the night worried about it, or in the shower, or driving to work, or.....

Get your family involved.  We spend a lot of dinner times talking about where we want to go, or what we want to do once we get there.  We look at You Tube videos, we find websites with pictures.  I'm not the only one planning - Don and the girls have as much input as I do.  I do the research and then we all talk about where and when and for how long!

Think about those last minute things that would make your trip the tiniest bit easier!  For example, pillows for the plane trip to Hawaii! (see below)  or...figuring out what movies will be showing on the flight before you get on the flight, to know how many DVD's you need to pack for the 10 hours of plane time that is coming. :)

HAVE FUN! The above 9 items may sound stressful, but for me it is pure joy! Planning vacations, some would say, is one of my hobbies. (When I'm not tracking winter storms) I love the research and learning about new places, but I also love the thrill of airports, hotels and even rental cars. :)

 So there it is!  That is how I plan for our one BIG trip every year.  Yes, we take smaller trips and they are a bit more spontaneous, but still full of just as much adventure.  In 11 days, we will be in LA waiting for our flight to Maui!  

Wow!.....gotta go, lots to do.....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seldom A Dull Moment!- what does that mean?

Seldom A Dull Moment? You might ask what that all means...well it goes back to before we were even married. (Circa 1998)

Don and I loved to go on new adventures and we prided ourselves on doing something new and exciting every month. Also, Don's sense of humor and wit was constantly keeping me on my toes. I never knew what was going to happen next! It was great and we both decided that "Never a Dull Moment" was too much, because you have to relax and have quiet time sometimes. But...."Seldom A Dull Moment" was perfect. We were always busy, active and hopefully...laughing and enjoying life!

We got married in July, 1999 - got pregnant on our Honeymoon to Belize (we actually planned that), put a contract on a brand new house when we returned, got a new puppy in November, Carleigh was born in March, and we moved into our new house....all before our first wedding anniversary! SELDOM A DULL MOMENT!! :)

Our lives together since our first wedding anniversary - we are approaching #11 next month - have been full of adventures, love, happy times and of course, our share of different stresses. Our girls are now 8 and 10; our dog, Jack, is approaching 11 and we continue to celebrate, "Seldom A Dull Moment!"

The purpose of this blog is to share our adventures with friends and family as we continue to embrace adventure and life as we live by our motto, "Seldom A Dull Moment!"

Below you will find pictures representing our adventures over the past year! We can't wait for what lays ahead. (check out the countdown tickers to the right!) If you want to join us for the ride, we'd love to have you as we share the adventures of the Purcellville Rahns!

May, 2010 - back to Pennsylvania for a family wedding
April, 2010 - hiking in Virginia - at the top of Bears Den
March, 2010 - New York City for Spring Break
January, 2010 - back to Wyoming for a Solo Trip
January, 2010 - Miley Cyrus Concert in Washington D.C.
October, 2009 - Disney World for Halloween
August, 2009 - Niagara Falls, Canada with Don's Family
August, 2009 -Hershey Park, PA with friends
July, 2009 - a week in Emerald Isle, North Carolina with family
Jackson Hole Antler Arches - Wyoming....June, 2009

Next stop...Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii in 13 days!!