On our vacation to the Big Island, I was stoked (excited) about where the fam (family) and I were staying. Ali’i Drive (dramatic pause). Yes, Ali’i Drive. The same road that is part of the marathon course for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The first morning, I was out the door at 6am. Unfortunately, I didn’t research the marathon route and ran in the wrong direction! After a mile, there was this huge hill that I died trying to climb. Actually, I made it to the top but had to slow to a walk a couple of times (or a few times).
Now, I did see a few runners/walkers and encountered many cyclists so at least I wasn’t alone in my agony! Later on, I finally did google the marathon course so I was ready to go the next morning. At the break of dawn, I was back out there. This time I was running in the right direction.
There are some great beaches and ocean views on Ali’i Drive. There were lots of runners (and lots of hotels and resorts) that gave me inspiration and some inner competition (racing against another runner without them knowing it).
The road is very safe with bike lanes on both sides of the street. There will be some cyclists so stay focused on the road ahead of you. If you run far enough north, you will run into Historic Kailua Village which will be crowded with restaurants, shops, cars and people.
You can run around 5 1/2 miles, on Ali’i Drive, from the Kona Coast Resort (where I stayed) to the end of the road. You can’t really run on Ka’ahumanu Highway though I did see some cyclists, on the highway, outside of Kona and past the airport. So…if you want to run the entire marathon course, it is possible. On to the photos!!!
You are running down the hillside with sweat streaming down your face. The shouts of those in pursuit urge you on…faster, faster. The ocean ahead beckons, sea salt filling your nostrils. If you can just make it to the water and swim across the cove, you will be safe…you will eventually be forgiven.
Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge (Captain Cook, HI) was a place of protection and ultimately forgiveness, by a kahuna, for defeated warriors or those who violated the kapu system. Some examples of breaking kapu were:
- men and women eating together
- a wife entering the house while her husband was eating
- women eating pork, bananas, and coconuts
- a commoner’s shadow falling upon an ali’i (royalty)
This heiau (above) possessed great mana as it was a royal mausoleum containing the bones of 23 ali’i including King Kamehameha’s great-grandfather Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku (c.1665-c.1725) King of Hawaii Island. The two ki’i images (below) stand before the heiau, a forewarning of the great mana within.
The Great Wall (above) stands up 12 feet tall and 18 feet in width, this wall stretches over 950 feet in length. Be mindful that this wall was constructed over 400 years ago without the use of mortar. The fact that the wall still stands is pretty incredible.
The Ale’ale’a heiau (above) was around long before Hale o Keawe. There is a platform that was built with seven stages. Oral tradition says that after this heiau was replaced, it was used by the ali’i for relaxation and watching hula dancing.
A long, long time ago, another Heiau was built at the above location. All that remains is rubble after centuries of crashing waves. The first heiau, in the park, was possibly built at this site.
Local tradition says that this stone (left) was a favorite resting area of Keoua “The Rain Cloud”, a high chief. Legend has it that Queen Ka’ahumanu, a favorite wife of Kamehameha I, swam to Pu’uhonua after a row with her husband. She hid under this very rock (right).
Monday – Saturday Monday – Saturday
11am – 2pm 5pm – 12am
Lucky Belly is a smallish restaurant will limited seating. I came during lunch time and parked in one of the paid garages. Rarely do the metered parking thing cuz they’re always full! All tables were full, when arriving, so I sat at the bar.
The place, on Hotel Street, is known for their excellent ramen but I wasn’t very hungry so I just ordered the Beet & Spicy Greens salad. The salad includes goat cheese, candied pumpkin seeds & pomegranate dressing. The salad presented very well, the ingredients were fresh and the taste unique but…it wasn’t, in my opinion worth $12 (portion was small also).
It was a hot day so the Hibiscus Lemonade I ordered was a sweet thirst quencher…no free refills though 🙁 The service was terrific and I noticed that those handling food were constantly washing their hands. All in all, a nice light bite to eat. I gotta come back next time and try the ramen!
Gaylord’s Restaurant is located at the former plantation house of Gaylord Parke Wilcox. This English Tudor style 16,000 foot mansion was built in 1935. While the restaurant does have a solid 4.0 rating on Yelp, we didn’t come here for food. My son, Gabriel, is a big railway fan so we came here to ride the only train on Kauai!
The tickets are a little pricey at $19 for adults and $14 for children 3 to 12 years of age. You do get a well narrated 45 minute “Signature Train Tour.” If your adventurous or hungry, you can add on a nature walk and lunch or an evening luau.
During the tour, Kimo will point out the more than 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables grown at Kilohana. The train ride will take you back to the plantation days of Kauai. Much of the produce that you see grown, on this working farm, goes to Kilohana’s Gaylord’s Restaurant.
Halfway or so through the plantation, you will disembark and first spend some time with the pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys and horses that comprise the farm and second you will feed them! No worries…there’s plenty of bread to go around!
In addition to Gaylord’s Restaurant, there are many unique little shops, in the mansion, including Cane Field Clothing & Gallery, Zensations, Banana Patch Studio & Aloha Spice Company, Kauai Sweet Shoppe, Clayworks at Kilohana, and Kōloa Rum Tasting Room and Company Store.
See the video below for a sample of the train ride. The scenery is beautiful and the ride, at 45 minutes, is not too long. Below the video is a brief history of the diesel engine used at Kauai plantations.
The fist diesel locomotive in the Territory of Hawaii was introduced in Kauai at the Kehaka Plantation in 1928 and proved to be very efficient. Soon Lihue and other plantations followed although beginning in the mid 30’s trucks began replacing fixed railroads. Hawaiian sugar plantations used trains for transportation until the 1950’s when a switch was made to cane haul trucks.