Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 15 of Our Tour of Maui, Hawaii - Condo Vacationing in Hawaii - Maui Hawaii Landscape Photography, Maui Hawaii Portrait Photography

Our family got to experience what it was like to be tourists this summer and fall.  We went on our annual vacation to the Big Island; and then when we got back from that trip, we found that the washing machine had burped up an entire load of water all over the floor.  Yes, that same Samsung Washer that I've been singing the praises of.  I don't blame the washing machine.  It was the hose that attached the washing machine to the wall that was the culprit.

When you get water damage in Hawaii, there are no two ways about it.  You have to remodel everything the water touched right down to the studs in the wall, otherwise black mold will grow so thick you won't be able to deal with it.  As this is the second time in five years that we have had to remodel because of water damage, this was not my first rodeo.  It still took me about three weeks to realize the truth of what was about to happen to us though.  I don't know why I was in such denial.  You'd think I would have known.  But we hung out for a good two weeks and even went camping on the third week before it dawned on me that there was no way around it.  We were going to have to move out every item we owned, so that the floor and drywall could be ripped out to the studs.

Even then I was still in denial, but thank goodness my husband has a great team of guys that work for him.  They came in and moved us out, we settled into condo life and waited to get our home back, much refreshed and without mold.  My husband wishes he'd known about this type of demolition years ago.  If he had, I think my husband would be in another line of work.

It gave us a lot of incite about what it is like to come and rent a condo during your stay in Hawaii.  We had no idea it was that expensive!!  Yikes!!  There are two types of condo living that you can subscribe to.  In the first type of condo living, you belong to a timeshare or you are a guest of someone you know who has a timeshare.   These types of timeshares, such as WorldMark and the Marriott Vacation Club for instance, are a great way to travel to Hawaii.  They are my favorite way to stay when I'm not able to sleep in my own bed.  The rooms are kept up to the standards of management.  All the suites are the same, so you know what you will be getting when you check into one of these types of timeshares.  We have stayed in this type of condo arrangement many times, as we have some great friends who hook us up when we need it.  We have even considered looking into this type of arrangement on our own.  If you decided to do that, the best way would be to research the different types of timeshares, the companies offering them, where those companies have condo timeshares and then deciding what would be best for your family.  After deciding what you would want, you'd have to decide if you could afford the investment and if the investment would pay off in the long run.

The second type of condo living is when you rent a private condo from a private owner.  We chose to do this when we moved out from our condo for the remodeling.  I researched on line for condo rentals by owner.  Just type in "condo rental by owner" to get web listings.  I did a thorough search on Craig's List also, looking specifically for condos in our area.  In the end, my husband ended up driving around to the different condos, going into the front desk and asking about rentals available.  I realize that will not work for any of you.  I suggest researching them the way I did, also going online to find listings of the different condos available in the area you want to stay, Maui for instance, and calling their front desk yourself from your home.  You will have to be prepared to live with whatever set up the owner has arranged, including his preference for decor, maid services, etc.  I was unpleasantly surprised more than a couple of times during our stay by many of the aspects of this type of setup.  The more money you pay will also determine, I believe, how many or how few irritations you will have upon your arrival.

These first pictures in this blog entry are some of the pictures taken during our stay on the Big Island.  Each island in the Hawaiian chain is very different from the other.  You can stay on one island and have a completely different vacation than you can staying on another island.  The Big Island is the largest, of course, and features lava rock, volcanos, and cattle ranches as its main themes.  The water surrounding the Big Island is very deep and is more suited to sailing and deep sea fishing.  I'm not even sure if it has any beaches to hang out at during the day.  We hang out at the pool when we are on the Big Island and do a lot of site seeing.  See how little I know about the Big Island, and I've visited there every year for over 10 years.

A view of the summit of Mauna Kea.

A view of the summit of Haleakala, on Maui, from the Big Island.

The view of the rodeo grounds at the Parker Ranch.  One day I want to attend a rodeo here.  My dad and several of my uncles are authentic, real-as-it-gets, cowboys in the Mainland.  I visited this ranch this summer because I wanted to see it.  Of all the ranches in the United States, this one has the biggest mystique surrounding it.  It's location and history are magnificient.  Then this fall a friend of mine contacted me and said that her brother-in-law is the new manager of the Parker Ranch.  It's a small world, isn't it.

The tree lined entrance to the Parker Ranch Homestead.

The condo we stay in when we visit the Big Island every year.

The game Sione (see own a) instigated every time they went to the pool was a game called "Shark in the Water."

Sunset Beach was a prominant theme in our lives this year.  First we camped out on Sunset Beach for a week; then after our camp out, the condo that we stayed in was located on Sunset Beach.

The north end of Waipuilani Park.

The View from the Condo we stayed at - Village by the Sea.

Their website is located here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 14 of Our Tour of Maui, Hawaii - Camping on Sunset Beach, Veterans Park, Waipuilani Park - Maui Hawaii Landscape Photography, Maui Hawaii Portrait Photography

Our family loves to go camping and we spent some time camping this summer at a place known as Veterans Park.  So now we are going to leave Makena, at this point in our tour, and travel all the way back up to North Kihei.  Veterans Park is a part of a long stretch of beach known to the locals as Sunset Beach.  Waipuilani Park sits at the top of Sunset Beach on the North End.  Veterans Park is closed to the public and sits on the south side of Sunset Beach.  Special permits from the state and permission from the Veterans who manage the park are required to camp in this park.  There are many camping opportunities on Maui, however, and they can be located by going to the website managed by the state Parks Department.

The website is located here:

Simply go to this website and click the white icon/button for reservations.  A warning however, camping spots can fill up well in advance at peak times; so if you are planning to camp on Maui during your vacation, make sure to book a spot in the camping location you choose as soon as possible.

As I said earlier, our family enjoys camping, as well as do many of our friends and their families.  We plan to make a trip to Wainapanapa State Park in Hana later on this year, so keep an eye out for that blog post also.  In the meantime, come and enjoy Veterans Park and Sunset Beach with us.

Getting back to a description of this beach and its pros and cons, Sunset Beach, as the name would indicate, is one of the very best locations for watching the sunset.  Locals and others who live here gather just before dusk in Waipuilani Park to sit on the bluffs and watch the view.  There is a very small parking lot and places to pull off and stop for a short bit along the side of the road outside the park.  I think the view is beautiful from this park all day long, but it is not the best beach for swimming in because of all the rocks along the shoreline.  I do love this beach for family picture taking, and I've brought several families here at all times of the day for family photo sessions.

This is the shoreline and the view through the trees.

Ah, the swings!!!  I absolutely hate these swings with a passion, and my kids adore them.  There is a large patch of the finest powdered dirt underneath these swings, and I think it goes clear down to Lucifer in his litte home in Hell.  My younger kids can spend all day here on these things.  When they come back, they look like dirt balls - dirt balls like you've never seen in your life.  My oldest daugher, well we've all seen her fine shock of Polynesian hair.  Imagine if you used this dirt as hair gel.  She has before, believe me.  I will never forget the first camping trip we took to this park after she was old enough to walk and get around.  Every year this camping trip falls on the week that I need to do our school supply shopping.  If you don't do the school supply shopping here when the school supplies first come out, good look to you on finding everything you need.  So I left to go do the yearly school supply shopping and pick up a few necesseties.  I arrived back at camp just about four pm to find my oldest daughter covered completely in a fine powder of red dirt.  Only just her eyes were sticking out.  I was so shocked and horrified, I immediately flipped out.  I wish now that I'd stayed calm and gotten the picture of it for posterity.   You've seen my pictures lately, kids almost drowning, etc.  I'd have gotten the picture if it happened these days.  But this was way back in the day, and  I didn't photograph any of it.  I completely freaked out instead.  Any ideas yet which one of this family is the camping imposter.  Yes, I admit it.  That would be me.  My oldest son, who you've never met in this blog, took his beloved sister and hosed her down from head to toe until we could finally find her again and find mom's sanity.  I'll never forget what her hair looks like when it meets the swings.  And all I can say these days, is thank you Samsung Washer and Dryer.  You know you are one of the great loves of my life.

This was the view from our tent.  It was as breathtaking as you can believe, especially at night when the moon would rise up over this beach and disappear below the horizon.  Romantic you say?  Ummm!  Yes, my husband and I thought so also, and then we'd look to our left over a sea of beds and little children's heads.  You haven't met my husband too much in this blog.  I'll have to introduce you more.  He resembles The Rock, I've been told, and makes women swoon.  He makes me swoon too, when he's behaving, which is rarely.  He is the biggest instigator of trouble you will ever meet in your life, but he loves me.  I know that.  So will you know that, when you see the condo quarters he sets up for me when we go camping. 

I promised you a picture of my camping set up, and here it is.  Nice, yeah?

Here she is, the dirt magnet.  I love her dearly, but see that look in her eye?  Yes, handle her with caution, and never take your eye off her.

Everyone knows this guy is the love of my life.  I try to hide it, but I'm just not that good at it.

My mini-me!  Or my little sister's mini-me.  We haven't determined yet which of us she most resembles.

My future star!  I love him too, dearly.   He lives under a golden rainbow, this kid.  I've never seen anyone with so much luck.  I had to fight to get a picture of him for this blog post, because we rarely see him all week once we hit the beach and the tents go up.