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The Peanut Gallery's Hawaiian Vacation, Day 5

If you haven't read the previous installment, go here first.

Once again, we were up bright and early, which was good because we had to make sure to check in with the car rental folks by 10. We had to either return the car or let them know that we wanted to keep it. We wanted to keep it. So we're going to return the car on Tuesday after we drive ourselves to the airport in Lihue. Our cab ride on Wednesday cost us almost $50, so renting a car has turned out to be muuuuuuch cheaper than getting cab rides all over the island.

So instead of heading north and east, today, we drove west. We had a bunch of destinations in mind, plus there are always bunches of amazing lookouts and photo ops along the road. Our first stop was a lookout near Kalaheo.

After that, we stopped at Kauai Coffee Company Plantation in Ele'ele. It was absolute heaven... especially if heaven is 90 degrees with 75 percent humidity. Seeing the row after row of coffee plants was awesome and even though it was devilishly hot, I had to get a cup of coffee there. I drank it as we poked around in the little museum.

After a scorchingly hot tour around the grounds, looking at all the farm implements and admiring all the coffee bushes, we went on our way, but not before Schondy shot one more quick pic of the front of the building. If you're ever on Kauai, I highly recommend a stop at this place. Mecca for any coffee drinker.

We left the coffee plantation and headed to Glass Beach near Hanapepe. We saw this on several of our tour maps and it looked interesting, but we really didn't know what to expect. Turns out, this was a good place to stop. Instead of tiny grains of sand, the beach was covered in millions of small "rocks" of glass. Some of them were larger, but there were huge areas of tiny, pebble-sized pieces. It's very much trash turned into treasure. I had to resist the urge to take a handful of the beach with me because I know that if everyone did that, there'd be no beach left if I ever came back. So my handful of glass went back on the beach for the next person to discover.

We left Glass Beach and headed further west/north and visited the Russian Fort in Waimea. It wasn't much to see, but the story was very interesting. We stuck our heads into the middle of the fort for just a minute - long enough for Schondy to pose for a picture. Then we moved on.

We had lunch at a Subway in Waimea while we were looking for the road to take us up into Waimea Canyon. We'd heard from one of the honeymoon couples at the luau that this was something we should see, so up, up, up we went into the canyon. It's about 20 miles from the bottom of the hill to the top. The road is twisty and turny and we didn't make it that far. Our little cruiser plugged gamely along, but we just weren't interested in going the whole length. So when we got to the Waimea Canyon Lookout, about 10 miles in, we decided that was enough. We'd stopped several times on the way up at the various scenic lookouts and Schondy was able to get some beautiful shots.

We took a slightly different route back down from the hill, through Kekaha, and then stopped in Ele'ele at the Grinds Cafe. It was a cute little place where the menu said something along the lines of "If you're in a hurry, come back later when you're not in a hurry." They weren't kidding. We had plenty of time to watch World Series of Poker while waiting for the waitress to get back to us. But the air conditioning was divine.

So we headed back to hotel, and then Schondy wanted to go get dinner at PukaDog. So off we went. While I was sitting there, watching him enjoy his Polish sausage with banana relish, I realized that I was quite upset about not being able to enjoy the experience with him, so, for the very first time since the end of February, I cheated on my diet. I had a Veggie PukaDog with pineapple relish. It was good. I plan to stick with the diet after this, but I feel better for having experienced a Hawaiian hot dog, which is not something I'll ever be able to have at home. I've been so good with the diet so far that I don't feel like this one day of extremely minor slippage is going to kill me.

So tomorrow, we start organizing ourselves and seeing any last sights. And we may be shipping some of our souvenirs home to us because we bought lots.

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