Going to the Tacoma landfill is always interesting. The one that stands out in memory from years ago had me making a dump run after Nalley's Fine Foods had deposited millions of whole pickles. The dozers had worked the pickles into the ground . . . but just barely. I drove on pickled dirt and I walked on pickled dirt . . . and I breathed pickled air. It was not pleasant. In Paradise Park it was time for a dump run. I volunteered. I thought, this could be an adventure.
I drove Debbie Irwin and Sue Lord with a couple of plastic garbage bags and some beer and wine bottles. There was no line. There was no ID required. The place was beautiful. It wasn't really a dump, it was a transfer station. We gave the attendants our throw-a-way bags and emptied our box of bottles into a huge dumpster.
On the way out of the dump, we passed an audience of cats and chickens. The chickens clucked around in the bushes and the cats sat upon lava rocks and watched people come and go. I'm guessing there must have been some reward for the animals, but we never saw anyone throw them something to eat. Some of the cats dozed, some sat, and some looked attentively. Maybe they wanted to be adopted. The dump is very close to the humane society in Puna. Perhaps, there was a connection. The chickens were scratching in the dirt, so I'm assuming they found sustenance. It could be the cats had a home and were just out for a day's amusement. They amused me. We circled the dump to drive past them twice.
After our trip to the dump, we traveled to the village of Keaau for fresh fruits and vegetables. Our supply of papayas and apple bananas dwindled every day. The market was always a great place to visit.
In addition to our normal breakfast and snack items (the fruit), we had discovered green beans. They were thin and about fifteen inches long. They were tougher than the green beans I was familiar with, but with a little extra steaming time, they were delicious. I volunteered to cook them. I would cut the beans in half or thirds and then sprinkle them with salt and garlic powder. I finished them off with a squeeze of lime and a pat of butter. I hate to be too healthy and have been known to err on the side of taste.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution. We traveled to the park and at the visitor's center we listened to one of the rangers tell us all about the forming of the island Hawaii (built on top of five volcanoes). About a hundred yards away from the visitors center was a fantastic tourist shop, which offered photos and artwork from local artists. Between the visitor's center and then tourist shop was a lovely and rustic bathroom. The small cabin like structure had two rooms (men and women) with a wooden porch between them. There was no insulation on the walls and I thought this must make them very cold in the winter . . . and then I realized, not in Hawaii.
At the tourists shop Peg found some earrings she liked. I bought them for her. This was our anniversary. Since we knew we would be in Hawaii for our anniversary, we had another celebration involving other friends and members of our family a week and a half before our trip.
Most of our group wanted to walk to the observation point that overlooks the huge crater of Kilauea. I thought Peg was joining them while I bought the earrings, but when I walked towards the path for the viewpoint, our group was heading back to the visitor's center. Oh, well, I didn't want to walk there anyway.
We returned to our car and headed towards the crater to see it up close and personal. We drove past another viewing area and parking lot. The plane was dotted with rising steam. Those near the parking lot had strong fences around them. Those out in the fields probably did not. I guess its left for the tourists to be smart enough to recognize that steam can hurt . . . or be used to cook green beans, anyway.
It took a few minutes to arrive at the modern visitors center. We saw people posing out in the brush and then realized they were taking pictures of the endangered Hawaiian Goose, or Nene. The official bird of the state of Hawaii, the Nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. The Hawaiian name Nene comes from its soft call.
Kilauea means "spewing" or "much spreading" in the Hawaiian language. Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Rising levels of sulfur dioxide have led to increased levels of volcanic smog and air quality concerns. Peg could feel the sulfur scratching at the back of her throat.
Kilauea is visited by millions of tourists each year, making it the most visited attraction in Hawaii and the most visited volcano in the world. The modern visitor's center, located just a hundred yards away from the gaping and steaming crater was filled with displays. Despite its relative safety for researchers and visitors alike, Kilauea is regarded as the most dangerous volcano in the U.S. To give you a little perspective, in the photo (above) of the summit caldera of Kilauea the fuzzy image of red in the upper middle of the surrounding hills is the observation building Peg was going to walk to while I bought her earrings.
As we left the park, I saw a pair of Kalij pheasants just a few feet away from my window. They looked just like a photo I had seen in one of Peg's nature books. I was the only one who saw them and wasn't quick enough to snap a photo, but I was pleased with the recognition.
We had reservations at the Kilauea Lodge. Donn and Debbie had recommended the restaurant to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. I was surprised to see the Rotary wheel below the name on the front of the building. I think the owner is a Rotarian and the local Rotary Club used to meet there. Donn and I met as Rotarians from the 8th oldest Rotary Club in the World, Tacoma Rotary.
Kilauea Lodge is located in the village of Volcano. A secluded drive of about a mile only took a few minutes, even with a photo-op stop. The lodge was built as a YMCA camp in 1938. The lodge is not only a restaurant, but also one of Hawaii's best Bed & Breakfast establishments.
The lodge restaurant was cozy and wonderful. The bird of paradise folded napkins were a really nice touch. Artwork on the walls was done by some of the same artists we had seen represented at the tourist shop just an hour or two before. When we opened up the menu and found there was a welcoming statement of our anniversary I was impressed. The staff was attentive and friendly.
Lodge owner-chef Albert Jeyte's offers a continental cuisine with a touch of local flavors. His specialties include European favorites; hasenpfeffer, venison, and duck, and there's always fresh fish from deep Big Island waters. All entrées include soup or salad. I was a little disappointed in the selections because Donn had mentioned wild boar. I would have been all over that. I had seen the latest menu and thought I would be ordering antelope, but found myself ordering a Seafood Muana Kea instead (the sauce was out of this world).
For the group Peg and ordered a couple of bottles of Malbec, our favorite wine. We ordered appetizers or brie and mushrooms. The brie was coated in an herb batter and coconut flakes and lightly fried. It was served with papaya salsa, brandied apples and a three grain mini-loaf. We had two plates of the brie to share. The mushroom caps and the sautéed mushrooms were also a hit. I had a cocktail as did a couple of others.
The salads were wonderful and the soup was fantastic. It was an Alsatian recipe just the right amount of puree to give the broth an extra smooth and nutty texture and flavor.