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  • Writer's pictureLisa Wain

Hawaii Day 4- An off-roading adventure!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Today’s Hawaiian adventure took us first thing in the morning over to the east coast of the island for a visit to Kuolua Ranch- home to many movies including their most popular, the Jurassic Park/World series. We had to be there by 7:15am and it was about a 40 minute drive over but we worried about morning, commuting traffic since we’d be driving in towards Honolulu & Waikiki most of the morning. We left at 6m, and again, Hawaiians really don’t know what traffic is, because we never really saw any true traffic. We were never stop and go or anything like that, just a lot of cars on the road but they were all moving. We pulled into the ranch at 6:57am, so clearly, the traffic was a non-issue.

There are many different tours to choose from at the ranch, but we decided on the ATV Raptor Tour, which is actually on a UTV (mule), but who’s keeping track? We were the first in our group to check in so I got to feed one of their horses while we were waiting to check in. That was fun until I was left with horse saliva all over the length of my hand and nowhere to wash it off. Yummy! After feeding the horse, they fitted us with helmets, gave us gators to help combat the dust, and goggles for anyone who didn’t have sunglasses. After a quick safety briefing and video, we were all set and ready to go.

Matt & I were the second UTV in the line, following directly behind one of our guides. They say the further ahead in the line you get, the less dirty you get. I can’t imagine being in the back then because we were covered in dust by the tour’s end. It was worth it though because the views were incredible. The first stop was where they filmed a scene in the original Jurassic Park where they’re in a big open field, running from the dinosaurs, so one of our guides did a fun little video of us running from a very threatening looking dinosaur. We also saw sites from Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Lost, Kong: Skull Island, Mighty Joe Young, and more that I seem to be forgetting now.

The tour lasted 2 hours and it was just the right amount of time. By the end of the tour we had so much dust on us it looked like I had a uni-brow. You can kind of see the dustiness in the picture below. It looks like a really dark tan on my face, but it’s actually just dirt. I had read about bringing stuff to clean you up and a change of clothes for after, but we knew we were going to the beach next so we just wore clothes that could get dirty over our swimsuits and then I brought baby wipes to clean up our faces. At the end of the tour, they do have a bunch of outdoor sinks for you to use to clean up, but there was no cleaning all that dirt off. Even after using the sinks and baby wipes, my finger nail would be loaded with black dirt when I scratched my eyebrow, and I even discover even more dirt in my ears even after I had showered showered later that day. It was crazy but so worth it!

After our tour we headed straight for a lunch spot that Matt has been dying to get back to since our last Hawaiian adventure nine years ago, Giovanni’s shrimp truck. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a food truck on the North Shore, famous for their garlic shrimp plates. It’s literally the most garlic you will ever consume in a single sitting so you better be sure everyone in your party partakes otherwise the garlic breath will kill them. It’s so simple but yet so god. There are many shrimp trucks on the north shore and the debate of which is the best is never ending but we prefer the OG, Giovanni’s.

Right next door to Giovanni’s is another popular food spot, 7 Brothers, famous for their burgers, so obviously, we had to walk over and try one as well. We went with their most famous burger even though it is not Matt & I’s typical style of burger, but it was so good!!! We shared one, since we had jus had Giovanni’s, but now we need to go back to have another one because it was just that good. It was a massive burger with two super crunchy onion rings, barbecue sauce, and a grilled pineapple, along with the typical burger toppings. Wow, was it good!

After eating us into oblivion, it was time to head to Shark’s Cove for some snorkeling. Shark’s Cove is a great place to snorkel but getting down to the water, let alone into the water, is not quite for the faint of heart, but the payoff is so worth it! In the first few minutes alone, Matt saw three turtles swimming right next to him. Since the walk was so treacherous, Matt didn’t bring the underwater camera with him so we all jut have to take his word for it. I didn’t go in since I need perfect ocean conditions to snorkle, like the prima donna that I am, and those rock were hardcore, so I curled up as small as I could to wedge myself under a rock to get myself some sort of shade. Matt snorkeled there for about 90 minutes while I became the time check girl. Everyone in the water seemed to need to know the time, and I seemed to be the one to ask. I didn’t mind the job at hand… it helped pass the time.

After snorkeling we headed back to the car and we finally decided to make use of our Mustang convertible and put the top down. The drive back to the hotel was over an hour because of slowed traffic in the North Shore where it is only one lane in each direction. We didn’t mind since the weather was perfect and the view was phenomenal. On our drive home, we did stop at a famous North Shore bakery, Ted’s Bakery, where we bought a bunch of fantastic pies, by the slice that is. I brought a small cooler bag specifically for this stopover so we bought four slices of pie, ate one each on the drive and then the other two actually made it back to our room to be enjoyed later.

The drive home from the North Shore took about 90 minutes and was definitely filled with the closest thing that I’d call actual traffic but the ride was fabulous. You weren’t going to find us complaining. We were enjoying the convertible to the fullest.

After we got back to the hotel, we showered off the rest of the dirt we were still coated in from our tour and then headed to the restaurant here at Aulani, Makahiki. The food at this restaurant was really good but Matt and I were still pretty full from lunch. It’s a set three course meal so not our best move to completely pig out all day to return home to a three course dinner, but vacations are for making unwise food decisions. Matt and I ordered the exact same thing, Corn Soup, Ribeye Steak, and a Pineapple Cobbler. We couldn’t do dessert so we took it to go to join the rest of the incredible food that’s now sitting in our fridge.

Once again, I was asleep before the room door even shut, at around 8ish, and Matt forced himself to stay up until 10:30pm watching TV. I don’t know how he can stay awake laying in that bed. I’m still waking up starting at like 2am and then sleeping on and off until finally getting up around 4am. He gets up usually between 5-6am. This jet lag is no joke!

Tomorrow is another resort day, I try the spa, and we attend a luau. I can’t wait!

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