Too much driving today. A 12 hour trip.We left around 9 via the Saddle Road to Hilo. No big deal this time. Nice views and uncrowded roadway. Stopped and got Kristen's photo by a giant fern (or was it a palm?)
Stopped in Hilo Hattie's for some more souvenirs; the Hawaiian shirt with guitars was not different enough from my other one so we said forget it.
Had an early lunch in McDonald's and headed to Volcano National Park. Stopped in the Visitor's Center and got a good overview. Plus 2 movies.
Unfortunately, one movie spoke of so many precautions when viewing flowing lava that Jill got totally turned off from the whole experience. (Gloves, long pants, 1/2 gallon water, flashlight, etc.) That stuff, plus the fact that the lava flowing into the ocean was 1.5 hours drive each way, plus a cross-lava hike, and we decided to forget it. Next time (haha).
We did enjoy the volcano views, though they were very Voggy. Kilauea is now spewing 250 tons a day of sulfur dioxide, which they call Vog. About half the park was closed, and they advised closing car windows. By the time we left my lungs were congested and my voice was a little hoarse.
Pele has spewed approximately 270 Million (!) dump trucks full of lava since this eruption began in 1983!
We did take a ranger walk, view the volcano, check out Thurston lava tube, and Devastation trail, though.
Towards the end of the day we headed down Chain of Craters road and saw some recent lava flows. (They don't look any different than the 300 year old flows near the condo.)
We descended several thousand feet to the shore, but the hike to where the lava had crossed the road was a hot half mile and we aborted the mission.
We also took a side trail (a one lane road) hoping to see Nene (the Hawaiian national bird, a goose) but failed. One lane, 9 miles long, twisting and turning, and few opportunities to turn around. Looked like the moon with dead trees.
By this time it was about 6 and I figured we had about a 2 hour drive home. The girls had a couple of soggy sandwiches, mine was soaked so I skipped dinner and just drove. The first and last parts of the road were in good shape, wide and fast (55+). The middle section was horrendous, twisting and turning, following other cars the whole way, 35 mph. By the time we got home it was 9:30 and we were all in bad moods. 3+ hours. There was a better way to combine the Hilo and Volcano trips to see more and drive less, and we should have planned better. Oh well.
Day 12 >>>
Day 12 >>>