Kona, Hawaii

Kona is just a small town on Hawaii’s Big Island. Of course it is famous as the only place in USA where coffee is grown commercially. Our visit was just for the day, and we mostly stayed pretty close to the ship so that Talia and Milo could return for their daily nap.

Our ship, the Volendam, at anchor off Kona, Hawaii.

Since we were at anchor off Kona, we had to board tender boats to ferry us to the shore, there is no dock for ships at Kona.

This was our arrival point and the main center of town.

Leaving Kona, we had a party on the back deck to say farewell to Hawaii.

Milo knocks back a banana at the party.

Talia in her Hawaiian head dress.

Talia with Indah. Indah serves food at the buffet daily and enjoys seeing Talia.

Hilo

We stopped for a day in Hilo, Hawaii, a small town on the Big Island. It was raining all day, but we got off the boat and had a walk around the town anyway.

Hilo typically receives 278 rain days per year, and it is the wettest city in USA, receiving 130 inches of rain per year – so I guess the weather wasn’t very surprising. On the other side of the island is the town of Kona, which we will visit in two days. Kona gets very little rain and more than 300 sunny days per year, so we hope for better weather there.

At the dock in Hilo.

Talia enjoys the rain in Hilo

At the markets in Hilo

On board the Volendam

The Volendam is a small to mid size cruise ship. It takes 1400 passengers and 600 crew and we are virtually full to capacity. It still feels spacious though, with plenty of areas for the passengers to disperse. We are on a 23 day cruise from L.A. to Sydney, stopping in Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, New Caledonia, Eden (Australia) and Sydney.

Boarding the Volendam in Los Angeles.

Leaving Los Angeles

Breakfast outside on the rear deck.

Inside our cabin. We have a second room like this with a connecting door.

Talia and Milo in the room

Talia in the window

Milo on the Sports Deck (almost the uppermost deck). The large roof sections behind Milo can retract to open the pool area in good weather.

The retractable roof over the Lido pool.

The Lido Pool.

On this deck you can walk all the way around the outside of the ship. Three and a half laps equals one mile. This is a popular place to walk in the mornings.

The second pool, on the upper rear deck.

A drive around USA

We are on board the ship right now. Internet access has been spotty (satellite issues) and expensive ($$ issues), so we’ve been offline for most of the time. More info about the ship coming real soon.

In the mean time, if you were wondering what it is like to travel 7,000+ miles around USA by road but never had the time to do it, here’s a quick 3 minute version that will give you an idea of what it’s (kind of) like…

Harvey the RV for sale

Tomorrow is our last day in the RV. We will arrive in or near Los Angeles and then we have a busy few days arranging to sell the RV and also offload all it’s contents. After that we prepare to board the ship on Saturday.

There probably won’t be any updates here for some time, until things settle down a bit, this is going to be a busy few days ahead. We’ll get you all caught up down the track a bit.

In the mean time if you have been at all inspired and would like to make your own journey, consider buying Harvey the RV, which is for sale at a wholesale price. It only has 45k miles. This is your last chance!

Arizona

From Santa Fe, another long drive – this time into Arizona. Our final destination, Seligman, is a town in the middle of the desert, and we only chose this for logistical reasons – half way to Los Angeles.

Another day on the interstate, but this time we have some great cloud formations and interesting terrain.

At lunch time, we found a chance to deviate to a scenic area 10 miles off the freeway. Harvey goes off-road.

Our lunch spot with a view.

It doesn’t look like it, but there’s a huge cliff behind them, we were all being very careful and practicing good listening skills.

An impromptu show performed at the cliff’s edge – why not?

Typical lunchtime antics

Milo get in on the action. He has his meals in the passenger seat, which swivels 180 degrees. This is the only place we can put his booster seat.

At camp in Seligman, AZ.

We had a fantastic sunset with great cloud formations.

Santa Fe with Malachi

We took a rest day today in Santa Fe.

The main purpose of this whole RV trip is to visit family and friends, so that’s why we stop in certain places and miss other things completely. At this stage, every day ahead of us is allocated, and we have just enough time to make it to LA and board our ship. We maximized the time on the East Coast, as well as a few stops here and there on the way over and back. This trip back to LA is intentionally a fast one. We’ve even stooped to the low level of just using the interstates which I dissed in an earlier post. But, you gotta do what you gotta do, and so we are doing it – and that ship won’t wait for us. So hopefully that explains the speed of the journey so far. But one of the stops we had planned from the start was one in Santa Fe to see Malachi and family.

We spent the day today with Jody’s cousin Kevin and son Malachi, who was featured in a previous post as we also saw them in Connecticut. Shakti, Malachi’s mom, was working all day so we only saw her briefly.

Not really any photos to share except these snapped from an iPhone from a breakfast we shared.

A car park cousin farewell.

Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico

Sometimes we stay at KOA campgrounds, and sometimes these KOA’s try to compete with other campgrounds by offering various special “attractions” to try to draw people in – especially people like us, who are suckers for this type of marketing. (warning, previous sentence may contain sarcasm, reader’s discretion is advised).

At this particular KOA they had a jumping pillow, which is something like a trampoline. The kids loved it. The pillow is large and all sides are buried into the ground. Underneath they pump in air. So you climb on top and start jumping on the pillow, and this is what it loos like…

A caged buffalo near the campground. This was apparently to attract the interest of prospective campers.

Today’s route was across the Texas Panhandle, into Santa Fe – where we had plans to meet up with Jody’s cousin Kevin and family.

The view from a roadside rest area. A lot of the drive today was flat and, well, let’s just say a little monotonous.

Milo, the birthday boy today, spent his birthday mostly in his carseat. Swimming in Juju’s pool and eating blue cupcakes is but a distant memory now as the Texas heat takes hold.

A lot of the scenery today looked like this…. until we got into New Mexico.

In New Mexico, starting to get a bit hilly

Close to Santa Fe, things started getting a lot more interesting.

Oklahoma

From the musical, Oklahoma! (circa 1955)
(video: 1 min 43 sec)

We are getting about as close as we’ll get to the middle of America. As I write this we are in Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. It is hot – very hot. The temp topped out at 105 F today (that’s 41 Celsius). Nobody is bursting into song like the guy in the above video. Hot winds blew in from the South all afternoon, it was like being in a blast furnace. In the RV we ran the generator as we traveled, so that we could run the main air conditioner as well as the one built into the dash, neither could keep up with the heat. There were wild fires in Oklahoma City suburbs and we were diverted off the highway due to low visibility. Numerous suburbs were evacuated. But we pressed on and made it to safe ground for the night, we are a long way from those fires now.

I didn’t think to mention it until now but we’ve definitely been in the Bible Belt for some time. Ever since we entered Virginia, we’ve noticed a staggering number of churches of all descriptions, not to mention many billboards with Christian themes, billboards promoting the various churches, and a plethora of Christian radio stations to choose from. In fact between Christian radio and Country music, there’s not much room on the dial for anything else.

We started our day near Memphis, having breakfast with The King of Rock and Roll.

This is the kind of thing that Milo gets up to when we look away.

Our campsite near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

We’re in farm country – this is a locust that stopped by to visit our campsite. This photo was taken on the tree in the far left of the photo above.