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home : columns : dave fjeld
January 15, 2019

1/2/2019 10:20:00 AM
Tropical anniversary - Part I
The older I get, the faster time goes. If you youngsters don't believe it, grow old. You'll understand.
However, when it comes to anniversaries, that's a good thing. I can honestly say it's hard to believe my wife, Donna, and I have been married for 30 years. That time has gone by quickly.
For our 30th anniversary, we finally pulled the trigger on a trip we've talked about for several years now - a trip to our nation's 50th state, Hawaii. We carved 10 days from our usual December for the trip and, for the most part, it went off without a hitch. We were actually in Hawaii for our 30th anniversary on Dec. 10. We didn't do anything particularly special. Just enjoying an ocean view from our room was enough of a present.
Speaking of presents . . .
New DSLR camera
Since Donna gave me a trip to Hawaii for our anniversary/Christmas/birthdays, I reciprocated by buying her a new digital single lens reflex camera - Nikon, of course. It was an entry level digital SLR, with a standard zoom (18-55 mm) and a telephoto zoom (70-300 mm), the latter being her primary request.
Needless to say, she gave the camera a thorough christening. She shot nearly 2,000 photos on the trip (I snapped a few, too) and she definitely captured some great scenery and moments.
Because I shoot photos all the time for work, I was more than happy to let her use the camera to her heart's delight. The only thing I wasn't particularly pleased about was being in the photos and spoiling the beauty of the photos she took.
Fortunately, we have plenty of photo memories from our bucket-list adventure.
The flight
If there's a drawback to a trip to Hawaii, it's definitely the flight.
Originally, we had a direct flight from Minneapolis to Honolulu aboard one of the big planes - you know, two seats on either side of a pair of aisles with five seats in the middle. We got switched to planes with one aisle and three seats on either side. I was in the middle seat.
We had stops in Los Angeles on the way out and Seattle on the way back. Needless to say, the 5½-hour flight to and from Hawaii was the most straining on one's posterior.
The flight home left Hawaii at 9:30 p.m. (Hawaii time), arrived in Seattle at 5:30 a.m. (Pacific time) and got into Minneapolis at noon (Central time). We didn't get much sleep.
The flight out was delayed 1½ hours, which caused some concern for our connecting flight to Honolulu in Los Angeles. Fortunately, with 41 people making that same connection, Delta Airlines held the plane to Hawaii and we got into Honolulu just a little later than expected.
Whew, one bullet dodged!
Hawaii travel tip: Have a good book to read for the plane flight, or be ready to watch movies. There's little else to do during nearly nine hours on planes. I finished a little more than two-thirds of a 586-page book during the flight out, but that's another column.
Narrow roads
If there's one thing that surprised me about Hawaii, it was the narrow roads.
When we got to Honolulu, we wound up with a GMC Yukon, a small luxury liner for the kind of traffic you experience in Honolulu. My biggest fear was side-swiping the cars on either side of me.
On the other hand, I believe I saw one 60 mph speed limit sign on Oahu - and in the two days we were on the island, we drove almost all the way around the island. Most speed limit signs on the island were in the 35 to 50 mph category.
After a couple days on Oahu, we flew to Kauai, where we spent the next week. Roads were still narrow, but mostly because the island is so hilly and roads so winding. The top speed on Kauai - and, again, we made it almost all the way around the island - was 50 mph with most signs in the 25 to 40 mph range.
Hawaii travel tip: Try to get a smaller vehicle. It may actually cost you a little more, but you'll be glad you did.
Life on Kauai is much slower-paced and a little more relaxed, while Honolulu and Oahu is more for those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. That's definitely not me.
So, why, you ask, did we go there?
Read on, McDuff!
Pearl Harbor Memorial
Now, I'm not a big history guy, but if I was going to make a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Hawaii, I was not going to miss the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
While it wasn't the highlight of the trip for me, it ranks as one of the top bucket-list visits. There are several buildings you'll want to check out that explains the attack more in detail, including model replicas of the base, Japanese and U.S. aircraft carriers and short documentaries.
For the first time, I saw the actual explosion that sank the USS Arizona. What a horrific explosion. Interestingly, the Arizona had just been fully loaded with oil the day before the attack. To this day, oil continues to leak out of the Arizona. Officials said that sometime in the next 20 years, something is going to have to be done to stop the leakage.
They also had a model in one of the buildings showing the sunken Arizona with the memorial above it. Very interesting.
Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to step foot on the memorial. We were only given a boat tour around it. Apparently there is a safety concern regarding the loading dock and ramp, which is expected to be corrected by March.
We also paid the extra money to take a tour of the submarine museum and permanently-docked USS Bowfin submarine (launched in 1942). If you've never been on a submarine, it's worth the extra money to tour it.
Hawaii travel tip: When on the Bowfin - duck! I banged my head only once.
We were the day after the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were a number of wreaths from Hawaiian cities, mayors, the governor and other state officials.
Very moving. Understandably, the area was quiet and people were very respectful.
Next week: Tidbits from Kauai.

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