Day 3, Friday, May 12, 2017
We left Hilo and drove north, where we detoured off the main highway onto the “old road,” the Old Mamalahoa Highway, built before the current Highway 19 (aka the Mamalahoa Highway). We parked and walked down a trail to the water that was adjacent to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. There you find access to the beach and a little cove on Onomea Bay – it was absolutely gorgeous! I would have loved to have stayed a lot longer! We even saw little geckos there – they were so cute!
We didn’t visit the botanical garden, but I think it would be a worthwhile stop on a future trip – admission is a bit steep at $18 per person. Just peeking in the backside through the fence; it looked pretty cool!
We continued on our way to our next destination – Tex Drive In in Honoka’a for malasadas! Honoka’a was once a sugar plantation, and Tex Drive In has been serving these Portuguese Fried Donuts that are popular in Hawai’i since 1969, and they are amazing! You can get them with a variety of fillings, including strawberry, guava and lilikoi, which is a type of passionfruit, and they are sprinkled on top with powdered sugar. Tex’s has a window where you can watch them make the malasadas, and they come out all warm and soft and amazing… They are all so delicious! I want one right now just thinking about it!
On the way home, driving around the north end of the island, we passed through the town of Waimea, a cute little historic town. Waimea is also home to the Parker Ranch, perhaps the oldest ranch in Hawai’i, over 160 years old. George Vancouver gave King Kamehameha I five cows as a gift in 1788, which the King set free to roam the island. Those five cows bred and multiplied into thousands of cows, who by the time John Palmer Parker arrived in 1809, were wreaking havoc all over the island. John Parker left and returned, and in 1816 married Chiefess Kipikane and received two acres of land for a farm. He eventually purchased another 1640 acres in 1850 and the following year, and leased even more, creating the dynasty that continues today. The Parker Ranch is still a huge beef producer and the ranch supplied horses to the US Army when it still had a mounted cavalry.
Of course, we saw very little from the road as we drove by, but it is interesting to note the landscape, which is much drier than you would expect from Hawai’i. There are even cacti there! The light was fading as we drove through the ranch and we got back to the condo after dark. We had been in the car all day! We made a late dinner of leftover Ahi Poke and salad. If only all leftovers were so good- what a great day!