We spent a considerable amount of time driving around Oahu, visiting sites we hadn't seen in a long time. The first couple of days we headed out towards the North Shore, driving around Haliewa Town and visiting Waimea Bay.
Entering Haliewa Town and the food trucks
Entrance into Waimea Bay State Park
View driving down to Haliewa from the Kamehameha Highway
Saw guys trying to fish from this cove
Another day we went to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. I hadn't been to Aloha Stadium in many years; the last time I was there, I was playing pee-wee football in our regional championship. For my father and I, it was a exercise in walking around and trying to drag our significant others from one stand to another. My wife made off with some nice gifts for her family, and I bought my nephew his first shave ice (strawberry, which half of it ended up on his shirt!).
Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium
We also spent some time on the Windward side of Oahu, visiting Kaneohe and Waimanalo. My wife took dozens of pictures, many of which didn't turn out so well. But, she did get some great views of the Windward mountain range and of the beautiful scenery.
Beach at Waimanalo
Another beautiful sight of Waimanalo
View of Mountains heading towards Highway H3
View from Kamehameha Highway heading towards Kaneohe
Heading towards Laie and the Polynesian Cultural Center and BYU-Hawaii
Keneke's Plate Lunch in Waimanalo...excellent shave ice here!
Eventually we had to leave. I had a job to get back to, and I didn't want to risk getting in trouble for staying in paradise. But, who would blame me if I stayed in Hawaii?
1 JUL 2012
Departure Time: 1346 HST
Arrival Time: 2121 PST
Departure Gate: 32
Arrival Gate: 3
After our last debacle in Oakland, we were actually hoping to get delayed to spend a few extra hours in paradise. Alas, this wasn't going to happen. We dropped off our rental cars, headed towards the check-in area, and got our bags examined by the Agricultural Department. Security wasn't too bad, but my wife was chosen to be "randomly screened". The screener was pretty funny; she had suggested that for every time someone was selected, balloons and confetti should drop from the ceiling and the person should be treated like they won the lottery, big sign saying "Congrats! You've been randomly selected by the TSA!"
My brother and I did a quick hunt for food, so we walked around the terminal looking for something edible and cheap...we found neither. But, I took some great shots of the terminal area:
Open area facing the Interisland Terminal
Hawaiian 717 getting ready for departure (I believe it was to LIH)
Japan 767 in OneWorld colors...heading to Narita
Our bird to OAK
We got some really bad (and really expensive) Burger King, walked to the gate, and waited for boarding. Since we were in First Class, we boarded first and were greeted by the same fantastic Hawaiian Airlines service we got in Oakland.
That's plenty of legroom for me
The menu for the flight...every option looked delicious!
View from my seat
Closeup on flight next to us...was heading to another beautiful location after HNL
Our flight attendant brought us pre-flight drinks. I was feeling pretty down because I had to head back to DSM, so I made sure to have plenty of champagne and pass-o-guava drink to keep me feeling better.
Champagne and guava mimosa
USAF C-17 taxiing to Hickam AFB
We pushed back pretty quickly and started making our way to the reef runway 8R. Since I was sitting in the bulkhead, the flight attendant's jumpseat was pretty visible. She gave me a look of "don't even think of using that camera", and I didn't want to spend an extra night in HNL locked up, so I put it away. We waited to cross 8L from a KC-135 from Tinker AFB (we saw a lot of military action, since RIMPAC 2012 was getting underway), and made a spectacular takeoff from HNL. I really wished I had my camera ready, the sight of taking off in a beautiful blue sky, with a great view of Downtown Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii Kai, and Diamond Head.
Once the chime of 10,000ft went off, I reached for the camera and started snapping away of what I could get.
Passing over Makapuu Point
Lots of blue sky and blue water out there...
Had a moving map this flight...hadn't seen this since I was on a UA 777 from SFO-ORD
Flight details in the metric system
Cruisin' out of HNL
We leveled off quickly at 37000ft, and the captain said to expect a very smooth flight all the way into OAK. The cabin crew came by and handed out digEplayers. The same entertainment package from the last flight was loaded on the player, so I watched "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and an episode of "The Simpsons".
Pass-o-guava, Kindle Fire, and some Roy Ayers
The Simpsons...this episode wasn't as funny as I expected
Perfect view from my seat
Our flight attendant was pretty new; he was given extra training from the lead attendant on the differences in galley ops from the A330 to the 767. It didn't matter to me; his service was exceptional and he seemed legitimately happy to be doing his job. He brought our dinner to us, and it was absolutely fantastic! I ordered the fresh catch, wonton tacos, and Hawaiian-style tacos.
What a fantastic dinner!
Dessert...Orange sherbert covered in white chocolate
Pretty soon, we were told that we would be landing in OAK. The crew cleaned up the cabin really fast, and I settled in to landing back home.
Map says we're almost home!
Pretty blurry view of 101 corridor heading from Mountain View towards SFO
We landed on RWY 29 and backtracked on the runway due to construction work on a large section of the taxiway. We parked at Gate 3, got a nice "Mahalo braddah, we see you soon!" from the lead flight attendant, and headed towards our hotel. The Hawaiian experience is a must...great service, great crews, great planes, and great destinations! Whenever my wife and I head back to the Islands, we'll be flying Hawaiian to get there without a doubt!
Our bird at the gate
So glad to see Hawaiian's name at OAK
2 JUL 2012
Seat 30A (moved to 30C...read below)
Estimated/Actual Departure Time: 1045PDT/1156PDT
Estimated/Actual Arrival Time: 1401MDT/1456MDT
Departure Gate: 68
Arrival Gate: B47
My family was on a Southwest flight from OAK-LAS-BWI at 0600, so I said my goodbyes the morning before. The morning of my flight, my wife and I woke up early, headed to Nikko's (our favorite breakfast spot in Oakland, nearby Alameda), drove down South Shore Ave. in Alameda (great views of OAK's takeoff pattern and of downtown San Francisco), and she dropped me off at the West Oakland BART station to catch a direct train to SFO.
The cranes of West Oakland
Mandela Village and a view of the Lower Bottoms
The trip was pretty fast...once we got past Powell Street, it emptied and was a pretty quiet ride into SFO
This is why I didn't drive...101 Southbound backed up
SFO BART station
I walked into the terminal, and it was CRAZY. There were several delays systemwide, including mine into DEN. Plus, it was a pretty busy travel day, as people were trying to get out of the Bay Area for the 4th of July weekend. I checked in with a sky cap, made my way through a hectic security line, and went towards my gate. The gate assignment changed at least 3 times (thanks to Orbitz and their automatic e-mail updates), and the flight was eventually delayed. Never to fret, I just headed over to a bar and had an Anchor Steam with a hot bowl of clam chowder.
Anchor Steam...even at 10:30 in the morning, it tasted pretty good.
Our bird to DEN
We finally boarded, and I was hoping we would make up some significant time due to the delay. I had a tight connection for my flight to DSM, and I really didn't want to be waiting for the next DSM flight. I also had a car in long-term parking, and tons of laundry to do before the next day at work. When I boarded the flight, I was surrounded by a large group traveling from Japan (they all boarded together, and a Japanese interpreter was at the gate). I motioned to the people sitting in the aisle and middle that I had the window seat. The lady at the aisle looked at me, nodded, then climbed over the guy in the middle to take the window seat! I chucked to myself and just sat down in the aisle seat. "It doesn't matter...I got a seat on this flight!" was my attitude. We pushed back and took off from Runway 1R. I really wished I had the window seat to get pictures, as the lady who had my seat pulled out her camera and started snapping pictures. From what I could tell, it was a beautiful takeoff and view of San Francisco.
The flight was pretty uneventful, until we were heading into DEN. The pilot came on and told us the weather around Denver was starting to turn ugly, so the flight attendants were instructed to sit down for the last 45 minutes of the flight. Let's just say the approach to Runway 35L was "bumpy", as the pilots were fighting some strong winds. Once we landed and parked at B47, I thanked my lucky stars and headed off for my next flight.
2 JUL 2012
Estimated/Actual Departure Time: 1551 MDT/1625 MDT
Estimated/Actual Arrival Time: 1815 CDT/1838 CDT
Departure Gate: B37
Arrival Gate: A4
I had a pretty tight connection time, so I ran to the next gate. I get there...no plane. But, as soon as I sat down and checked some work e-mail, the planed pulled up. The plane was cleared and we boarded in no time. However, the pilot told us we would have a short delay, and the brakes on our A319 were overheated and needed to cool down before we left. The delay was short, probably around 15 minutes, before we pushed back.
Legroom of my exit-row seat
We lined up at Runway 8 and took off, immediately dodging the approaching storms. Once we were clear of the weather, we made a direct turn to DSM. The flight was pretty quick (just a little over an hour), and was very smooth. I just read my Kindle Fire and ordered a cup of coffee. The inflight entertainment consisted of an episode of "Parks and Recreation" (which I watched on the way to DEN...exact same episode) and a show on online dating (seriously!). We made a pretty steep descent into DSM. We landed on Runway 23 (as 13-31 is closed for taxiway work), and made a pretty fast drive to gate A4.
Our bird at the gate
Very busy at DSM...
Baggage claim area
What was my welcome to DSM? It was HOT! The thermometer in my car said 101 degrees! And, as soon as I turned on the AC in my car, it shot out 101 degree air! Guess that's what happens when your car sits in the heat for over a week!
Thanks for reading all three posts! I hope it was enjoyable to read as it was to write. I'll have another trip report of DSM-DEN-SMF coming up soon!