Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 17 - Saddle Road, More Mac Nuts, Orchid Farm

January 28, 2010 - Thursday - Big Island

Even before the morning walk, there is whale watching as we eat breakfast. The water is full of whales and we never get tired of watching them swim by the condo.

Today, we are driving to the far side of the island to see what we missed the first time we were there a few days ago..........remember the convertible top that malfunctioned and ate up valuable vacation time. We are taking the short-cut across Saddle Road to save time and see new scenery.
Saddle Road gets it's name from the fact that it runs between the two large volcanoes on the island. My father was one of the people who built the road during WWII, so I always like to drive the road when we visit the BI. At one time, the rental car companies forbid people from taking the road due to its poor condition and the fact that there is often fog and limited visibility on the road at about 4,000 feet. The road was in the best shape I have ever seen it and was as good as any other road on the island. The photo below shows one of the cinder cones that line the road. Everything looks a little different up on Saddle Road.

Mauna Loa in the distance. Mauna Kea is on the other side of the road. Both are close to 14,000 feet. No snow this year due to the lack of precipitation.

About the last thing I would have expected to see.........wild Hawaiian Turkeys.

Lava, lava everywhere.

We visited the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut plant and farm just south of Hilo.

Mauna Loa is probably the best know brand of Mac Nuts in the US if not the world.

Shopping in the Company Store.

They have a self-guided tour of the plant that was interesting. Glass windows allow visitors to look at the production in progress. Here, the workers are bagging plain nuts. Unfortunately, the chocolate coating line was down while we were there. It would have been fun to see Sigrid get the shakes and quivers looking at all that chocolate and not be able to get to it.

The rest of the photos were taken at a large Orchid farm along the way to Volcano National Park.

Next up is Hawaiian Volcano National Park.

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