Tag Archives: Rent-a-Wreck


Our Europe trip was done and we were on our way home to the Queen Charlotte Islands, but our Greek suntans had already begun to fade.

“We can’t go home like this! Where could we go to have one more blast of sunshine before we go back to a winter of wind and rain?” Moments later the decision was made. “Hawaii, here we come.”

From London to New York, New York to Chicago, Chicago to San Francisco, San Francisco to Honolulu, Honolulu to Kauai, we traveled with short stops in between. We left London sometime Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Kauai late Thursday afternoon, but in fact it took much longer than that because we were flying west, playing catch-up with the clock.

When we landed in Lihue, on Kauai, we phoned around for a place to stay. How hard could it be? It was October, the off season. Wrong! It was Aloha Week! Every hotel, motel, and B&B was booked solid. We were on the last of a dollar’s worth of dimes (yes, those were the days when local calls cost a dime and you used those big payphones that hang on the wall or in cubicles for the convenience of Superman/Clark Kent. Remember those?) and used it to call the place that the cleaning lady at the airport suggested – Kahili Mountain Park. Yes, they had a place for us. We needed a car. Rent-a-Wreck was popular in those days and in this case they lived up to their name. (We returned it the next day for a more reliable wreck.)

And so, asleep on our feet, we coaxed the wreck up the mountain and collapsed in our new digs. It’s an indication of how tired I was that I didn’t care too much about the big spiders, lizards, and earwigs in the place. I just wanted a place to lay my head.

That’s our blue wreck with the door open.

img043Definitely a bad hair day the next day, so I’ve painted my head a lovely shade of green. But never mind. The main point of this photo is to show you our very rough camping set-up. Inside you can’t see the bare spring iron frame beds or the geckos on the ceiling, but you can see that we’re going to bbq something and have salad with it for supper that night.

img158aWe hung around the campsite through several cloudy days, but beach weather didn’t happen. Finally we went for a drive anyway. The road down the mountain to the beach ended in a beautiful drive through a tunnel of huge trees. Some, not shown on this photo, had giant philodendrons growing up their trunks. Beyond them were sugar cane fields. All new to us.

img044For that matter, I don’t think I had seen coconuts growing on a tree before, either.

img040At the end of this road, we were amazed to see the sun shining on a perfect beach. Day after day we came down the hill to the beach and laughed at our naiveté about the weather. It was always cloudy up by the mountain, and always sunny at the beach. That’s how it worked here.

At Poipu Beach we learned about body surfing.

img041We waded out through the waves and stood waist deep, waiting for a big wave to come. When it was almost on us we turned and swam for the beach, letting the wave catch us and scoot us in to shore.

That was great fun. Once or twice, the waves were extra big and I was pounded on the beach. Some skin was  sanded off my thighs, but still, I went back out, as did several others, to look for another pummeling.

A young man about my age stood nearby waiting for a wave. When the giant swept us up, I concentrated on not letting it break my back as it lifted my legs over my head. In the wildly frothing foam I stood up after another pounding in the sand. But wait! Where were my bikini bottoms? Fortunately the foam was still boiling at least thigh high as I shrank into an instant crouch and retrieved my bikini from my ankles, swishing three pounds of sand out of it as I pulled it up.

The fellow next to me stood up and gawked.

“Whoa!” I panted. “Nearly lost my bathing suit there with all that sand!”

A big smile spread across his face as he drawled, “I know….”