The Rambling Family



Pearl Harbor

The kids slept great at the Hale Koa… I was restless though anticipating the early email from our virtual roll call. It never came!  The flight didn’t take any pax. Both it and the second one to guam disappeared from the boards. 
We slept in and drove to Pearl Harbor for the day.  The kids were super interested in the attack there.  Both were quite curious about Japan being an enemy and how they had already taken over Korea by that time. It was interesting to see them relate the story to themselves in that way… Owning Korea even more than the US in a way.
We arrived around noon and lucked out with the last three of five tickets left for the 1:15 boat ride to the USS Arizona memorial.  Had a snacky lunch of hotdogs and nachos before venturing to the bookstore and finding two veterans of the attack.  We spoke with one at length at Pennsylvania and Penn state: he was from Pittsburgh!  I was so proud to see the kids very respectful. 

Our boat tour out the memorial began with a video describing the events leading up to the attack.  It was helpful for all of us; Avi was fascinated to think the airplanes were the bad guys.  It seemed confusing to him. Zoe also wanted clarification on how Japan and Germany (as an enemy, this shocked her more) is now our friend and we have bases there. 
They were fascinated to see the boat, it’s oil leakage, the corals growing, and then the list of names. Zoe was quite somber about it; I think death is something she understands. Avi was more interested in the size of the boat and the cool model showing it then and now.


When we returned to the park Avi had a massive meltdown and threw a glorious tantrum (mostly in the car after I carried him out).  He wanted to get a model airplane, which I said no too but offere instead a it airplane that was on sale.  Well he said no to that because it was the bad guy plane. He found another few things all of which were either expensive or breakable so I offered the toy and again he declined.  Then, as we left he freaked out that I didn’t buy it!  Well I wasnt going back for something he didn’t want and especially after the meltdown.  It then turned into a full blown tantrum in The car.  He was tired!  
We drove to Ford island (part of Pearl Harbor navy base) to see the USS Missouri which he had wanted to go on.  Well we got there and he was still so pissed off that he refused even a toe on a cool battleship!!  Zoe and I took pictures and then we stopped at the shopette for a drink.  Avi rode piggy back into the store and fell asleep on me! 
Zoe and I continued to drive around the island – saw the pacific aviation museum and the old hangar with still-broken glass.  She recognized it from a ghost hunters episode. Then we visited the USS Utah; Luckily it’s roadside and (fortunately for us, though surprising) devoid of other tourist on bus tours. We left Avi in the AC car and took a few pictures.  This site, to me,  seemed a bit more in-your-face real about the attack. It’s a site to behold the underbelly of a vessel tipped and submerged – without a big fancy white memorial overtop of it.  Zoe and I agreed it seemed more simple and respectful this way, though the USS Arizona had 1177 people on it!


Anyway,  Ford island is gorgeous.  Again we were envious of the people living there. But,  Zoe did have a point that we get snow and they don’t.  One point korea.
Zoe also talked me into sleeping at the terminal.  We stopped over there to check on flight times for tomorrow’s two flights to Yokota and Kadena; at least beginning journey home.  Well they were not taking pax either!  The rep said a bunch of these flights had explosives or weapons aboard that can’t be on with passengers.  Bummer!  And to top it off – NO pacific- bound flights in the foreseeable future.

I called around to lodging but all were full.  Zoe and Avi had a great evening playing in the family lounge – it is super nice with toys, an outdoor playground and even a crafts bin.  Avi did 3 projects!  I busied myself tidying the place up. Zoe was outside making bird nests in the palms. They also have a ton of free food and drinks from the USO.  There were no other family’s around with such few flights going out.  Zoe talked me into staying the night on the floor.  A bed sounded nice, but she hooked me with “it’s free, mom”.

The Hale Koa

The flight home tomorrow was changed to roll call super early and now includes two stops in Guam and Japan.  So,  we packed up camp today and I booked a night at the only available military hotel: the fancy Hale Koa resort on Waikiki.  Our last minute rate is actually cheaper than hotels I could find nearer the airport! And we showered out the sand… Ahh

We spent the morning surfing at Kamana beach near the marine corps base.  The waves were bigger and nice.  It’s tougher wth a short board to stand – only got up once but it was fun!   Zoe did great getting to her knees; she is a natural surfer.  I would also put Avi on the board on his belly and road in quite a bit.  He loved it. I got board rash pretty bad from helping the kids.  

We returned the boards to the marine corps outdoor rec, got some mcdonalds, and vacuumed all the sand out of the van; it was filthy. Then we drove to the Hale Koa.  It’s super fancy and we have an amazing view in the 13th floor.  Definitely they gave us an upgrade.  

Swam in the pool.  Played at the playground and listened to the Pearl Harbor Day canons going off.  There is also a parade but I haven’t the energy. We will chill out here tonight – after a quick (I hope) drive to the pax terminal at Hickam to sign up for the virtual roll call.  This is new; they will email me if I make the flight instead of waking to arrive at the crack of dawn.  I hope it works.  

Watching the sun set over Waikiki beach isn’t half bad! 



Riding the waves

We spent this morning at bellows air force base beach.  It is more crowded than during the week, but still not packed.

Our boogie board rental was 24 hours so we still had them to play on until noon.  Avi rode in with me quite a bit before deciding to play in the sand.  He and I made little castle and houses for the tsunami to wreck. He seems to like playing natural disaster…. And he built his village just far enough away that the regular surf missed it; only the bigger waves washed in close enough to destroy his little mounds.

Zoe, on the other hand,  spent all morning on the board.  She ended up way down the beach and I had to go retrieve her twice.

At lunch we returned the boards, showered up, and I let the kids play at the playground while I watched from the deck of the Turtle Cove building ( where the rentals, gift shop, and check in are). I needed to charge my phone up there and use the wifi for a bit.  I didn’t expect any internet here so it’s quite nice to have  the option.  
I the afternoon we journeyed to the nearby Marine Corps base and air station Kaneohe .  Zoe and I agreed that we were jealous of the people stationed here.  There are 6 beaches at that base!  Our goal was the outdoor rec to see if they had smaller surf boards to rent.  
Success! Bellows only had adult size long boards, but Kaneohe had some short boards and one was a foam topped… So ideal for Zoe.  We rented that one for her and another hard short board for me and drive back to Bellows.  Stopped at a public beach on the way – but it was way too crowded an the waves were similar.  The guy at outdoor rec said the beaches on Kaneohe would not be good for beginners – they have a rougher surf.



Spent the rest of the day, until the sun was almost set, out the water surfing.  The short board is tougher to stand on,  so we have been pleased to catch a wave and ride on knees.   The breakers are also a lot closer to shore than where we learned in Bali… Which just means the ride is not quite long enough for me or Zoe to hop up and stand.  We have until 2:30 tomorrow afternoon to perfect our skills!  Avi had fun riding with me, wiped hard once, but hopped right back on.  Zoe is, of course, a fish. I helped her at first and then she was on her own!  I was able to surf a few times without Avi when he was done… But the sun was low and chilly so I didn’t want to leave him bundled in the towel in the beach too long. Those hot showers in the bath house are awesome.


This evening we ate some soup that I heated in the can over my fire log.  It was funny.  While I was “cooking” the kids played with some boys camping out too.   The sun sets around 6:30, so after dinner we were about to retreat to the tent for some reading when the family across the way invited us over for s’mores. We stayed a couple hours and chatted.  They were a super fun family to hang out with – the mom is from NY and the dad from CA.  He is a submariner and had been homeschooled. The kids were Zoe and Avi’s age, so fun was had by all.


 Tonight there are way more tents at the campground though it still isn’t full.  Hopefully the group playing the music will observe quiet hours here in a few minutes.  I would rather listen to the ocean. 
Saw a flight posted on the Hickam space-a board headed back home Monday … Via Guam. 


I fear I’m becoming a beach person.  Not the beaches I grew up going too – cold British stone beaches or the flat cold-water of the Atlantic coast,  no.  I mean really nice beaches.  Soft white sand, shady edge trees, some scenic cliffs and mountains, torquoise blue water,  and WARMTH. That’s the key.  Warm water and warm weather.

I always disliked the idea of going to beach because it seemed sandy, cold and boring.  What do you do?  “Nothing. Swim. Chill out.” boring.  Well I have finally figured out that is not all there is to do on a NICE beach.
Bryan is busy at work for an excercise, it recently snowed which was fun to sled in, but the kids had this hacking korea-cough for a while and I was antsy.  I know Christmas is coming but we hopped a space-A trip to Hawaii.  Bryan suggested it… Even got me the paperwork without asking.  I think he is looking forward to some good sleep.
We got on a C17 direct to Hickam from Osan!  It was easy.  They didn’t even do a proper roll call, just said everyone was selected.  I was surprised to see a friend of mine and her daughter as well!  She needed a break too, so we had a good time yapping while the kids played, until the plane started up and no one could hear a thing. Took off at 6pm.

At altitude I laid out our sleeping bags and we snoozed, did some homework, watched a show on my phone, and passed the 9 hours. When we landed, it was 17 hours back in time – the morning we left. 

Just as we were departing I got on my phone and booked us at the Bellows fam camp… So at Hickam I needed a car. There is an enterprise rental at the terminal known for never having cars available.  Well to my shock they did have one: a minivan. It was about $100 more than what I had searched for a little economy at the Honolulu airport,  but after calculating taxi cost to and from the airport, I opted for the MV… The $20 savings not being worth the airport hassle.  It’s a big vehicle and I notice it’s poor turn radius.  Otherwise the kids are loving the space.  We folded down the first rear seats so they share the back bench and have a huge area for messing around.
I used a piss poor tourist map to find Bellows Air Force base.  It’s on the windward (east) side of the island while Hickam is on the south.  A giant mountain range splits the two with lots of road options and poor signage…. Well signs that don’t match the map.  The map has road numbers: the signs have named the freeways instead. 
It’s gorgeous. The water is blue and the trees are green.   It’s hovering in the low 80s during the day and 70s at night.  Sleeping in our tent is perfect.  Bellows used to be a base but it’s now just a rec area with its own great beach, cabins and TLFs.   The campground is inland a little ways and comfortabley tucked into a stand of trees.  Glad to be back from the beach as the windward side is windy!
Luckily they let us check in early so we pitched the tent and took a nap.  We are the only tent here on a Thursday in December, though she said more folks come on the weekend.  
Spent the afternoon playing at the beach and swimming.  Avi spends most of his beach time digging trenches; he likes to pretend he is a backhoe or crane.  Then he throws the  sand in the water and gets sucked out.   Zoe, on the other hand,  swims in the water and plays with the plants.  She finds seedlings and replants them,  builds sandy walls around the trees ad generally gardens at the beach. It got a bit cloudy and Avi was waterlogged so we headed to a bathhouse for warm showers and dry clothes. 

We needed food and instead of popping into the shopette I had this idea to go to the Whole Foods market; it’s been forever since I’ve shopped at a huge natural foods store and we saw one in the next town over. Plus, it was farm market day, so I figured that was a better choice.  Wrong!   Everything was so super expensive!  And not just at the Whole Foods; we ditched it and went to a grocery store to find still-high prices.  Same with the farmers market!  I thought it may be a fun place to grab dinner, but not spending $10 on a burger!  Yikes.  Not sure if it’s Hawaii or that the town of Kailua is kind of yuppy?  Can’t tell. The homes aren’t exceptionally fancy.  Top the prices off with a traffic jam – 2 hours to go 10 miles because of a sinkhole – back to Bellows and we got back after dark.
At Bellows, the shopette had all we needed.  This morning i did laundry at the laundrette since Avi was so tired he wet the bed last night!  I was surprised. One sleeping bag, his clothes, and mine needed washed.  He doesn’t even remember me waking him in the middle of the night for dry clothes!  Sleepy child!!
Today we rented boogy boards at the outdoor rec office and surfed. Only $7 for three boards and a life best for Avi!   Zoe wanted a surfboard but they only have 9 footers, nothing her size.  The body boarding was fun!  I popped Avi on my board and rode with him in.  He loves it and squeals.  Took a while for Zoe to get the hang – its a different technique than surfing, but once she did it was all afternoon in the water.  The sun was out and it was warm until the clouds built in the mountain.  Once it was chilly we headed in for showers and schoolwork at the campground.


This evening we again wasted a drive, well not a complete waste, but still. The lady at the outdoor rec told me incorrectly that the big Honolulu Christmas parade was tonight.  We drove around the scenic way to see more of the island and stopped at some viewpoints, but otherwise it was silly.  The parade is tomorrow I found once we got to Honolulu. Made up for it with dinner at a great Mexican place called Serges … Just out the gate at Bellows. 
Tomorrow we board some more and maybe go see an arboretum or the giant Marine corps base nearby.  Maybe they have kid size surf boards at one of their beaches.  Kaneohe.  It also has a campground but couldn’t book online; I’m interested to compare.

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