Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Haliewa Beach Park

Last Friday, Truman and I ventured out for our first beach experience in Hawaii.  Upon the recommendation of a family member we headed up to Haliewa Historic Town and in turn found the Haliewa Beach Park. 

 That day we stayed close to the car setting up our blanket on the coarse sandy beach near the parking lot. There were several families on the beach that day.  The water was warm and clear. Quite different from the east coast beaches we are used to swimming in. You could see fish swimming all around as well as the ocean floor even when the water was waist deep.

Today we ventured out again.  This time as a family.  Brian, the explorer, encouraged us to walk the rocky coastline to the right of where we parked.  The hike took us over some amazing terrain.  We walked across what appeared to be lava rock full of holes and crevasses.  Examine these tide pools more closely and you'll observe little microcosms of the sea. Since the goal was to swim, we continued walking in hopes of finding a suitable stretch of beach where the sand meets the water.  After a short distance further we found what we were looking for and more.

 From a distance what we thought were boulder type rocks, were actually sea turtles.  Over the course of the afternoon close to a dozen sea turtles beached, dozed, and ate along the shore where we had set up "camp".  They did not appear to be concerned by our presence.  Brian was able to get plenty of close up video and I got close enough to touch one of their shells.  Truman and I played in the sand while Brian continued to explore.  He found two abandoned sea urchin shells and living sea cucumber.

 It was now late afternoon and our toddler was tuckered out.  A brief beach front nursing session and he was fast asleep.  Transferred to Brian's shoulder for the walk back to the car, he appeared unaffected by the rain drops that had begun to fall as we made the trek.  So focused on getting back to the car, I almost missed the best part.  I was ahead of Brian on the trail when he hollered for me to come take a look.  What was waiting for my eyes to of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Review: Ramada Inn Arizona Mills-Tempe, Az

Upon checking out of Spring Creek RV Resort, we still had 5 days remaining until our flight was due to leave Phoenix, Arizona.  We had decided to check into a hotel until our departure giving us some much needed “creature comfort” time.   Requirements for the hotel were as follows: complimentary breakfast, a pool, an onsite fitness facility, a travel distance of approximately 15 minutes from Mesa Gateway Airport, and a cost of under $50 per night…we wanted all this and a hotel that felt a little “higher end”.

 Using a variety of hotel discount websites I searched for something that would meet our needs.  I began to get discouraged when after searching for several days it looked like we may have to extend our budget to get the amenities we desired.  About to give up hope and settle for something more expensive, I decided to do an additional search. listed a Ramada Inn located in Tempe, Arizona for just $39.00 a night.

After reading the online reviews, perusing recent hotel photos, and a brief phone call to the actual hotel, I confirmed this would be our destination.  The hotel staff member I spoke with was very friendly and knew the area well.  He advised the hotel actually had the same rates as In addition to reading reviews and looking at pictures, I highly recommend contacting hotels directly.

Picture of hotel

The hotel exceeded our expectations.  We arrived to the hotel about 3:30pm on August 1, 2013.  Exhausted from a week of packing and purging, we were in need of some serious relaxation.  Check in was quick and painless.  We found out upon arrival our room was located on the first floor directly across from the pool and just a few steps from the lobby.  The room was clean and smelled great.  There were new stainless steel appliances and a large flat screen TV with an abundance of cable channels.  The beds were comfortable and the down bedding was bright white.  The towels were soft and fluffy.  A buffet breakfast was served every morning.  There were plenty of choices…both cold and hot.

 Arizona Sea Life Aquarium was directly across the street and just a short drive away was a FREE splash park located in the Tempe Market Place.  Both made excellent day trips.  Aside from these few trips off property, we never left the hotel.  The pool was an awesome way to pass the time.  Truman loved the pool and would grab his water wings and stand at the door until we obliged his request.  The microwave and refrigerator worked great for storing and heating food we brought with us to keep our dining costs low.

Picture of Room (Love the window shutters)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Traveling expenses

Thought I'd take this limbo time to update our recent costs to travel.

Stay in the Tonto National Forest while Volunteering = $0 (20 hours/week volunteer time)
Stay in the RV park = $390 per month for 3 months, utilities included.
Flight to Honolulu Hawaii for the 3 of us from Mesa, AZ = $429 (
Stay at the Ramada for 4 days until our flight leaves = $160

Going forward , car storage will be $19.99 for the first month, $45/month after

While staying in the RV park, Amber worked at the local convenience store while I worked as a cook/bartender next door at the local watering hole. We hope to supplement our income by doing odd jobs like this everywhere we go. Not only does it offset the costs, but it really helps us to integrate with the local community.

Safe Travels,

Catching Everyone Up

Over the next several days as we make it to Hawaii, we will be recapping our journey thus far.  Many articles have been written along the way, but never uploaded.  We promise to start being better at this! It's our first blog so we have to get ourselves into the habit of continually taking pics and writing about our experiences. Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading about it as much as we have enjoyed living it.