Up close and personal...We saw the lava!...Local stores clearing out and closing for the upcoming arrival of the lava...Link to Tom's Irish Cream recipe...

There's no part 2 from yesterday's story.  We had "bigger fish to fry" today regarding the lava
This is a photo I took of a photo of when the lava crossed Apa'a Street on October 25th.
See this link for news report.

Smoke rising from the lava.
It's hard to believe that we are in Pahoa, Hawai'i as the lava approached on its mission to reach to sea.  Here we sit at its final destination, expecting it to arrive in our area between February and March...or sooner, if another eruption sends a faster flow of lava.

Signs such as this are posted everywhere.

Apa'a Street was closed for months, other than for local traffic up until yesterday morning.  Its now open all the way to the Pahoa Transfer Station, where a viewing station had been set up for the public.  The lava had crossed the road as shown in our other photos here today.  Previously, this road had be secured by National Guards, preventing anyone other than homeowners approaching.  It is down this road that a house was taken out weeks ago.
Yesterday, Sarah and I headed to the Longs Drug Store, quasi mini Target, that has everything imaginable, only to discover there was no where to park.  What was going on with dozens of cars touring the huge parking lot for a spot?

To see the red hot lava between these lava rocks only required a bit of zoom.
We had no choice but to park in the Burger King parking lot where we noticed others doing the same, walking the distance to Longs.  As it turned out, the entire store was on sale, much for 90% off. 

With the viewing area opened yesterday morning and without the announcement yet on the local news, the visitors were at a minimum to the lava viewing area.  We can only imagine the crowds over the next few weeks as visitors fly into Hawai'i for the sole purpose of lava viewing.  We are grateful we had the opportunity to see it before the arrival of the huge crowds.  The blue tent is a security area set up by police and National Guard.
We were too late.  All the goodies were in carts of anxious shoppers in lines 20 people deep with regular sized shopping carts overflowing with nary a one for our use, while we meandered about the store, filling our arms with food and supplies we could use while our family is here over the holidays.

Sarah and Jayden walking in front of us on the long walk down Apa'a Street toward the lava viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station.

A portion of the viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station where experts and guards were on hand to answer questions and show various photos.
Of course, the reason Longs Drugs was selling out their merchandise was clear.  The lava is coming.  Although, the drug store is a few blocks from the Pahoa Marketplace that was also evacuating (more on that shortly), apparently the drug store is closing as well to make way for the fast approaching lava, only days away.

A secured main power pole built up to prevent the lava from taking out the electric power for the area which could impact all of us.

Information as to how to protect the power poles from lava flow.
Sarah and I spent no less than 90 minutes waiting in line.  Fortunately, the upside was that we had the amazing opportunity to speak to locals, one couple who didn't have to evacuate and...another who's house is across the road from us here ,who moved out in the past month, in preparation for the lava's eventual arrival in this neighborhood.

Some vegetation survived along the edges of the lava flow.
The kindly gentleman, my age, retired, explained he found a place to live in a safer area and had decided to pack up everything he owned and leave his house for safety. 

A barn or garage that survived the lava flow as it crawled down the road.
He explained that most insurance companies have cancelled homeowner's policies over the past few years, leaving him and thousands of others, uninsured.  He'll get nothing for his home when it burns to the ground as the lava envelopes it in days to come. 

The swirls in the lava is interesting to see firsthand.
It was heartbreaking to hear his story, as we've heard other over our past almost three weeks in this forsaken area; loss of homes, job and security.  Very sad.  But, the amazing attitude of these people is a treasure to behold as this kindly gentleman wanted to hear more of our story than tell his.  "You are doing what?" he asked when I continued to ask him to elaborate on how he made the decision to move out sooner rather than later.

Parts of this lava that had crossed Apa'a Street in October were still hot and flowing.
When he was gone, we spoke to a lovely woman and her husband who shared their cart with us, Mee Ling and John who have lived in the islands for decades, have 10 grown children, seven of which still live with them  To earn a living, Mee Ling is referred to as "The Jamming Lady," making exquisite homemade jellies and jams using local produce, phone 808-965-9119 and John, owns a company, Hawaii's House of Gold who sells and distribute health products.

Peeking into this spot I saw red hot lava as shown into above photo.
As they showed us their bargains, they offered to give us several items in their cart they'd found before we'd arrived. Of course, we refused their kind offer.  They needed every item for their big family as well.  While Sarah held our place in line with Mee Ling, John showed me where to find many items including pretty Christmas paper plates and napkins at $.14 a package.  I grabbed all that remained.

Jayden, in front of the lava.  In years to come, he'll look back to this experience with wonder.
We hugged goodbye when they were checked out and ready to go.  Who gets to hug people in a drugstore that we just met?  How lucky can I get?  The 90 minutes of waiting proved to be enjoyable especially when Mee Ling and John told us the Pahoa Transfer Station had opened that morning for lava viewing.

Tom, Nik, TJ, Sarah and Jayden in front of a lava area.
No sooner did we load our stuff into the car, Sarah and I headed back to the house to unload, get the rest of the family and head back to the Pahoa Transfer Station cameras in hand to take photos.

Tom, his new haircut and I, in front of the fenced off lava area.
Today, we share these photos with many more to come over the next several weeks.  We'll make every effort to get photos of the lava after it envelopes the shops of Pahoa, the gas station and the grocery store.

More tomorrow on the last days of the Malama Grocery store in the Pahoa Marketplace, when we spent two hours shopping yesterday afternoon engaging in their 50% off sale of groceries.  Unbelievable.  Long lines.  Friendly people.

This beautiful orchid was growing only feet from the lava flow.
Wow!  What a great experience for our family!  They will always remember their time in Hawai'i as the lava flow from Mount Kilauea came our way. 

We began the long trek back to our car, parked at quite a distance.
Back with more tomorrow.  May your Thursday be a day of accomplishment and pleasure.  We're striving for that!

It was one year ago today, that we posted Tom's Irish Cream recipe which is at the end of the post.  Please click here for the recipe at the bottom of the page.

Part 1, Another amazing day...Wonders awaiting determined investigation...Pahoa Marketplace closing for lava...

Part 2 is cancelled for tomorrow due to another story about the lava flow fast approaching Pahoa.
Sandy beach spots for enjoying the tide pools filled with fish and turtles at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

More sandy areas at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.
Yesterday, we took off with a plan in mind; haircuts for the boys at the soon-to be-closed-due-to-lava, Supercuts at the Pahoa Marketplace, a visit to the Lyman Museum and later to dine at the popular, highly rated Hilo Burger Joint about a mile from the museum.  Leaving the house at 1:00 pm, we had plenty of time to leisurely make our way to each location. 

Sarah and Nik walking along a high ledge at the Onekahakaha Beach Park.
With no GPS in our possession without the availability of SIM cards in the US without a contract, I always find directions online and take photos of them to store on my phone. 

White sand at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.
Unfortunately, with many roads poorly marked in Hawaii and the propensity for bad directions from online maps, its easy to end up in the wrong spot, not necessarily lost (with Tom's good sense of direction) but unable to find an exact location.

Easy to maneuver steps into the crystal clear water of the tide pools.

So was the case yesterday in finding the Lyman Museum, which we'd chosen to visit more as a result of it being our namesake than anything else.  Although, when looking up it's particular, this place could definitely peak the interest of all of us. Finding it, on the other hand was a challenge.

One of many tide pools at the Onekahakaha Beach Park, perfect for snorkeling.
After driving the general area of the museum, so we thought, we "accidentally" ended up on a dead end road leading to the ocean.  Oh my, were we in luck! 

Lovely views at the beach.
We found ourselves at the most amazing family park, Onekahakaha Beach Park, the most kid and family friendly park we've seen in Hawaii since we arrived almost two and a half months ago. 

Covered picnic areas at Onekahakaha Beach Park.
We all oohed and aahed over the prospect of spending plenty of great family time at this park with had every possible amenity of a beach park, clear waters, great snorkeling, ideal swimming conditions, shallow waters for the young swimmers, sandy beaches at several points, playgrounds, grills, well maintained restrooms and many covered picnic table pavilions. 

Gorgeous views of a few tide pools at Onekahakaha Beach Park.
Seeing this perfect location put our minds in overdrive, putting a plan in place.  Our plan is for the 14 of us to spend Christmas Day at the park bringing meat to cook, salads and beverages in the coolers.  What an usual Christmas Day outdoors for our cold weather Minnesota family members, used to snow, ice and cold weather during the holiday season!

Sign at the entrance to the park.
After spending almost an hour perusing the park, spotting a giant sea turtle in the shallow pools and numerous colorful fish, we were content that we had a perfect plan in place which only escalated as the day wore on.

Jayden in the "lava" chair at the Lyman Museum.
Back on the road, after taking numerous photos of the park, we were on our way to the Lyman Museum finding from a friendly local passerby that we were quite a distance away. 

Naturally occurring granite in Hawai'i.
Heeding his directions, we were on our way but only after we "accidentally" spotted a sign pointing in the direction of the museum, we were all thrilled to have found it.  (Of course, the online directions were wrong once again.   That's not to say that GPS is always right either, as we all know from experience).

Fossils on display at the Lyman Museum.
With only a $21 family rate fee for the six of us to enter, we had plenty of time to wander the two floors in the time remaining until they closed at 4:30 pm.  Then, we'd head to the restaurant dinner less than a mile down the road.

More fossils on display.
Much to our delight, everyone loved the museum.  Snap happy me, shot photo after photo.  But, I won't bore our readers with too many photos of the museum pieces and spread the photos from our outing over the next few days.

Colorful coral from the coral reefs in Hawai'i.
Before we left the museum, I asked the receptionist if she'd confirm our directions to the restaurant.  Good thing I asked.  She explained they'd moved over a year ago.  Funny, the old location showed on all of the maps.  We'd have been driving around for days.

Amethyst on display.
Luckily, the kindly attendant, gave us directions to the new location and once again, we were back on the road, confident we'd find the restaurant which we'd done so easily.

Hawaiian built structure at the museum.
The Hilo Burger Joint is rated #28 of 206 in TripAdvisor. With this information we were confident that we'd have a passable if not spectacular meal. Spectacular it was, some of us claiming it was the best burger they'd ever had, myself included.  I ordered a burger in a bowl with my preferred toppings of avocado, bacon and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce.  Fabulous!

This beautiful Hawaiian lava photo caught our eye.
Discovering that the beef was local and grass fed, I was in heaven knowing we'd all enjoy at least a chemical free burger.

Exquisite works of art lined the walls in the Lyman Museum.
When we received the bill, including tip for $152.00, averaging at $25 per person including beverages, we decided to have Tom's birthday at the Hilo Burger Joint (our treat), making our reservation for 14 at 6:00 pm on December 23rd, next Tuesday.

Interesting works of art.
Considering we'd already spent over $2000 on food since arriving on the Big island on December 1st, with a few more shopping trips ahead, we realized it would probably cost no more to go out to dinner at this establishment than it would to purchase all of the food for a meal for 14. 

An Asian mural on a wall in the museum.
Tom's primary reason for choosing this option for his birthday is the fact that it's one less meal for me to cook.  Dining out on Tom's birthday on the 23rd and Christmas Day at the park bringing food to cook and salads, I'd only make dinner for Christmas Eve.  This is a breeze leaving me more time to spend with the family as opposed to stuck in the kitchen over the busy three days in a row.

Tom, after his haircut, covering part of this sign so it reads, "Grandfather's House."  Now, Grandfather doesn't have a house but certainly rented two for this family gathering.
After dinner, we drove to the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, which Tom and I had visited when our ship docked in Hilo in October.  A kindly cab driver drove us to see the park when we'd boarded the wrong bus at the pier, ending up at Walmart. 

More items with the Lyman name.  They all loved it.
With no interest in Walmart, we hailed his cab for a ride back to the pier and the cab driver, who happened to live on Lyman St. (what?) agreed to take us on a little sightseeing tour for $10 plus a tip.  We loved the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens and of course, the friendly cab driver.

After we left the museum, I walked across the street to take this photo.

Last night, we parked at the Liliuokalani Park when the family was anxious to see the ship, Norwegian's Pride of America, leave the pier to head out to sea.  With sunset fast approaching, we were able to see the ship's bright lights as it pulled away from the dock.

Partial menu at the Hilo Burger Joint.

Returning home around 7:00 pm, we all hunkered down for some WiFi time on laptops, tablets and smart phones.  We'd had a great day.

Nik and TJ waiting for their food to be served.
oday, Tom and I will stay put except for my quick trip to the Pahao Marketplace to take more photos as the entire mall prepares to evacuate by Thursday night as the lava quickly approaches the mall.  This mall and gas station may be completely covered in lava by Christmas Day, sad for the employees and store owners in its path.

Tom sat across from me at the restaurant.
Yesterday, before we took off for the Lyman Museum, the three generations of Lyman boys; Tom, TJ and Jayden each had haircuts together at the soon to be closed for lava.  The staff and the owner of the Supercuts salon in the Pahoa marketplace worked fast and furiously to accommodate their customers in its last few days in business at this location. 

Sarah, Jayden and Nik at the restaurant while we waited to be served. 
The shop is moving to two locations, Hilo and Keaau, and can be reached at 808-982-5707 or 808 965-5577 with questions.  Tomorrow, we'll share haircut photos of three generations, having cuts simultaneously.  How fun was that!

Last night at dusk at the Liliuokalani Park.

Have a wonderful "hump day" with the holiday season in full bloom.

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2013:

Although the Hornbill house in Marloth Park had a few nuance, we found it the most wildlife friendly location of the three houses we experienced in our three month stay in the park.  The friendly warthogs were daily visitors as shown in this visitor hanging out by the braai hoping for a leftover morsel.  For photos of the house, please click here.