We raced back to the airport to catch our fight back to Honolulu. As we pulled up to the airport I was staring at the window and saw a plane with “United States of America” on the tarmac. It didn’t dawn upon me what I was seeing but quickly I realized that it was Air Force One! To be positive that I wasn’t delusional my brother google searched an image of Air Force One and confirmed that in fact I was not crazy. I got excited and thought that the President was at the airport or on the Big Island! Mama asked the car rental agent if he was on the island and she informed us that he wasn’t – boo. Apparently while the President is in Hawaii they fly Air Force One to various islands as a security measure to throw people off as to what island he is on. Sadly I didn’t get to see the President but I did get an up close view of Air Force One – couldn’t have asked for anything else on Christmas Day!
I spent Christmas Day with Mama & Bro on the Big Island! The weather was cloudy and it was raining at times – but that didn’t stop us. We started the morning with the trail to the steam vents & sulfur banks. My brother disregarded all the safety signs and walked up to the sulfur banks – he nearly tripped and gave my mother a heart attack!
We drove down Chain of Craters Road. Along the way we stopped at the various stops to see the lava flows. It was hilarious to witness my mom & bro reacting to the lava flow. They acted like children and would jump out of car and start running across the rocks! I could barely keep up with them – I was extremely sore from the Koko Crater death hike – therefore I took a ton of videos and pictures of their craziness. We drove until the end of the road and hiked to see where the lava crossed the road in 2003. My mom lead the way on the hike and was very proud of herself!
We spent the majority of the morning at the park. Afterward I took them to Punaluu Black Sand Beach. They were extremely fascinated by the black sand!! Unfortunately there were no sea turtles on the beach this time.
We went to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory for some macadamia nut tasting. Since it was Christmas the factory was closed but the visitor center was open. There were nine different flavors of macadamias nuts – we tried them all. I personally loved the Kona coffee flavored macadamias nuts. We bought lots of goodies and souvenirs!
At dusk we went back to the National Park to Jagger museum to see the crater. It was breathtaking to watch!