One would think that after hopping on a 5:30AM flight from Honolulu to Lihue, scarfing down a hefty serving of loco moco, and then zooming down irrigation canals on an old sugar cane plantation, that we would be done for the day.
There was still more to do as our adventure continued on the Garden Isle.
Even though we were served a yummy deli-style lunch after our mountain tubing adventure, my tummy was still hankering for some local-kine munchies so we headed out and asked some locals to point us in the direction to get some fresh and yummy poke.
Incoming rant about fish!
Now one of the things that drives me crazy about living on the mainland, and especially on the East Coast, is that we don’t have a lot of poke. What we do have is a whole bunch of stores selling “poké,” a sad facsimile of the delicious chunks of fish and seasonings that are so readily accessible in Hawaii.
Hawaii poke is an an array of cubed fish that has been marinated in flavorings like sesame seed oil, shoyu (soy sauce), Hawaiian salt, ogo or limu (seaweed) and the ever popular “spicy mayo” (a combination of mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce).
Mainland “poké” is usually a Chipotle-style monstrosity with a teensy bit of fish covered in some sort of drizzle and topped with *shudder* pineapple, wonton chips or worse. Once you have Hawaii poke, you will see why “poké” can make us mainland transplanted Hawaii peeps a little twitchy.
We were told to head over to Fish Express, and their poke and food choices were amazing! For $7.00, I got two scoops of fresh poke on top of fluffy white rice and it was ridiculously yummy. The fish was fresh and their was the perfect amount of sauce to enhance but not overwhelm the fish. We gobbled it down and with our bellies full of fish and rice, our next stop was Kipu Ranch for some ATV!
We were looking forward to the three-hour Ultimate Ranch Adventure and put on our “its ok if they get dirty” clothes before our guide tricked us out with helmets, goggles and a bandana.
We settled in for a safety briefing where we were basically told, “Don’t be dumb and keep your arms and legs in the vehicle.” I could do that!
Since I don’t drive, my friend was my designated chauffeur and after doing a few test circles, we were off! The moment the pedal hit the metal, we were bouncing along the semi-paved roads and mountainous paths. Our guide kept us on a good pace, and our first stop was at the beginning of Kipu Ranch itself.
Now if you ever spend anytime in Hawaii, the one thing you will quickly learn is that a ton of movies have been filmed here. If it looks paradise-y, jungle-y and mountain-y, it is more than likely a scene that has been shot either on Kauai or at Kualoa Ranch. The start of Kipu Ranch was surrounded by mountains that had been featured in a number of movies and as our guide said, “Where else can you visit the world all in one place?”
After learning about the history and the movie trivia of the area, we were off again on our rugged off-roading escapade. At one point we stopped so we could see what NOT to do. You see how this jeep is tipping? Yeah, you don’t want that to happen so the tires need to stay in the grooves.
From there we ended up at a beautiful scenic point that looked over Lihue and Poipu, and you could really tell just how lush the island truly is. We even got some freshly baked banana bread for a snack. Yummmm~! As we piled back into the vehicles, we starting to go through rainforest areas and finally ended up an open area populated by little wild piglets! You read that right, piglets!
These little guys were so cute and since the guides give them treats, they immediately make their way over to say “Hi!” once they hear our engines. The littlest fellow, the run of the group, even taught himself to “fist bump” people with his nose to get more treats. I am pretty sure I was squealing louder than they ever could the first time he did it.
Leaving the piggies behind, we took a short walk towards the river and I was shocked to see the site of one of my most favorite movies! It was the river where Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark hollers at Jock to “START THE PLANE!” as he is being chased by blow dart and spear wielding natives. Although we were given the opportunity to take a swing over the river (and even splash down), I opted out for a faux photo instead.
From there we headed towards the top of one of the mountain sides, and looked over an area steeped in rich Hawaiian history and also the filming location of a pinnacle scene in George Clooney’s “Descendants”.
It took about 30 minutes from the tippy top of the mountain back down to the office, and all together, we were out and about for about three hours. It was so much and I didn’t want it to end, but our Kauai adventuring had to go on. Yep, you read that right, there is still more to come!