...And so we continued on our journey down route 11 in search of volcanoes, nuts, and chocolate oh my. But at this point we had been on our journey for far longer than we thought it would have taken.
We skipped the turn off for the Volcano National Park...because really we had been driving so long we were concerned the Nut and Candy factories might be closed by the time we got there.
Finally we arrived at the Mauna Loa factory. And as the brochure stated, "enjoy three miles of beautiful macadamia nut trees as you drive the long narrow road to get to the factory." Yeah OK...where are the free nuts? (See three miles of nut trees below...not as grand as it sounded in the brochure.)
It seemed kinda odd that there were not a lot of cars driving on the three mile road of nuts with us. And it would soon become clear why. You see apparently this is not "Nut Season" and the factory was not in production. Even the outside botanical garden walking tour was shut down. No joke. The "Tour" that the cashier told us we could go on was to walk up to the darkened building and look through the windows of a production line that was not running. Are you kidding? OR we could go sit outside next to the closed botanical garden and watch a video of what the factory looks like in full swing.
Let's just say...major let down. You better believe I went back to that sample cup of nuts at least three times.
By this point we were now back in the car in search of the Big Island Candy Company. We were both tired and not as talkative as we were at the beginning of our journey. After getting lost in downtown Hilo we pulled off the road and regrouped. We were gonna find this candy place if it killed us. We got our bearings and off we went eventually finding the intended destination. Check out my "Oh I am so happy and over this day" face above.
But things were looking up! This place actually had candy in production. We were greeted with a sample of rocky road and chocolate chip shortbread cookies. I was then directed to the counter at the right to get my free coffee! Tears of joy were forming in my eyes as I sipped my coffee and realized there were samples EVERYWHERE! This was my kind of tour. I barely even looked at the ladies behind the glass wall making candy...I mean how could I? I was too busy trying to knock that other guy out of the way so that I could get a piece of the chocolate and caramel covered shortbread cookie. This was heaven!
And then it was off to the mall across the street to grab a bite to eat. Wendy was totally displeased when I told her that all I wanted right now was some good old crappy food court food. After this day I needed some comfort food...and ARBY's was it! She didn't put up too much of a fight because I think she knew I was done for the day and we still needed to make the long drive back to the other side of the island.
On the drive home we made one more stop. There was a little farm on the side of the road with a few animals out grazing. Look how good they posed for pictures!
The Song Of The Day - Miles Away by Madonna