I’ve been very fortunate to set foot in all the lower 48 states of the Union. I use the words “set foot in” because there was one state into which I literally did just that. Once while driving in the upper reaches of northern South Dakota, I saw a sign that indicated the North Dakota border was one mile away. I took that opportunity to drive across the state line, get out of my car, put my shoes on the ground of the Peace Garden State, and promptly drive back into SD. Other than that, I’ve been able to spend at least some quality time in all the other contiguous states.

Before too much more time passes by, I really want to see both Alaska and Hawaii. Given the fact that my wife tends to enjoy warmer climes over colder ones, I had been thinking the Aloha State would be conquered first.

However, after hearing about wildfires, active volcanos, and an adventure some close friends just had on one of the islands of paradise, we may have to re-think our itinerary order.

I’ve known Bill and Kaye since middle school (or junior high, if you’re over 60), and was in their wedding quite a few years ago. They’ve previously been to at least three of the Hawaiian Islands, and just recently returned from visiting Kauai to celebrate an anniversary. For a long time, they’ve both been telling us that we really need to take a trip there before we go anywhere else.

They were being very persuasive during last month’s trip until I got a call from Bill one morning when he and Kaye were still supposedly enjoying their latest visit.

Here’s his story.

They rented a VRBO house from an owner they’ve done business with before. It came with a car because you need one for transportation around Kauai. One morning, they drove to Anini Beach which is supposed to be among the most beautiful and relaxing places ever.

Heading back home for lunch, they got about a mile down the way and the car just basically gave up the ghost. Stopped dead on this rather desolate two-lane road. Bill tried to call for help. No cell service.

They hiked the mile back to the beach and asked a young surfer woman if her phone was working at that location. It wasn’t any better. But she had a truck and was headed back to the little town where they were staying.

Arriving back at the VRBO house where there was cell service, Bill called two numbers the VRBO owner had given him in case of an emergency. They’d been disconnected. Persevering, though, he finally located a garage with a tow truck. The driver said he needed an exact location. “It’s on the side of the road near Anini Beach,” my frustrated friend replied. “I don’t know the exact location. My car’s on the side of the road.”

They finally came to an agreement that Bill would rent a car and meet the tow truck driver at Anini Beach. The driver said he’d be there “sometime this afternoon.” That was as specific as he got.

Meanwhile, Kaye asked, “Have you seen my cell phone?” They couldn’t find it anywhere. They were thinking it might still be in the abandoned car by the side of the road . . . sitting on the front seat . . . right next to woods serving as a large homeless encampment. Fortunately, with perfect timing, the doorbell rang. It was the surfer holding up a phone and asking, “Is this yours?”

While all that was going on, Bill was complaining of a headache and not feeling well in general. Neither his headache nor his blood pressure improved while he and Kaye, driving their rental car to the stalled car later that afternoon, watched the tow truck flash by, going the other way.

Making a hairpin U-turn, they managed to flag down the driver, convince him to turn around, and hook up their original car.

By now it was getting dark, and having canceled their planned dinnertime catamaran cruise, they headed back to the house. But Bill still wasn’t feeling any better. A quick stop at the Doc-in-the-Box on the way home confirmed what you might already have guessed. He had Covid. So, they basically were confined to the VRBO house for the next several days.

Both claimed they still had a good time. But I said, “You really know how to sell a vacation destination. Covid, stalled cars, no cell service, lost phones, and cancelled outings, and all in just one day. Sounds like paradise.”

I’ve almost convinced my wife that a nice cruise to Alaska might be a better way to go.

©MMXXIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer