Airbnb. This will allow us to stay one or two nights in different locations around the island. In addition, we will be staying with the locals so I can pick their brains. We have so much to pack into only 8 days.
We are flying directly into Hilo. The Yukio Okutso Veterans facility, where Dad is located, is here. Featuring a tropical rain-forest climate, the Hilo area receives on average of 126 inches of rain annually. This is a big concern of ours coming from Arizona, which receives on average of 8 inches of rainfall and has 299 days of sunshine a year.
Clouds surround the island as we arrive, however green lush mountainsides are peeking through, revealing beautiful unspoiled countryside. The Hilo airport is simple and lovely. The smell of Hawaiin flowers fill the air and we can't help but take a big breath to fill our lungs with such clean air. Our rental car is waiting just outside baggage claim and I am instantly taken back to the times when traveling was so simple.
The car rental agent is very welcoming. She shares information about the island and we share the reason we are there. An upgrade to a jeep is highly recommended due to the number of unpaved roads and beaches we are hoping to explore, so this is something we splurge on. She offers us the locals rate and wishes us well on our journey. The upgrade costs us an additional $29/day.