Posts Tagged ‘bargains’

Time to start posting again

May 30, 2012

I’ve been so busy since the birth of my new grand-daughter and my focus has been far away from both travel and blogs.

sweet baby june

Over the past months l have traveled.  I went to Portland, OR.   It was frugal because we stayed with family.  There are two important rules when staying with family while traveling, don’t stay too long and always rent a car.

The trip was too short for my liking we only stayed for a week.  It was gloomy almost every day and we experienced a rare Portland snow.  The city had many choices for food and brew and we enjoyed both.

The city of Portland was much like many other cities and really not the kind of vacation adventure I enjoy.  The highlight of our trip was family and we spent as much time as possible with them as Mount Hood stood in the distance on constant vigil.

the family

We had the best time when exploring rural Oregon.  Now that’s an adventure.  We explored along the Columbia River and found ethereal forests draped in green fern and moss.    Waterfalls gushed from mountain crevasses filling our ears with a deafening roar and anointed us with an enlivening mist. http://traveltips.usatoday.com/waterfalls-nearest-portland-oregon-64056.html

We also drove through a mountain pass and took a ride down the coast.  Rough waters carved the coast line, crashing waves and tempting tidal pools abound.

The following photographs of the Oregon coast are courtesy of   seantaylorphotography.com

There was also a treacherous ride in a snow storm through the pass on our return to Portland, driving a rented Crown Victoria.  I can’t believe they don’t use road salt in Oregon.  Their cars don’t rust,  but if there is snow and ice you just might better not go out.

Some day we’ll return for and explore more of what the real Oregon has to offer.

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All New (to me) Hawaiian Wardrobe, and a little something more.

October 15, 2010

 

October in Kauai

 

I arrived on the beautiful Garden Island on Wednesday, October 6th.  While still shaking off the jet lag I was off to the garage sales by Saturday.  A very small carry-on is a gift in 3 ways, light to carry, arrives with you to your destination and makes it a necessity to buy new clothes.  As a frugalista I find garage sale shopping for specific items like a sporting challenge.  To win in this event, the first step is the plan of action.  I scour Craigslist and The Garden Island News classified online the day before the event.  I make a list breaking down the sales by town.  Starting with Kekaha and moving onto Lihue.

 

The ocean view from our new digs in Kalaheo

 

Live in Kalaheo so I usually only shop the west, south and east.  The north shore excursions are a special occasion that I usually plan with another activity.   I usually end my “garage sailing ” excursion in Lihue, as a conservation measure.  I get my gas at Costco, do my Wal-Mart stop, and pick up some fresh produce at the Kauai Community College Farmers Market all in the same trip.

 

guava

 

I list the number and street address under each town category along with the time that the sale opens.  The earliest garage sales usually open here at 7am.  I scour the listing of items in the ads to see which early sales may have the items I need and plan to attack them first.  I also note next to the address if there are specific directions to the location in the ad. Then I peruse the list to see that I know the location of all the sales. If not, I google the addresses and make notes regarding their location.

 

petal soft

 

My daughter tells me I can just put them all into the GPS and  the GPS would map us the best route.  I believe for me that would be time prohibitive, as it take me forever to type things into it.  I like to just cut and paste.   Hey, is there an app for that?

 

contrasts for the senses

 

This was my first outing of the season so this time I opted not to head too far west, as there were only 2 sales in Kekaha and none in Waimea.   The initial approach was made in Hanapepe.

 

hot hot hot only one per pot

 

Hanapepe is a quaint artsy working class town that’ s just a little rough around the edges.  I find it a photographic treasure trove, but poor pickings for garage sales today.

 

just a taste of Hanapepe

 

The next stop was Eleele, residential working class community that loves their dogs.  Found the pot of gold in Eleele.

 

my new friend Kala

 

Two wonderful garage sales with like new clothing in just the right sizes for me and lots of wonderful maternity wear for my daughter.  I was able to purchase 4 complete island style professional outfits, comfy soft jammie pants, 2 tank tops for golf, a stylish and  cotton comfortable orange and white dress, 3 ball caps, 1 aloha shirt for Chris, a 50 ct of golf tees,  a few maternity frocks for my daughter, Erin, all for under $30.00.

 

woman's best friend

 

Next stop home to Kalaheo.   Two sales here and a quick check in home, then on the road again.  Kalaheo is rural to residential, upscale to working class, with houses carved into and perched on the hills to take advantage  of extraordinary views.  Breezy, green and beautiful Kalaheo is my favorite place to stay on all of the island.

 

slender trees arc in the wind near my Kalaheo home

 

Today we’ll skip Koloa, Poipu and Lawai, but make a quick stop at a moving sale in Omao.  I made a small purchase at a big sale 3 bars of dove soap, 7 candles, and a tiki salt shaker for $3.50.  I think there is mainly just one road in Omao with just a few offshoots.  This is hilly ranch land with mountain, valley and pacific ocean views.  The livestock seems to like it.

 

eggplant gleam in the sun

 

Last stop today for the sales is Puhi, working class and a comfortable commute to the big city of Lihue.  Puhi is also home to Kauai’s only college.  We found many nice baby items here.  Many people in this community are having keiki (pronounced “kay-key”) is the Hawaiian word for “baby” or “child”, literally meaning “the little one”.

 

complements

 

Here in Kauai, so many are growing keiki.

 

tropical mixer

 

Everyone loves keiki, their mothers and the mothers to be.  There seems to be no better place to grow and give birth to them.  I am so glad my own daughter gets to experience her pregnancy here in this wonderful island place bathed in love and the spirit of aloha.

 

blue skies in paradise

 

Planning my next frugal travel….and I’m looking for volunteers

July 7, 2010

Ever dream about taking a tropical vacation for months on end?  Well it’s entirely possible and affordable.  I’m working on my plan for another excursion to Kauai and possibly one of the other gorgeous Hawaiian islands for the next winter season.  I love my home in the mainland north country but winters are long and cold.  For this reason I have been a “snowbird” or winter visitor to warm and lush places since 1995.  You don’t have to be retired to do this and you don’t need to be rich.  You just need to be creative and develop a plan.  During my last visit to Kauai I met many people who paid thousands of dollars for weekly rentals for a vacation much too short.  Honestly, I felt sorry for them, because they could have had and extended adventure for about the same price as it would have cost them to stay at home.  Fact: my entire stay on Kauai for 6 months cost less than $10,000 and that included both the rental housing and a car.

I am now at the stage of formulating my plan for the next winter season.

Are there any other couples out there looking for a frugal winter adventure?

Now is your chance.

Last season I found it easy to rent affordable housing in Kauai with a 6 month lease.  Home owners are happy to rent their homes rather than leave them vacant during these tough economical times and the unsure climate of vacation rentals.  As I visited all around the island you could see that many vacation condos were at less than 50 percent occupancy.  Tough times for all who invested but bonus time for the frugal traveler.   Just search the many ads on Craigslist and vacation rental sites to see exactly what I mean.

My plan: Find like-minded travelers who are willing to sign a six month lease with me on an accommodation.  I’ll take the first 3 months and they’ll take the next 3 months.  We would each split the security deposit and each pay our 3 month rent up front to the realtor.  I will be purchasing an inexpensive car on arrival and would pass it on for what ever I paid to the next lucky traveler.

I might also like to do the same plan on another one of the islands if anyone is interested in staying on, say, the Big Island for the first 3 months and then we would swap for the next 3 months.

I really enjoy my privacy so there would be no staying together with strangers.

Please anyone who may be interested in this read my blog to see what I’m all about and contact me.

Aloha, Rene

Moving on Up

December 11, 2009

We're Moving On Up

Before arriving on Kauai I found our first housing arrangement on Craigslist.  It was a simple process.  I posted an ad of what I was looking for, people responded.  I googled their names and their locations.  Made contacts, saw pictures and made a decision.  The day I arrived here my accommodations were ready at Aloha Estates at Kalaheo Plantation.  We rented from James Hargraves, stained glass artist, inn keeper, and ukulele player.  The dwelling is a 1920’s plantation house, architecturally charming, and seemingly well planned to take advantage of the local trade winds.  Our room was pitched to us as a studio but in reality is more of a room with a kitchenette in a closet, with a full bath, plenty of hot water, and no kitchen sink.  Requiring washing dishes in the bathroom and cooking with a rice cooker and hot plate.  We shared a small screen lanai with our neighbors, that had a small glass top table and chairs.

We spent most of our time out and about so the size of our rental was not a great factor for the 2 months we’ve been here.  When I made the rental agreement, I fully expected to stay here for 6 months, but I did make a month to month stipulation with the landlord in case either of us were not completely satisfied with the arrangement.  During our time here we did all of our living in the king sized bed, it was dining room, home theater and recreation area.

Home Sweet Home

Now it’s time to move on.  James was a wonderful host, our neighbors were quiet and friendly.  We were comfortable enough  and the price was great.  We love the location.  I think Kalaheo is the best place to stay on the entire island,  less rain than the north and east, close safe beaches , close golf, and midway between the resorts of the north shore and the canyons of Waimea.   Close to the art in Hanapepe, snorkeling, fancy golf and coastal hiking in Poipu, and the quaint charms of Koloa.  Oh and I forgot to mention tsunami safe.  James has rooms and apartments of many sizes available.  I highly recommend this place for frugal travel.  Please check out this trip advisor link for my review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60615-d324056-Reviews-Aloha_Estates_at_Kalaheo_Plantation-Kalaheo_Kauai_Hawaii.html

The Plantation House at Aloha Estates

If anyone has further questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

More pictures of the yard, fruit and flowers can be found throughout my blog.

I love Saturdays

November 16, 2009

On Saturdays I get up and out early for Hawaiian garage sales. I scope them out on Craigslist, the Garden Island News online and Mapquest, and make my plan of attack. I find myself in need of clothes here, because most of what I brought is way too heavy and warm, even my summer clothes. It’s in the 80’s here every day. Don’t bother bringing jeans: too hot, too confining. I’ve found an assortment of what Chris calls my muumuus at garage sales, most of which were 50 cents or less, though I have a favorite that I paid $5.50 for. They are comfortable, cool, not restricting and stylishly flattering. For lounging, the beach, about town or even evening wear, it’s aloha-wear for me.

Picture 6

such a tourist

Picture 7

a muumuu for every mood

Picture 8

feeling pretty in pink

Wailua Municipal Golf Course & Lydgate Beach Park

November 11, 2009

Today we golfed at Wailua Municipal Golf Course. With its beautiful seaside layout, anytime you can’t see the ocean, you still hear waves crashing.  This is a municipal golf course, so it’s less expensive than the more elaborate championship courses. The total cost for our 18 hole on this fine course was $48.00 for 2 with a cart.  I loved it, the fairways were wonderful, like perfect green carpet with a sponge-like recoil.  The greens here were hard to judge, but after you play here a few times, their nuances become familiar.  Our 18 holes in the hot sun complete, we headed right next door to Lydgate Beach Park, where we enjoyed a beach-side picnic with a cooler of lunch and cold drinks, and a cool dip in the ocean.  Combining a golf day with the fine picnic grounds, and excellent protected swimming area.  Refreshed and replenished, we found firm sand at water’s edge, perfect for a long walk along the beach.

a peek of the pacific, at wailua golf course

a peek of the pacific, at Wailua Golf Course

coffee plantation

coffee plantation

bouganvallia

bougainvillea

waiting for whales

waiting for whales

I hear they make great margaritas.

November 10, 2009

Having a great day already! I picked a big bag full of lilikoi (passionfruit) off the ground after high winds and rain last night, brought them home, rinsed them off, and now I wait for them to turn yellow and shrivel a little bit, because that’s when they’re best. I think they’re my favorite fruit. They’re ugly and weird, but I love the sweet and sour taste. I hear they make great margaritas. Here’s what else we’re getting free from trees in Kaua’i.

avocado

avocado

cherimoya

cherimoya

lemon

lemon

lilikoi

lilikoi

rosemary

rosemary

star fruit

starfruit

garage sales and free treasures

November 8, 2009

Up at sunrise on Saturday morning, there’s a little rain, but not enough to discourage a garage sale enthusiast like me. Today the finds were exceptional: Five big sweet oranges for a buck, right off the tree. A backpack/low slung beach chair combo, $5. Three aloha shirts, 50 cents apiece. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, hardcover, 50 cents for a beach read. One hundred golf balls for $5, enough for our entire stay. And best find of all, while I was at a garage sale where a neighbor was trimming his plants and bushes, I asked if I could have some cuttings and he was happy to oblige me with free flowers and colorful croton leaves for beautiful arrangements. Life is complete: food, beach supplies, clothing essentials and fresh flowers. Who has it better than me?

free fresh flowers

free fresh flowers


Kukuiolono Golf Course, a dollar a hole

November 8, 2009

Nine dollars for golf in Hawaii! Golf all day if you want! The Kukuiolono Golf Course in Kauai may be the best bargain in Hawaii. A 9 hole regulation length course that operates on a first come first serve basis, no tee times, so golf whenever you feel like it. On my last 2 visits, there was no wait. It’s pretty good golf: scenic ocean views and mountain vistas in all directions, a pleasant course, nice greens, trade winds coming into play on most every hole. The fairways are firm, giving your ball a great run. Driving downhill, with the strong wind behind you, the length of your drive can rival Tiger here. A great warm-up for the pricier and more famous championship courses found all over Kauai. Lots of chickens, no dress code to the point of shoeless and shirtlessness, but what a deal.

 

firm fairway, the driven ball has a long ride

firm fairway, the driven ball has a long ride

ocean views between the pines

ocean views between the pines

island golf

island golf