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Quarter search highlights Hawaii trip
By Clifford Mishler
April 19, 2017

As enjoyable as we might find numismatics to be, the tangent connections that often develop as one passes through life’s experiences can be quite enlightening and pleasurable as well. This was driven home to me during the course of this year’s short vacation in Hawaii, a destination Sally and I have enjoyed frequently through the years. It drew to mind a couple other connections that are upcoming as well.

First off, our travels to Hawaii got under way with a drive down to O’Hare airport at mid-afternoon on Feb. 25. We overnighted at the Hilton in the terminal complex to catch an early Sunday morning outbound flight. We were facing a two-flight itinerary to Hawaii by way of Salt Lake City, with a 7:40 a.m. departure and one-hour, 20-minutes connection. Our layover ended up being six hours longer than planned. A faulty component had been detected in the aircraft’s nose cone radar, requiring a replacement part be flown in on a flight from Atlanta.

With such an inordinate amount of time to burn, accommodated by a lot of reading and a few visits to the concourse shops, one yielding a 2017-D Lincoln in change, the flight finally departed at about 5:50 p.m.. That pushed our Hawaii arrival back nearly six hours, to 9:35 p.m. By the time we had retrieved suitcases and claimed our rental car, the hour was nearing midnight when we arrived at our accommodations, The Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki.

On Monday, it was mid-morning by the time we got in motion, following our visit to the Surf Lanai restaurant, where we breakfasted daily during our stay. We headed out on a relaxing drive through Windward Oahu and along the North Shore, where we stopped at Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill for a late lunch. I opted for their wedge salad and soft shell crab sandwich.

On Tuesday we zipped downtown seeking to locate the storefront office of Da-Kine Bail Bonds, the principals being a husband and wife bounty hunter team of reality TV fame. One of our grandkids had us out in pursuit of an appropriately emblazoned t-shirt, but the location was closed because they were away. That evening we opted for dinner at the Thai restaurant Noi, in the attached Royal Hawaiian Center shopping area, where I opted for a yellow curry crab dish.

We stuck around the hotel on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday got started with me getting soaked on my morning constitutional – an everyday pursuit throughout our time in Hawaii – on a day that was the wettest I’m sure we’ve experienced on Waikiki through a 43-year span of visits, of which upwards of 20 have been at this time of the year. In the evening we contented ourselves with a visit to a nearby Burger King. With the weather turning for the better on Thursday, in the afternoon we dropped by the Mai Tai Bar fronting the beach for a couple tropical drinks, after which we drifted over to the California Pizza Kitchen across Kalakaua for something to eat.

On Friday we took a drive up the Nuuanu Valley via the Pali Highway to the Pali Lookout overlooking Windward Oahu. It was here that the decisive late 18th century battle that led to the establishment of the Hawaiian kingdom played out, with King Kamehameha I [the Great] (1795-1819)  – driving his enemies to their death off the Pali Cliffs.

Kamehameha III (1825-1854), his second son, was portrayed on Hawaii’s first coin,  the 1847 “hapa haneri” cent issue.

Our drive back to the Leeward Oahu and Waikiki was by way of the Likelike Highway through the Koolau mountain range. A late afternoon lunch followed at the Cheesecake Factory, where I opted for their Alaskan salmon offering.

Saturday and Sunday were a couple more leisurely days. On Saturday we spent most of our time relaxing on our lanai overlooking the beach. We did venture over to the Burger King again for something to eat, followed by treating ourselves at the nearby Haagen-Dazs ice cream parlor. On Sunday we did briefly venture forth to a laundromat a few blocks away to freshen up our accumulated soiled clothing. We also visited the Mai Tai Bar again to relax with a couple more tropical drinks and a couple of their finger-food selections, followed by a return visit to the ice cream parlor.

Having observed our 41st anniversary the previous Monday, our second Waikiki Monday of this trip found us celebrating Sally’s birthday. It was another day of relaxation, one closed out this time with an early dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. This time we also topped our entrees off with a couple of the restaurant’s namesake sweets.

Tuesday was moving day; we were off to Maui. Departing Honolulu at about 11 o’clock on a Hawaiian Airlines flight, we landed in Kahului about half an hour later. We planned to stop for lunch at Buzz’s Wharf overlooking Ma’alaea Harbor, a favored eatery we’d patronized many times over the years, only to discover it was no longer in business. It would have been on our way to the Sheraton Maui at Black Rock in West Maui’s  Kaanapali resort area. We opted to give a nearby place a try – Beach Bum’s. The the crab-cake selection was very tasty.

On Wednesday we took a drive over to East Maui and up through the clouds to the 10,000-foot crest of the dormant Haleakala Volcano caldera rim. This is home to the rare silversword, a rosette style flowering plant that flowers once in its lifetime – maturity is variably reached in anywhere from three to 90 years – after which the plant quickly dies, dropping thousands of seeds, which are scattered by the winds. That was a roughly six-hour outing followed by a late lunch visit to the Pizza Hut in Lahaina, the historic first capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, missionary town and 19th century whaling port.

On Thursday we took a leisurely drive northward along Honoapillani road and highway to Napili and back, shopping for family souvenirs along the way. Late in the afternoon we walked the beach walk to the Whalers Village, where we opted for burgers and fries in Joey’s Kitchen. Friday and Saturday were days to again relax on the lanai, and enjoy the grounds, before pulling up stakes and heading home. On Friday afternoon it was down to the beachside Cliff Side Grill for a couple cocktails and a mahi-mahi sandwich. The following day we opted for the Mai Tai Bar and sandwiches again.

With our final breakfast at the Black Rock Kitchen behind us on Sunday morning, we returned to our room overlooking  the historic roadstead framed by the islands of Lanai and Molokai, the wintering waters for Pacific whales, packing our bags for departure from the Sheraton Maui. Taking leave as noon was approaching, we were left with lots of time to burn at the airport before catching our flight to Honolulu at about 3 o’clock, where we were scheduled for a nearly six-hour layover. We did burn a bit of that time enjoying a leisurely late lunch at The Local, a terminal restaurant.

A baggage processing problem delayed our Delta departure to Salt Lake City a bit more than an hour, to 10 o’clock, for the 2,600-mile flight. That pushed our arrival there back to 8 o’clock on Monday morning, local time, squeezing our connecting time from an hour and 40 minutes to just 25 minutes for our ongoing 1,100-mile flight to O’Hare. We made it, but were the last passengers boarded. It was about 12:15 p.m. when we reached Chicago, having left sunny mid-80s temperatures in Maui behind for 20 degrees and snowing, conditions that had deteriorated another seven degrees by the time we arrived home, a 200-mile drive north amid marginal winter driving conditions for most of the distance.

At one point during the course of our travels back from Hawaii my thoughts drifted ahead to an upcoming outing that has everything to do with collecting, but only tangentially to numismatics. This time my destination will be Hickory Corners, located about 15 miles northeast of Kalamazoo in southwestern Michigan. My objective will be participation in an event at the Gilmore Car Museum on May 19-20.

Participation at this event is a consequence of a conversation I had while visiting with one of the dealers, Chuck Sharp out of Highland, during attendance at the Michigan State Numismatic Society fall convention in Warren this past Thanksgiving weekend. I learned then that he was also a car collector, being an enthusiast of the Sears marque in particular, which was sold by Sears, Roebuck & Company from 1908-1912.

As we talked I shared with Chuck the fact that the Iola Historical Society possesses a 1912 Sears Model G Runabout. Purchased directly from Sears in 1912 by Martin Twetan, who lived in the rural area just outside Iola’s neighboring community of Scandinavia, the “motor buggy” has always been locally owned. The vehicle first changed hands in 1935, and four times subsequently, until passing into the possession of the IHS in 2014. The Sears was introduced in 1908, the same year as the similar but much more famous Model T Ford, which is credited with having literally put the country on wheels.

Chuck prevailed in encouraging me to bring Iola’s 1912 Sears to the second annual Donald Gilmore Pre-1942 Driving Tour & Show, where there will be a small gathering of the marque. Joining me to trailer the Sears over to the event and parade it will be fellow IHS board member Charles Thompson. Most importantly, Charlie is the one possessed of the requisite operating patience and talent required to showcase the Sears in the “Pass In Review” parade that is featured at the Gilmore event. While there I’ll have to twist Chuck’s arm for reciprocal travels to Iola for a visit to the IHS and participation in Iola’s annual old car show in July.

We’ll be carrying along posters and promotional brochures for the 45th annual Iola Car Show – Iola ’17 is scheduled for July 6-8 – an event that had its beginnings in 1972. This year’s show car area will host roughly 2,100 collector cars, with Camaros and Firebirds being featured in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their introduction. The event includes a 4,200-space swap meet (bourse) area, nearly 1,000 cars available for sale to attending enthusiasts from a “Car Corral” area, and a campground that can accommodate more than 1,200 units. Annual attendance for the three-day event is in the range of 125,000.

One of this event’s numismatic connections is the fact that it was originated by Krause Publications as an adjunct of our then recently launched Old Cars newspaper. Since 1985 the event has been conducted by an independent non-profit corporation – Iola Old Car Show, Inc. –  comprised of the Iola Lions Club and about 130 other area civic membership organizations. Their contributed volunteer labors – about 2,300 volunteers, contributing over 27,000 hours – result in the organizations annually sharing in financial surplus distributions of  around $250,000. Secondly, for 20 years, from 1996’s “Tour of the Century / Centennial of the Automobile Industry” theme celebration, through 2015’s tribute to “Pace & Race,” featuring displays of pace cars and race cars, medals were struck in silver and bronze to commemorate the annual events.

The shows have also been marked with annual theme commemoratives, special issue Iola Lions Club collector pins since 1981, show imprint beer cans since 1982 and souvenir car models/banks since 1992. Participants displaying their collector cars at the annual shows have also been presented with souvenir commemorative dash plaques since the first year (1973). These collectibles are actively pursued and acquired by those of different persuasions than what you and I typically focus on, of course, although as in the example of Chuck Sharp and myself, interests sometimes cross over.

As you see, numismatics has provided tangential connections to three of my activities: Vacationing in Hawaii, showcasing IHS’ 1912 Sears, and the Iola Old Car Show and its souvenirs. 

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