If this is Tuesday, we must be in Hilo, on the east side of the Big Island of Hawaii, along apparently with President Obama, judging from the Air Force One-appearing 747 sitting at the Hilo International Airport today.

Again, I avoided the pricey cruise-arranged excursions and rented my own car. We drove south to Volcano National Park, where the Kilauea Caldera is now mostly blocked off due to poor air conditions from the continual venting of volcanic gases. You can still drive from there down to the coast, as Charles Brown and I did in 2000 when I was first here, traveling over the desolate landscape made of up lava flows from just the past 20 or 30 years.

If tomorrow’s Wednesday, we’ll be in Kona.

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