Our main objective on Thursday was to eat at Hawaiian Style Cafe — no matter how long the wait. We arrived in Waimea at 10 and naturally, the restaurant was packed. We waited 15 minutes for a table and another 15 minutes to order, but all the waiting was rewarded. I ordered an omelet with ham, sausage, green peppers and onions and received a massive offering, which had to have been at least four eggs, along with hash browns. My girlfriend had two scrambled eggs and sausage. She also wanted to try the oxtail soup so that came out as a second course, along with the pancakes that came with the eggs. She really liked the soup and I can’t rave enough about the pancakes. To steal a phrase from the guidebook, the pancakes were the size of hubcaps. My pet peeve is burnt pancakes and these were cooked perfectly.

After brunch, we decided to visit some of the beaches near our hotel that we hadn’t seen yet. The first was Lapakahi State Historical Park, which is only open from 8 to 4. Both times we had past it, it had been closed. We didn’t spend much time here, walking past structures from an old Hawaiian village on the way to the beach overlook.

Next was Samuel Spencer Beach Park. Under construction, packed with kids and not very appealing, this was also a quick visit.

From there we entered the Mauna Kea resort, which has a public beach access but a limited amount of parking spots. The hotel is closed due to earthquake damage and it’s obvious that they don’t want the public entering the resort. Case in point: The guard at the entrance told us all of the public beach spots were full. I talked him into letting us simply drive into the resort to look around. When we reached the beach parking lot, a second guard asked us for our parking pass. I told him the guard at the entrance said the lot was full. He said that was wrong, he had four spaces left and to go back to the entrance to get a pass. We went back to the entrance and the first guard begrudgingly handed me a pass. I didn’t mind the games once I saw the beach. White sand beach, crystal clear water and best of all, trees providing shade at the back of the beach.

After leaving Mauna Kea, we drove a couple of miles south to Hapuna Beach State Park. This beach was very similar to Mauna Kea — and packed — so we didn’t stop. Ditto for 69 Beach. Instead, we drove down the coast to Puako Beach, which was on the rocks and a haven for fishermen.