Finally have a minute to write about our trip. So, here's the condensed version so far.
We flew over on Friday on Alaska Air, bleh is all I have to say, I'll fly it again if the price is right otherwise it's Hawaiian Air for me. We jumped inter-island on Go-Airline - sketchy, won't do that again, even if the price is right, dirty, late, rude, the list goes on. But we were just happy to be in Hawaii. Also, it's well known that the islands have a huge population of wild chickens, the pic of the chicken bone is the only kind of chicken we saw on Oahu. that day. :-)
Anyway, we landed into pretty, funky Hilo and got the smallest rental car I'm sure they make. You see, usually I order economy, they never have it and give you an upgrade for the same price. This time my gamble went awry and we actually got a compact. I thought when they said slip #8 it was a van and they made a mistake, but our tiny car was actually hiding behind the van, so small we couldn't see it. It's like a tin can on 4 wheels, but good on gas mileage and roomy enough for 4 adults on the inside (just ask Mike and Liz as we all squeezed in to go see the lava flow (another post).
We shopped at the KTA in Hilo to provision for the first night, and it was a great store, we love it, soooooo much to offer.