SUP in paradise


Kalapaki Bay, Kauai

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.

~ John F. Kennedy

 What is SUP? SUP is stand up paddle boarding, also known as Hoe he’e nalu due to originating in Hawaii. There you have it! Hawaii is the birthplace of the popular sport known as SUP. Exercising, especially while on vacation, needs to be fun and enjoyable.  If it isn’t, odds are you won’t do it at all or not more than once.

In 2013, SUP was rated the #1 new activity for beginners in the U.S. Our family are not surfers, so we cannot compare it to surfing. However, for non-surfers, we found it to be fairly simple and fun. You don’t have to live near the ocean to SUP. It’s a sport which has gained popularity and is popping up everywhere. SUP can be spotted on lakes, large rivers, canals, and bays. When going on vacation or out of town for a weekend, rent a SUP board. If your friend has a board- ask to try it out! It feels as though you’re walking on water.

Don’t confuse SUP with traditional paddle boarding, which is done by kneeling on a board and paddling with your hands. Although, SUP is often referred to as “paddle boarding” for short.

How did SUP come about? In researching SUP, its is unclear as to exactly when it all began. 2005 seems to be the year that it really took off. Some research states that SUP began in the 1960’s as the “Beach Boys of Waikiki” paddled on long boards.  Others credit Laird Hamilton (American Big-wave/tow-in surfer) for setting the SUP trend in the late 1990s. Some say that Duke Kahanamoku (five-time Hawaiian Olympic medalist in swimming & known for spreading the surfing trend) was the first to “surf ski” in 1939. Surf Ski looks similar to SUP. One thing about SUP that is very clear,  is where it all began – Hawaii.

Stand Up Paddle Surfing is surfing waves with a paddle on a paddle board. Rick Thomas was the first present-day surfer to bring stand up paddle surfing to the Mainland from Hawaii. Stand up paddle surfing is said to offer the surfer a better view of the incoming waves.

On September 13 & 14, 2012 the first SUP world champion races were held at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. The title of first SUP world champion was won by Kai Lenny.

Why SUP~

It’s all about burning calories while having fun! SUP allows you to have fun in the sun without noticing how hard you’re working. Paddle away!!! Glide around effortlessly, on a non-windy day or use those arms muscles to paddle against the current on a windy day. SUP works all the muscles in your body, concentrating on the core. Paddling is a great way to work the upper body. Most beginners feel it in their arms after the first day. On average men burn 800-1000 calories in one hour of  SUP, while women burn 500-700 calories per hour. I find SUP to be extremely relaxing. Paddling around by yourself, while taking in the beauty. It is also fun to paddle next to a friend and chat away. Our kids have been quite creative finding things to do while they SUP such as looking around for sea turtles and tropical fish, then swimming back out to the area to snorkel.


Kalapaki Bay, Kauai

SUP Tips~

Our family found SUP to be rather easy on a flat day. SUP is all about balance and for some people, that may be a challenge. We have taken many first-time SUP on our board. We tend to prefer the bay on calm day as pictured above. It is rather difficult to learn on a choppy day. On Kauai, the water tends to be calmer in the mornings, as the wind kicks up in the afternoon. Here are some tips: know how to swim. If you cannot swim than you do not belong on a SUP board without a life jacket. When SUP on a lake/ocean always attach the leash. It doesn’t matter how good you may think you are, anyone can fall or get knocked off and you don’t want to lose the board. One of our guests, flew up in the air and landed on the board thinking he may have cracked a rib. While this is rare, you wouldn’t want to be in the water/waves with a broken rib and nothing to hang on to. If you have to choose between your board or paddle, leave your paddle. The paddle will float and someone can go back for it later. Observe the water currents and start off going against the current. It takes a lot more energy to go against the current and you don’t want to paddle way out with ease and then not be able to get back. Experts advise against using the leash in a river due to snags. Use the paddle for balance when needed by pushing the blade forward to back until you feel stable.

How to SUP~

We are not instructors by any means, but tend to take a lot of first timers out to SUP when they come to Kauai. For beginners, it is all about getting comfortable with the board. Start off sitting on your knees. It is a great way to get a feel for the board. You want to know what your first wave will feel like and how the board will move. Paddle around on your knees and then stand when you feel comfortable. The first time we went out, we spent time on our knees for a good 10 minutes getting familiar with turning and use of the paddle prior to standing up. Most importantly, stand in the middle of the board and bend your knees a little. If your feet are too far forward , the nose of the board will start to go under the water. If they are too far back then the tail will drag.

Surfer’s will ride the SUP board in their typical surfer’s stance (one foot forward) which is best for tackling waves. If you panic at a large wave coming your direction or see something move underneath the board, just sit down on your knees. If all else fails, sit and gain your composure. We SUP in the ocean and often times we will see large eels or sea turtles passing under the board. Sometimes it may cause you to lose balance when you’re looking around to see where it went.

How to Use the Paddle~

The paddle can be awkward if not using properly. They are usually adjustable. Be sure the paddle isn’t way too long for you or vice versa. We have a short paddle for our kids and a longer one for the adults. First off, place your dominant hand on the handle at the top of the paddle to gain control. Do not attempt to hold the paddle in the middle or near the top. Place your other hand about waist high on the paddle. Reach forward as you paddle with the blade angled forward. Don’t lean forward because it will throw off your balance, just simply stroke forward and then stroke back. If you are leaning forward or hunched over, you will feel it in your lower back.

Kalapaki Bay. Kauai

Kalapaki Bay. Kauai

Robbie totally focussed


SUP can be done at any age. Our son first started SUP at age 7 and stood up the first time. Safety First!! We set rules with the kids prior to going out. Here are some of our rules: don’t paddle out past the break, keep the leash on at all times, don’t panic, get back on the board if you fall, stay out-of-the-way of surfers, watch the waves, know where you started from and wave the paddle in the air if you need help.

Below is a list of the  World’s Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Spots


Santa Barbara, CA


Whistler, Canada

Costa Rica

Key west

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Redondo Beach, CA

Seattle, WA

Black Canyon, NV

Lake Tahoe, CA

Antarctic Peninsula

When visiting Kauai rent a board!!! Our favorite spot is Kalapaki Bay (East Side) and boards are available for rent at Kama’aina Surf and Sport located at 3486 Rice St. It’s a convenient stop located near the entrance to Kalapaki Bay. If you don’t have a truck, just carry the board to the beach. Another great place to SUP on Kauai is at Hanalei Bay (North Shore). Boards are available to rent at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures as you come into the town of Hanalei, located on the right side of the road at 5-5134 Kuhio Highway. They also offer private or group lessons for surfing, SUP, and SUP yoga.


Rob & Robbie shaka

The latest trend in stand up paddle board is SUP yoga. Yes, this means doing yoga while on a SUP board on the water (river). I can’t imagine doing it successfully, but more power to the yoga peeps!!!

Money Saving Tips: Most of the SUP rental shops located right on the beach/lake tend to be much more expensive than renting a SUP board off site. The two rental places named in this post are located off-site. Compare prices, especially if you notice several shops within walking distance of each other. Weekly rentals will be your best bet if you have a place to store it and a vehicle to transport. is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

Hike Kuilau Ridge Trail, Kauai

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Kuilau 3Often times, travel means eating out more than usual or consuming more calories than you would at home. The mindset of we are on vacation, it won’t hurt sets in. Then, a week or two goes by and your body starts to feel irritated and draggy. I have incorporated a Travel Fit section into this blog where you can find healthy food options such as local farmer’s markets and take part in activities with the entire family while on vacation. If healthy travel interest you, click on “travel fit” listed under topics on the right hand column of the blog.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is an ideal trail for families of all ages and perfect for the novice hiker. Best of all- it is free! Kuilau Ridge Trail offers breathtaking, Kuilau 4panoramic views of the Makaleha Mountains!!!! As you can see from the picture above, the views are  multidimensional and are almost too much to take in. If visiting the island of Kauai, the trail would be a great place to snap a family photo. We had professional photographers visiting  the island and decided to take them on this trail due to the scenery. Revel in the beauty of the mountain range, explore the island and appreciate the inland views. When tourists come to Kauai, they always want that ocean view! The bright green, sweeping mountains is equally gorgeous and will leave you in awe. There is a reason that so many movies are filmed on Kauai.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail offers large trees which provide shade on the majority of the path. The trail is fun for kids, as they can pick up a walking stick along the way awhile observing the Ohia tree forest and birds. Kuilau Ridge Trail has a gradual incline as you make your way to the flat, open area at the top. Pack a picnic lunch for the family or wine & cheese for a romantic sunset hike. There are two picnic tables located one mile up the path,  for the perfect rest stop. If hiking a mile up and back isn’t for you, than turn around and make your way back at any time.




How to get there~

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is located in Wailua. Hikers must drive to the trail head which will take you through the rural neighborhoods of Wailua and up into the forested park area of Keahua. The trail begins just before the park area on the right. There is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road (about 3 cars) or continue to drive a little further, where the stream crosses the road and park there.

Take Hwy 56 towards Wailua, turn right on Kuuamoo Road and continue approximately 6.9 miles until you see the trail head. A small sign will indicate the beginning of the trail.

Views of Mount Waialeale (translates to rippling water/overflowing water), the wettest place on Earth, can be seen from the picnic area on a clear day from the top of the trail. Rising to 5,148 feet, Mount Waialeale receives approximately 452 inches of rain per year.

For those of you who prefer to continue on past the one mile picnic area, the Kuilau Trail connects to the Moalepe Trail for a total distance of 3.5 miles. Hikers can make a complete day of the trails or go up for lunch and come back down in approximately 2 hours.

Kuilau 6

Views from Kuilau Ridge Trail


Hiking tips: Wear comfortable shoes, socks and a hat. Don’t attempt to hike in flip flops, sandals or water shoes, as the trail can be muddy depending on weather. Carry a small backpack and be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, small blanket for the grass and insect repellent if the bugs love you.  Kauai rains a lot and the weather is unpredictable, so bring a light rain coat or sweatshirt for the kids just in case. The large, open area at the top is a great place to lay down and watch the clouds or play family board games /cards. The cell range is intermittent on the path. The trail does not have facilities, please use the restroom before you hike.

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

Warrior Dash – Hawaii

My Warrior - warrior Dash Hawaii 2012

My Warrior

Warrior Dash made its debut in Hawaii on March 24, 2012

 “Are you a warrior?”

The Warrior Dash is not just a race or competition. It is a way to have fun, stay healthy, a reason to get fit, and challenge yourself by participating in an 3.25 mile obstacle course which takes place on the most rugged terrain around.  Red Frog Events created the Warrior Dash in 2009 and has been presenting this obstacle course “battleground” all over the world ever since. The first race took place in Joliet, IL with 150 more races to follow across 6 countries.  To date, over 1 million participants have tested their inner warrior and raised $7.5 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Warrior Dash Hawaii takes place at Dillingham Ranch on the North Shore of Oahu, located at 68-540 Farrington Highway. Compete in the race while skydivers parachute from above at Dillingham Ranch. Sign up, compete, get muddy,  put on that viking helmet and earn that medal! Mud, sweat & beer…..

The Obstacles~

Muddy Mayhem

Muddy Mayhem

“Each Warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature, on important acts he touches. This is not the voice of ego but of the human spirit, rising up and declaring that it has something to contribute to the solution of the hardest problems, no matter how vexing!” ~ Pat Riley

IMG_1454On March 24, 2012, more than 10,000 people participated in the Warrior Dash Hawaii  to test their limits of strength, speed and stamina. Some of the participants described their experience from the event as  sore, swollen and tired, bloody, muddy and wired. The course itself has been described as “hellish conditions”. It is a very physical race and some people slip due to the rain and mud. Imagine climbing on and over obstacles in mud or sopping wet. Some participants lose their clothes in the mud or from people climbing behind them and pulling on them. It can be challenging if you wear contacts, because you have to open your eyes to see but the mud can really irritate the contacts.

Thank g goodness for that crazy yellow and black Pittsburgh Steeler wig that my husband wore, so I could identify him throughout the race. You can see the wig as he crawls through the mud, pictured above. I also was able to spot him running through the fire. The wig was spotted through the clouds of smoke. There were really only two obstacles which can be viewed from the finish line lawn area. The race featured 13 treacherous obstacles! 10- 15-foot walls that each warrior had to climb, a pond with obstacles to climb over or swim under, an obstructive fire pit that had to be jumped and a pit of sweaty mud covered with barbed wire. As a spectator, I saw the mud pit refilled with water and dirt and then stirred throughout the day. It was soupy and sweaty after the thousands of people crawled through, some even bloody! For this reason, I would sign up for an early wave. Each person who registers is given a time in thirty minute intervals. Although, I saw people go through more than once.

Warrior Dash Hawaii was so popular in 2012 that is has returned each year since! Many of those who enter the Dash never actually complete the course.


The Food~ 

Turkey Leg

Turkey Leg

Everyone was talking about the food. I would imagine that after the race, participants work up a healthy appetite! We had plans to take off to Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican & Margarita Bar in Haleiwa later that day. Apparently,  that was everyone’s idea, as we saw Warriors everywhere there. The race itself didn’t have a ton of food options. The ever popular turkey leg was available as well as vegetarian food options. I would recommend bringing your own food in an ice chest and leaving it in your car.  Gluten free food and beverages are available for purchase but not guaranteed at all events.

The Beer~
Beer Time!!!! On a hot, dusty day on the North Shore of Oahu there isn’t anything that sounds more refreshing than a cold beer. Finishers are IMG_1461walking around everywhere, completely covered in mud holding a cold beer mug. You can purchase the large mug for $10.00 to take home as a souvenir (pictured on the right). If you don’t drink beer, be advised that it is the ONLY beverage for purchase. I would advise bringing an ice chest with your beverage of choice and leaving in your car for after the race. We also brought umbrellas, beach chairs, pastries and bottled water. I must say that we were more than prepared. We had planned to stay at the event most of the day to watch friends cross the finish line who had later start times. The most important item to bring – a plastic trash bag! We dumped all of the muddy clothes, shoes and socks into the plastic bag to wash later. This also helps keeps the rental car clean. Everything gets muddy.

The After Party~


About 30 minutes after the first wave begins, the party begins!! Sit back and enjoy music, food, and beer while watching the finishers crawl from the muddy pit as they try to hang on to their clothes. The music was really loud and everyone just hung out and had fun. It is so much fun to watch people dragging through the mud at the finish line. I noticed many people had tight, spandex, clothing under their clothes in anticipation of losing their outter clothing. There were a lot of muddy butts at the finish!
Watch people eat and drink at the “after party” before showering off. The whole field became one big muddy pit as the finishers drag their muddy shoes all over the lawn. Wear old shoes!! I would highly recommend bringing a change of clothes, shoes or flip flops, and a gallon of water in your car to shower off. The first year, the Warrior Dash mentioned a water buffalo at the finish.  No such luck! There was a shower if you wanted to pay $250 which would go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. A great cause indeed, a little pricey for a shower, especially when you are paying for a hotel, rental car and flights just to get to the race! That left finishers one option – bathe in a nearby stream, which had cow dung piles all around. Gross! I would not encourage that, especially with open sores from the race. But everyone was doing it because that was all that was available. Did I say gross? Additional beer, clothing, merchandise and food are available for purchase at the race.

The Attire~

The Warrior Dash website sells Warrior Gear. Choose from logo wear t-shirts, tank tops for women, shorts, sweatpants, zip up jackets and the infamous kilts! Kids sizes are available for t-shirts. You can also find accessories on their website which include bandannas, key chains, beer mugs, rubber wristbands, flip flops and more! Many participants just come in their own costumes or crazy clothing. I saw women in muumuu’s (Hawaiian traditional, long  dress), Hooter’s T-Shirts, wigs, NFL jerseys, tutus, pajamas, Flintstones costumes, leg warmers and much more. Basically, anything goes!

The Before Pic

The Before Pic

The After Pic

The After Pic

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March & April 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Kauai Eco Sporting Clays

Kauai Eco Sporting Clays

Kauai Eco Sporting Clays

“I have a love interest in every one of my films – a gun.”
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

The phrase “comfort zone” is defined as a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk. With that said, get ready to step out of your comfort zone for 1.5 hours, pray that you have a steady level of performance at best, test your anxiety levels, and experience something new!!! This page is dedicated to a great friend who decided to celebrate her birthday, by dragging her friends down to Kauai Eco Sporting Clays.

The morning started off with a rush of emotions which included anxiety, nervousness, upset stomach from nerves, anticipation, curiosity and absolute excitement. I can best relate the feelings to those when you are standing in line for a ride such as the Tower of Terror. You are so excited to experience what everyone is talking about but so nervous at the same time. I wasn’t scared though, just nervous. Probably didn’t help that I had never shot a gun of any kind in my life and when I left the house my husband was laughing saying, “The kick from the gun may knock you on your a–!” My ride came to pick me up and off we went! At this point I was wishing it were a long car ride so that I could talk to my friend and get my mind off of the upcoming – learn how to shoot a gun! Unfortunately, I live less than five minutes away from the facility. Off to face my fears!! New ventures.

When we arrived, everyone was SO NICE! The sound of the guns firing was instantly intimidating, guess I have never really stood that close to someone firing a gun. It is LOUD! I was raised around guns sitting in a gun cabinet in our living room (remember those), but it was more of a boys/hunting thing. The staff are extremely welcoming and kind that it calmed my nerves. If they would have started in with gun/shooting lingo immediately, I probably would have gotten back in the car. We signed the waivers, put in our ear plugs (that was another first for me and I think I was yelling the whole time), safety glasses, shooter belt, and we were off to our safety briefing provided by Ben. I must add that I am grateful that my son used to run around with “Legends of the Wild West” toys because I was actually familiar with some of the gear. Fortunately, there were no handcuffs involved.

Let the fun begin~


“Well behaved women rarely make history.”  ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Guns & Tiaras

Guns & Tiaras

I have heard of people shooting clay pigeons, but really had no idea what this meant. So what exactly is a sporting clay? Sporting clays are similar to clay pigeon shooting, and sometimes referred to as “golf with a shotgun” due to having 10 to 15 different shooting stations. Trap and skeet shooting differ as they are games of repeatable target presentations. Sporting clays are described as “unpredictability of live-quarry shooting”.

Kauai Eco Sporting Clays is Kauai’s newest sport where 12 and 20 gauge shot guns are used to shoot flying clay targets. They offer a beautiful 5 stand sporting clays facility (see picture below).  Enjoy the beautiful, lush setting of Kauai while you concentrate on perfecting your shot.

I wasn’t expecting to break any clays to be honest. I was hoping I could just figure out how to shoot the gun! Ben is a great instructor. He is very patient and didn’t make me feel like a beginner. I really have to give Ben huge props because he dealt with four women, who were all beginners, laughing most of the time and one wearing an eye patch and tiara. We did really well! I broke a few clays and mainly got a feel for shooting the gun. The gun was much heavier than I had anticipated. During the shooting lesson, we learned how to hold the gun, how to stand, where to position our face, where to look, when to shoot, how to load, etc. Surprisingly, there is a lot to memorize! I was nervous to put my face on the gun, since my husband warned me of the kick, but it actually wasn’t scary at all and, more importantly, it didn’t hurt. I was surprised at how sore my arms were the next day from holding the gun. For some reason, turning the steering wheel in my car was painful!

Kauai Eco Sporting Clays are environmentally friendly. Steel shot ammo and biodegradable clays are used exclusively at the range.

Sporting Clays are not just for adults~

photo (35)

IMG_2065Our son could not wait for his 12th birthday to come around so he could invite some friendsphoto (36) and head out to Kauai Eco Sporting Clays to try it out for himself!!! Sure enough, on the day of his 12th b-day, he was off first thing in the morning. It was really simple, as the staff at Kauai Eco Clays emailed me the waiver in advance. Each of the parents could review the guidelines prior to the b-day clay shooting. My son was not afraid at all! Of course he has shot an air soft and BB gun in the past. The best part is that he came back bragging about the fact that he beat out my husband, who was an expert shot in the military. Apparently, it runs in the family. That’s the fun thing about Kauai Eco Sporting Clays- you can be competitive in a fun, safe environment. You’re left wanting to go back and try again, to better your shot. According to our 12 year old son, “It is a great experience. There is a lot of practice time with Ben and tons of fun! I loved it.”



“I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.” ~ Clint Eastwood

I highly recommend going in a group. It was really, really fun! I wouldn’t ever have gone, if not invited by a friend who was going in a group. I felt so safe in the controlled environment, that I suggested our 12 year old do this for his b-day. For those of you who already know how to shoot a gun, skip the 1.5 hour lesson and shoot a round in 30-45 minutes. You are welcome to bring your own gun (12 or 20 gauge only) and be sure to leave your ammo at home. Ammo will be provided by Kauai Eco Sporting Clay. Don’t forget to inquire about the membership!


We survived!!! Thanks Ben!!

We survived!!! Thanks Ben!!

We survived!! If this gang can do it, so can you. Check out Kauai Eco Sporting Clays. It is tons of fun and you have to try it at least once.

What to bring:
Prescription glasses/sunglasses if necessary
Hat, sunscreen, bug spray  (optional)
Adventurous attitude!

Available Times:
Monday through Saturday

$89+ tax per person.  Ages 12 and over welcome to participate.

Check them out on Facebook at

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March & April 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

The Kauai Marathon

Kauai Marathon 2013

Kauai Marathon 2013

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” ~ Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Every year for the past 5 years, the Kauai Marathon takes place over Labor Day weekend on the gorgeous sunny side of the island in Poipu!!! The runners fly in from all parts of the world a few days early to take part in the pre-marathon activities which include: carb loading dinners, packet pick-ups, group warm-ups, runs and much more.

Packet Pick Up - Grand Hyatt Kauai

Packet Pick Up – Grand Hyatt Kauai

“The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever.” ~ unknown

Sign Up for the 6th Annual Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon

It all starts off with the Sports & Fitness Expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu! For 2014, the Expo will be on Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30. The Grand Hyatt resort is located in Poipu close to the start and finish lines. The Hyatt also will be hosting the Registration, Keiki Run, and Fun Run. It’s Packet Pick-up time!!! My husband gets very excited about picking up his packet. Off we go to the Expo to get the Kauai Marathon bag full of goodies. Our daughter purchased a new fuel belt. Our son kept busy in a jump roping contest at one of the booths at the Expo. There is an array of athletic products ranging from gels, Gu, fuel belts, sunglasses, visors, and clothing to RockTape & compression socks. There is something for everyone. If you forgot to pack it, no worries, it will most likely be there. Get to the Expo early to ensure you can purchase what you need before it’s gone. Just like the race itself, the Expo is small and intimate – perfect for Kauai! We have traveled to much larger marathons where the Expo is located in a convention center.

While the Hyatt is one of our favorite resorts on island, this blog is all about how to travel on budget. Explore your options, as there are many condos and homes to rent in Poipu as well as other hotels which are not as expensive. We love the Sheraton Kauai Resort due to the family-friendly environment and, most importantly, they have a great beach for boogie boarding and body surfing right next to the pool. The hotel will book up far in advance for the marathon weekend. Check out our post on the Sheraton Kauai Resort at

Kauai Marathon 2012

Kauai Marathon 2012

6 a.m. is start time! As you make your way on the course through Koloa, Omao and Kalaheo, you will feel the support from volunteers at the aid stations located at each mile with water and energy drinks. Residents will come out of their homes to get into the street and cheer you on through each town. On the marathon route, you will pass Hula dancers, musicians, cheerleaders, parents, kids and dogs standing by rooting on the runners. Feel the support of Kauai as you pass through each town!

In 2013, the 5th Annual Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon featured over 1,700 participants from 13 countries! 170 youth runners participated in the first Keiki Race at the Kauai Marathon. 911 residents of the Aloha State participated in the Marathon, with 615 representing Kauai. Tyler McCandless, three-time defending champion, broke his course record in 2013 and won $15,000. Tyler showed true Aloha spirit by offering running clinics around the island and even gave away Newton Running shoes!


Kauai Marathon 2013

“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.” ~ John Hanc, running writer



Kauai Marathon 2014

Kauai Marathon 2013


13 year old runners

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” ~ Kathrine Switzer, women’s marathoning pioneer

IMG_6945The Kauai Marathon is a family friendly event, welcoming participants of all ages. Our daughter and her friend, both 13 years old, participated in the Kauai Marathon (half) in 2013. Moms and dads run while pushing joggers with their little ones inside. The finish line is an easy place to watch for your runner without being pushed and shoved by crowds. As the running manager, which I call myself, it is important to have room to put your things down, set up a chair and be able to take pictures as the runners pass by. Not to mention, the finish line is oceanfront!!! Not a bad place to wait for your runner to cross the finish line. It seems that every year it rains at some point during the race, but then again, that is Kauai. It’s a great idea to bring an umbrella if you are awaiting someone at the finish line. Be sure to stay for the rainbow!!!

Kauai Marathon 2012

Kauai Marathon 2012

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” ~ Mike Fanelli, running club coach

I love the picture above because it depicts a true “final stretch” moment. Most of the marathon photographs which I have taken are post-run when everyone is smiling, drinking a beer and wearing their medals with pride. In this photograph, he was definitely pushing hard and in pain on the final stretch. Go Rob!!!!

Kauai Marathon 2011

Kauai Marathon 2011

“Few things in life match the thrill of a marathon.” ~ Fred Lebow

Check out the Panel Discussion on Saturday, day before race. Some of the previous years panel guests include: Bart Yasso, Rich Hanna, Dean Karnazes, JT Service (1st year’s winner), and Mike Wardian (2nd year’s winner).

Kauai Marathon 2010

Kauai Marathon 2010

“The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.” ~ Hal Higdon, running writer and coach

The finish line is a celebration on the lawn with ocean view. Does it get better than that? Probably not. Not when you add 85 degree weather. EachIMG_6990 runner’s name and hometown are announced as they cross the finish. Runners are greeted with their medals just past the finish line. Take part in a free massage, foot rub, or first aid station if needed. Move on to the lawn of vendors which include Jamba Juice, beer station, potato chips, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Did I mention it is all FREE? Walk around or sit down and relax in the sun while the emcee interviews runners, issues awards and announces updates as the runners are still crossing the finish line.



Kauai Marathon 2009

“I don’t think about the miles that are coming down the road, I don’t think about the mile I’m on right now, I don’t think about the miles I’ve already covered. I think about what I’m doing right now, just being lost in the moment.” ~ Ryan Hall, U.S Olympic marathoner

Run for local charities!!! The Kauai Marathon generates money for local charities which include: Kauai Food Bank, local high-school programs, national nonprofits, A-T Children’s Project and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, and Give’r for Liver of the Canadian Liver Foundation, have all partnered with the Kauai Marathon to raise money for their organizations.

Kauai Divas & Dudes

Kauai Divas & Dudes

“I love Kauai marathon, the route is amazing, the spectators are supportive; but most of all it’s the volunteers. I run so many races and the volunteers are what makes this race amazing to run. It is so organized and they are extremely supportive, standing at the water stations. You have hula girls, Taiko Drums and just laughter & support…it makes this tough course worth running. This is by far one of the toughest courses we have ran, but it’s something magical that makes us come back. Of course it’s in our backyard. Kauai Divas & Dudes love the Kauai Marathon!” ~ Lisa Ledesma, Kauai Resident & Ironman 

For more information on how to sign up for the Kauai Marathon, visit

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March & April 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine



Kauai Community Market

Banana, banana hearts & rambuton

Banana, banana hearts & rambutan

If fresh produce is your thing, you will love the Kauai Community Market each Saturday from 9:30a.m. to 1 p.m. located at Kauai Community College. You will find organic produce grown on Kauai and boy is  there a lot of it! Some of the things you will find are apple bananas, arugula, avocados, beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, kale, lettuce, mango, radish, scallions, snow peas, sour sop, tomatillo, lilikoi, papayas, coconuts, rambutans, oranges, limes and much, much more!!!

I love that our kids will grow up with memories of picking fruit and vegetables out at the local farmer’s market

Banana Hearts?? I had never seen nor heard of banana hearts (pictured above) before the Kauai Community Market. The banana heart is the flower of the banana plant. The banana heart itself is edible at that stage when it is cooked as a vegetable. It is most commonly served as a salad or as a sautéed vegetable dish with coconut milk. To prepare the banana heart: pull off the outer layers which are very fibrous and not to be eaten, pull layers until you reach the soft core, cut off the stem portion and discard. Cut the banana heart into halves. Slice thinly. The banana heart is ready to cook at this point. If you’re not using it immediately, soak in cold salted water. The most common way of cooking the banana heart is with coconut milk.



One of our kids favorites, rambutan!!! The word means “hairy”. I find them to be similar to a lychee. You can find them for sale on the side of the road all over Kauai. Rambutan is a popular garden fruit tree grown in small orchards. Rambutan is one of the top three tropical fruits produced in Hawaii. It is one of the best known fruits of Southeast Asia and can be found elsewhere in the tropics including Africa, the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica, Panama, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, Ecuador where it is known as “achotillo” and on the island of Puerto Rico.

They are usually sold fresh and eaten as a snack or in a fruit salad. They can be used in making jams and jellies, or canned.







Every week we purchase papayas at the farmer’s market. The kids love to eat them for breakfast! They can really vary in price depending on the vendor. Generally they are cheaper the more you buy. Often times they are priced according to their size. Today we found a gigantic papaya for $2.50 (pictured below). We tend to purchase some that are ripe to eat now and some that still need to ripen. This way you can eat them throughout the week. Some vendors will sell them for 3 for $5.00. You can ask to sample the papaya. Usually there is one already cut open.



Eggplant??? I have never seen eggplant that looks anything like the eggplant sold at the Kauai Community Market. It looks quite unusual but tastes very good. It is thinner than most eggplants that you would purchase in a supermarket that tend to be egg-shaped and very dark in color. The local eggplant also looks twisted and curled. It is easy to chop into cubes and stir fry or put into a curry dish. I am sure there are thousands of ways to cook and serve this eggplant.

The eggplant pictured is a Chinese variety, commonly shaped like a cucumber. They are sometimes called Japanese eggplants in North America. Eggplant is commonly known in British English as aubergine and also known as melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. Eggplant is commonly used in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. It is related to both the tomato and the potato.

Choosing Produce ~

Choosing Produce

Choosing Produce

IMG_9511Touch, smell, taste samples and inspect produce. That’s the best part of the farmer’s market!!!



The farmer’s market enables the customer to speak directly with the grower. For example, what is the difference between bananas, apple bananas, and ice cream bananas? What do they taste like and how to eat/cook with them? We were able to get information from the vendor as to which bananas are best for baking bread.

How do you choose the best pineapple? Sniff, look and feel the pineapple. First thing to know is that once a pineapple is picked, it will not ripen further. Sniff! If it smells sweet than it is usually ripe. If there is an absence of scent than it is not ripe. Be cautious of an alcohol or vinegar scent which indicates a spoiled pineapple. Look at the pineapple and note that color is not always an indicator for ripe. Just because the pineapple is green doesn’t mean it’s not ripe. Don’t buy if it has cracks, if the skin in reddish-brown, wrinkled or mold is present. The leaves should not be withered or brown. Only choose a pineapple with healthy, green leaves. The pineapple shape is important. It should have rounded edges and developed eyes (spiked centers of the round circles of the pattern). Squeeze the pineapple to ensure it is firm. A whole, refrigerated pineapple can last up to two weeks. Once cut, don’t store at room temperature. Fresh, cut pineapple can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Lilikoi (passion fruit)

In Hawaii passion fruit is called lilikoi and comes in yellow and purple varieties. It is very sweet and smells delicious. Passion fruit can be cut in half and the seeds scooped out with a spoon, but be careful not to scoop out the lilikoi. It is mixed in with the little, black seeds. Lilikoi can be made into a flavored syrup for shave ice or used as a desert flavoring for malasadas, cheesecakes, cookies, ice cream and mochi. Passion fruit is also made into jam, jelly, or butter. Lilikoi syrup can also be used to glaze or marinade meat and vegetables. Many local restaurants use the fruit for cocktails. Most passion fruit comes from backyard gardens and is commonly sold at farmers markets throughout the islands. However, passion fruits are seldom sold in grocery stores.

Leigh Drachman’s Lilikoi Bars

Servings: 24 bars


Shortbread crust:

11/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter

2 cups flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces. In a food processor mix until all ingredients combine to form a gravely texture. Spread into a 13 by-nine-inch baking dish. Press evenly onto bottom with the palm of your hand. Bake 20 minutes.

While shortbread is baking, prepare custard.

Lilikoi custard:

4 large eggs

11/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup fresh lilikoi juice

1/3 cup white flour

To prepare the fruit, cut through the thick rind and scoop seeds into a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute to loosen membrane from seed. The seeds will remain in tact. Then press the slushy pulp through a strainer with the back of a metal spoon.

With a food processor or whisk, mix eggs and granulated sugar until combined, then stir in lilikoi juice and flour.

Once shortbread is done, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Pour lilikoi mixture over hot shortbread and bake 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan and cut into bars. Sift confectioners sugar over bars and serve.



Wholey Avocado!!!! Avocados are grown in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. The best characteristic is that they ripen after they have been harvested. The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish word aguacate. In Portuguese it is known as abacate. The fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear or alligator pear. The avocados range in price more than any other produce at the market. In the picture above, you can see that the smaller avocado is priced at $1.00 and the medium one is priced at $2.00. I have seen them as high as $6.00 each.

What’s not to love about avocados?? They are great on omelets, sandwiches, plain with a little salad dressing or the ever popular guacamole. They are also a very healthy fat. About 75% of an avocado’s energy comes from fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat as oleic acid. The saturated fat content amounts to 14% of the total fat in a single serving of avocado while containing zero cholesterol.

Avocados have 35% more potassium than bananas but we always hear people say eat bananas for potassium. Avocados are rich in folic acid and vitamin K and are good dietary sources of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and pantothenic acid.

Sharwil avocados are a medium-sized fruit with rough green skin and oval in shape. The fruit has greenish-yellow flesh with a rich, nutty flavor and high oil content and a small seed. The skin is green when ripe. It represents more than 57% of the commercial farming in Hawaii. Sharwil avocados are sensitive to frost and probably why they grow so well in Hawaii!!! The other types of avocados at the farmers market are Beardslee, Fujikawa, Green Gold, Malama, Linda, Kahalu’u, Lamb Haas, Ota, Murashige, Yamagata and San Miguel.

Kauai Community Market

Kauai Community Market


Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.


Rafael Aloha Tacos

It is a great experience to walk around the Kauai Community Market, even if you aren’t purchasing produce. Enjoy the tropical breezes while taking in the view of the mountains. There are plenty of food vendors to experience and products to purchase. Moloa`a Bay Coffee hand picks their award-winning coffee from 4,000 arabica coffee trees basking in the tropical sunshine. They also grow cacao, bananas, and a variety of citrus. Their beans are roasted and packaged at their roasting facility in Kapaa.

Moneypod Jam

Moneypod Jam


Moloaa Bay Coffee

Monkeypod Jam uses copper pots and old-fashioned recipes to make their unique line of fruit spreads. All spreads are handmade using locally grown fruit and contain no more than five ingredients. Island favorites include Lilikoi Lemon Curd, Banana Foster Jam and Tomato Chutney. I tried the banana foster jam and it would be amazing on frozen yogurt or ice cream!!!

Miki Macs Honey

Miki Macs Honey

Hanalei Juice & Taro Company serves up traditional Hawaiian favorites such as Laulau, Kalua Pig, Poi, Lomi Salmon, and Kulolo made from taro grown on their farm.

Hanalei Pasta

Hanalei Pasta

The menu also includes contemporary flavors like Taro humus, Taro Veggie Burgers, Taro Mochi Cake, Tropical Taro Smoothies, and Banana Poi Bread.

Miki Macs Honey is made from bees dining on mac nut, citrus and tropical blossoms which are harvested in the Kalaheo area. The owners have been beekeeping hobbyists for the past six years and have a total of five colonies. Miki Macs Honey is sold in convenient 2 oz. bottles to take with you on the plane. They are also sold in 8, 16, 32 and 50 oz. containers.

Stop by Hanalei Pasta to pick up dry, packaged pastas to cook later or to eat their wonderful hot pasta dishes which include vegetarian and meat lasagna options. They offer fresh pasta made in the kitchens at Tahiti Nui and accompanying sauces.

There are herb plants, farm fresh eggs, Manoa lettuce, tropical flowers, nuts by Kauai Nut Roasters  available for purchase at the market as well. There are many more products and vendors available at the famer’s market. Check it out for yourself!


Uncle Bear’s Smoked Pork

Our son’s favorite thing to purchase at the farmer’s market is Uncle Bear’s Smoked Pork musubi!!! Musubi’s are usually made with spam but Uncle Bear makes his musubi’s with smoked pork, rice, egg and wrapped in seaweed. Somehow we always seem to end up here, purchasing the colossal musubi for $3.00 or 2 for $5.00.


Stop by JC’s Puerto Rican Kitchen for some amazing pork pasteles, pastele stew, nachos, chicken or beef burritos, tacos and the best ever salsa!!! JC’s offers an outdoor seating area where you can watch all of the excitement of the market while enjoying lunch. They have great vegetarian options as well: tacos, burritos and nachos. Be sure to visit with the friendly owners, John and Rhonda.

 $$$ saving tips: Each week we head to the farmer’s market with $20.00. It is sort of a game with the kids, how far can our money go?? They compete to find the best prices for local produce. They love rambutans, so they actually care how much they can purchase for $4.00 0r $5.00. As it gets closer to 1 p.m., vendors may go down on their prices to get rid of the produce.

John & Rhonda, owners of JC's

John & Rhonda, owners of JC’s


However, much of the produce is picked over or gone by 1 p.m. Don’t purchase the first cluster of bananas or bag of rambutans that you see. Walk through each aisle and find the best deal. Cheaper is not always better! Some of the produce is cheaper because it is bruised, not ripe or damaged skin. Inspect before you buy. Ask the vendor their price and then ask if the price is cheaper if you purchase more than one. Prices vary drastically! We have seen one avocado for $1.50 and another one for $6.00.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Buffet, Cafe or SUBWAY??

Subway Miami

Subway Miami

Buffet, Cafe or SUBWAY®?? This blog is all about how to travel 5 Star on a dime…. and we do. More recently we have incorporated SUBWAY® into our travels since they have restaurants in 102 countries!!! Bet you didn’t know that. They have more restaurant locations than any other chain worldwide. Eat Fresh!

We all know SUBWAY® is healthier than fast food, great to bring to sporting events and to the beach of course, but did you know that you could save $32 per day on eating out for a family of four by choosing SUBWAY® for one of your meals? That’s a savings of $224 per week. The average cost to go out to lunch at a restaurant is about $12 per person with drink, tip and tax. Okay so you don’t want to eat at SUBWAY® every day, than eat there every other day and save $128 in a week.

Our family enjoys sitting down to fine dining for hours but we also like to grab something on the go that is healthy. When traveling from plane, to train, to ship and rental car sometimes you just need to grab something quick and easy that you can eat on the go or pack away for later. But then how do you please 4 different appetites you say? I like wheat bread but the kids prefer white . Our daughter won’t eat mayonnaise, mustard or any veggies other than pickles and olives. SUBWAY® will be more than happy to make it half one way and half another and even better, they will wrap each half separately. Did you know that they serve nearly 2,800 sandwiches and salads every minute?

What’s in it for the kids? SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meals are great for kids because they include a freshly made sandwich on a mini sub roll, a SUBWAY FRESH FIT™ side choice of  sliced apples and a drink choice of 1% low-fat white milk or a 100% juice box.

Fresh Fit Sandwiches: There are 8 sandwiches which have been certified by the American Heart Association. SUBWAY® is the first restaurant to earn The American Heart Association heart check and for that reason ALONE, this is why I chose to write this post. Look for the red heart with the white check mark inside. Those are the Fresh Fit choices which consist of: Black Forest Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken, Roast Beef, Subway Club, Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, Turkey Breast, Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham, and Veggie Delight.

Here’s what I love, SUBWAY® offers freshly brewed, non-sweetened ice tea, bottled water, 1% milk and VitaminWater!! This is a great option for our family, as we do not drink soda. In addition, they offer healthy choices such as apple slices and Baked Lays.

Pizza gets old fast and it’s so greasy! Don’t get me wrong, we love pizza. At SUBWAY® our family of four splits two $5.00 foot long’s. That is only $10.00 and then another $1.50 or so each for drinks. We love to grab SUBWAY® for lunch but it’s great anytime. They even offer breakfast!! At breakfast, you have the option of 3 different breakfast sandwiches made with egg whites for under 200 calories (steak, egg white and cheese/ egg white and cheese/ black forest ham, egg white and cheese). Even better, breakfast is only $3.00 and includes a coffee or 21 oz. fountain drink of your choice. You can’t even buy a coffee for $3.00 at your local coffee chain!

Our favorite thing to do is grab a sub while on a long car ride and take it with us. Then each person can eat when they are hungry. All SUBWAY®’s are fairly consistent when it comes to pricing. We live on Kauai and the sandwiches are more like $6/$7 foot long’s but that is still very cheap.

Tired of sandwiches? Try the chopped salad which includes tasty chicken, turkey and roast beef, plus fresh garden veggies like crisp spinach and crunchy cucumbers.

Subway Kauai

Subway Kauai

St Regis Monarch Beach

St Regis Monarch Beach

Last year we took a family trip to Laguna Niguel, California and stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach which was fabulous. We only ate one meal at the hotel as it adds up for four people real fast. We stopped at the local SUBWAY® located in the Plaza de La Paz Shopping Center more than once and picked up sandwiches to bring back to the hotel. In fact, we ate sub sandwiches as we watched the election on T.V.

International Menu’s:

SUBWAY® brand maintains the same menu worldwide; however, menus do change in order to accommodate the different dietary needs of consumers where appropriate. In India, the population is largely Hindu and do not eat beef, or Muslim who don’t consume pork, these ingredients are substituted with chicken, lamb, or turkey.  Customers can add or eliminate ingredients based on their own dietary needs since all sandwiches are made to order.

Health Facts:

In 1997, SUBWAY® introduces 7 under 6™ menu, featuring seven sandwiches with 6 grams of fat or less.

In 2000, SUBWAY® makes the biggest change to its menu by introducing four gourmet sauces and seasoned breads.

In 2007, SUBWAY® launches its Fresh Fit® and Fresh Fit for Kids™ meals.

In 2010, SUBWAY® offers a variety of breakfast options which include sandwiches and melts, with the choice of egg whites or whole eggs, veggies, toppings, and sauces.

In 2011 SUBWAY® introduced avocado to their menus, a super food.

In 2012 SUBWAY® brand was recognized as the “Most Loved Fast Food Chain in the US” by YouGov’s BrandIndex Buzz Rankings. The American Heart Association’s awarded a Heart Check Certification on a number of menu items and meals at SUBWAY® restaurants.

Please read other healthy options and ways to stay fit while traveling by clicking on the topic “Travel Fit” on the right hand side of the page

5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine