"Good morning!" Ben's loud voice boomed through our open window. "It's April Fools day! Will you play an April Fools joke on me?"
We thought all day to come up with a good joke to play on Ben, the gregarious 35-year-old developmentally disabled son of Vicky and Ben Dalauidao, the owners of the Onomea Bay Guest Ranch where we stayed in the Hilo area. By the time we made it back to the ranch after the day's adventures, however, Ben had already gone to bed and we didn't get to play our joke on him.
Here's a photo of Ben, bringing us smoothies:
Interacting with him was the best treat of all. As soon as we opened our blinds in the morning, he loved to come by to chat:
"What were you last Halloween?" he asked. "I was Hannah Montana!" He broke into song, eventually performing a very memorable rendition of Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart".
One of Ben's daily jobs was to open and shut the gate each morning and evening, to keep out the wild pigs that roamed in the area so they couldn't make a mess of the yard.
The ranch was very remote and secure.
Once you pass through this gate, you continue on a narrow road for about a mile, passing this beautiful stream along the way:
You also pass cattle grazing:
Eventually, you come to the dirt road leading to the Dalauidao's home:
finally arriving at their well-named gate, "Joy Road":
If you like to explore, like I do, you can find this large water tank, camouflaged behind some beautiful miniature palms. Vicky and Ben capture rainwater for all their household needs, and since it rains most every day, they always have plenty.
Being serenaded by soft rain falling on the tin roof and tropical birds chirping as I awoke each morning was one of the many delights of staying there.
One morning I went out for a sunrise walk. Here are some of the photos I captured on that walk:
On the way back, I was treated to a beautiful rainbow, which you can see through the branches of this tree:
The rainbow looked especially vibrant when it was directly over the neighbor's house:
Ben and Vicky excitedly told us about the time when Harrison Ford and Stephen Spielberg stayed in that house while filming "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Ben was excited to show me this autographed photograph he had from Harrison Ford.
We loved our experience there.