Bunny, 'search' is your friend. You'll find much helpful info in other threads here. I too think you're hearing urban myth more than reality, based on my HNL area visits.
In your shoes (and I almost am, being up in St. Pete right now), I would definitely sail the C36 across the Gulf to a Texas
port (the Houston
area would be my first choice) after which I'd truck to CA where a berthing space is available (much tougher than you might think - I'd probably start by looking at Ventura if cost was a factor). Sailing across the Gulf will be much less costly than trucking from FL to TX and it will be an introduction
to what you're signing up for in the CA-HI leg.