Biking Through Hawaii



March 6, 2002 - Wednesday - Day 2
Miles Today - 21 Total Miles - 57
Kawaihae,HI to Kapaau,HI
(-Kohola Adventure B&B -)

Anyone who knows me, knows full well what torment I went through in
thought process of taking the ride to get to the B&B yesterday. (Well, maybe
“torment” is a little strong there!) And anyone who knows me, ALSO knows
that I wouldn’t leave that stretch unridden in my quest to circle the Big
Island... So it was with that in mind that I got a ride back to Kawaihae with
my bike. But I get ahead of myself...
It was a great night’s slumber in the little cozy room. I could hear the
rain on and off throughout the night. And the wind, too. I later learned that
there was quite a bit of rare thunder here, and lightening, too.
The best part of the night was when I went over to the bathroom across
the little outside hall around 4:30am or so. The little area opens onto a
little patio. Even without my glasses the stars were the brightest I’d seen
for many years. Perhaps since Alaska two years ago. Perhaps since the
southwestern desert in 1980!! But when I went back in the room, retrieved my
glasses, and looked, it was an even more amazing thing. The half moon was so
brilliant it was hard to stare at it, the stars were twinkling in shiny array
away from the pollution back home. I thought, “This is the way the night sky
is SUPPOSED to look!!!!” I stood and watched for quite a few minutes. Jaw
dropped. And inhaling the fragrant night air - which had brushed over the
Pacific through the trees and to me. It was a glorious moment.
Back in bed, I fell asleep shortly, but then there was a problem with the
phone in the nearby kitchen. I got up and put the receiver back on, came back
and snuggled into my sleeping bag on the bed, and dozed all the way until
about 7:30am. As I opened the door to my little room, the sun poured in.
There was a huge spider web nearby. Got a great picture of it as the sun
glinted across the strands. There were hundreds of webs all around the place.
Some had almost rope-thick strands. Bobi said some of her clients didn’t like
them. She said one couple left two days early because they had seen a gecko.
(A little lizard type thing.) I saw one in the kitchen later in the day, and
it was a cute little bugger.
It wasn’t long before I was out on my mile run down the lane toward the
bigger highway. These morning runs help to iron out the night-time kinks,
assess my strength for the day, and of course, keep the run streak going.
They are also great for seeing things even closer than I do from the bike
seat. A huge dead toad, the size of two fists, lay on the road - poor guy,
still intact except for an arm. Saw a brilliantly red cardinal on a telephone
Spent part of the morning chatting with Bobi, an interesting lady into
the latest health food stuff. She’s looking for a husband on the internet.
She has adopted 7 kids who all older now, and has three of her own. The one
furthest away she told me is in an Alaskan prison, and she’s worried about
him. She made me some thick oatmeal and I finished off the peanut butter on
thick whole grain bread.
After sending journal pages last night I got an ominous message from
America On Line that my account was terminated because I was guilty of
spamming. When I tried to get online this morning, my account was blocked. So
I spent about an hour on the phone with AOL. Since I send these notes to over
100 people around the world it constitutes spam. I had a special dispensation
about that, but it seemed to have expired. The lady was very helpful in
correcting the problem, but it was kinda dicey there for awhile because the
credit card number had been changed and they didn’t have the new one to
verify who I was. I sweated bullets until I came up with an old file on the
iBook that had the correct number.
I left around 11:30ish with Charles, one of the other folks at the B&B. C
harles is from Texas and works as some kind of petroleum planner. He ‘has
properties’ in Hawaii, and he was up checking on them. Today though he was
heading for the beach, and he didn’t mind pulling me and my bike along with
him toward the Blue Dolphin restaurant where I stopped riding yesterday. We
are only a year apart in age, and so we had some discussions about that.
(“There are three things to go,” he said. “One is vision, two is hearing,
and I can’t remember the third!”) He said his business was lagging a bit,
and used an unusual, but very descriptive and effective verb to describe what
has happened - he said he’d been “binLadened”!
Charles talked about the whales a little. He said I had probably seen
blue whales yesterday. He said that each foot of a whale is about a ton, and
that they get up to 45 feet in length. He said that the nearby mountain was
31,420 feet from sea floor to top, and actually was the largest and tallest
in the world.
After some photos, I set off about 12:20pm. Charles would be coming back
that way and so I felt I had a nice safety net. Touring bicyclists are pretty
much at the mercy of the elements and people, and except for the wits about
us, it’s nice to have that safety net wherever possible.
Charles got a kick out of it, when after he described another off-shoot
ride I might be interested in traveling, I said to him, “Everyone keeps
wanting to send me further.”
I rode under full blaze sun for the first hour or so. And it was splendid
riding - light side wind and nice gently rolling road. Nice views of the
Pacific to my left. Even the big rolls I managed with little effort - often
clocking 17-20 miles per hour. That all changed for the second half of the
ride, as the clouds rolled in, and the wind ripped into me - the going at
that point was 4-6 miles per hour - at a struggle. It was grinding and
grueling, but I kept moving ahead.
The lava fields were gone now. Green and some mountains to my inland
right, and green fields or trees to the ocean beyond. Still, except for
occasional homes there was nothing until I reached little Hawi where maybe 10
or 12 stores lined the sides of the road. There were a few up-scale
communities but I could only see the gates, and I’m sure there were beaches
down below but they were hidden to me because of the lay of the land. I could
have ridden down a number of roads to check them out, but had no inclination
to pedal the long slope back up.
The highway here is where the yearly Ironman contest is run.
A cement factory was on the right at one point, and frozen dribbles of
cement rolled over one of the walls for it’s entire 50 yard length perhaps. I
caught a picture of a ladder frozen forever in that cement on the side wall -
it looked eerie and surreal.
The rain came right at 15 miles, at 2pm. It never got heavy, but it
was pretty steady for awhile. Then it was intermittent for the rest of the
Just across from the statue of King Kamehameha (the king who was the
first to unite all the islands), in front of a little tiny row of stores, an
older guy from Cleveland named Clarence said he liked my biking outfit. He
got a photo of me in front of a wall sculpture of the Islands. Then I got one
of him and his wife of 50 years. It was cute the way he told me the years,
months, and exact days he was married. Very friendly fellow under some kind
of navy cap.
I paused before turning toward the B&B. I could have gone to the end of
the island on a spur road. Everyone said I should. But the wind wasn’t good
and it would have been 14 miles. I may be sorry, but I just didn’t feel like
Yesterday was 36 and today I had 21 under my belt. It was a little
upsetting when I realized that a 57 mile day would have been well within my
reach a number of years ago - but then I realized it was never within reach -
or smart - for a first or second day of a tour. I could still truck that
distance later on if this were a longer tour.
I came back to the house and began on the project of outlining all my
bike rides in dark blue ink on a big USA AAA map. It took about an hour, but
I sure enjoyed it. Brought back all kinds of great memories. It would make it
a lot easier to show people where I’d been.
Had a great shower, and shaved, and then began arranging my bike bag
contents again. That’s a never-ending process as priorities shift.
Wanted to help Bobi with her iMac, and teach her some things, but got too
involved with it, and ended up spending a ton of time in her part of the
house. She’s not too computer savvy, and though I was happy to help, I spent
a little longer than I wanted to there.
She washed my clothes and shared some fresh pineapple with me. But it
wasn’t until about 11pm that I finally put the finishing touches on these
notes, and exhaustedly went to sleep, listening to some of the Hawaiian music
that I ripped from one of Bobi’s cd’s onto the iBook. The winds were ripping
around outside, but at least it wasn’t raining - for now.
Tomorrow I climb into the mountains to ride the spine of the Koholo
Mountain range, and turn the corner to the other (rainier!) side of the Big

Picture of King Kamehameha


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