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Hawaii - Coast to Coast, deja vu(5 posts)

Hawaii - Coast to Coast, deja vuMel Erickson
Aug 9, 2003 5:02 PM
Got back Thursday from my son's wedding in Hawaii on the Big Island. We spent four nights on the Hilo side in a private home called the Rick House just a few blocks from my son's place (in Paradise Park, souteast of Kea'au, for those who might be familiar). On Wednesday, July 30, I set out on a ride from Kea'au on the east shore to Kailua on the west (Kona) shore. Here's some of the sights along the way.

My friend Ron gave me a ride to Kea'au, here we are at the Rick House just before the takeoff at 7:45am.

Here's the road up Mauna Loa (13,000 ft. +) at the beginning of the ride just outside Kea'au. Mauna Loa is the longest continueously eruting volcano on the planet. This was some of the best road on the trip. Wide, newly paved shoulder and an average 4% grade for 20 miles.

There were elevation markers every 500 feet. Here I'm about halfway up. The climb was steady, traffic fairly light, a cool breeze at my back, partly cloudy and about 70F. Still good shoulder.

The top, about 4000 ft. It was drizzly with a cool breeze. The temp had dropped and I put on my jacket to fight the chill. This wouldn't be needed long. Only 96 miles to go.

It may be hard to read but the sign says "CAUTION FAULT ZONE WATCH FOR CRACKS IN ROAD". Lukily, no cracks today. I'm on the way down for 20 miles.

Here's a shot of Mauna Loa on the way down. Doesn't look like much but it's over 13,000 ft. and the largest mountain on earth (19,000 cubic miles of rock).

A scenic outlook along the coast at the bottom of the descent. Descending 20 miles isn't easy on this road. The shoulder was only 2 ft wide, there was a strong, gusty, sidewind and numerous abrupt 10-15 ft. dropoffs from the shoulder onto jagged lava. Tense, tense, tense. Thankfully the traffic was light. If you look hard you can see the road trailing off into the distance. I was just getting out of the Kau Desert, a barren expanse of recent (within the last 100 years) lava flow with sparse vegetation.

Lunch in Naalehu at the Naalehu Fruit Stand, a local landmark. It reminded me of small town Wisconsin, only the proprietor didn't have a Norwiegen accent. This was a welcome stop for a sandwich, Sobe and chocolat chip macadamia nut cookie.

I got two thirds up the climb after Naalehu and had to stop. This was a bear of a climb. Only 1,500 ft. but averaged 7-8% with some 10% thrown in for giggles. My wife and daughter caught up to me while I was taking a break and snapped this picture. When I departed they cheered me with chants of Go Lance Go, and Woo Woo Wooooo. Starting to feel the burn.

My son, Luke, and his best man, Mike, caught me at about the three quarter mark and took this shot. Don't think I looked too bad. I had just stopped for a rest as I could feel a mini bonk coming on. Water, replacement drink, couple of Gu's and a Clif Bar and I was good as new.
Continued........Mel Erickson
Aug 9, 2003 5:12 PM
Couldn't pass up this shot. A major milestone and only a little way to go. Little did I know the rest of the way would be the hairiest of the trip. Terrible shoulders, sometimes down to one foot and crumbling shoulder. Traffic was intense for the late 8 miles. I had to walk about 50 yards because the shoulder was one foot and crumbling, the traffic bumper to bumper and I was sandwiched between them and a guardrail.

Arrival in Kailua. This shot was taken next to the wedding spot, on a point, under the palms, on the sand, with the sea crashing in the background. It was a fairy tale. 117 miles, over 6000 ft. of climbing and 7+ hours. It was a GREAT ride and I loved (almost) every minute of it! (Notice the helmet perm)
Guess I should have listened to you!!!Akirasho
Aug 9, 2003 7:41 PM
Be the bike.
Great reportflying
Aug 9, 2003 8:06 PM
Glad you had good weather & a safe ride.
The snacks at the Naalehu health food store are great aren't they?
Your right about the 15 miles of twisties with no shoulder. It is the main reason most (cyclist) stay away from there . Too bad too because as you saw it is a pretty spot.
Congrats on the ride & your son's wedding!
Thanks for the memories.MB1
Aug 10, 2003 2:32 AM
When I lived in Hawaii we would throw our bikes in the cargo hold of a plane, fly into Hilo and out of Kona after doing the same ride you just did. Looks like little has changed in 25 years.

I want to go..............