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Aug 1, 2004

Circumnavigating the Big Island of Hawai`i

August 1- 11, 2004

We’d been talking about going to Hawaii for many years. We finally made it thanks in part to having frequent flier miles and good friends with a condo in Kona/Kailua (thanks John & Mary Anne). After a year of planning with input from ETC members Gary & Rita who often lead rides there and a trip guide from Kona Coast Cycling Tours we finally made it. This was our first self-supported tour. Even without camping, it was a new and challenging experience to ride loaded down with our necessities.

To say this tour was awesome is an understatement. Our journal will provide you with many of the details of the 281.4 miles we rode, including daily elevation profiles (totaling 22,539’) for the cycling geeks. The things it cannot convey are some of the most memorable: the intense sweet fragrances, being under the expansive canopy of stars, the denseness of the humidity, the blessings of not getting caught in the rain despite nightly monsoons, the exhilaration of flying full tilt down the mountains, the serendipity of going to the lava flow after letting go of that possibility, the awe of watching planet earth being born, the breathtaking interplay of rocks and ocean.

Aug 1, 2004

Sunday, August 1, 2004 – Travel Day

Today we began our Hawaiian odyssey. Caught a ride to the Seattle Airport at 7 a.m. (Thanks, Billie!) It would be 16 hours before we left controlled airspace (because we were using frequent flyer miles our connections weren’t optimal). We were prepared with lots of snacks, sandwiches, books, and water bottles. Or so we thought. […]

Aug 2, 2004

Day 1: Monday, August 02, 2004

Kailua – 15 mi, 400’ elevation gain We were still on mainland time (3 hours earlier than Hawaii) so we got up early, meditated, then headed for our 8:30 plane from Honolulu to Kona. We thought we could find some food at the airport. Ha ha ha! Settled for 2 cinnamon rolls and 1 bottled […]

Aug 3, 2004

Day 2: Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Kailua to Na`alehu – 58.9 mi, 5,039’ elevation gain We had planned on getting an early start today to beat the heat. But overnight a HUGE tropical storm system hit the Big Island. It rained torrentially from midnight on. It rained so hard they had to announce school closures for 6 public schools between Kailua […]

Aug 4, 2004

Day 3: Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Na`alehu to Volcano – 42.2 mi, 4,459’ elevation gain Had a good night’s sleep in Na`alehu. Listened to the pouring rain most of the night but woke to dry pavement. We fixed oatmeal and OJ for breakfast. Got an early start (7 am). Saw an Italian couple loading their car as we left. We exchanged […]

Aug 4, 2004

Day 4: Thursday, August 04, 2004

Volcano to Hilo – 43 mi, 1,169’ elevation gain What a day! We started by riding around the crater rim of Kileaua. There was an active lava flow that day, but since it was down at the ocean side, we opted not to do the additional 4,000 foot climb necessary to see it. We were […]

Aug 6, 2004

Day 5: Friday, August 06, 2004

Rest Day (no riding) We slept in and woke to another hot and muggy, but dry, day. This was just a day to relax in Hilo before we took a tour to the top of Mauna Kea volcano at sunset. We visited Rainbow Falls and the natural food store for lunch and provisions. We saw […]

Aug 7, 2004

Day 6: Saturday, August 07, 2004

Hilo to Honoka’a – 52.2 mi, 7,374’ elevation gain The heavy storm due to hit the windward coast of Hawaii failed to materialize. We were able to start out with a full ration of sunshine again. John, the owner of Dolphin Bay, served us delicious cinnamon muffins and fruit for breakfast again. He was most […]

Aug 8, 2004

Day 7: Sunday, August 08, 2004

Honoka’a to Waikoloa 35.7 mi, 2,669’ elevation gain This was our shortest day of the trip. We got out early again, but that didn’t save us from the humidity. We were dripping as we gained nearly all of our 2600 feet in the first 10 miles. We were in Waimea, the top of the saddle, […]

Aug 9, 2004

Day 8: Monday, August 09, 2004

Waikoloa to Kailua – 34.4 mi, 1,429’ elevation gain This was scheduled to be the easiest day of the trip. It was. We got up and out of our hotel by 7 to try to beat the headwinds that prevail on the Kona Coast. It only worked for the first 3 miles. Then we were […]