Kona to Volcanoes

Riding a rental bike uphill into a 20 mph headwind with rain pouring down isn’t everyone’s idea of an ideal vacation. Actually, it’s not mine either but it was only a small part of what has been our experience of a triathalon of sorts on this WomanTour Big Island trip. Two days ago we did the water portion by snorkeling off a beach and today hiked into the caldera and through a lava tube of a volcano. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

On Sunday, Judy and I caught up with our friend, Sue, another Southern Tier cross-country rider from Vermont, her friends Denise and Liz and our friend Sandra. We headed to Sandra’s rental condo to watch the NE Patriots beat the Ravens in a nail-biting game. There is something about watching football in the morning, eating fresh pineapple and guacamole with a view of the ocean with good friends that makes for a fun time.

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Sandra dropped us off after the game to meet up with our friend Linda (another ST friend) and the group. The next morning we headed out for our first ride. We went from the coast uphill the first 10 miles or so. Uncharacteristically, the 3 Vermonters made a wrong turn early on and ended up riding uphill on a road very much like the Ap Gap (in other words, at a much steeper angle than the rest of the group). We found a friendly man who directed us to a small road to get back on course. The views looking back down on the ocean were not at all like Vermont.

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Eventually we got to ride back down to the ocean for our picnic lunch and snorkeling spot. On the way we stopped at a coffee plantation for a self-guided tour. We passed beautiful flowering shrubs and had views of the blue water awaiting us.

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There was an optional 30 mile ride to our next stop near Volcanoes National Park.  With the wind and rain (and a sore seat), all but one person opted for the van up the 4000 feet at the end of the day.  It was a good choice.  We arrived in the dark at our stop for these 2 nights, a bed and breakfast place where we have our own little cabins.  Judy and I share a cute cottage with our own gas fireplace (which is a convenient place for drying soggy bike clothes), a little kitchen with fresh papaya and bananas and a friendly cat that stops by.

There was an optional 30 mile ride to our next stop near Volcanoes National Park.  With the wind and rain (and a sore seat), all but one person opted for the van up the 4000 feet at the end of the day.  It was a good choice.  We arrived in the dark at our stop for these 2 nights, a bed and breakfast place where we have our own little cabins.  Judy and I share a cute cottage with our own gas fireplace (which is a convenient place for drying soggy bike clothes), a little kitchen with fresh papaya and bananas and a friendly cat that stops by.

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(Pictures in the wrong order – sorry)

I got to see more turtles the next day on our destination of Black Sand beach at the southern end of the island. In order to get there though, there was another round of challenging cycling. This section of the island is known for its strong winds. We rode easily in the sun for the first 30 miles or so and then the trifecta of winds, and uphills was complete with the heavy rain. Fortunately, the sun came out at the same time as the perfect bakery stop so we could dry off in the sun eating lunch with the smell of fresh baked goods in the air (and not feel too guilty about the extra calories). From there to the beach was a beautiful coastal ride.

There was an optional 30 mile ride to our next stop near Volcanoes National Park. With the wind and rain (and a sore seat), all but one person opted for the van up the 4000 feet at the end of the day. It was a good choice. We arrived in the dark at our stop for these 2 nights, a bed and breakfast place where we have our own little cabins. Judy and I share a cute cottage with our own gas fireplace (which is a convenient place for drying soggy bike clothes), a little kitchen with fresh papaya and bananas and a friendly cat that stops by.

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There was an optional 30 mile ride to our next stop near Volcanoes National Park.  With the wind and rain (and a sore seat), all but one person opted for the van up the 4000 feet at the end of the day.  It was a good choice.  We arrived in the dark at our stop for these 2 nights, a bed and breakfast place where we have our own little cabins.  Judy and I share a cute cottage with our own gas fireplace (which is a convenient place for drying soggy bike clothes), a little kitchen with fresh papaya and bananas and a friendly cat that stops by.

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This morning we headed into the park for a 4 mile hike through the lava bed inside the caldera of a volcano. It started out going down through rain forest paths. On the caldera floor, we saw little succulent plants growing up through the lava. There were steamy vents and piles of lightweight lava rocks (think of the ones in your gas grill).

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After climbing back up, we hiked through a lava tube. Once filled with molten lava, now it is an empty tunnel.

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I’m feeling rushed as we have a map meeting about tomorrow’s ride. We’ll also have a little social hour and I wouldn’t want to miss that either! I know we start downhill tomorrow. That sounds like a fun way to start a day.

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5 Comments

  1. Phyllis Biegun

     /  January 26, 2012

    Wait! Someone was missing…. Me! Hugs to Judy and Sue and Denise and Linda!

    Reply
  2. Dawn Fogarty

     /  January 26, 2012

    Fabulous! Love to all!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Sandra Timko

     /  January 26, 2012

    Aloha to all the Vermonters + a North Carolinian.

    Reply
  4. Mary Kay

     /  January 26, 2012

    Fun, fun, fun!!! Wah, why I wanna be there!!!! Love and Hugs. MK

    Reply
  5. pam perkins

     /  January 26, 2012

    Just returned from Cuba to find your two entries from your two days on the Big Island and to see the beautiful photos of you and Judy. I did that same ride in 2004 so could relate to your descriptions of hills and wind, although I recall some incredible tailwinds that were not typical. Cuba was absolutely amazing. One of our best trips ever. Penny is always fun to travel with. She is really looking forward to your visit. Hugs to you and Judy. XXOO

    Reply

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