Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012. Hilo to Waimea, HI. 58 miles.

We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant at 6:30. I could see Mauna Loa out my balcony window after breakfast--the sun on the slope made it look pink, but the entire top was obscured by clouds. It was a beautiful sight.

I was one of the last to leave, at about 7:30 AM. It was a slow morning for me... I had some breathing issues. Might be from yesterday's visit to the volcano. We rode on Hwy 19 for about 6 miles and then turned off on the scenic route to Onomea Bay. It was a lovely ride with little traffic. There was plenty of shade, and we all stopped a few times to take it all in.

The first smoothie place was not open yet; the second one was open but I did not get anything. Took a break, took inhaler, talked with April (in the photo below) and Natalie (who took the photo).

At mile 10 we got back on hwy 19, which fortunately had a generous shoulder. We started our day at sea level, and climbed gradually for the first 27 miles. After that we had a quick climb up to about 750 feet and stayed on that ridge for miles overlooking the ocean. There were a lot of bridges and gulches and I stopped to look and/or take photos frequently.

I passed the Train Museum, which I found interesting since I have neither seen nor heard a train since we've been here.

Right after the Train Museum we had a scheduled stop at a scenic overlook. There I found out that the train that used to be here was destroyed by the tsunami in 1942. There was an optional trip down to the shore to see the tsunami memorial, which I did not do. I would not have minded biking down to the shore--it was the coming back up that stopped me. Those who went said it was very worthwhile.

While at the scenic overlook one of the women saw a whale blowing up a spout of water. I did not see the whale, but it was not from lack of direction...

The fifteen miles from the scenic overlook to the lunch place was quite difficult. It was very hot and humid, and we started the "big climb" about three miles before lunch. We stopped at Tex Drive-In where there was something for everyone. Below you see Jen, Kristen, Ruth Ann, Natalie, Tina and Dianne. Tina rode well today--she had knee issues earlier in the week and ended up at Urgent Care.

We got off hwy 19 onto the Old Mamalahoa Hwy and climbed for the next 6 miles or so, without relief. I was pretty toasted when Linda stopped the van to offer water.... it was full of people who were even more toasted than me! She told me then that I was near the top (3000 feet) and that it would level out for the rest of the ride. I thanked her profusely--I had it in my head that I would be climbing until the end of the ride.

The old road had little traffic and it was cooler up there--the elevation makes a difference! As I was enjoying the view and the cooler temperature I heard something crash through the trees right over my head. I veered a little to avoid it. And it was this guy trying to sell me insurance! A gecko about 7 inches long landed almost on top of me! It knocked itself silly (or dead) when it landed--I did not stick around to find out if it recovered. I found out later that Dianne saw a whole family of wild boars cross the road--we had heard that they were here but no one in our group had seen one until today. It gets interesting when you get off the main roads...

We got back on Hwy 19 at mile 53, and rode the shoulder alongside heavy traffec the last 5 miles. We are at a small older motel, and it is very pleasant here--the weather is perfect. We're walking out later for dinner. And then it will be the end of another perfect cycling day on the big island of Hawaii.

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