Day 5: Uncle Norman, Active Volcanoes, Rain, and a Half-Day Sprint

Day 5 began right where day 4 left off - still hanging out and vacationing with Uncle Norman! I had another fantastic breakfast, packed up my things, loaded it all into Norman's truck and tied it down, and took off on another sightseeing journey.

Breakfast on Norman's porch.

I have to admit to you, readers, that at this point I did something only vacation-Mike would do. We drove up the 4000ft incline spread over 25 miles at Volcanoes National Park - the climb I had been dreading since I first charted out my route's elevation. I regret nothing! It essentially saved my legs, back, easygoing vacation disposition, and one half day of my trip. Additionally, I got to keep Norman as a tour guide on the way. We stopped at a few scenic points and historic lodges, including:

Scenic overlook of Kilauea, an active crater on Mauna Loa, with a small plume of steam and volcanic gas visible! This was taken from the back of a really neat historic lodge. Photos of that are on my camera (to be uploaded later).

The "lava tube", where molten lava once flowed and created a tunnel about 100 yards long. I was fortunate not to have encountered any lava in said tube, but instead got some really cool photos.

From here, we grabbed delicious Thai lunch from a food truck a few miles from the park entrance and pulled in to eat it at Namakanipaio Campground, where I probably would've stayed had I missed Norman. Awesome site! Its Hawaii-ness was replaced with a Pacific Northwest feeling - a big open clearing among tall trees up on a mountain. After our Thai picnic, sadly, it was time to leave Norman's truck / hospitality. He'd been an enormous help, a ton of fun, and one of the more interesting people I'd ever met. Thanks again, Uncle Norman! Check out Norman's work at www.normandavidcarby.com.

Fresh, rested, and full from spectacular meals, I exited towards the southwest part of the island... Directly into a storm. I wasn't 5 minutes from the lunch / campsite by the time I was in a full-on downpour. No matter! I was headed downhill and most certainly could not have expected to get through a week in Hawaii without rain. Volcanoes was a barren wasteland of lava rock and sulfur smells, absolutely nowhere to stop for shelter, so I powered through it at 25-30 mph until I had ridden out of the storm. Near the bottom, I ran into the first other unsupported (carrying their own gear) cyclists I'd seen on the island! A Canadian couple, they were super nice and traversing the island in the other direction. We exchanged info about the roads ahead and parted ways.

I made it back down to sea level at a town called Naalehu in record time! I did a little research on campgrounds and hotels coming up - it's a little sparse around the southern point of the island - and found a B&B a reasonable distance away in Ocean View that would take me. I had to get back up to 2000ft but the sun was out and I was feeling great. I had a beautiful ride as the day closed out, riding along above the coast with the sunset. This was the latest in the day I had ridden, pulling into the B&B around 7:15, but I found it very refreshing! It's usually been either a little too hot and sunny or raining, so a clear evening offered a rare situation in which it was neither. The B&B was ok. The couple running it had lived in Seattle, go figure! They were a bit old and crotchety, but ultimately meant well (I think). The couple in the room next to mine fought all night, but that's a different story. At least I had a place to stay.

Photo time!


Dist: 47.97 mi
Time: 3 hours 9 minutes
Avg speed: 15.22mph
Max speed: 35.0 mph

1 comment:

  1. All sounds wonderful. Naturally, I am interested in the fighting couple. I have always been into psychology and dirt.