Friday, November 25, 2011

Give a Bike Vs. The Volcano

Hawaii!! State #50!  Thanks to The Best Wedding Coordinator ever: Michele Neff for sponsoring Hawaii.


After we left cold, cold Anchorage, we had a few days in Oahu without our bikes before we flew to The Big Island to complete our goal of touring through each of the 50 States. 

Waikiki was Hawaii in a nutshell.  Beautiful beaches, lots of palm tress, and restaurants on the ocean. 








In Waikiki, we were lucky enough to stay with family friend's, Linda and Tony, who took us to a few special spots along the coast.







A day traveling around the island with Zach and Meg let us get a taste for what we'll have to come back for someday.














Within a few days, we were leaving Oahu and on our way to The Big Island. APEC was in full force during our time in Waikiki, our bikes were waiting for us on The Big Island, and besides, we figured we'd just be getting more of beautiful Hawaii there, too.... or so we thought.





In stark contrast to Oahu, The Big Island was more or less a movie, built up too much.  We're in Hawaii!  We're supposed to be biking in between palm trees and white sand beaches, stopping around every corner with a picturesque view point, having a man in an Aloha shirt bring us a Mai Thai, all the while listening to Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole's version of Over the Rainbow in the background.

What The Big Island had in store for us was quite different from the ideal Hawaiian vacation, though.

Building our bikes back up when we picked them up at Bike Works in Kona.
Aren't we supposed to see Palm Trees lining every street?

Close. We did see some Palm trees, although we later found that many of them were actually imported to the island.









Instead, The Big Island is actually one of the most diverse terrains on the planet. Hilo, on the east side, is the wettest city in the USA, while the resorts on the west side get close to no rain. And you get a little of everything else in between.




We got to ride through what looked like open plains...





We took detours through the rain forest...







But mostly, we rode through miles and miles of volcanic rock from lava spills many many years ago. Nothing grows on this volcanic rock . No palm trees there.














How about white sandy beaches?

I believe there are a few of these on The Big Island. We visited one or two. One of them aptly named, White Sand Beach. I guess that's because the majority of the beaches are volcanic rocks or black sand. What a clever way to distinguish between the different beach terrain.





All of the volcanic rocks make for some amazing snorkeling, though.



We will most certainly have a Mai Thai while cruising through Hawaii.

Unfortunately, the $3.25 can of Sprite we bought deterred us from even looking at the drink menu.

Hawaii is expensive. We kept to our oatmeal breakfast, tuna wrap lunch, and pasta dinners for our time on the island.  We were also lucky enough to find some fantastic friends who helped us along the way.










Hawaiian music? 

We did hear Over The Rainbow coming from almost every car that passed throughout the island, but we found true Hawaiian music everywhere we went.  Just listen.....
















 In conclusion, while The Big Island may not be only palm trees and white sand beaches, it felt like we re-visited every part of the main land in just one week. You can get it all here!

Off to Kauai for some real rest and relaxation.... do you believe us?



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give a Bike Without Bikes



A Week Without Bikes

So I admit, there may have been a few days this year that I couldn't wait to be rid of our bikes. To be able to explore a place in a car. To not have to get on the bikes every day and ride 65 more miles. I may have even thought that sending our bikes to Hawaii would have given us a sort of freedom.



Turns out, without our bikes, we felt a little lost.

But.... we figured out how to have fun without them. 

The few days without our bikes while on the ferry were a good choice for us to get up to Juneau. We were forced to relax and enjoy the sights through the Inner Passage. It was the first time on the trip that we were without cell service and wifi for a few days straight.  Weird.
















Ferry Friends John & Jenny!











We spent four incredible days in Juneau and lucky us, we had our bikes for the first two.  Fresh off the ferry, we made sure to get our Alaska picture!  Can you guess what day we made it to Juneau?'









 The last two days with our bikes needed to be special.  So... we rode nowhere.  Ok, as the Alaskans say, we rode "Out the Road."  It's literally a road that goes.... well.... nowhere.











Lucky for us, on this road to Nowhere, there was a cute little cabin with a wood stove to warm our bodies from the cold, rainy, Alaskan weather. 





Maybe the wind and rain didn't deter us from getting there, but it dampened our spirits on the return ride into Juneau. We got only 15 miles before an offer for a ride into town sounded too good to pass up. The offer came from Arnie, one of our ferry friends, and ended up turning into a day of searching high and low for bike boxes to ship our bikes to Hawaii. Numerous times we smiled secretly, happy to be in a warm car instead of out in the cold, rainy, blustery day... We totally had an excuse!  I mean, planes were even getting rerouted from all the wind.



With the bike boxes in hand, we set to work. Boxing a bike is not easy. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Sure, deflating the tires, taking the handle bars off, removing the pedals and saddle are not difficult tasks, but the zip tying, the taping, and the padding is where your time gets sucked into. All in all, it took us five hours to pack both bikes. We were surprised at how heavy the boxes were when we went to ship them... I guess a pound of tape didn't help keep the weight down.



Saying goodbye to the bikes was bittersweet.  Knowing the next two days in Juneau were going to be beautifully sunny and crisp, we knew we wanted to keep riding, but the task of getting our bikes to Hawaii was such an ordeal, that it was nice to have it done with.

So what did we do on those fine days in Juneau without our bikes?



Borrowed bikes, of course!  Mountain biking with Craig on the snowy trails was one of my favorite rides all year!



But, when we couldn't be on a bike, we still walked everywhere we could.














And when we couldn't walk..... Our friends Sergei and April found us other means of transportation.








Juneau has a never-ending supply of fun, and we were sad to say goodbye.  But with Sergei cooking up a yummy Salmon meal, we at least felt like our time in Juneau was complete. 



Next stop: Anchorage!

Why oh why did we stop in Anchorage when we could have just kept flying straight to Hawaii?  Oh, it's like jumping in the snow before you get in the hot tub (which we, of course, had to try here).  It was a winter wonderland with everyday adding more and more snow.



















Without our bikes, we actually drove a car down to Seward, AK, about 120 miles from Anchorage.  Scary thought, huh?  After months on a bike, I found myself braking as soon as we hit 40mph. 
















As if we weren't already missing our bikes, on our way back to Anchorage, we got stuck behind a big accident, leaving us in the car for close to 2 hours, waiting for them to clear the road. We couldn't help but think, If we only had our bikes, we could scoot by the accident and be on our way. Of course, we had to take into consideration that it would have taken us two days of riding to get to Seward when in the car, it took only a few hours.  But when we went to fill up the gas tank, I didn't care how long it took us to get to Seward, nothing was worth $40 of gas.  

One of the signs on the side of the highway.
Making it back to Anchorage and our lovely hosts', Jesse and Allison, house gave us some much needed down time.  These guys were hooked up with all the necessities to make living in Anchorage an awesome experience.  They commuted to work by bike or cross country skiing, depending upon the weather.  They had the hot tub to enjoy the cold outdoors without freezing their buns off.  They had a wood stove to keep the house toasty. 
 

Enjoying one of the yummy breakfasts we had with Jesse and Allison.
After only a few days in Anchorage we found ourselves flying high....



.... super excited and way too overdressed for what was to come....




WINNERS OF 11-11-11 RAFFLE:

One Year supply of FRS Healthy Nutrition:
-Ashley Russell

SRAM-ZIPP Prize Package
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Marlene Rye Original Painting
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Adam L. Coppola Fine Art Canvas
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