I suppose if you’re a very technical person you might not think Hawai’i can be part of an Idaho Adventure. But through a twist of fate, we did encounter a significant part of Idaho during our time circling the small island of Oahu.
If the joy is in the journey then routing through Denver to get to Hawai’i is extra fun.
The ride is fine. Reading and podcasts keep us occupied.
I notice a motorcycle rental place¹ across the street from the Honolulu hotel Jessica arranged for us. What was a pie-in-the-sky idea suddenly seems possible. When we go inside and find they have a new F800 GS for rent, I’m sold. It will be a great way to experience the island for a day.
Our first stop is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. It’s easy to stop for anything of interest on the motorcycle.
Snorkelers float passively around the bay like leaves on an autumn pond. I think we have snorkeling scheduled for another day.
starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
I researched and planned to buy an F800 GS before its U.S. introduction was delayed a year. That makes it especially fun to ride all day on winding coastal highways.
We use our agility just a few miles after the bay to quickly stop near some interesting coastal formations. We join others climbing the short wall to walk on curious rocks below.
starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
We stand a while just to watch pearlescent blue water smash itself into foam on dark rocks.
starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
Waves send little black crabs scurrying for cover as if the unrelenting surf is today a surprise.
The rain that catches us is warm and the highway speed limit slow (usually 35, sometimes 45 MPH) so we continue riding north until a roadside restaurant provides an easy escape. We pull in for lunch, dripping wet.
Rain has passed by the time we finish eating. We quickly dry as we continue around the island’s perimeter.
Earlier, as I was looking online to check the reputation of the motorcycle rental shop, I was reminded that a motorcycle club guy we rode with back in Idaho¹ was moving here. Was he here now? I left him an ADVrider message but didn’t expect he’d have the opportunity to read and respond the same day.
I notice a message on my phone while we’re getting gas in Wahiawa, heading back to Honolulu. It’s Sam, our friend from Idaho. He lives only ten minutes from here. What a great set of coincidences!
Sam rides to meet us, lets us change into swimwear at his place, then leads us to a secluded beach near where Lost was filmed. It’s a fantastic spot. You may recognize Sam’s KLR, Gumby, in the photos he took of us.
starPhoto by Sam Stone
Jessica and I play in the surf while Sam soaks up some sun.
Spending time with Sam is the highlight of the day, the connection that makes this an Idaho ride. Well, that and the large area in Idaho named after the islands.¹
From the beach we head straight for Honolulu. I enjoy the 800 GS but as Sam verified, there’s hardly a mile of dirt road to be found on the whole island. It’s not a big place.
Today’s ride is in a submarine. The motorcycle has been returned.
This structure was donated by the Japanese as an artificial reef.
So they tell us.
We join a dinner cruise after our submersion where Jessica enjoys eating what I think of as ocean insects.
It is a perfect night on the water. Jessica and I stand on the deck, a warm breeze on our skin as dark clouds loom above the city, dragging a thick curtain of rain and mist from the mountains beyond.
The looming clouds succumb to the day’s final golden light.
We sign up the next day for a dolphin watching and snorkeling trip. We’re tasked as spotters. Staring at the horizon leaves us both a little seasick.
It takes some driving around but finally we spot dolphins. We’re meant to swim with them but they’re in deeper water where wind is kicking up waves.
We leave the dolphins and stop nearer to shore to dive in and explore the reef.
Bobbing in the water adds to Jessica’s motion sickness. I didn’t realize that could be done floating on your own, without a boat. She’s special.
After some time in the hotel to recover, we walk through a street market alongside our hotel on the way to dinner. “Half price for you,” is the common refrain.
Cracking an oyster to retrieve its cultured pearl is inexpensive at one booth. Then they describe the settings they’ll sell for it …
I bide my time with street art while Jessica picks the settings for her pearls.
We make it out of the market with just enough money for a slushy drink.
After dinner, Jessica and I walk through shops to a quiet part of the beach where we stand a moment looking across the ocean.
It is magical to be here, lulled into the moment by pastel surf, an ocean away from and lifetimes beyond the thirteen and fifteen year-old who met in a small, north Idaho town.
Dr. Seuss must have cultivated the trees here. The roots are fanciful, even bizarre. We stop to consider some between the beach and road carved with a thousand small messages of love and bravado. We understand why Ansel Adams made a subject of them when he visited Hawai’i.
We take a bus to the opposite side of the island for our last excursion, kayaking to a couple tiny islands.
The first island is a preserve of some kind. It’s only about as big as our lot back in Boise. Our next stop is the bigger island we see on the left side of the horizon.
Getting to the other island is slightly intimidating for us non-ocean types. The waves were getting bigger and we saw other people struggling, as you see behind Jessica, to reach shore.
We hike counter-clockwise around the tiny island, away from everyone else sunbathing on the beach. We find fish trapped in green pools between pillars of dark rock that could be the battered remains of an ancient temple.
Since nobody else is here I think we can name it what we like.
Hauling the big camera and tripod through the surf on the kayak requires we make good use of them.
We are mindful of the bus and then plane we need to catch today. It all starts with kayaking back to shore. We stay as long as we can before shoving off again.
We were warned about the tricky tropical sun. Jessica gets a red face souvenir to bring back to Idaho, to remind us of our perfect adventure.