Circumnavigating Oahu

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May 15, 2009

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.

Time on our hands
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Time on our hands
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If the joy is in the journey then routing through Denver to get to Hawai’i is extra fun.

Hurry up and wait
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Hurry up and wait
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Seven hours to go
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Seven hours to go
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The ride is fine. Reading and podcasts keep us occupied.

Jurassic Park
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Jurassic Park
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Welcome to Honolulu
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Welcome to Honolulu
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Costly cubicles
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Costly cubicles
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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.

  1. Big Kahuna Rentals: bigkahunarentals.com/www.bigkahunarentals
First shot
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First shot
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Our first stop is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. It’s easy to stop for anything of interest on the motorcycle.

Floaters*
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Floaters*
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Snorkelers float passively around the bay like leaves on an autumn pond. I think we have snorkeling scheduled for another day.

  1. starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
With a mission
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With a mission
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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.

Ancient beaches
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Ancient beaches
http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/22063239715
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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.

Gazpacho*
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Gazpacho*
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  1. starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
Dinner for two
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Dinner for two
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We stand a while just to watch pearlescent blue water smash itself into foam on dark rocks.

Froth*
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Froth*
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  1. starPhoto by Jessica Abbott
Bubble bath
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Bubble bath
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Purple people eater
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Purple people eater
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Waves send little black crabs scurrying for cover as if the unrelenting surf is today a surprise.

Goggles
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Goggles
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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.

Weathered*
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Weathered*
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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.

  1. starPhoto by Sam Stone
  2. Trail Image, “Arrowrock to Thorne Creek Butte”: trailimage.com/arrowrock-to-thorn-creek-butte
With Gumby*
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With Gumby*
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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.

  1. starPhoto by Sam Stone
Sam
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Sam
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Not crowded
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Not crowded
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Jessica and I play in the surf while Sam soaks up some sun.

Idaho tan*
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Idaho tan*
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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.

  1. starPhoto by Sam Stone
  2. Trail Image, “Owyhee”: trailimage.com/…/owyhees
Checking on Brenna
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Checking on Brenna
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Half price for you
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Half price for you
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Sea breeze
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Sea breeze
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Today’s ride is in a submarine. The motorcycle has been returned.

Yellow submarine
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Yellow submarine
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Roiled around
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Roiled around
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Into the maw
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Into the maw
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Props
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Props
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Another blue light special
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Another blue light special
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Ocean fibs
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Ocean fibs
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Japanese humor
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Japanese humor
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This structure was donated by the Japanese as an artificial reef.

Aperture
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Aperture
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Window thickness
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Window thickness
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So they tell us.

Spirogyra
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Spirogyra
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We join a dinner cruise after our submersion where Jessica enjoys eating what I think of as ocean insects.

Catamaran
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Catamaran
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Pliable
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Pliable
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Crawl forth from the sea
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Crawl forth from the sea
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Sure, we'll take your camera
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Sure, we’ll take your camera
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Steamy
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Steamy
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Beautiful mermaid
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Beautiful mermaid
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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.

Tread the twilight
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Tread the twilight
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The looming clouds succumb to the day’s final golden light.

Sparkle on the bus
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Sparkle on the bus
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Scan the horizon
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Scan the horizon
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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.

Discovered
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Discovered
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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.

Come in, it's warm
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Come in, it’s warm
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We leave the dolphins and stop nearer to shore to dive in and explore the reef.

Fear of sharks
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Fear of sharks
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Come all ye fish
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Come all ye fish
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Float to the boat
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Float to the boat
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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.

Flea market
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Flea market
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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.

Pearl of great price
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Pearl of great price
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Cracking an oyster to retrieve its cultured pearl is inexpensive at one booth. Then they describe the settings they’ll sell for it …

Jessica’s pearl
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Jessica’s pearl
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Carving angry people
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Carving angry people
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I bide my time with street art while Jessica picks the settings for her pearls.

Slushy
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Slushy
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We make it out of the market with just enough money for a slushy drink.

Feathered edge
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Feathered edge
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After dinner, Jessica and I walk through shops to a quiet part of the beach where we stand a moment looking across the ocean.

Night swimming
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Night swimming
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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.

Initialize
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Initialize
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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.

Red light district
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Red light district
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Our own private Hawai'i
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Our own private Hawai’i
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We take a bus to the opposite side of the island for our last excursion, kayaking to a couple tiny islands.

Acid reflux
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Acid reflux
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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.

Beach bum
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Beach bum
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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.

Safe sand
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Safe sand
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Fun for some
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Fun for some
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P is for pool
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P is for pool
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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.

Jessica Point
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Jessica Point
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Since nobody else is here I think we can name it what we like.

Infinity and beyond
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Infinity and beyond
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Martial arts
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Martial arts
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Hauling the big camera and tripod through the surf on the kayak requires we make good use of them.

Tropical thoughts
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Tropical thoughts
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Soaking up the sun
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Soaking up the sun
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Step on the gas
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Step on the gas
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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.

See my sunburn
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See my sunburn
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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.