day 11 – hilo to laupahoehoe beach

after a rest day, we were borderline restless. it was time again to get on the bicycles and move. today was our scheduled grocery and dinner day for the group. the only warning about the grocery store was that it would be about a quarter mile from the road…but we didn’t know if it would be left or right.

we decided to get an early start. not too early just a few minutes ahead of everyone else. the ride would take us through hilo, making for a few great photos, one of us with the king kamehameha statue. each of the hawaiian islands were supposed to have a kamehameha statue, but this one in particular was sent to kauai. the people of kauai refused it since king kamehameha had never actually conquered that island. when it was refused, it was sent back to hilo. as the story goes, the statue was in the bay at hilo on a ship when it fell off. the statue falling off of the ship was taken as a sign that king kamehameha wasn’t done conquering and was attempting to get back to kauai to complete his reign. they recovered the statue and placed it in hilo, making the big island the only one with two of these statues. the other is in the northern part of the big island, near kapaau.

the coastline of eastern hawaii north of hilo gets better with every mile. the views are amazing. after about ten miles of riding the rolling hills, our bodies became sore. we stopped at hawaii tropical botanical gardens for a quick rest to hydrate and stretch. while resting, we had a few other cyclists pass from the group. we left shortly after they passed and watched them stop at a smoothie stand that was another mile down the road.

after finally getting a few downhill moments, it seemed like we were ready to push the rest of the way. there isn’t much on this stretch of hawaii that we would be seeing aside from the beautiful coast. it wasn’t at all like the other side of the island. the other side was dry, hot and barren. this side was wet, lush and cool. moments through the morning were met with light sprinkling rain.

as we got closer to mile 26, i decided to look into where the grocery store would be. carefully examining the map showed there was a small town on the right, but not much on the left. i decided to take a chance at the right side and was happy to find the store. we sat outside the store and had lunch, resting and hydrating. when you have grocery duty for the day, the other riders are encouraged to help out with carrying things. as far as we knew, we were ahead of everyone. with the hopes of finishing shopping and having other cyclists outside and ready to carry things, i went in. this wasn’t a full sized grocery store. more like a double sized convenience store with produce and meat. i scanned the isles three times before going back to the front and getting a basket to fill. there wasn’t much for meals, but a lot of room for creativity. i had a budget, and with the remote village prices, i was nervous about exceeding. i grabbed a lot of stuff. then set the basket down by the register and got another. i scoffed at the prices of eggs. these were probably the most expensive eggs that i’ll ever buy in my lifetime, and i got two dozen. $18 for two dozen eggs, plus tax. there were only three dozen eggs there. i started feeling guilty about buying everything in the store, so i left at least one of everything that i was getting. they only had frozen chicken, and there were only four packages. i got three. i ended up spending half of what the budget was. the cashier gave me a reinforced wax produce box for the groceries since they had no bags. i started thinking that it would be easy to carry this box if needed. it weighed nearly fifty pounds. i went outside and sera was waiting with the bicycles, but hadn’t seen anyone show up yet. time to make things fit right. i removed the bungees from my tent, positioned things as best as i could and fastened the box to my rear rack. i know i was over capacity for weight on the rack, but that’s really what lifetime warranties are for.

i told her to stay a little bit behind me, so that she could pick up anything that fell. i didn’t expect things to fall. while we were about to leave the parking lot, a few others showed up. i explained that it was probably best to leave the box as it was with the way it was balanced. the tent was the only thing that didn’t make it up the hill on the way out of the village. sera carried that for me. we had about four miles to ride before camp. i hoped for a simple, straight, no hill road. the road ahead was exactly the opposite. there were amazing curves downhill revealing the coast a few hundred feet below, then steep inclines that made me wish grocery day wasn’t today. i saw this gold coin on the side of the road then asked sera to swing back and pick it up. it doesn’t look like much, though it’s a great little souvenir. we reached the top of that hill and saw another cyclist from the group. i suddenly realized that i wasn’t sure how much further we had to go and couldn’t let go of my handlebars to look at the cuesheet. i didn’t want to stop either. the momentum was the only thing really keeping me going. i yelled out and asked him to navigate for us. sure enough, he led us to the road that would lead to laupahoehoe beach. since we were going to the beach, it would be a big downhill from the road. the street that takes you to the beach is long, windy and littered with palms, branches and some fruit. one side drops down, the other side has a rock face and trees on it. it is one large switchback that takes you down to a wide open space in the beach park.

the pleasant part of getting to laupahoehoe beach was we had cold beer in the insulated growler that i had purchased the day before and a kitchen room inside the pavilion near our camp. we wouldn’t have to worry about the wind from the coast affecting the stoves and we would have running water for everything. as much as i love camp cooking, running water is truly a gift.

we setup camp, showered and relaxed until it was time to cook dinner. we had worked up a nice appetite and were ready to rest afterwards.


sera & king kamehameha.


jaik & king kamehameha.


jaik & sera with king kamehameha.


bicycles with the king.


sera & jaik barely north of hilo.


the view barely north from hilo.


somewhere in the hawaiian jungle.


one of the spectacular coastal views.


coastal view & nonplussed sera.


bicycles at the hawaii botanical gardens.


more of those amazing costal views.


coastal view with sera & jaik.


bicycles before the switchback.


lunchtime selfie.


$9.00 eggs.


grocery day! the tent had to switch bicycles, but the box made it the whole way with minimal adjustments.


campsite at laupahoehoe beach.


northern part of laupahoehoe beach.


middle area of laupahoehoe beach.


southern part of laupahoehoe beach.


the view inland from the campsite. the storm seemed to stop and hang out at the edge of the park.

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