Monday, February 22, 2016

Waikoloa Walkalong 100k - A Nice Jaunt!

We who live in Colorado are so lucky in many ways, 
including wintertime activities.

Cross-country skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park.

But it's sometimes nice to take a break,
especially to a warm and interesting venue!
We did this not long after the above ski-outing.

The Big Island of Hawaii offers more expansive cycling opportunities
than the other islands. Here's a short jaunt,
that you can do in a morning, or afternoon, or whenever.

It has no stiff climbing or altitudinal challenges,
but there is a moderate climb up to Waikoloa Village.

I chose to start before dawn, to free up the rest of the day
for other exploring. In January, the lows are in the 60's,
so this was not a frosty experience.

At first light you can see the houses on the shoulder
of the volcano nudging into Kailua Kona.

Click on any of these to see a gallery of enlarged photos!

Pre-dawn highlights Mauna Loa ...

... and dawn illuminates the grasses growing out of the lava fields.

Hwy. 19, the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway, is lightly rolling
across the lava fields.

I have yet to see the wild donkeys, 
but you may have better luck.

What you will likely see, as I did, are the wild, russet goats.
Sometimes traipsing across the grasslands.
Sometimes nibbling vegetation at the edge of the road.

Waikoloa Village is a housing community up the shoulder of Mauna Kea.
It has some shops including a convenience store where you can get
convenience store items and a receipt.

Some birds you may see on the lawns include java sparrows,
looking a bit like miniature puffins.

Also, wild turkeys.

Of course, these birds, the goats, and donkeys, are not endemic.

The climb and descent are very moderate ... and scenic!

Back on the coastal highway at an overlook:
the Green De Rosa is atypical
among Ironman tri-bikes and tourists' recreational bikes.
But everyone is friendly!

Postscript: They were widening the highway near Kailua Kona.
On the Big Island they don't have to haul gravel for underlayment.
They just excavate the lava, break it down to boulder-size chunks,
and break those down to rock size and eventually gravel size.

Here you see part of that production line,
the boulder-to-large-rock stage.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons - beside expansiveness - 
that it's nice to ride on the Big Island:
more miles of wide roads with pave shoulders.

Maybe that's why they moved the Ironman from Oahu to here.
Even the Saddle Road is now a cyclist's dream.

It's been a nice morning jaunt,
but could have used more sunscreen.

This is one of several new perms I cooked up
featuring the leeward (dry) side of the island.


Kona Kawi Hop (200km) - Starts out like the Waikoloa Walkalong
but then heads over the Kohala Mountain Road to the north point.

Mauna Lani Maunder (112km) - Based out of Kawi, 
visits Pololu Lookout (wet-ish)
and the North Kona coast (dry).

Mauna Kea Mosey (101km) - Like the Mauna Kea Meander,
but stopping short of the stiff Mauna Kea climb.

So if your vacation or business plans bring you to the Big Island,
consider one of these or other perms you could ride.


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