Thu Mar 20 2008: Maui, Island Riders & Ho'oilo House
Okay, enough of the snow. We need a vacation!
So we're here in Maui, adventure island of Hawaii! 10 hours in the air to get 6 hours behind Eastern Daylight Time. And this time our bikes aren't in the cargo hold of the plane. We're going to save us the hassle of dealing with customs and rent us a couple of sport(ier)bikes to tool around the island. We arrive at Kahului airport around 4PM, an hour and a half later than expected because of a delay at our stopover in Denver. It's about 80F when we arrive, but it's actually springtime in Hawaii, and not nearly as hot as it gets during the summer.
Map of Maui, we're staying in Lahaina (A).
Kahului is the biggest city in Maui, 2nd largest island in the state of Hawaii. A 45-minute cab ride takes us to Lahaina, which is on the west coast of Maui, but we only quickly stop at our Bed and Breakfast to dump our luggage because we've got to get to Island Riders before it closes to pick up our motorcycles that we're going to use for the rest of the week. Island Riders is in Lahaina about 3 miles away from our B&B, which is very convenient. The guys there are very friendly and you can tell they're into motorcycles. They told us they bought the rental store from the previous owners who were very much Harley-Davidson guys. But they wanted to branch out from the beard-gut-and-chaps Harley clientele to the sportbike crowd, so they also had a couple of Buell sportbikes in the stable - which we had reserved. Obviously, they needed to stay 'Murican, as Buell is the sportbike division of Harley-Davidson. But they told us they were getting some Euro-trash in soon. They mentioned a Ducati Monster and BMW R1200GS were arriving shortly. Cool! But this is now, and we're riding the best sportbikes America has to offer. Um, the only sportbikes America has to offer...
Going southbound on the West Coast Road
We ask for some good motorcycle routes on the island and the owner of the store shows us a map of the big three: The northern Road to Hana, legendary because of it's over 600 turns (over half are hair-pins) over a 52-mile stretch. Also, the winding Crater Rd, so named because it's the path that leads up to summit of the Haleakala Volcano! And then there is the twisty road around the north-west shore with it's picturesque coastal scenery and beaches and bays galore. Neda and I were drooling at the variety of roads this island had to offer.
On our way to Ho'oilo House, our B&B during our stay in Maui. Rainbows are a frequent occurence on the west coast of Maui because of the
constant moisture and sunlight. We also learnt about moonbows, a less frequent sighting of rainbows lit by the light of the moon!
We walk over to the two Buell Lightning XB12S's on the lot. One red and one black. Neda nudges me over to the red one seeing how I had a red lid and the black Buell would go well with her silver helmet. Little did we realize her fashion sense led to a very important decision, as you'll find out much later. As the rental guy gives us the walkthrough of the bikes and the controls, he starts both of them up. The V-Twin engines roar to life and rumble menacingly at idle. Something's wrong though. These bikes are shaking uncontrollably! I swear my bike (red one) was going to shake itself off the kickstand. The rental guy said, "Don't worry, it's normal, they've got Harley engines in them". Ahhhhh. That makes sense... I look underneath for a pool of oil. Nothing. Must be a newer Harley engine... They're pretty bikes though, belt-driven, air-cooled, but yet fuel-injected. Very unique side profile, with the exhaust directly underneath the rider's left foot.
"You shook me all night long..."
Pulling out of the lot, the engine shakes violently as the heavy clutch engages and two of my fillings work themselves loose from my mouth. Okay, no problem. I have a dental appointment when I get back home anyway. We ride back to the B&B and take in the beautiful scenery which we experienced on the cab ride here, this time on two wheels! What fun! Our last big trip was to Mount Washington last Thanksgiving, so it's good to shake the cobwebs off a bit. Actually, the Buell is shaking more than cobwebs as my kidneys have now swapped places with my lungs. We pull into the Ho'Oilo House (our B&B) and properly greet our host, Dan, who we've just thrown luggage at an hour earlier. At this point, I still don't know how to pronounce Ho'oilo, I just know how to spell it. Dan's a Pacific-West-Coast guy from Seattle, and he and his wife own this beautiful place just south of Lahaina.
A couple of Buelligans in the courtyard of Ho'oilo House
I figured we'd spend a lot of time exploring the island, so why stay at a resort if we were going to be outside all the time. The B&B idea was great because it was a lot more personal than a large hotel. Dan really made us feel like we were at home and we spent a lot of time in the common area talking with the other guests. Words can't describe how beautiful this place is, nestled on the side of a mountain overlooking the narrow body of water and staring directly at the island of Lanai just 25 kms away.
Our little home away from home. See that enclosed area to the left of me? That's our outdoor shower! Cool, eh?
Backyard of Ho'oilo. Our room is on the right.
We stay up a little bit to talk to Dan but jet lag gets the better of us and before we know it, we're tuckered out and in bed by 9PM local time. Not bad, as we had been up at 5AM EDT and it was now 3AM EDT!
Backyard of Ho'oilo House. Not sure if you can see the island in the distance - that's Lanai.