Hawaii Adventures – The Novelty of Riding Aloha

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January 2012 Preview

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Published in: Rides

Hawaii Adventures - The Novelty of Riding Aloha

Hawaii, the Aloha State. Known for its beaches, surf and popular destination resort ambiance; I set out with ADVMoto Staff Contributor, Pablo Espinosa to defy the typical and experience Maui on two wheels. Once we landed, we headed straight to Maui Dual Sport, the only dual sport motorcycle & guide outfitter on the island. We found ourselves welcomed with bikes prepped and ready to go. I would be riding a KTM 390 Duke with wheels skinned in knobby Continental TKC 80’s. Admittingly, my first thought had my ego chuckling, the tires were the only thing ADV about it. That said, I was in Hawaii and up for anything this trip; in this moment I realized this adventure was likely to have many interesting chapters.

RidingAloha 6

It took me about 45 minutes into riding to realize Maui doesn’t necessarily call for my usual H-D Road Glide or BMW R1250GS. Such bikes could be perceived as overkill for what the island and its infrastructure supports. Maui is just 48 miles long, 26 miles wide and totals 728 sq. miles. It hosts several different and diverse microclimates which I find fascinating given its size.

From the ocean shores that gradually climb their way towards fruitful plantations, we found ourselves navigating through mazes of thick bamboo forests and passing waterfalls cascading down mountainsides of lush flora. Many descend directly toward the road but flow under one of the countless bridges we crossed.

We rode through arid desert and uncanny volcanic landscapes that made it feel like we were in the middle of a sci-fi movie scene. Rising above the tree-line and peaking at 10,023 feet of elevation, Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano and centerpiece of the island. It provides several microclimates in and of itself. Every 25 miles it felt as if we were somewhere else in the world; this island is a whole lot of riding bang for its mileage.

Maui is not thought of as one of the most accessible off-road riding meccas and for good reason. Between protected lands, state and private owned land as well as land regarded as largely sacred by native Hawaiians; if you don’t know someone who has access, it’s hard pressed to find. When you do find off-road areas, the terrain is volcanic and can at best be classified as a no fall zone to avoid feeling like you got in a fight with a cheese grater. If you get through those challenges, the mineral rich soil that makes up the majority of the island is known as Red Ice, getting its nickname from its literal translation. Pablo and I knew this going into the adventure and accepted the challenge knowing that any excuse to ride Hawaii was worth whatever experience we may find.

RidingAloha 2

Two stretches of road stand out in my mind as must shares from our Maui adventure. On the north side of the island is the Kahekili Highway or Highway 340. Snaking between Waihe’e-Waiehu and Kapalua, the one-lane winding road traverses the cliffs high above the ocean.’ Tourists who rent cars are told not to travel “The Deadliest Road in Maui,” which we all know is code for motorcycle dream road. Between the laid-back pockets of local communities of farmers, fishermen and artisans; vast beauty and unrivalled exhilaration had my smile spilling out of my full face helmet.

On the southeast side lies the Pi’Illani Highway, stretching between Highway 37 and Highway 360. Night and day from the topography of Highway 340, it isn’t the most common route either.  This road has both the longest, straightest stretch of tarmac on the island from Keokea to Kaupo and the longest stretch of non-paved primary road between Kaupo and Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). You’ll find expansive ocean views, working cattle ranches and volcanic scars left the last time Haleakala ignited the fire that once lived in her belly. The Huialoha Church and the Charles A. Lindbergh grave site are found in this region too, it’s worth making the time to explore.

RidingAloha 4

Andrew from Maui Dual Sport rode with us one of our days. A guided tour was fascinating; we learned from his knowledge of Maui’s geology, history and gained perspective from his local point of view. Deviating too far off a ‘main route’ while exploring the island on your own is not recommended, but with Andrew as our guide we knew where to go and we were able to experience an area we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. This is a sacred land rooted in deep tradition and culture; it should be respected always.

After a week of riding, I found the 390 Duke to be a perfect set up for the island. Clearly Maui Dual Sport knows what their market dictates. I was impressed how the Duke made smoothly paved tarmac and the 620 curves that lead to Hana pure riding nirvana. Where pavement ended the TKC 80’s added the perfect amount of additional confidence in handling. It was extremely responsive, had more than enough power for zipping around in traffic and was a dream when threading the needle across one lane bridges or down glorified bike paths disguised as roads.

RidingAloha 5

However, taller riders would have a hard time enjoying it as I did. It even took me a few miles to get used to how small the Duke was. I’d joke with Pablo that I felt like the figurehead on the bow of an old schooner; nothing in front of me, just my head cutting through the wind. Once I adjusted to the sporty feel, I felt like I went back in time, carving butter like turns in a wide-open Giant Slalom course. Nimble and sassy, the Duke proved the lesson of never judging a book by its cover and that it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone.

If you choose to experience Maui on two wheels, Maui Dual Sport has a plethora of different bikes to choose from. You’ll be outfitted to meet your desires while enhancing your island riding experience. They aim to please with a welcomed twist of Aloha Spirit.

RidingAloha 3

When planning your trip to the island, consider how much saddle time vs. tourist time you want to spend. Once you’ve figured that out, I suggest tacking on a few extra days. Trust me, if you end up with extra time, you won’t be hard pressed to fill or ride it. By the end of the trip both Pablo and I agreed that given a few more days and we would have been able to check off the few boxes we had missed.  

Nature’s pure essence is exceptionally alive in Hawaii, depending on the time of year, you may be fortunate enough to catch whales breeching and sea turtles nesting. Another way to take in nature is by zip lining. Flying across the canopy of the Puukukui Nature Reserve, Kapalua Ziplines is the largest course on the island. Vistas overlook the Marine Conservations of both Mokule’ia and Honolua Bay, while looking down to the tropical floor below reveals Wild Boar doing Wild Boar things. With seven different ziplines covering 9,750 feet of go big or go home, I highly recommend the experience.

 RidingAloha 2

One must not overlook the reality of eating your way around the island. It seems rather sacrilegious to not gorge yourself on fresh fruit, guava smoothies, Hawaiian BBQ, banana bread, fish tacos and popping a fresh coconut to hydrate. If you ride Highway 340, stop by Braddah Chic’s roadside stand located on ‘the big bend’ in Kahakuloa and order the fresh-off-the-boat Ahi Poke Bowl. It’s so good we had to go back a few times and I can’t lie, having to ride an amazing stretch of road again to get there was a win/win!

It goes without saying that both Haleakala National Park and the three State Parks should be on top of the hit list; Lao Valley, Papalaua Beach & Park, and Waianapanapa with its black lava sand beach. My favorite was Lao Valley; with its tropical hiking trail along a river rushing its way through Koa and Banyan trees, steep mountains, and over waterfalls falling hundreds of feet to the valley floor. There’s literally no end to the amount of diverse experiences you can have while riding the island, use that GPS and go!

RidingAloha 7

Mother Nature is another reason to tack on a few extra days to your planned trip; she had her way with us on this visit, becoming a prominent chapter of our adventure. Don’t let the sunshine filled photos fool you; we only had two full severe clear days. I’m usually prepared with my trusty go-to kits, but in this case I wanted to travel as light as possible. I pulled a rookie move of assuming “It’s Hawaii, how bad could it be?” BIG mistake, I wished I packed my KLIM Altitude Jacket and puffy on more than one occasion. Instead I thought I could get away with my KLIM Avalon mesh riding jacket and layering up if I needed to. Certain times of the year I could have gotten away with it, but I found out that not all showers are refreshing in the islands. Next time I go in late February, I’m packing like I’m going to Patagonia.

We just so happened to catch a once-in-a-decade weather pattern that even surprised the locals. Most our days were filled with chasing holes amongst the storm clouds and dodging torrential flash flood producing down pours. High winds, mass power outages and temperatures plummeting below 50°f on the beach, causing an average 20-degree difference up high before wind chill. Freezing rain and snow ended up closing the road leading through the National Park to the top of Haleakala. Our window of opportunity closed…we got skunked. Make no mistake though, the mountain’s presence was felt even through the cloud covered blanket she wore while riding around her. Take away? Don’t ever say, “How bad can it be?”

RidingAloha 9

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to experience Hawaii by renting a car again. For me, the experience of being able to carve twisties and zip around cars bottlenecked in long lines waiting for right-a-ways, the smells of pungent tropical foliage, and the feisty, unforgiving weather was all part of the adventure. What started as a novelty trip, ended up being a ‘Mahalo Maui’ I’ll be back. Until I can stand on the summit of Haleakala in all her glory and ride the road leading to her, I now have unfinished business. I look forward to the day I can say ‘Aloha Maui’ once again with even more time to explore, surf, ride and smell the Plumeria, Kupala, Naupaka and Pikake flowers along the way.

• Special thanks to:

            Maui Dual Sport – MauiDualSport.com

            Kapalua Ziplines – KapaluaZiplines.com

            KLIM – Klim.com


KellyQuinn BioKelly ’Throttle Girl’ Quinn is a born and raised Alaskan who calls the Lake Tahoe area her home basecamp. She is an IBA Endurance Rider, Guide, Rawhyde Adventures Coach, Philanthropist and Brand Ambassador. A multisport adventurer with a passion for living life full, in addition to riding she’s often found on her skis, trekking mountains and playing on rivers and oceans as well. As ‘Throttle Girl’ she’s become known for hosting events to support causes she cares about as well as her known endurance riding exploits on her H-D Road Glide. There are numerous roads worldwide that are calling to her soul and she wants to ride them all. It’s going to be exciting to follow her journey as she crosses further into the ADV world doing so. No matter where or how you find her free spirit soaring, she loves helping inspire people to grab both their external and internal throttle. As she likes to say, “Throttle Up!”  

Follow Kelly ‘Throttle Girl’ Quinn’s Adventures on FB: ThrottleGirlRides & Instagram: @throttlegirl
Read more …Published in: RidesHawaii, the Aloha State. Known for its beaches, surf and popular destination resort ambiance; I set out with ADVMoto Staff Contributor, Pablo Espinosa to defy the typical and experience Maui on two wheels. Once we landed, we headed straight to Maui Dual Sport, the only dual sport motorcycle & guide outfitter on the island. We found ourselves welcomed with bikes prepped and ready to go. I would be riding a KTM 390 Duke with wheels skinned in knobby Continental TKC 80’s. Admittingly, my first thought had my ego chuckling, the tires were the only thing ADV about it. That said, I was in Hawaii and up for anything this trip; in this moment I realized this adventure was likely to have many interesting chapters.

It took me about 45 minutes into riding to realize Maui doesn’t necessarily call for my usual H-D Road Glide or BMW R1250GS. Such bikes could be perceived as overkill for what the island and its infrastructure supports. Maui is just 48 miles long, 26 miles wide and totals 728 sq. miles. It hosts several different and diverse microclimates which I find fascinating given its size.
From the ocean shores that gradually climb their way towards fruitful plantations, we found ourselves navigating through mazes of thick bamboo forests and passing waterfalls cascading down mountainsides of lush flora. Many descend directly toward the road but flow under one of the countless bridges we crossed.
We rode through arid desert and uncanny volcanic landscapes that made it feel like we were in the middle of a sci-fi movie scene. Rising above the tree-line and peaking at 10,023 feet of elevation, Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano and centerpiece of the island. It provides several microclimates in and of itself. Every 25 miles it felt as if we were somewhere else in the world; this island is a whole lot of riding bang for its mileage.
Maui is not thought of as one of the most accessible off-road riding meccas and for good reason. Between protected lands, state and private owned land as well as land regarded as largely sacred by native Hawaiians; if you don’t know someone who has access, it’s hard pressed to find. When you do find off-road areas, the terrain is volcanic and can at best be classified as a no fall zone to avoid feeling like you got in a fight with a cheese grater. If you get through those challenges, the mineral rich soil that makes up the majority of the island is known as Red Ice, getting its nickname from its literal translation. Pablo and I knew this going into the adventure and accepted the challenge knowing that any excuse to ride Hawaii was worth whatever experience we may find.

Two stretches of road stand out in my mind as must shares from our Maui adventure. On the north side of the island is the Kahekili Highway or Highway 340. Snaking between Waihe’e-Waiehu and Kapalua, the one-lane winding road traverses the cliffs high above the ocean.’ Tourists who rent cars are told not to travel “The Deadliest Road in Maui,” which we all know is code for motorcycle dream road. Between the laid-back pockets of local communities of farmers, fishermen and artisans; vast beauty and unrivalled exhilaration had my smile spilling out of my full face helmet.
On the southeast side lies the Pi’Illani Highway, stretching between Highway 37 and Highway 360. Night and day from the topography of Highway 340, it isn’t the most common route either.  This road has both the longest, straightest stretch of tarmac on the island from Keokea to Kaupo and the longest stretch of non-paved primary road between Kaupo and Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). You’ll find expansive ocean views, working cattle ranches and volcanic scars left the last time Haleakala ignited the fire that once lived in her belly. The Huialoha Church and the Charles A. Lindbergh grave site are found in this region too, it’s worth making the time to explore.

Andrew from Maui Dual Sport rode with us one of our days. A guided tour was fascinating; we learned from his knowledge of Maui’s geology, history and gained perspective from his local point of view. Deviating too far off a ‘main route’ while exploring the island on your own is not recommended, but with Andrew as our guide we knew where to go and we were able to experience an area we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. This is a sacred land rooted in deep tradition and culture; it should be respected always.
After a week of riding, I found the 390 Duke to be a perfect set up for the island. Clearly Maui Dual Sport knows what their market dictates. I was impressed how the Duke made smoothly paved tarmac and the 620 curves that lead to Hana pure riding nirvana. Where pavement ended the TKC 80’s added the perfect amount of additional confidence in handling. It was extremely responsive, had more than enough power for zipping around in traffic and was a dream when threading the needle across one lane bridges or down glorified bike paths disguised as roads.

However, taller riders would have a hard time enjoying it as I did. It even took me a few miles to get used to how small the Duke was. I’d joke with Pablo that I felt like the figurehead on the bow of an old schooner; nothing in front of me, just my head cutting through the wind. Once I adjusted to the sporty feel, I felt like I went back in time, carving butter like turns in a wide-open Giant Slalom course. Nimble and sassy, the Duke proved the lesson of never judging a book by its cover and that it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone.
If you choose to experience Maui on two wheels, Maui Dual Sport has a plethora of different bikes to choose from. You’ll be outfitted to meet your desires while enhancing your island riding experience. They aim to please with a welcomed twist of Aloha Spirit.

When planning your trip to the island, consider how much saddle time vs. tourist time you want to spend. Once you’ve figured that out, I suggest tacking on a few extra days. Trust me, if you end up with extra time, you won’t be hard pressed to fill or ride it. By the end of the trip both Pablo and I agreed that given a few more days and we would have been able to check off the few boxes we had missed.  
Nature’s pure essence is exceptionally alive in Hawaii, depending on the time of year, you may be fortunate enough to catch whales breeching and sea turtles nesting. Another way to take in nature is by zip lining. Flying across the canopy of the Puukukui Nature Reserve, Kapalua Ziplines is the largest course on the island. Vistas overlook the Marine Conservations of both Mokule’ia and Honolua Bay, while looking down to the tropical floor below reveals Wild Boar doing Wild Boar things. With seven different ziplines covering 9,750 feet of go big or go home, I highly recommend the experience.
 
One must not overlook the reality of eating your way around the island. It seems rather sacrilegious to not gorge yourself on fresh fruit, guava smoothies, Hawaiian BBQ, banana bread, fish tacos and popping a fresh coconut to hydrate. If you ride Highway 340, stop by Braddah Chic’s roadside stand located on ‘the big bend’ in Kahakuloa and order the fresh-off-the-boat Ahi Poke Bowl. It’s so good we had to go back a few times and I can’t lie, having to ride an amazing stretch of road again to get there was a win/win!
It goes without saying that both Haleakala National Park and the three State Parks should be on top of the hit list; Lao Valley, Papalaua Beach & Park, and Waianapanapa with its black lava sand beach. My favorite was Lao Valley; with its tropical hiking trail along a river rushing its way through Koa and Banyan trees, steep mountains, and over waterfalls falling hundreds of feet to the valley floor. There’s literally no end to the amount of diverse experiences you can have while riding the island, use that GPS and go!

Mother Nature is another reason to tack on a few extra days to your planned trip; she had her way with us on this visit, becoming a prominent chapter of our adventure. Don’t let the sunshine filled photos fool you; we only had two full severe clear days. I’m usually prepared with my trusty go-to kits, but in this case I wanted to travel as light as possible. I pulled a rookie move of assuming “It’s Hawaii, how bad could it be?” BIG mistake, I wished I packed my KLIM Altitude Jacket and puffy on more than one occasion. Instead I thought I could get away with my KLIM Avalon mesh riding jacket and layering up if I needed to. Certain times of the year I could have gotten away with it, but I found out that not all showers are refreshing in the islands. Next time I go in late February, I’m packing like I’m going to Patagonia.
We just so happened to catch a once-in-a-decade weather pattern that even surprised the locals. Most our days were filled with chasing holes amongst the storm clouds and dodging torrential flash flood producing down pours. High winds, mass power outages and temperatures plummeting below 50°f on the beach, causing an average 20-degree difference up high before wind chill. Freezing rain and snow ended up closing the road leading through the National Park to the top of Haleakala. Our window of opportunity closed…we got skunked. Make no mistake though, the mountain’s presence was felt even through the cloud covered blanket she wore while riding around her. Take away? Don’t ever say, “How bad can it be?”

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to experience Hawaii by renting a car again. For me, the experience of being able to carve twisties and zip around cars bottlenecked in long lines waiting for right-a-ways, the smells of pungent tropical foliage, and the feisty, unforgiving weather was all part of the adventure. What started as a novelty trip, ended up being a ‘Mahalo Maui’ I’ll be back. Until I can stand on the summit of Haleakala in all her glory and ride the road leading to her, I now have unfinished business. I look forward to the day I can say ‘Aloha Maui’ once again with even more time to explore, surf, ride and smell the Plumeria, Kupala, Naupaka and Pikake flowers along the way.
• Special thanks to:
            Maui Dual Sport – MauiDualSport.com
            Kapalua Ziplines – KapaluaZiplines.com
            KLIM – Klim.com

Kelly ’Throttle Girl’ Quinn is a born and raised Alaskan who calls the Lake Tahoe area her home basecamp. She is an IBA Endurance Rider, Guide, Rawhyde Adventures Coach, Philanthropist and Brand Ambassador. A multisport adventurer with a passion for living life full, in addition to riding she’s often found on her skis, trekking mountains and playing on rivers and oceans as well. As ‘Throttle Girl’ she’s become known for hosting events to support causes she cares about as well as her known endurance riding exploits on her H-D Road Glide. There are numerous roads worldwide that are calling to her soul and she wants to ride them all. It’s going to be exciting to follow her journey as she crosses further into the ADV world doing so. No matter where or how you find her free spirit soaring, she loves helping inspire people to grab both their external and internal throttle. As she likes to say, “Throttle Up!”  
Follow Kelly ‘Throttle Girl’ Quinn’s Adventures on FB: ThrottleGirlRides & Instagram: @throttlegirlRead more …

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