05 September 2007

It’s like the moon, but without cheese

I participated in many memorable activities while on Maui, but one of the best was the Super Sunrise Bicycle Safari with Maui Downhill, a company that provides downhill bicycle tours through Haleakala National Park.

The day began at the butt-crack of dawn, or 2:45 am, behind The Badass Coffee Company on Dairy Rd in Kahului. We were given a delicious continental breakfast and then fitted with our raingear, helmets and gloves. Next, we were off in a van for an hour and forty minute, long and dark ride to the summit of Haleakala.

Payoff for riding up in the dark:
---the view on the way down was a total surprise.

Actually, the best surprise was the sign in the bathroom, explaining “Reclaimed Water in Toilet! Do Not Drink!”

My reaction:
Um, o? k? It's toilet water, that's why we don't drink it.

Best Sign Ever

Watching the sun emerge above the clouds was incredible – there is no other place where you will see such a spectacular view. It felt like watching the sun rise from the surface of the moon. Then reality hit and we had to board our bikes and slowly coast back down the mountain through pine and eucalyptus forests, flower farms, and more, all while enjoying views of the Pacific Ocean and western Maui landscape.

You must experience it in person to truly understand how amazing it is.

One piece of advice: be sure to dress in layers. We were laughing at everyone wearing tank tops and shorts. Remember, you might be in Maui, but you’re also at 10,023 feet elevation. It’s cold up there. Be prepared.

After our bike ride down Haleakala, I made friends with the driver of our van, Carl. He was an older, burly man who spoke with a gruff voice. Once he found out James and I were staying in Paia Town he said, “The last time I drove through Paia, I picked up a hitch-hiking hippie. When he got in my van I saw that he was only wearing one flip-flop so I commented, ‘Lose a shoe?’ He replied, ‘No, I found one.’”

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