March 12, 2002 – Tuesday – Day 8
Miles Today – 1 Total Miles – 220
Rest Day in Naalehu,HI
– At Josh’s A-frame Beach Place –
Anyone who knows me just knows it’s hard for me to sit still. Yet, here I
was in the middle of a piece of paradise, and I just HAD to make myself stay
The day started early enough. Josh was up as he said he would be at 5am.
I rumbled awake in the back room at around 6ish. I got to chat with the guy a
little in front of the ever-on tv which was bringing him up to date on the
latest awful news from around the world. We talked about a few topical
things, and I got his read on some of them. He said he hadn’t seen an AIDS
case since he came here a few years ago. And he allowed as to how doctors who
get TOO emotionally involved with patients would end up in the loony bin.
(Not an exact quote, but close enough.)
There were some things to do… I got a mile run and a mile bike ride in
early, and enjoyed them both. Got some swell pictures along the way on both
treks. Felt good. On the run, I traveled down the beach road to a couple
trails that meandered down by rocks at the sea’s edge. Golden dappled blue lit
tle pools formed there and the waves lapping into them made a great scene. I
used my digital camera to take some mpeg movie scenes. One of which I
e-mailed back to those on the list. (Quite a number of folks let me know the
movie looked grand, but I had quite a few that were returned to me as
“undeliverable” to the given email address.) Then I worked my way back to
the black sand beach. Some tourists were there now. (About the only flaw in
this place is that big tour busses frequently come by to stink up the air and
Then around 10am or so I plunked myself down clumsily on the big hammock
with the iBook, a pair of binoculars, and my camera. For the next hour or so
I crafted out yesterday’s journal notes. At one point I heard a huge
whooshing “KER-THUMP”, and sure enough, a coconut had crashed to the earth
not far away…. the breezes were constant and sweet all day long.
When I was happy with the entry, I made my way back to the house, climbed
the wooden stairway to the long balcony, came in, and e-mailed the notes.
After a little more on-line time, I called Lei and Dennis for about the third
time, and this time finally got them at home. Her arm was bothering her she
said. She was glad I called and had left the messages, because, as she said,
she’s “a little mother hen.” She promised me again that she would learn how
to download the images that I would be sending her.
I had a few goals today: wash the dishes from the meal Josh and I had
last night, sit in the hammock and write the journal notes, take a long walk
around the beach and out to the end of the inlet and get a massage if that
could be worked out. And finally, I wanted to carefully go through all my
bags and jettison all but that which was absolutely necessary for the flash
to the finish to Kona tomorrow.
The latter I accomplished in little spurts throughout the day – and by
nightfall I had about an 8-lb bag for Josh to mail home for me. I got the
dishes done in the early afternoon. And I made a call and found a massage
therapist who would come to the house at 2:30pm. I also got a little wash
done, and hanged it in a great breezy area underneath the house.
I left for my walk at about 12:30pm. I crossed the beach to the left and
went toward the far corner of the little inlet. Along the way, I saw the
signs that read about “Do Not Disturb the Resting Turtles”… And sure
enough a gigantic turtle, about the size of a big microwave oven was laying
there at water’s edge. I took a couple of pictures, but he didn’t seem too
interested in me. In fact, he hardly moved at all…. resting, as the sign
said, I supposed.
As I walked, the black sand quickly turned to thumb-sized pebbles, then
fist-sized rocks, then breadbox-sized boulders… and then I crossed a
football field-sized plain of these rocks to get to the higher elevation
where the piled-high stones were even bigger. It was tough walking and I was
careful about my balance. Josh had told me how he had seen one of those rocks
slice through someone’s full boot. I was wearing my running shoes, and they
were taking a beating, that’s for sure.
I finally reached pretty much the edge of that scrabbly field of block
rocks (although in fact, to my left it went on for many many acres!) and I
perched there to watch the big waves splume on the shoreline. I also had a
grand view back toward the black beach, the green plateau behind the beach,
and then the grey-cloud enshrouded mountains behind the plateau…. It was a
I spied through my binoculars the whole of the surroundings. And as I was
scanning the beach, there was a little kid of about 5 ambling along – and
halfway across the sand, he put his little yellow bucket over his head, and
continued to walk….
I panned my binoculars way out there over the rim of the Pacific horizon,
and you know, I think that anyone who would paddle out there would just fall
off the edge.
I sat for awhile drinking it all in, and thinking, and savoring the
moment, and taking pictures. One had to be really careful not to drop
anything small. For it would surely fall between the rocks and drop well
beyond any possible reach…. And then I headed back to the beach. It wasn’t
easy going – and I missed the trail a few times, but luckily made my way back
okay. There was a woman laying on a towel with blood on her legs from a fall,
and she asked me about my biking shirt, which read “Tour of America” and
asked me if I was on such a tour. I told her about the trip and then the two
guys she was with, one of whom was her husband, came out of the water, and
were fascinated about the bike ride. He had ridden in the a MS150 charity
ride recently. One of the guys had me autograph his racing shirt for him.
(I think it was some kind of Nascar shirt. )
(Boy, did that take me back to Indianapolis in 1980!!!! I had come
into the city around the time of the Indianapolis 500 time trials in May…
and had gotten it into my head to take a lap around the track with my touring
bike. I made friends with a tow truck operator and got all the way to the
inner circle of the track, meeting drivers and hundreds of people along the
way. I was smack next to the Borg-Warner Trophy and had my picture taken with
it. It must have been a slow day there, but scores of people wanted to meet
the bicyclist who had was biking across the country and who had stopped
there. I was interviewed by a local radio station. People were throwing
articles of clothing, beachballs, and various other items at me to sign. The
question I was asked most by the people was, “How many flat tires do you
The celebrity mayhem was ridiculous and beyond belief, but I enjoyed the
hell out of it, because I knew nothing like this was ever going to happen to
me again…. I got through several levels of bureaucracy, but finally the
track manager turned me down for the lap, saying that if he let me do it,
then “any crackpot or loony” person would want to do it…
But there’s a follow-up to that. When I was finally alone from the horde
of people, way down in the bowels of the racetrack, I came upon a fat guy
smoking a cigar. He inquired about me, and I told him about my quest, and
about the amazing day I had… He listened intently, and asked me to wait a
moment while he made a phone call. Well, it turned out he was the PRESIDENT
of the track, and he was going to let me take the lap, but didn’t want to
over-rule his track manager who had already turned me down!!! If I had seen
him first he said, I would have been able to do it.)
The folks here at the ocean were from St.Louis, one of my favorite
all-time cities. And I shared with them a couple of my St.Louis stories… In
one story, I had stayed at a frat house back in ‘80 on my way across the
country, and one of the fellows there worked at Busch Stadium. He knew I’d be
at the Cardinal’s game the next night. And sure enough on the scoreboard at
the end of the third inning, it read, “Joel Perlish, who is bicycling across
the country, is attending tonight’s game.” It was a thrilling moment for me.
Well, I took off my running shoes and socks and I took the plunge to wade
into the water. The stones were sharp at some points and I had to be very
careful. The water was deliciously cool though, and inviting as all get out.
I could see how someone interested in the beach and water would find this
place very attractive to loll around in.
But now I had another worry besides the stones. Who should be prancing
and bounding along the beach but Whiskey, Josh’s enormous dog. I must not
have latched the gate well enough. He was dipping into the side pools, going
up and sniffing couples, chasing after birds and ducks, and I was worried
that if there was a dog pound here, he’d be taken away and imprisoned.
I called his name and he came – then ran away – then came and he
variously followed me and led me back to the A-frame where he went up the
steps with no problem, whereupon I made SURE the latch was tight.
Noa, the massage therapist person came at about 2:45pm. She had come up
the stairs, and she said, almost fell back down them when Whiskey startled
her. She set up the table outside beside the house, but insisted that she
wouldn’t put it under a palm tree because of the possible coconut-dropping
Noa, was from Israel and has had quite a life. What a fascinating person!
She lives in the mountains without electricity, and has been here for twenty
years. She’s had all kinds of jobs to help support herself and raise her two
kids, both now in their early twenties. In fact, she had been a landscaper
for quite a while and had tended this very yard many years ago…. She was
taking a gamble at now opening a massage place in this little town. When I
asked her how she came to be here in Hawaii, she said it was because of a
toss of a coin. Huh? I asked…. “Yes,” she said, “it was either here or
Nepal.” And Hawaii had won out. Seems she was at the end of ten years of
hitchhiking all around the world (knows four languages she said), and decided
to settle in either Hawaii or Nepal by the toss of a coin.
Noa hid her late 40ish years well in a slim in-shape body and grand
smile. She had a good manner around the massage table. As I’d peek open my
eyes I could see the palm tree fronds waving off to the side. I could hear
the ocean waves fondling the seacoast, and the breezes lapped over me with a
constant, continual, and unrelenting deliciousness. I said to Noa that when I
thought about how I’d like to die, I’ve always thought that I’d like to be
jogging by a little stream at 102, and then fall there and pass away. But now
I was reconsidering that, in fact, this might be the way to go – under the
palm trees getting a massage. Not NOW, mind you, but when the time comes….
Josh came back from his hospital stint, and then left just at the end of
the massage. Tuesday was his night in Hilo he said, and he’d be back at 10:30
or so… I came into the house, finished combing through my bags for what
stuff would be left behind, and wondering about those decisions, and then
listened to one of Josh’s Thelonius Monk cd’s on the iBook – and ripped some
of the tracks onto my hard drive.
I also leafed through the phone book and found a listing for
“McKittrick”. I had a student by that name who was Hawaiian, and thought
I’d give it a shot. But no go, the McKittrick in the phone book was no
relation to anyone from back home.
By ten, after reviewing and rewriting these notes, and sending them off
through cyberspace, I was ready for bed. A little nervous about the day to
come tomorrow, and wondering whether the huge tropical storm now pouring
buckets of rain outside would have any effect on my last day of travelling
here in Hawaii.
Tomorrow is planned to be the last biking day. It won’t be easy, and a
lot of planning has gone towards that day. A straight shot as my return to
Kona which will complete the circle. Probably about 70 miles or so. As part
of the airline package I would be back at the King Kamehameha Hotel there for
Then I will have Thursday in Kona (where I’ll arrange to have the bike
sent back to my bike shop here at home). I then have to get my butt to the
airport by 6pm. THEN comes the tough part – an all-night flight through San
Francisco, then to Chicago. Big layover there, and I won’t get home until 6pm
on Friday night. The next day, on Saturday, I have a double photography shoot
that will go from 11am until midnight!!!! (I’ll be remembering that massage
fondly THEN, you can bet!)
And on Sunday…. why, on Sunday, I will rest.
But not for too long….