Lauren Hall

Mississippi native,retired professional cyclist,advocate for all things cycling,mentor,ambassador of happiness

Hawaii vacation journal

March 5-12

Tuesday, travel day.  I flew from Tucson to LAX then on to KOA. I met Brad, Lauren(my best friend) and Jack(her 18month old) in LAX. Our one minor upset was Jack spilling hot tea on himself while we were hanging out in the terminal relaxing pre flight. But he was ok, just a quick cry and all was good in life again. Lauren and I talked just about the whole time on the flight - about life, cycling, friends, past memories and the fun to be had in Hawaii and how excited we were to have this opportunity. We were pretty tired once we arrived but Jack was a trooper and Andy met us at the airport to pick up his buddy Elise and make sure we were ok getting to the house.  

Wednesday -

We woke up pretty early but our bodies were thinking it was later (3hr time difference). Coffee, macadamia pancakes, eggs for breakfast then it was building bikes and unpacking clothes, getting dressed to go ride. Brad, Andy and I rode 2:42hrs.  We are staying in the Mauna Lani area and we rode up to Waimea.  We stopped at this dive breakfast/lunch spot - Hawaiian Style Cafe and had Loco Moco(rice, eggs, veggie patty or meat patty and gravy on top.  I also ordered hash browns cause why not. Brad ordered the banana pancakes and it was such a huge plate!!! We ate as much of it as we could and still didn’t finish it off. 

Not a bad way to start the day. 

Heading out with Andy. 

When in Rome! We ride to eat! 

Thursday - 

We drove over to Hawi to ride out to Poulolu only to find rain most of the way there, so we turned around and went up and over to Waimea and back but we soon found rain and wind towards the top of the climb, so we turned around, again rode back down and successfully made it to the end of the road in Poulolu, successfully this time.  We took some amazing photos, laughed a lot, turned around and stopped at the smoothie shack, had tropical smoothies and some banana macadamia nut bread and came home -fast - because we were late for the nanny watching Jack. After relaxing a bit we drove back up to Waimea for dinner at Redwater and I had my Mai Tai!!!! 

It got a little windy up at the top and a bit of rain, time to turn around.

Even if it was windy we were still all smiles.

2nd try was successful making it to the overlook.  Lot's of folks were parking and hiking down the hill to the ocean.  It was so worth it making all the way. 

Brad and Andy enjoying snacks at the side of the road shack with the best view! 

Not a bad stop huh?

Friday - 

We drove to Anna Ranch to grab mountain bikes and rode up Mana road for 10miles to Brad’s favorite tree.  Lauren and I did some intervals ahead of Andy and Brad and we all made it to the tree for photos and then bombed back down the hill. It was raining and windy all the way back down the hill so we rode straight to Village Burger for a delicious burger, fries and shake to come back to life! Afterwards we headed back to Anna Ranch to wash and drop bikes, then back down the hill to Mauna Lani. Before we made it home we were side tracked again by food, it's the theme of this trip,  Malsadas from the side of the road - oh man! Once back, Lauren and I jumped on our road bikes with Jack and rode down to the beach.  We saw sea turtles, met some cool folks and enjoyed a cool ride with Jack on his front seated carrier. 

Headed out, nothing bu blue skies!

Riding into the clouds, found the tree!!! 

No matter what, we are all smiles. 


Pick one, which one.

Happy faces for these delicious treats.

Jack loved the bike rides.

Saturday -

Lauren, Jack and I were up early to drive down to the farmers market, not the tourist area but the local one and it was so wonderful! We picked up some homemade granola, lilikoi drink, kale, proto flowers, fresh shrimp, fresh papaya.  Then we jumped on bikes and rode up the mountain, this time up to HWY 190 and in route stopped in Waikoloa Village for their farmers market only to find it had closed for the day.  So we stopped in at a coffee shop - Lava Java and had a shot of espresso, macadamia nut cookies and cinnamon pull apart bread. The shrimp purchased at the farmers market were wonderful, we cooked them on the grill and man, it was awesome! They paired nicely with the Greyhound that Lauren made for us from fresh grapefruits from the garden where we were staying.

Sunday - 

An off the bike day! Another farmers market, this time fresh fish, fresh tumeric, lychee on the branch, fresh pineapple and a couple of t-shirts for the boys. Then we hiked down to Captain Cook’s Cove(1,300ft down and then back up), jumped in the ocean.  I think this was my favorite part of the whole trip, just the contrast of the blue ocean against the massive volcanic cliffs. There were multiple boats anchored right off shore for snorkeling and swimming trips, I felt like we did it right, not the massive tourist boat floating around. After we hiked back up the mountain we grabbed lunch at Da Poke Shop before setting off again on the next adventure.  A stop at a coffee shop for a quick pick me up for everyone at Kona Coffee and Tea before venturing up the mountain to Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.  We were given a quick education on coffee beans and the process from cultivating, growth, harvest to roasting.  It was a great experience seeing how much we love to drink coffee. Brad and I walked through some of the trees and enjoyed a quick moment of reflection. Once home, we had eggplant from the garden with grilled fish and rice.  Dessert was a sapote fruit - it looked just like chocolate pudding but didn’t taste quite the same but still interesting to try. 

Captain Cook's Cove, it's actually British soil! 

The monument. 

Looking out to the left and the beautiful lava cliffs! 

Interesting monument. 

Hiking on the way up and bananas! 

This was at Thunder Mountain Coffee plantation and of course you know who else does this? Dad! All the places his children live:) 

A type of fern that was so cool!!! 

And alien like.

Beautiful flowers.

The coffee tree, it is a member of the gardenia family so it smells wonderful! 

Signage in concrete. 

Monday -

We didn’t leave till 9pm so we made the most of the day! We rode our bikes up the volcano!!! Mauna Loa!  Then it was a quick bike pack, house clean, eat some food, shower and then off again we went.  This time we went to a bird sanctuary to let Jack run around before getting on the flight. Dinner was at Foster’s in Kona, slightly touristy but a good view of the ocean and some yummy drinks.  I was sad to leave and so thankful for the opportunity to spend this time with friends and explore the island more. Andy is such a cool guy, I'm so thankful for him brining us along for the fun. 

Made it to the top of Mauna Loa! ~17miles up

This is the view for most of the ride, so cool and so amazingly different. 

These two coming in hot!

Next up for me: Directing a team at Joe Martin Stage Race, Fayetteville, AR April 2-8

Reading: Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Eating: more fresh food from the farmers markets

Watching: the results of everyone from the Homestretch house racing this weekend. 

Listening: Bold as Love by Jimi Hendrix

Website: I'll be working this event this year if y'all are interested in coming! Message me for a discount code. 

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