1/7/21 – Hawaii – Day 1
We made it! Sunride and I finally made it to Hawaii!
The days leading up to the trip were full of anxiety, just like the last time when we tried and failed; but this time, my Covid test results arrived in time for me to get on the plane. I had driven to Seattle two days before and paid $250 for a guaranteed test result within 24 hours. The results actually came in 23 hours, not that I was counting. The check-in at PDX went smoothly. The state of Hawaii must have worked a deal with the airlines to expedite the cumbersome, involved process. If the passenger at check-in has the Hawaii state-issued QR code (which verifies the negative test result from an approved testing partner within 72 hours of flight departure, uploaded to the Hawaii Safe Travels website with a printed-out copy of the QR code and the test result in hand at check-in), all is well. The airline simply puts a wristband on your arm and you get a boarding pass. Upon arrival in Hawaii, you hold your hand up so the agent there can see the wristband and you get to glide to the baggage claim just as if the virus had never raised its ugly head. Whew!
The folks at the PDX travel security station for oversized luggage were accommodating. Whereas when I flew to Alaska, I had to open the two crates and stay there with the crates while the agents took out everything that was carefully packed inside and fumbled for the longest time to get everything back in the way it was so it would close up. In Anchorage the security people did the same thing. It took a half-hour in both airports. For my flight to Hawaii they simply took the crates and waved me on to the gate. I pointed out to the security agent that I had just a few screws holding the cover of the larger 6’ x 4’ crate together. I did that to save time opening the crates. He took the bag of screws and assured me he would put them all in when they examined and closed up the crate. Off I went to the gate.
When I arrived in Honolulu, I was greatly relieved to see my intact crates wheeled in on a cart that normally holds 20 or more suitcases. I called Charlie’s Taxi and in less than five minutes met the driver for my pre-arranged mini-van. We drove to the Waikiki Grand Hotel and pulled straight into the parking garage to off-load. The hotel gave me the code to get into the garage. The driver was pleased with my tip.
I found the bike area in the parking garage and rolled my crates over and began opening them. Sure enough, the security agent at PDX had put all the screws back in. They were 2” apart on the whole 200-perimeter inches of the cover. I realized the bag of screws I gave him had a lot of extra screws. I took out 100 screws with a manual screwdriver. Even with the cool breeze moving through the underground parking garage I was working up a sweat. I took off my shirt and thought how nice it was to be able to do that. Welcome to Hawaii!
A nice man, about my age, rode up on his bike with his little dog in the handlebar-mounted basket. Jerry introduced himself Covid-style, not shaking hands, while we both scrambled to put on our masks. He had lived there at the hotel which had been converted to privately owned condos, a “condotel” as the realtors call it, for 13 years. He was eager to tell me all about riding a bike in Honolulu, where the bike lanes and safer streets were, going so far as to make me a map in my pocket-sized notebook. Very graciously he gave up his parking space for my larger bike and moved other bikes around to create the space I needed. He even loaned me a heavy-duty bike lock to use in addition to the one I brought. “There are a lot of poor people in this town. They will take even your bike seat.” I would make good use of Jerry’s lock using it to secure the frame of the bike and my own chain to secure the seat and front wheel.
I continued my uncrating project, which by now had taken more than an hour. With both crates open I was able to start reassembling the bike. That took an hour as it always does, but I’m getting pretty good at this, I’ll bet I can get down to 55 minutes next time. With the bike assembled, I took a little test ride around the parking garage to check the handlebar and seat adjustments. As I tooled around the parking garage it occurred to me, “I’ve done it. I’ve ridden my solar powered electric bike to all 50 states!” Woo! Woo!
I parked Sunride in Jerry’s stall on the bike rack and placed the empty crate out of the way where he had suggested it might best be stored. As Jerry suggested, I attached a note to the top of the crate reading: “This empty crate belongs to John Patterson in room 419. It will be here until January 21st. Please call 503.866.6437 if there is any problem and I will be happy to move it.”
I then took the elevator to the lobby to check in. While examining my I.D. the clerk made note of the Covid test I showed him and welcomed me to the hotel. There was no room key to be given. Instead, I would access my room through a combination lock on the door that I had been given by the owner.
By now it was 4 p.m. Hawaii time, 6 p.m. by my West coast body-clock-time, and I was famished. I walked out of the open-air hotel lobby onto the street, resolved to stop at the first place I saw that had food. It was next door, The Deck Restaurant and Bar, on the 3rdfloor of the neighboring hotel. It was also open air. I would have the most delicious Ahi fish tacos and a pint of pretty darn good local IPA. I guess being from the Pacific Northwest I will always be somewhat of a beer snob.
As I looked up from the menu, there immediately to the right was Diamond Head. I’d seen it before on two separate occasions to Waikiki, my first as a 23-year-old Coke spy; but this view was spectacular. It’s so big and so green! It appears as a jagged mountain range like the one I saw in Patagonia, but it’s actually one section of a crater, the Diamond Head Crater, left from a volcano that blew and formed Oahu three million years ago. Of course, I was viewing it from outside the crater. I wondered if I could go inside the crater. Maybe tomorrow I would look into that. For today, I was kaput. I was in bed by 7 p.m., 9 p.m. back home, my usual bedtime. The bike ride in the parking garage was all the riding I’d do today.