Hawaii and California. Honolulu to Pasadena
17th December to 31st December 2000
Greetings from Kona on the Big Island in Hawaii.
16th Dec we were re-united with the Odyssey party (around 65) who flew
in from New Zealand late on 15th. We are now into the final 14 days of
this epic bike ride, not quite sure how many more updates that is going
to take before I give this machine a break.
there are some reflections on the past 3 weeks that need to be put into
print the first is an indication of just how small this planet earth
really is. The first incident was at the hotel check in at Bintan Island
at the end of November where. A lady of Eastern origin who recognised
one of our Odyssey ID tags approached us, yes we said to her query we
are part of Odyssey 2000.
Well said the lady I met you all in Stockholm (where I now live) back in August, I know 2 of your party, I originate from Singapore and we are here on vacation.
Then one day last week we were cycling on the Island of Kauai here in Hawaii, when a car went past and pulled over. Winding his window down the American driver said are you with Odyssey 2000? Yes-replied John. It appeared that this couple were on a cycling holiday in China at the same time and location as we were.
Toilets around the World".
for the benefit of those readers who may be interested I will pick out the
main points of the News item that caught my eye. The paper headline was as
Chinese capital is going to clean up its notoriously foul public toilets
as part of its bid to host the 2008 Olympic games. It appears that there
are 452 toilets in Beijing's main tourist spots, of which tourists
currently use only 60. ALL of them MUST be renovated in the next 2 years.
return to the USA (our 3rd in 12 months) was not going to be quite that
easy, as we found out when we presented ourselves at the check in counter
at Singapore Airport. The familiar question was put to us,
the TRUTH, well
we said meekly to the check in lady we do have onward tickets but they are
with our travel agent in Los Angeles. This was not any help we were
politely told, you must have an onward ticket in your possession.
after further consultation and a telex with China Air in Honolulu we were
advised the only way around the problem was for us to buy an open return
ticket from Honolulu to Singapore.
let that be a lesson to any would be UK travelers planning to visit Uncle
Sam, visa waiver or not. Then to complicate and confuse your 2 weary travelers
even more, we left Singapore at 15.00 hrs on 10th December and
after 2 flights of 5 and 8 hours changing planes in Taiwan we arrived at
Honolulu just 2 hours before we left Singapore, i.e. 13.00 hrs on 10th
December. All thanks to the international dateline.
we are at long last back in the United States, and very impressed we were
with the speed and efficiency with which we went through customs and
immigration who did not even ask to see the Chine Air return ticket in my
90 minutes we were on an inter island flight to the Garden Island of
say survivors simply because when we arrived in Singapore from Asia at the
end of Nov there were approx 200 in the group. When we met up with the
party in Honolulu on 16th December there were 65 riders including
ourselves. Numerous factors contributed to the departure of such a large
number, but the major reason was most likely the 3000 dollars surcharge
imposed by the tour organizer.
for the benefit of some folks at home I should at this stage provide a
little historical and geographical background to this very remote group of
islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands that make up Hawaii were born
over 40 million years ago from volcanic eruption on the ocean bed. It is
also the most remote landmass on earth being 2600 miles from the west
coast of the USA and 3800 miles from Japan.
In spite of the fact that one of the first white men to set foot
here in 1778 was the British explorer Capt James Cook, Hawaii is part of
the USA and became a state on 12th March 1959.
only visible links today with the UK is the plot of land (owned by the UK)
marking the spot where Capt Cook was killed, and the Hawaiian flag, which
includes the Union Jack. So
our reunion with the Odyssey party took place on 16th Dec in Honolulu, the
following day we flew to the Big Island of Hawaii for 5 days of biking
(and camping) around the island. To be followed by 3 days to celebrate
Christmas at the resort of Kona on the South of the island.
outcome of those few days on the Big Island together with our return to
California for the FINAL TWO DAYS and 120 MILES of this epic bike ride
will be found in my final? Update number 52.
is where it all started; it was just 362 days ago that we crossed the
border from California in to Mexico. Since when we have crossed many
frontiers, and there have been 51 updates from yours truly. The fact that
this is number 52 on the final week is pure coincidence.
We arrived back in California at Los Angeles International Airport
from Hawaii at around 4 pm local time on Friday 29th Dec, (Day
arrived on the largest and most easterly of the Hawaiian Islands on 17th
Dec. It is commonly known as the Big Island, because all seven of the
other inhabited islands would fit into it. That is my theory anyway.
The Big Island is also the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands; it is
made up of 5 volcanoes. Scientists estimate that it rose from the sea
around half a million years ago
view of the poor visibility and rain I decided to give the volcano a miss.
I was then rewarded with a 20-mile descent to the town of Hilo, and within
5 miles we rode out of the rain into clear blue skies and warm sunshine.
days later we were faced with an 80-mile ride, this route took us along
the coast and a very scenic route towards Onomea Bay. The destination on
this day was Hawi on the north of the island, but like most of the islands
here there is a wet side and a hilly side to contend with. The wet side
gave us 20 miles of riding in the (warm) rain, then we turned inland and
towards the dry side but just to make it a challenge we had another 4000
ft climb and into a headwind again.
am now beginning to appreciate why the Islands of Hawaii attracts seven
million visitors per year, plus many who come to settle.
was hoping that this would be my last update, but there will be just one
more as our last 2 weeks of Odyssey have been hectic.
did have a choice from the YMCA camp at Ke'anae on the north of the
island, where we spent two nights. The options open to us were a 109-mile
round trip and 10,023 feet climb up to the summit of the extinct volcano
of Haleakala. To obtain the full benefit of your efforts it is advisable
to arrive at the summit before sunrise. So that trip is on the list for my
next visit? I chose to take the more sedate route and ride along the Hana
coast. It is in fact far from sedate with 30 miles of continual bends and
climbs up and down. The big plus is the spectacular coastline view at
every bend in the road, and lush tropical plants and flowers.
on 28th Dec we returned to Honolulu on the island of O'ahu (pronounced
oh-ah-hoo) in preparation for our 5-hour flight to LA on 29th. This gave
us an opportunity for a brief visit into Honolulu.
This is where it all happens, on the world famous Waikiki Beach and
the City of Honolulu the most international city in the USA. TV and many movies have enhanced the fame of this location.
for me the most memorable and moving experience of the few hours spent in
Honolulu was my visit to Pearl Harbour.
was a massive air and sea attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese in the
early hours of Sunday 7th December 1941 that took many lives. Many US
battleships lined up in the harbour were destroyed. The principal victim
was the USS Arizona and her 1,177 crew who lost their lives on that fatal
day. The area is now a 10 acre cultural site, museum and memorial.
many of the sunken ships were raised or removed the USS Arizona has been
left as a permanent memorial and resting place for her crew. There is now
a 184-foot long memorial, which spans the sunken battleship that can be
clearly seen just below the surface. This memorial is also a shrine
containing the names of those who died.
is the Final update before putting my cycle and pocket mail into storage
and going into hibernation for a short period.
arrived back in mainland USA on 29th Dec where it all began
has been a large following in the USA and around the world on the ups and
downs of Odyssey 2000 via the Internet and the many individual websites.
Plus the local media meant that folks in California and beyond knew who we
were, where we had been, and where we were heading.
in spite of the buoyant mood of the party, 2 female riders were admitted
to hospital during those 2 final days.
other female admitted to hospital was suffering from altitude sickness;
this problem arose in Hawaii when a number of folk climbed the 10,000 ft
volcanoes on the island of Maui. This rider is now out of hospital with
instructions to take a complete rest.
route we took north followed the Pacific Coast Highway with an overnight
stop at San Juan Capistrano. Our route on both days took us along popular
bike trails and thru' National Parks.
arrived at the Hilton with a party of 8 companions at 3.22 pm
on 31st December where we were greeted by a group of
well-wishers. I could not comprehend that it was actually all over, my
feelings are difficult to describe, relief ? satisfaction ?
Then, what comes next ?
THE END NOW WHAT?
it was NOT all over YET, dinner
was at 7.30, followed by the usual speeches and celebrating up to
midnight. That is for those still on their feet.
There was admiration for the 5 individuals (inc one female) who had cycled every mile of the itinerary. The daily route Sheet for the last day indicated a total distance covered of 28,635 Kilometres. My personal mileage was slightly less having missed out on New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland.
Bearing in mind that breakfast on new years day was at 5 AM some of us decided that the arrival of the New Year would have to take place without us. So why was breakfast at that hour when Odyssey was over? You may recall that last year on 1st Jan we were invited to lead the famous Tournament of Roses Parade.
This invitation was repeated for 2001. For the benefit of folks at home this annual extravaganza has now been running for 112 years. The parade takes place in Pasadena over a 5 mile route, it takes on a different theme each year this one being the "Fabric of America"
ROSE BOWL PARADE PASADENA 01st January 2001
event was listed in the TV guide as follows; starting at 8am the parade
will include 24 marching bands, 26 equestrian units, and 52 floats all of
which will illustrate the theme for 2001.
ROSE BOWL PARADE PASADENA 01st January 2001
was our final moment of glory, to be cheered by one million people who
lined the 5-mile route.
FINAL PHOTO CALL
now look forward to a short break and catching up with my family, I then
hope to make contact with all you good folk who have been supportive of my
efforts for the NSPCC.