Posted by Guest Contributor: Aaron Geerlings
It was a beautiful day in sunny Kailua-Kona when Kelly and I met on the small beach parking lot across from King Kamehameha Beach Hotel to cruise the Kona Coast.
Map of ride
The tourist action was in full tilt mode as a cruise ship disembarked their passengers. Lei makers were peddling their wares and tour guides were propositioning tourists. It was not 100% sunny weather as a slight overcast was just enough to take away the harsh glare of the tropical sun. Not too hot – basically it was perfect for an afternoon of great riding.
We cruised along Alii Drive checking out all the great places to eat, the good looking women and the sunny beaches that are intermittent along the 2 mile stretch.
After downtown Kailua-Kona we begin passing Kahului Bay, Holualoa Bay, and Magic Sands Beach. Magic Sands is named such because the sand comes and goes on depending on the weather and intensity of the surf. Some days it is nothing but a rock outcropping and other days it is a beautiful sandy beach.
Alii Drive eventually dumps you onto Highway 11, which merges into Highway 180. Highway 180 winds along the coast at 35-45mph – it’s a great leisurely cruise that really lets you soak up the scenery and fresh air… Hawaii riding at its finest. Although this road is narrow and winds through various small towns that inevitably slow down traffic, this adds to the enjoyment as it forces you to slow down and enjoy all the great sights: coffee trees, old historic buildings, local residents, fantastic landscape and great views.
We eventually got to the turn off to our Kealakekua Bay – Napoopoo Road. This road is a fantastic ride as it winds down to the coast with many twists and turns. The views overlooking the Bay and south along the Kona Coast are spectacular. After a few miles you eventually get to Kealakekua Bay. This is simply a stunning sight. The bay and surrounding historical state park is amazingly pristine and gorgeous. Kealakekua Bay is the location where Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779.
After enjoying the scenery and shooting some video we headed back up to the highway where instead of taking highway 180 back we took the old Mamalahoa Highway to Waimea. This old road is a great ride as well – it gently rolls through Big Island Country Club and Parker Ranch before finally arriving at Waimea.
We show up just in time to miss the clouds rolling in… what a great ride!