What's so big about The Big Island? - Around a pretty big island - CycleBlaze

December 17, 2017

What's so big about The Big Island?

We like islands.  We've circled or taken a large bite from a few fair sized ones by now: Honshu, a very big island with an area of roughly 77,000 square miles; Tasmania, 26,000; Taiwan, 14,000; Vancouver Island, 11,000; Sicily, 10,000; Sardinia, 9,000; Corsica, 3,300; Crete, 3,000.

Oh, and how could I have forgotten the two very big islands of New Zealand: South (60,000) and North (45,000)?  They were the first large islands for us, 26 years ago this month.

Next up, Hawaii, The Big Island.  At 4,000 square miles it's certainly big enough; but The Big Island?  Sounds a bit presumptuous.  Seems like calling themselves A Pretty Big Island would be more seemly, while still distinguishing themselves from the lesser islands in their archipelago.  And, I hear that it is pretty, as well as pretty big.  So that's how we'll refer to it from here on out: Hawaii, a pretty big island.

And, we'll be taking a pretty big bite out of it.  Here's the plan:

Link to the GPS route

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Lyubov AgranovichHi Scott, is there a link to the GPS file for the ride?
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2 years ago
Scott AndersonTo Lyubov AgranovichHi yourself, and thanks for hunting me down! I didn’t label them very well, but there are RideWithGPS links to each of the day rides in the daily postings. Also, I’ve updated this page to add the link for the overview map.
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2 years ago

We haven't been there yet of course, but it doesn't seem right to publish a journal without headline photos; so until the real thing comes along we'll use these shots from the even bigger islands of Sicily and Taiwan as placeholders:

The colors of spring, western Sicily
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Weaving through the rice fields of the East Rift Valley, Taiwan
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Robert EwingScott
I see you are making serious plans to tour the Big Island. You’ll love it. If you have any questions I'm glad offer my advice on hidden beaches, mountain roads and the like. My wife’s family lives there and I ‘ve been visiting for nearly five decades and lived in the mountain town of Waimea (AKA Kamuela) for the last two plus years. I just returned to PDX a couple of months ago.

Your “pretty big island” has perhaps some greater size and dimension than meet the visitor’s eye.

Fun fact, the second tallest mountain in the entire world is on the Big Island (Mauna Kea is over 40,000 ft.)! Hum, wonder where the tallest mountain in the world is? Hint it's not in the Himalayas. You guest it, the Big Island (Mauna Loa is 55,000 ft.). To give some size comparison Mount Shasta is the most massive of Cascade mountains at 350 cubic kilometers meters. Mauna Loa is 75,000 cu km. Starting to look a bit larger. Little known but the official gauge to measure CO2 in the atmosphere is on the slopes of Mauna Loa.

From tropical beaches and rainforests the island rises through something like thirteen eco zones culminating in alpine summits and all is accessible by bicycle. Where else on Earth?

The little cowboy and farm town my mother in law lived near is the center of the “unknown universe”. I think that since time began people at the end of the year universally ask, “Where does the time go?” Perhaps a better question is where does the time come from? A five country consortium is in the planning stage of constructing the largest telescope ever built to answer just that question. The scientists and engineers who will be working on it are based in little Waimea Town. The 30 meter lens will be on the summit of Mauna Kea.

Last thing the Big Island is not The Big Island. It is Hawai`i or to distinguish it from the name given the entire archipelago post the US colonial overthrow of the monarchy, most local folks use the term the Island of Hawai`i. Hawai`i is a sacred name used throughout Polynesia referring to their creation myth – something like the Garden of Eden story. The term Big Island! refers to the mainland US when used by many local folks on Hawai`i.

Aloha nui loa
Robert Ewing – Western Flyer
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2 years ago
Scott AndersonTo Robert EwingHey, Robert - thanks for checking in!

Serious plans, indeed. As usual, we plan things out pretty thoroughly so we're pretty completely locked in. We fly out on January 2nd, and have booked all or our lodging, including a night in Waimea. I wish now we were going for longer - now that we've decided to do this, I feel sure we'll fall in love with the Island.

I'm sorry I didn't know you were back in town - I'd liked to have picked your brain for ideas, or just to chat. Maybe we could get together for a beverage sometime next week, or after we get back? You can contact us through our brand new website: scoracandpdx.life.

Cheers, Scott
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2 years ago
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Robert EwingHi Scott
Love to meet up someplace in town. I get the sense from your day ride post you live somewhere in the north end. I live in the south end. Most Wednesday mornings I'm in downtown near PSU and free by 10:30 or 11:00. If that works name the place or name a different time and place.


Couldn t get you website email to work.
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2 years ago
Scott AndersonTo Robert EwingWierd. Must have hosed the website address. My email: scoandpdx@gmail.com

This Wednesday, Park Avenue Cafe, 11:00 work for you? I'll try to get there early and snare a table. Rachael may or may not show up also.
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2 years ago
Karen CookNice journal. I was thinking about touring the Big Island myself soon. This is a great preview.

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2 years ago
Scott AndersonHey, Karen. Thanks for following along! I was really surprised by Hawaii and what a great tour this was. If you’re OK with a bit of traffic here and there and the cost (it’s not the cheapest destination), I really recommend it.
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2 years ago