Popped out for a leisurely breakfast and a last chat with fellow Tourers then to everyone’s amazement, it rained! Torrentialy! If they only get 15" of rain a year here, they got about 1/15th of a year's worth today.
The temperature plummeted to 72F and the locals dug out parkas. We climbed on our shuttle to the airport (in shorts) and collected our miniscule Hertz Mazda 2. To Paul’s surprise, he could drive quite comfortably and off we went to the "American Embassy" as the locals call Walmart, to stock up on some basic essentials. Then it was off Southwards on the West Coast of Hawaii on Hwy 11 some 50 miles to our B&B. In the rain, the traffic was slowed considerably from its usual brisk 45 MPH by nervous tourists and laid-back locals, but we eventually broke free and motored away.
Halfway along the route we came to a nausea-inducing 7 mile stretch of road that consisted entirely of left turns followed immediately by right turns. Then another left turn, etc.. No remedial straight bits were included. We rose to 1500 feet above the Pacific and Reg pointed out the helicopters flying below us, full of tourists.
As we drove, we came to realize that the miles and miles of shattered, rocky fields on either side of the road were the remnants of a lave flow from
Kilauea in the 70’s. Somehow, when the flows cooled, the rock
exploded into miles of shards of jagged, black rocks.
Since there was no soil, nothing grew except for the occasional
determined shrub or tree, valiantly reclaiming the land. Nearby houses on green promontories
overlooked the flows and we couldn't help wondering what the view must have been like
when the red-hot lava oozed by. The ongoing problem of the Big Island is that it is relatively young, geologically speaking, and hasn't had enough time to build up a heavy layer of topsoil.
In only a couple of hours, we arrived at our B&B and unloaded the car into the palatial accommodations. Feet up, beer out, relax.
Lava fields. It's all rock, as far as the eye can see.
B&B Great Room
B&B private lanai
B&B sunken master bedroom