Cruising Paradise II 2003
By Richard Parrish
The Cast of players :
A year of planning by our leader Tom Endy came to be when our plane touched down in Hilo , Hawaii and we were greeted by our old friends and past members Wayne & Jocelyn Krug complete with leis for each of us.
Our friendly Hawaiian hosts taxied us to our hotel to join 45 California Classic Cruisers, who along with us Model A's, formed Cruise " Paradise II".
Wednesday after breakfast at Uncle Billy's, our hosts ferried us to the dock to retrieve our cars: Five had dead batteries. Workers don't know to push in the "pop out". A jump-start here and a push start there, one new battery and we were on the road again. An afternoon tour of Rainbow falls and other pretty jungle scenery let the cars "stretch their legs". The macadamia nut factory was an oasis for hungry mainlanders. Tomorrow: The 125-mile tour to Kailua Kona.
The road was good and our guide limited us to 35 mph. We put the word out that these were no ordinary A's, but Orange Co. Model A's and we were back up to speed. A stop at the small village of Pahala and we discovered "Malasada's! (A raised square donut with no hole), Punaluu black sand beach and turtle sanctuary was a popular stop and then Kona's King Kamehameha hotel became our home for the next 5 days.
We explored exotic sites such as the city of refuge, Kealakekua painted church, Parker Ranch (largest cattle ranch in the US ), and Walmart. Up at the ranch, it looked more like Wyoming and it was C-o-o-l.
Saturday was a huge "cruise" or car show at the mall. Most of us parked and lifted our hoods as we saw our street rodder friends do. My family sneaked off for a submarine ride to 114 feet and put in a showing for only an hour or so.
The drive back to Hilo included a stop and lunch at "Thunder Alley" in Kawaihae. It is a combination restoration/ modification shop/night club. Next stop was Big Tex drive in at Honokaa and another Malasada. A stunning drive along the coast back to Hilo completed the day.
With Hilo now as our base, we set out on daily jaunts led by Wayne & Jocelyn. A primitive path along the surf over not so old lava flows was magnificent. Lunch at Thelma's was quite an experience: A scoop of rice with my bacon & Eggs instead of hash browns. Thelma's was once right on the beach but alas, now a long hike over the treacherous new rock.
Another day we explored Laupahoehoae where the 1946 tsunami washed away a whole town including the school. Jocelyn's picnic spread evoked raves from one and all. The drive back was through local villages, farmland and views of waterfalls.
A steady gentle climb to 4000 ft rewarded us with a cool afternoon at the Kilawea caldera on the slopes of Moana Loa and the still active crater within called Hanemaumau. The road circling the caldera rewarded us with the primordial aroma of "brim stone" emitting from the bowels of the earth. The more adventurous McKinneys and Feerrazi's got up at 4 AM and drove 35 miles to where the fresh lava still flows into the ocean. The red glow was visible in the dark while not so obvious in bright sunlight. They said the long walk was worth it. Most of us just enjoyed their pictures.
Another day sent us up the wild coast east of Hilo where we detoured over a cow track on the Parker ranch. We included another lunch stop at big Tex 's where met the street rods that arrived on more conventional roads. We should have taken that 25% grade road down to the intriguing black sand beach below. Didn't they understand? "That was a Model A road"?
A luau, a big car show and a spectacular fireworks display directly in front of and over our hotel on July 4th left no doubt that Hawaii is our 50th state.
Monday, in the rain, we put the cars back into their containers and start packing for the trip home tomorrow. After this, everything is going to seem pretty ordinary. Aloha and Mahalo to our new friends in Hawaii .