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Hawaii by Motorcycle

Dear Savvy Traveler,

Since I got my first Harley about a year ago, I've taken to renting a motorcycle for day trips while traveling. During a recent trip to Honolulu, I found that prices varied from $150 a day to over $200. The bike I rented cost about $180 for 24 hours, but Vern at "Cruzin Hawaii" threw in a helmet, insurance, and a few extra hours.

A motorcycle ride for me greatly enhances the sightseeing experience. You're closer to everything. Sights, sounds, and smells are intensified. The challenge is paying attention to safety. This is especially true in downtown Honolulu, where traffic is horrendous. I immediately headed away from the traffic and took the Pali highway to the other side of the island. Ten minutes into the ride I got drenched, but it was worth it! I stopped at the Pali lookout to dry off and to enjoy the wonderful view of the east side of the island.

Once over the pass, I picked up the Kam Highway. To my left were luscious cliffs of green. To my right were coves and beaches. After an hour and a half, I got to Haliewa, where I stopped for a bite. I then retraced my steps, enjoying the same sites from a new perspective. Winding up the narrow road along the coastal cliffs was incredible. I made frequent stops at the numerous turnouts to enjoy the views.

When I got back to the cycle shop, I simply wasn't ready to turn in my bike. Vern took pity on me and let me go out for another hour. What a guy!

If you decide to rent a motorcycle in Hawaii, here are a few suggestions:

- If the rental place offers windshields, get one. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, there ARE bugs in Hawaii.

- Just because the weather is nice doesn't mean you don't need proper gear. Wear your helmet, long pants, and solid shoes. (Tennies are one step up from flip-flops in terms of protecting your feet.)

- Riding at night is a lot of fun, but avoid high traffic areas.

- Don't let the spectacular views distract you from the road. STOP the bike and then drink in the scenery. Why hurry? Enjoy!

-- Tom




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