After a quick and cheap breakfast at the nearby Burger King (gotta do something to keep costs down a little!) we went to the tour entrance of our hotel to wait for our next adventure to begin. We’d booked a mountain biking tour of the Kaaawa Valley through Bike Hawaii. Due to our schedule, we’d originally booked a private tour, but a few other folks expressed interest in touring this same day. John, who runs Bike Hawaii, cleared it with us first, but we were happy to have company…especially as this reduced the cost of the tour for us! This guide was also late picking us up, but this time we didn’t panic since we were getting the sense of how island time worked. 😉
Sure enough, about 15 minutes late, the van pulled up to hotel. There was no mistaking that the van was for anyone but us as there were a half dozen mountain bikes mounted to the roof of the van! We stopped at one more hotel to pick up another rider, then off we went to the ranch. Last night I had looked over our stops on the circle tour versus the description of our ride and had concluded that we were heading to the Kauloa ranch, which had been the lunch stop of our circle tour. Sure enough, as we approached the ranch, I began to recognize places we’d visited the day before. The rest of our group was meeting us at the ranch as they were staying at the Turtle Bay Resort, just north of the ranch. They were a family with a teenaged son and a daughter of about nine. The college student we’d picked up in Waikiki and DH and myself finished off the group. Our guide quickly got to the business of off-loading the bicycles and setting us up with helmets, bottles of water, and bags of trail mix. DH and I also brought bottles of Gatorade and some power bars both of which we’d be grateful for.
The ride began with approximately a two-mile ride to the Kaaawa Valley floor. We started by following a dirt road, but quickly had to veer from that easier path, as there were riders on horseback that we needed to avoid. The trail went from double to single track and quickly became too challenging for the young girl. Our guide had to double back and talk her and her mother out of quitting the ride. It wouldn’t be much longer before we’d reach the valley floor and the sites of such movies as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Windtalkers, Lost, etc. Once we were done exploring the valley, the two of them opted to stay behind, explore the valley on their own, and meet up with us in a couple of hours at a shelter.
Their staying behind turned out to be a good move, as they would never have handled the muddy single track that waited. Not to mention the assent up one side of the valley then the other. The college kid who was with us had never mountain biked and if he hadn’t been in very good shape, he too would have fallen behind. As it was he took three headers during the course of the more technical portion of the ride. The website for this ride stated that they could easily find trails to accommodate all experience levels. I don’t know if this is true or not, only that our guide certainly did not opt to do so. Ultimately the ride was more challenging than I expected, but DH and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, as did the dad and son who had some experience riding. When we arrived back to the van for lunch, we viewed being covered in red Hawaiian mud as a badge of honor (they’d had a some serious rain in the valley the day before). Lunch was my only real disappointment in the day. We were offered a half a sandwich each and a bag of chips. After all of that riding I could have eaten two sandwiches! The lack of food made us very glad that we’d brought our own snacks!
After a much needed shower, we were ready for our last dinner in Waikiki at Roy’s. Roy’s was the number one rated restaurant in Honolulu on Trip Advisor. I knew this was not going to be a cheap meal, but hoped it would be worth it. Roy’s is located in the Embassy Suites, on the other end of Waikiki from the Marriott. Still, that made it only a 20-minute walk.
The menu at Roy’s is extensive, with half the menu being classics and the other half being specialty items of this location. After having our head’s swim with all of the choices, we opted for the three-course tasting menu with wine pairings. At $65 per person we felt this wasn’t a bad value. The appetizer was three items, including a delicious short rib and a spring roll that DH and I agree was the best we’d ever tasted. DH had a short rib entrée that was simply amazing. I’d read so much about Roy’s chocolate soufflé that I simply had to try that for dessert. It was molten, melty, chocolate yum paired with a lovely dessert wine. Fantastic. I was also able to complete a mission of mine at Roys…having a pineapple martini made with Malibu rum…yummy, yummy, yummy.
I had meant to stop at Lulu’s and check out the band my friend recommended, but we needed to pack. It’s nice to find that packing isn’t terribly depressing when your next stop is a cruise ship! Also, despite three days in Hawaii we still hadn’t completely adjusted to island time and were still going to bed fairly early. Early to bed does mean early to rise, but in this instance we didn’t mind. The next morning, throwing open the drapes, and stepping out onto our balcony, we were able to see the Pride of America sailing into port. The next part of our adventure was about to begin!