Hawaii Journal


For the past 12 months Motorcycle Bob and Motorcycle Patti (Mrs. Motorcycle Bob), along with several other Rotarians,  have been planning the Centennial Rides.  Patti has journaled  the Hawaii ride. 


DG = District Governor
DGE = District Governor Elect
DGN = District Governor Nominee
PDG = Past District Governor
PETS = Presidents' Elect Training
PE = President Elect
PP = Past President
Friday March 4, 2005
Sometimes the beginning of the end sounds like a bad thing.  However, in this case, the PolioPlusRides for Polio Eradication, the end will be a great thing.  Motorcycle Bob  begins his last PolioPlus Ride, the Centennial  Ride, with Hawaii.  It was while he was speaking at President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) last year that the Hawaiian Rotarians offered to bring Bob and the motorcycle, and me, to Hawaii to spread the message of Rotary and polio eradication.  What an honor!  And so we begin with Paradise and will end up in Centennial Celebration in Chicago.  First of all, we have to get the motorcycle to Hawaii.  DG Claude Thompson and District 5000 Rotarians arranged for the bike to fly in from Los Angeles. 
And so it begins at 0-dark-thirty on this cool damp morning in Folsom, California.  As Bob mounted the Blue Streak,  the morning air seemed to get heavier with moisture. Patti  followed Bob with the van. Heading down I-5, "moist" became "drizzle".  As the miles rolled along, so did the downpours.  But wet weather didn't bother Bob because he was toasty warm. Wet but warm.  Electric riding gear kept Bob cooking all the way to LA.  Thanks go to Widder Electrics of Ojai, CA.
Arriving at Pacific Air Cargo at LAX, the wonderful folks there weighed the bike and checked it over. After the paperwork was done, Ole Blue went into lockup to await his flight call.  We waved good-bye to Blue and left him in good hands.
Monday March 7, 2005
Back in Folsom, we received word that the Blue Streak had arrived safely in Honolulu and was headed for a barge to Hilo to wait for Bob to ride into the sunset. The planning done by District 5000 is not to be believed.  Our Island hosts are really something.  Can't wait for Sunday!
Saturday March 12, 2005
 Bob is in San Jose at PETS (Rotary President Elects Training Seminar).  This is a multi-district PETS for California, Nevada and Hawaii.  Over 500 incoming Rotary presidents, District Governors and Assistant District Governors.  Althought Bob is attending as a president elect. he is spending a lot of time promoting the Centennial Ride.  Tomorrow Bob and Patti will fly to Honolulu.
Sunday, March 13, 2005 
Bob and I arrived in Honolulu at different times on different airlines.  The Aloha Airlines flight that was arranged for me was fantastic!  I'd recommend them as first choice.  Cruising across the pond, we were above a cotton-ball blanket of cloud until we gently descended to land.  Then there was the Island of Oahu.  We came round Diamond Head and Waikiki and Honolulu airport.  It was a smooth landing.  A perfect flight.  A perfect beginning in Paradise.

Motorcycle Bob was attending PETS in San Jose and took a later flight to Honolulu. He arrived about 10:30 pm and faded quickly.  But not before telling me how beautiful it was coming in seeing the twinkling lights of Honolulu. A possible TV interview for Thurs am is in the works. Definitely a great beginning.
Monday March 14, 2005

East Hawaii Rotary welcomes Bob and Patti. From left to right, Richard Crowe (RC of Hilo Bay), Helen Shirota-Benevides (RC of Hilo Bay & ADG), Rob Zimmerman (President, RC of South Hilo), Dave Moore (RC of Volcano), Patti Mutchler, Bob Mutchler, and Karolyn Lundkvist (President, RC of Hilo Bay).

Monday dawned with an early morning rain.  As we waited for our flight to Hilo, the sun peeked out.  Descending to the street at the Hilo Airport  to locate our bags we were greeted by  a group of Rotarians  from the Rotary Clubs of Volcano, South Hilo Bay and Hilo Bay. (I knew this because they had a sign that said so.)   Holding the banner was David Moore,  AG Helen Shirote-Benevides, Dr. Richard Crowe, Pres Karolyn Lundkvist,  and Pres Rob Zimmerman.  Photos were taken and we were presented with leis.  A quick discussion of a plan of attach ensued, and some of us went to the Hawaii Naniloa Resort where our hosts had arranged accommodations for us.  David took Bob to locate the motorcycle from Young Brothers shipping company who generously barged the Blue Streak to Hilo.  It was sitting on top of a shipping container in a secured yard.  A giant fork lift picked up the pallet with the bike and brought it down to ground level.  Ole Blue seemed happier about being back on terra firma.   The bike started instantly and Bob rode back to the hotel.  In the meantime I found out that the Hilo Clubs have been very supportive of PolioPlus.  Every year they hold an Oktoberfest celebration and donate  the profits to polio eradication. They also designed a fabric print used for Rotary shirts and dresses, that benefits PolioPlus.

Later in the afternoon, Helen took me to Ellsworth Fontes' Hilo Harley Davidson Dealership where a pretty Sportster was waiting for me for the kick-off on Wednesday morning.  It's very exciting that the beginning of the Centennial Celebration Ride begins in Hilo, Hawaii.  A dream on our part made possible by the Rotarians of District 5000.  Mahalo. The plan is to have a kick-off ceremony with TV coverage and speechifying.  Then, all bikers and interested parties begin a ride counterclockwise around the island.  

Tuesday  March 15,  2005,  Hilo
"The Big Island"  Kick-off Day!
Sunny with a light breeze.  Clear enough to see a snow-capped Mauna Kea.  Snow in Hawaii? It doesn't seem to fit, but there it was.  There was also snow on Mauna Loa.  Mike Nelson was a Hawaii Rotarian who embraced Rotary with all his heart.  Mike asked to chair the Hawaii portion of the Centennial Ride. Tragically, twenty days ago he was in an auto accident that ended his life.  When the question of whether to cancel the ride or not was asked, DG Claude, David Moore, Pres. Karolyn and others stepped up to the plate and made it happen.

First stop was the Hilo Harley Davidson, where my white steed awaited; a 2005 Sportster 1200.  A very nice ride. Then off to the meeting point, where quite a group of people had already assembled, including TV and print media. Some of the welcoming committee were:  Tom Fine, AG Wally Wong, Ron and Carolann Scott, Pres Alan Clark, Bill Jones, Scotty Bell, Ruth Lindsey, Paul Ducasse, Walt, Ed, Bill, and Pres Elina Grugier.

 Motorcyclists of all kinds kept showing up to join the ride.  At the appointed time, David Moore of the Volcano Rotary Club, welcomed everybody and introduced Motorcycle Bob,  Bob gave a brief background as to why he is so dedicated to these rides, and the need to finish PolioPlus.  With the last of the immunizations to be completed by the end of June, we then have the waiting and surveillance, which is also costly.  David introduced Hilo Mayor Harry Kim.  Holding a Rotary Banner, Mayor Kim spoke about remembering the days when outbreaks of polio would bring absolute fear to parents rich and poor; of how much of our young people today have no concept of polio's devastation.  He was genuinely impressed with Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio and encouraged by Motorcycle Bob's efforts to raise awareness.  DG Claude Thompson of District 5000, spoke of the challenge to get Hawaii included as the first state and kickoff for the Centennial Ride.  When Mike Nelson, the chair of the event, died unexpectedly, other Rotarians jumped in and pulled together to make this event happen.  The Centennial Ride is In honor of Mike Nelson.   And with the ringing of the Centennial Bell that is accompanying Bob, it was "start your engines".  Nat led the group, followed by Bob and then myself, and about 35-40 riders.  So excited by the ride, we missed the first stop and had to turn around.  Refreshed, we headed out for Waimea.   Strong winds tried to slow our progress.  When we reached our meeting point, our numbers had shrunk.  Unfortunately most of our contingent of riders had to work.  However, two Rotarian riders joined us; Ron and Tom. The President of the North Hawaii Club, Carolyn Quick,  presented a check of $500.00 for PolioPlus and hosted us with snacks and beverages.  On to Kona, a welcoming group, and a bar-b-que on the beach.  Everyone filled up two and three times.  Kona President Alan Clark was our chef, and our host for the night.  As we rode into his garage the heavens let loose. He and his wife Wendy created another feast for dinner.   Mahalo

Wednesday March 16, 2005
Kona, "The Big Island"

Alan and Wendy Clark fired up our engines with a hearty breakfast.  Then we fired up our machines and headed to Alan’s Chevy Dealership where he showed us a very special book.  A 25th Anniversary book about Rotary, written and signed by Paul Harris! Very Special, indeed.

Then back to the beach to assemble and head back out to Hilo.  Our entourage consisted of our leader Nat, Bob, myself, Ron, Tom, Justice, and Tony.  A group small enough to travel well together.  Our first stop was Maunuka State Park up overlooking the ocean.  Refreshed we continued on to Volcano.  The terrain kept changing.  The big island has 11 of the 13 microclimates of the world.  In Volcano, a lunch of homemade chili and rice and assorted goodies filled our starving (don't believe it) stomachs.  "Grandma Augusta Morgado", 94, was having a great time having her picture taken on Bob's bike.  Past Pres Paul Ducasse of Volcano took all of us on a tour of Volcano National Park.  Then on the road again to Hilo.
I said farewell to my Sportster. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

After a breakfast feast with Alan and Wendy, we pulled out of the garage into beautiful sunshine.  We headed back to the beach to meet up with the other riders and our guide Nat. We said Good-Bys and Thank Yous and alohas with our hosts and fellow Rotarians.   We mounted up, with  Nat in the lead, Bob, myself, Ron, Tom, Justice, and Tony.

Thursday March 17, 2005  Happy St. Patrick's Day
Hilo, The Big Island

A 4am wake-up was first, and then Helen picked us up at the hotel and took us to the airport, where we flew to Maui via Honalulu.  In the meantime, many Rotarians introduced themselves, as well as folks who had seen the news or the newspapers.  PolioPlus and Rotary is out there.  Club President Bonnie West met us at the airport and arranged for a convertible for us to drive.  Due to bureaucratic problems the bike could not make it to Maui.  With the Centennial Bell in hand, we went straight to the motorcycle dealership in Kahului.  A report on the morning TV news show about the Ride had already aired.  But TV and print media were waiting, as well as motorcyclists and drivers.   You'd have thought something was going to happen. A whole host of Rotarians from the different clubs were there, including our home hospitality hostess Fran Meshulam, whose husband Eli had been a PDG and son is a Past Pres of Rotary Club #5 in Los Angeles.  The media interviewed Bob and then we all gathered as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor Don Couch welcomed us and praised Rotary for PolioPlus and Bob for his efforts in bringing the program to public attention.  Bob thanked everyone for their support of PolioPlus and the Centennial Celebration.  He also urged continued support of PolioPlus since there still is the surveillance portion to complete.

We saddled up in the comfort of a Mustang convertible.  Laki took the lead on his big Harley, followed by Pres Bonnie in her car, Bob and I, three other bikers, Pres Brad and other vehicles.  We left Kahului and drove through cane fields and sugar refinery, to the viewpoint at Wailea in Kihei. Then on to Lahaina,  where a reception of the Lahaina Club welcomed us.  More media interviews and visiting with Rotarians.  Stopping at a turnout on the way back to Kihei, Pres Bonnie and Pres Brad told us what to look for, and we saw pods of whales, spouting and breeching.  Some of our procession had left us in Lahaina to attend a Rotary meeting.  The rest of us headed for lunch and then to Mulligan's to raise a glass to St. Patrick and the Irish.  Then on to our home hospitality at Fran's.  Delightful   We rode about 220 miles on the Big Island.

Take some look at some photos at:

Friday March 18, 2005
Kihei, Maui

Great Kona coffee with Fran.  Bob and I had breakfast with Pres Bonnie and Pres Deidre.  Lots of Rotary talk, questions and answers.  Following breakfast Bob went back to Kahului to fly to Seattle to speak at Northwest PETS.  I had to go shopping (someone had to do it) and then I did some computer work.  Bob arrived in Seattle sans luggage.  Murphy’s law.

Saturday March 19, 2005
Kihei, Mau

Well, no news on lost baggage.  The Doubletree  in Seattle provided Bob with a starched white shirt and toiletries.  Bob borrowed a tie and jacket, and spoke at the lunch meeting.

After a lovely breakfast with Fran, Pres Bonnie picked up the rental car.  I gave her a bottle of wine for a Monte Carlo fundraiser for the 8 Maui Clubs.  Fran was my tour guide before lunch and my flight to Lihue, Kauai.  Mahalo, for everything Fran.

Arriving in Lihue I was picked up by our home hosts PDG Al and Patty Fickers.  I found out we were on our way to a party where I met new Rotary friends. Maui mileage was 47.

Sunday March 20, 2005

Well, Bob's luggage should get frequent flyer miles. It finally arrived in Seattle very late Saturday night, via New Orleans.  Seriously.  But then who needs clean clothes or a suit at PETS?

While Bob was trying to make his way back to Paradise, PDG Al took me to Street Eagle Motorcycle Rentals to arrange a motorcycle for me to ride.  I found out that they were  babysitting Ole Blue. Tim picked it up from Aloha airlines and brought it back from the airport.  They took super care of it.  I ended up with another Sportster to ride and ever thing seemed ready for Monday's Ride.  We just needed Bob.  He arrived in Honolulu about noon.  However, with Spring Break travelers at their peak and overbooked flights, he did not leave until 8pm.  40 minutes later he was here.  The fate of his luggage--- well, that arrived in Lihue hours earlier.  It's just good ole Murphy  having fun with us.

Monday  March 20, 2005
Lihue,  Kauai

Our hostess Patty Ficker, not only prepared us a feast, she played chauffeur, photographer, and general helper.  We arrived at Street Eagle in Puhi, where owner Tim Lach had Blue ready for Bob and the Sportser for me.  Tim has not only arranged for the pick up and babysitting of Ole Blue, he let me ride one of his bikes for the ride. He also prepped Blue to go back on the Young Brothers Barge to Oahu.  A really neat guy.  We followed Patty to the Historic County Office Bldg for the start of the ride.  There we met "Uncle Jack" Wilhelm, leader of the Sons of Kauai riders.  Accompanying him were Harold, Roy, Wayne and Bob.  We were proud to see Rotarians Wade Lord, Janos Samu, PDG Gary Siracusa, Lucy Adams, Tom Haydon, Pres Michael Zimmer, Dale and Walter, and many others.  Rotarian, Biker and County Councilman Mel Rapozo presented Motorcycle Bob with a Council Certificate.  Print media interviewed Bob and took photos of the Centennial Bell on the bike.  After the hoopla, we fired up the bikes and woke up the state workers from their 10 am coffee break.  We rode all the way across the street where more cameras were waiting for the Mayoral Presentation.  More folks. In the rotunda area of the new government building, Mayor Brian Baptiste read a proclamation pronouncing  March 20 PolioPlus Day in Kauai.  Bob thanked the mayor and we all made our way to the bikes for another video interview.  We fired up the bikes again and this time woke up the rest of the local government workers.  We actually made it out of town with Uncle Jack in the lead. With a dozen or so bikes, Jack wound our way to Kekaha, which had been a plantation town, and now is host to a naval research center.  Onward up the Kekaha Route along the Weimea Canyon, to the Kekee Museum.  A small museum, maybe, but it has interesting exhibits of the natural and introduced wildlife of the island.  From a viewing area on the way back, we were able to see the Hawaiian Grand Canyon, with its waterfalls and wild goats and tourist helicopters.  Down the canyon we could see Niihau, the "forbidden" island.  Uncle Jack led us on back to Lihue through the back roads, exposing us to more of the garden island.  We finally shut off the engines in Lydgate Park where local Rotarians had prepared a bar-b-que for everyone, including Motorcycle Bob!  Back to Puhi and Street Eagle to return the bikes to Tim.  With all the fresh air and sunshine and excitement, it was an early evening of sunset watching and laundry. A fun day, riding 105 miles.

Tuesday  March 22, 2005

We managed to be up and almost awake for the breakfast meeting of the Kalepa Sunrise Club.  Lucy and PDG Gary were there as well as PDG Al and Patty. Their speaker was from the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.  Al introduced Bob, and Bob briefly spoke about why we must complete our commitment to polio eradication.  It was a good meeting and there were many questions.

A drive out to Weimea and the West Kauai Rotary Club for their meeting.  President Michael Zimmer had asked Bob to be the program for the day.  DG Al Ficker gave a great introduction.  Bob gave a very moving program (as usual),  and the need to finish what we started.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing.

Wednesday March 23, 2005
Poipu Beach, Kauai

Another beautiful day, another early wake-up and another meeting with the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach.  We found out that the PolioPlusRide made the front page of the Kauai paper, above the fold with a color photo. It is always interesting to go to other meetings and see how other clubs operate. The Centennial Bell that is traveling with Bob rang in the meeting. It is also the home club of PDG Al and was the second club of a very dear friend in the Rancho Cordova Club,  PP Dr. Al Kuntz.  What a small world it really is.  Anyway, after the scheduled speakers, there was time for Bob to talk.  He gave a great brief inspiring talk.  And then it was time to prepare for the flight to Honolulu and leave for the airport.  We had to say farewell to the whales and our dear friends, the Vickers. Mahalo

The flight was shorter than it takes to get through the security line, and we arrived in Honolulu.  Waiting for us was Pres Hans Kolb,
Connie Kraus and John McLaughlin, the Coordinator for the Oahu Poker run.  We found out that the bike is here and Bob will be able to retrieve it tomorrow.  Hans and Ginny are also our home hospitality hosts.  An early evening in preparation for a very early morning.

Thursday March 24, 2005
Honolulu, Hawaii

No clock should have the hour of 4 am.  But in this case we weren't last minute packing to catch a flight.  This morning DG Claude picked us up at 5:15 and took us to KHON Channel 2 for an interview with Kirk Matthews. It was quite  different to watch as most of the interviews take place at outdoor venues.  The studio was quite exciting.  Kirk did a great interview of both Claude and Bob; promoting  PolioPlus and the Poker Run on Saturday around Oahu.  We hope to get a copy of the interview to share. 


District 5000 Governor Claude Thompson, Motorcycle Bob and DJ
Ed Kanoi, also a Polio survivor

On a roll, DG Claude  then took us to radio station KPOI  105.9 Classic Rock.  DJ Ed Kanoi, also a polio survivor, interviewed Bob at length about  his polio experience, Rotary's PolioPlus Program and the upcoming Poker Run on Saturday.  Meeting at Cycle City at 9 am for a $10 registration  donation, and starting the run at 10:00am; we have been told that the organizers are expecting some 200 riders.  All are welcome, even those on four wheels who wish to take part.  The interview was more casual and more in depth.  Rotarian John Mc Laughlin had made the radio arrangements and is instrumental in the Poker Run at Cycle City.

Whenever the opportunity arises to visit with a DG, it is always informative.  Especially one from a different district.  We were fortunate to have breakfast with DG Claude after the interviews.  I found out that District 5000 has exceeded its Polio Eradication Campaign  Pledge and they are still collecting!  Super!  Every dollar is needed.  They have had many Rotarians volunteer on numerous National Immunization Days in Ethiopia, Ghana and India to name a few.   A great way to experience Rotary at its best. One leadership tool that seems to work in Hawaii is the periodic meetings of the DG, DGE and DGN.  This porvides continuity on certain projects or focus areas.

After a brief rest, Ginny Kolb took us to Young Brothers where Bob found Ole Blue tied down to its pallet, waiting to be let loose. We want to thank Young Brothers for taking care of transporting the Blue Streak around to the islands.  They have been very generous. Well, ole Bob  drove  ole Blue off the pallet and we all went to Cycle City.  We arranged for a bike for me to ride on Saturday.  Then over to Pres Hans' business to put Blue into a secure garage. 

If this hasn't been a busy enough day, we then had the privilege of attending Honolulu Sunset's meeting.  It was a very interesting meeting. The topic was about orphanages in Russia.  Bob also spoke briefly about supporting PolioPlus.  In this club they have Aloha dollars.  Lots of members got up to donate dollars for all kinds of reasons and rivalries.  Pres Hans Kolb overseas a lively fun club. We have been fortunate to have a glimpse of several clubs on the islands, and it is obvious that this district has truly embraced the Family of Rotary.

Saturday March 26, 2005
Honolulu, Hawaii

The Last of the First, the last ride of the first state.  It has been an honor for us to be here; meeting people, sharing the message of PolioPlus and Rotary,  riding the different islands.  Ohana means family, and we certainly feel like we are part of a big family.  It is also our last day on the island.  I don't want to go home!!.

Today, what a day.  First stop was to pick up the bike that Greg and Annie Kemp loaned me.  They let me ride their Blue Harley Heritage Softail.  How kind and generous.  As it turns out, I didn't even drop it or anything bad.  Then we went to Greg's Toy Barn (where he keeps his big boy toys), to retrieve Bob's Blue Streak.   Then to Cycle City to meet up with everyone.  Wow.... the bikes just kept on arriving:   Hondas, Buells, Yamahas, Kawasakis, an Indian, Suzukis, Harleys, and Harleys, and Harleys, and even a BMW.  Reid Furakawa represented Cycle City.  Bikers came from from numerous riding clubs such as: the Intruders, HOG, Street Bikers United, Pacific Knights, Christian Motorcyclists, and Worldwide Foundation.

 We finally met the man behind the transportation arrangements- Bob Sullivan.  He worked all the magic with Young Brothers, barging the bike to and from islands. A super guy.  Volunteers from Rotary Clubs and Rotaract manned the registration desks and later the lunch lines.  Someone even baked homemade brownies. 

Rotarian John McLaughlin,  who headed this ride committee, stepped up to the mic and welcomed everyone to the ride.  He introduced DG Claude Thompson, who was very appreciative of the Rotarians in his district who have been so generous and so supportive of PolioPlus. Then Motorcycle Bob spoke briefly of the history of PolioPlus and his endeavor to see it completed, saying that "none of us are safe until all of us are safe".  Next U.S. Congressman Ed Case  talked about the federal governments' involvement in helping to fund polio eradication and praised Rotary and Rotarians.  He said that a proclamation honoring Rotary and its one hundred years of service is currently being finalized in the U.S. Congress.  The last speaker was Linda Smith representing Governor Linda Lingle.  She thanked Bob and I for coming to Hawaii and honoring Hawaii by choosing it to be the first state in this final ride for PolioPlus.  John took the mic again and thanked everyone for coming out and  said  the magic words:  start your engines.  The decibel level red-lined as engines fired up and throttles were cranked. 

Now a poker run is not just a ride.  Every registrant picks a card from the deck at every stop.  The one with the best poker hand wins.  The weather was cloudy and threatened rain, which did occur later on. However, weather didn't inhibit some 100 riders.  With   Rotary banners waving we left the parking lot with various media capturing the moment for all to see and read. The circuit  around the island was 110 miles and covered some beautiful beaches, lush tropical flowers and foliage, mountains, fields of pineapple, coconuts and mangoes.  (Click here for photos of the Poker Run)

We wound our way back to Cycle City for a BBQ.  Then it was time to get Ole Blue back to Pacific Air Cargo for its flight home.  We returned Greg's bike to the Toy Barn and then we relaxed back at Hans and Ginny's home. 

Certainly this has been a very successful event, ending a very successful beginning.  Mahalo to everyone who helped make it happen.   As I write this,  KHON Ch 2 news just aired a great segment about the ride today.  Frosting on the cake.
Mileage:  110 miles

A BIG THANKS:  Bob and Patti would like to express a big THANKS  to Laura Steelquist for all of the brownies and chili for the Poker Run, and all of the other things that she did.  And of course, without the enthusiasm of District Governor Claude there might not have been a Hawaii Centennial Ride.

Click here for more Hawaii Ride Photos:   www.honoluluhogs.com/polio_plus_ride_march_26.htm




DONATIONS to either PolioPlus or to support Motorcycle Bob's rides can be made through Motorcyclists for Awareness of Children's HealthClick here for a donation form.  If you would like to be a sponsor or join Motorcycle Bob on a ride, contact Bob at bob@polioplusride.org

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