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.
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
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
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.
some look at some photos at:
March 18, 2005
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
March 22, 2005
March 23, 2005
March 24, 2005
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.
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.
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)
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