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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kauai Adventure - Day 3

Kauai Adventure – Day 3

The weather has been perfect here. And because it is four hours behind Chicago, it is easy to get up early. I’ve been running every morning and then going for an easy swim in the ocean. I’m trying to build up to the 12 miles I’ll need to run for the half-Ironman and yesterday I ran 8.5 miles in 1:17. Not a very good pace, yet, but my endurance is good.

The first day here we went for an easy bike ride along the bike path on the north east coast. The second day we took a hike up into Waimea Canyon. And yesterday we took an ATV tour through Kipu Ranch.

None of us had ever driven an ATV before, but Nicole wanted to drive one, so we booked two tandems – Suzanne and I on one, and Christie and Nicole on the other. There were 16 of us on the tour and the guides, Randon and Lombo, gave us a five minute driving lesson in the parking lot and then we headed out for the trail. Randon explained that we would get our trail lesson on the training hill about a mile away. On the way to the training hill we ascended the “bunny hill”. As we neared the top of the hill, the woman in the ATV in front of us, all of sudden veered to the left and then sharply back to the right and then bounced off the trail into a ravine and out of sight. We all stopped as the guides ran into the ravine. We couldn’t see or hear anything but a few minutes later the woman emerged, shaken, with bruises and a bite in her tongue, but otherwise okay. Her ATV – not so good – so I hoped that she took that insurance that at that moment I wished I had not declined.

She continued on the tour, riding along with one of the guides. Next we got our training on how to drive down a steep trail without turning over the ATV. Randon stressed that the number one rule was “Keep your legs inside the ATV. Don’t stick your leg out when you think the vehicle is going to tip over.” Nicole and Christie were the second ones down the mountain. We watched as they made it through the first part of the hill then Nicole over-steered to the left and the vehicle started to tip, so of course Christie immediately jumped out, followed a micro-second later by Nicole. This was their patented technique that they had honed when they were learning how to ride a bike. They both avoided injury, but the ATV did flip over and Nicole flunked the driving test. I guess Christie flunked the riding test, too. They were assigned to ride along with the woman who bashed up her ATV.

After that the tour proceeded without further incident, but by the end of the three hours my hands were stiff from gripping the handles. My daughters pointed out that I was the slowest driver on the course. But at least I kept the ATV upright.

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