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Old 12-20-2010, 02:03 PM   #1
Gasser OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Oddometer: 140
The ride inside Mauna Loa Volcano Mokuaweoweo Crater

Gasser's Big Island off road riding adventure.

Early one cloudless crystal clear star studded Big Island Hawaiian morning in March ‘84’, my neighbor Chuck and I loaded our dirt bikes into my Dodge Van and headed up Saddle Road just before the crack of dawn, it was very cold as we drove up to the summit, the sky was cobalt blue with the Milky Way Galaxy outlining the Volcano of Mauna Loa, being our destination.

We unloaded the dirt bikes at the hunter check station, it was hard start’em…warmed’em up, and we froze our ass’s off for 17 miles riding up the narrow serpentine pot holed paved road that climbs up to a weather station at the 10,000ft level, from there the road turn’s into an ultra nasty four wheel drive two track “chunky rock & roll” a'a'’ trail for about six steep miles of leg flailing controlled crash type riding, the perfect time for leg cramp’s ! !

Riding a dirt bike way up here was hard to do in this thin rarefied air, not only were Chuck and I light headed gulping for air, the bikes ran real bad…like the choke was on all the time, we had to stay in the lower gears, this caused extreme tire spin on the lose soccer ball sized chunky a'a’ rocks, making the bike’s go every which way but straight, it was a physical workout for sure!.

Once we made it up out of the a'a’ it turned into a foot path with extra wide swallow you up cracks that we would have to find higher rocks to blip off, spanning the gap’s, and wheelie over rocky debris littering the path.

We it made all the way to the edge of North West rim of Mokuaweoweo crater, there to peer over looking absolutely straight down, 800+ ft to the crater floor, it was awesome, our voices echoed off the East wall, and it was freaking cold.

I said to Chuck, look way over there on the Hilo side, it looks like we could drop down into the crater floor using that big rock slide and cruise around down there, Chuck wasn’t going for it, I used the magic “wussy” word and he thought twice.

Once we got there, the drop off looked radical, maybe 60 ft @ 45 degree slope of chunky boulders…I spotted a good line to take down, but was more interested about getting back up an out.

I hill climbed radical stuff like this before, figuring it’s doable, at least in my mind…but Chuck hemmed & hawed having wussy second thoughts.

Not wanting to pass up a chance at extending our extreme adventure…I started up my trusty Yamaha IT 490 without second guessing it…dropped off the lip, just like surfing a big North Shore wave of lose boulders…I ricocheted from bolder to bolder to the bottom with a resounding Yeeeehaaaaaaaa.

I waved to Chuck to drop off the lip, he was reluctant, parking my Yamaha, I huffed and puffed thin air trudging back up the boulder & loose shale slope fixing some bad spots as I went along so as to guarantee we were going to make it out of Madam Peli’s big oven.
I road Chucks bike (83 Suzuki DR 250 4/S) down for him, we proceeded to ride inside this huge 1˝ mile wide x 3 mile long volcano crater, the floor was everything lava could look like, gold, yellow, black, blue rocks, liquorish twist frozen rippled ponds, mini splatter cones, big cracks and gaps, huge land slides from the collapsing sides like the one’s we used to get down inside here on.

We come upon a crack 2+ foot wide X 6-700 foot long that was giving off fumes and light haze smoke in places and did not think that much about it because all around Kilauea crater it steams and smokes…Well about two weeks later Mokuaweoweo erupted and spilled lava over the low spot that Chuck and I used to drop into its floor, this 1984 flow covered Tree Planting Road, canceling the Mauna Kea 200 Enduro that year.

6 months later Pork, Doug and I, with occasional help…using O’O’ bars, hand made a 2 foot wide 3 mile long motorcycle trail across that hot steaming, undulating a'a’ lava flow …another MK200 adventure story in it’s self.

We were out of Granola Bars and low on water and decided it was time to see if we could make it out of this huge sink hole in the top of a volcano mountain 90 miles long by 60 miles wide.

When we got back to the exit spot things looked different, I had a hard time trying to pick my line out of there, the first try I ricocheted off a big rock 5 feet up and that blew that attempt, next try got only 30 ft up, jamming between boulders smashing the pipe to smithereens.

Muscling the big blue Yamaha IT 490 out, around and back down…I was a poooooped out dude.
I could not afford to do that again…so my next try…I got farther back and “go or blow”…pinned it in 3rd gear.

The momentum ricocheted me up to the top...proving my off/off road theory…“Go faster than you can crash”.

Next I had to get Chucks foo~foo powered bike up an out, I gulped…getting a good 3th gear run at it, I was surprised how much easer that 4 stroke hooked up over the loose shale and boulders.

We were two happy high five’n puppies to have made it out of there…….now we had to go back down blipping & wheeling to span wide cracks and boulders on chunky a'a’ for 6 miles down to the 10,000ft level.

I am still pulling the boxer shorts out of my butthole from all that front brake lever action, trying to control a down hill runaway bike.

When chuck and I got to the smooth tarmac…awwwwww…it was like heaven, Mauna Loa beat the stinking crap out of us, but we never got a flat tire (go figure?) though prepared for anything, carrying a fanny pack of few tools, along with Duct tape and the almighty Zipp~tie, we knew we were safe.

For the record>As the years went on I continued to ride my butt off, traversing up down and all around Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hu’ulele, South Point to Whittington Beach to Pahala, North Kohala hill climbing steep rough cow trailed cinder cone’s.

Most every Cain field road, from Puna into Honokaa, up to Pu'u’ o'o lava lake, plus the Big Island's rocky coast line, including many Mauna Kea 200 Enduro's, motocross, TT flat track, hair & hound, and exploring to cut new Mauna Kea 200 Enduro trails, some turned into do or die survival rides.

Up date> 12/20/10 @ 69 yr old still on the gas.
~~~Gasser~~~


Don't let this happen to you!
Kickstand is down laid back
Late getting out of the sack
Belly getting big, it's a fact
No pep for the race track
Could get a heart attack
Zero potato chips slack
Dead body for a stack
Ride before its black
~Gasser~


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