23 October 2018

Hawaiian Dreams

Part Two of Three

I was still dazed as I made my way across the cultural hall to the stage, where the MC was now on third and final call. I raised my hand and waved so I wouldn’t lose my coveted prize. One gentleman tugged lightly on my arm as I passed.

“Aren’t you excited?” he quizzed. “You look like you’re going to a funeral.”

I felt as if I had been to a funeral, but his point was well taken. Not only had I won a trip to Hawaii, but I could now leave this wretched place just the way I came… Alone. Maybe I should wave my arms in the air and scream. No, the younger set could have the honors.

A parade of excited cries echoed through the cultural hall as the remaining winners were announced. I filled out my required paperwork while other trip recipients did headstands, end zone dances and Olympic cheers, injecting a good dose of enthusiasm back into the event. I snuck out the side door and into the dark parking lot when the music began again.

Hawaii. Four days and three nights. Airfare for two. Visions of plumeria, sea turtles and volcanoes didn’t immediately dance through my head as I walked like a zombie through the crisp Colorado air toward my car. All I could think was who would occupy that second seat.

For a moment, I thought of going back into the church to see if I could find a willing co-traveler. Maybe even one of those young college girls. She’d probably be plugged into an MP3 player the whole time, and I’d be taking pictures all four days, so it wasn’t like we actually had to be friends or crave the same things.

Three or four years earlier, it would have been such a simple dilemma. I could buy an extra ticket and take both my kids. We would have had a grand time. They would have spent all their time collecting seashells, building sandcastles, burying each other and getting wet. They likely would have been arrested for repeatedly sneaking into aquarium pools. Meanwhile, I would be taking pictures. The perfect vacation. Something I could not afford to give my children when they were fun. I mean, young.

But that was a different lifetime. I tried to let my mind wander.

I have plentiful friends. There were many people I could thank in a most eloquent way for their emotional support as I went through my darkest days. Almost all of them were married. Maybe I could just give the tickets to one of the couples who had made sure I didn’t spend a single holiday alone unless I wanted to. I glanced down at the voucher in my hand.

Non-transferable. Of course.

My brothers all had wives and kids. My sister was in a long-term relationship. Maybe my mom would go, and she’d definitely cater to my whims. But would she have fun? Would she want to do something like that without my dad?

Probably not. And Dad isn’t the traveling type. Back to the drawing board.

Who would put up with me in paradise for four days?

My tropical dream was never something to which normal people might aspire. Most tourists dream of spending four days in Hawaii on the beach, shopping, diving or seeing the sights. Not me. One of my lifetime dreams is to bike up Mauna Kea from Hilo. Sea level to 13,796 feet in 44 miles. Nearly 14,000 feet of elevation gain in a day. At the time, only one female had successfully done it. I wanted to be the second.

I commenced training immediately, even though it was the middle of winter in the Rocky Mountains. This might be my only chance to visit the Big Island, and I was determined to make it the best trip ever. I also found a single friend willing to drive a SAG (support and gear) wagon up Mauna Kea just in case I couldn’t make it or needed extra water or food. Hip, hip, hooray! I'm going to Hawaii!!!!!!!!!!

I soon came to the realization I should have used my two-wheeled steed to take that second seat. Not only would I have to dismantle my bike and then put it back together once I arrived in Hawaii, but the cost to transport it and the forms I’d have to sign to absolve the airline from responsibility for shipping my favorite mode of transportation nearly put me in my grave. I am not capable of adjusting the seat on my bike, much less dismantling the entire contraption and putting it back together in ride-worthy condition.

So I lined up a rental bike in Hilo. I researched my route. I rented a four-wheel drive vehicle we could use as a SAG mobile. I booked a moonlight tour up the peak for entertainment and reconnoiter purposes. I told all my friends what I was going to do, and my adrenaline level was off the charts.

Meanwhile, negotiations with the company theoretically providing this fantasy weren’t what I expected. The closer I got to my actual travel date, the more I began to suspect the trip was but a sham. I inquired via the singles group if anyone else was having trouble collecting their prizes, and sure enough, too many strings were attached. This trip was not by any means free.

Part Three will be published next week. Link won't work until the post is published.


  1. And then the other shoe drops. Figures. Always something, just when you were on a roll. I wouldn't want to take a bike apart just to ship it either, pffft.

  2. I would put up with you in paradise for four days. Just sayin'.



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