4 wheel adventurin’ was not the first thing on my list when we first decided to move back to the Big Island. We came with our mini-van and my husband was given a golf cart to drive when he became a resident manager at our complex.
The 4 WD concept hit hard when our friend, Nancy, invited us to go to Green Sand Beach with her last October. My husband got to drive her truck as we managed to get over all the bumps and drops on the way to the beach. (that road is just difficult no matter what kind of 4WD vehicle you own!)
When we got home, my husband realized he had the bug. He wanted to purchase a truck of his own so we could explore more of the island as a family and “go deep” onto the island’s off-roading trails. The opportunity to purchase a used Toyota 4 Runner from Hilo arose in January, after months of internet research and Craigslist shopping.
We found “Addy” in the garage of an affable man in Hilo who needed to move on to another vehicle. The broken seat, aged interior and need for some love and restoration beckoned my husband, who looked longingly at Addy as a project/hobby he could talk to all of his friends about.
It is now early May, and five months later, Addy has a had a complete overhaul. Not to bore the ladies, I won’t go into the replacement of the front suspension, the steering components, the entire interior, and the unexpected, too, like the radiator. The one thing I did want was a MP3 player, so I could sing with the kids to my favorite hits of the ’70’s and ’80’s!
What I WILL say, is that my husband boosted the power and the comfortability of the truck. We have now bounced along roads to Green Sand Beach a few times, down a 25% grade road to Waipio Valley, the 5 mile Un-Road to the Sea, Kona State Park, Pine Trees, and a hidden black sand beach north of the airport. This is where he drove on pahoehoe lava and there was NO road! (I got out and walked..which I have done a few times now, as he tackles road hazards I don’t want to be part of as a passenger!)
My husband is celebrating his birthday this week. He did not want a present. Instead, he asked that he be allowed to put new “knobby” tires on the truck and he ordered a bikini top for Addy so it will be almost like an open air jeep..just what we need when we are either in a sand storm at Green Sand Beach, freezing up near Mauna Kea, or in the sun parched lava near the beach. (my request for a sparkly purse for my birthday was met with, “And where are you going to actually use that?”..can I say the same for Addy’s new bikini?)
Addy has given our family some memorable road trips that our kids will share with their kids. I can hear my son..”When I was a kid, living on the Big Island of Hawaii, my family and I would pack up our brown 4WD on Saturdays and take off for an adventure that my dad found in the “Big Island Revealed” book….” I am sure my husband and I will cruise down memory lane and recall the dirt roads, beautiful beaches, serene vistas, rockin’ tunes and screeches from the back and front seats as passengers yelled out in surprise from being tossed sideways.
Addy’s next adventure will be along the “Mana Road” up at the 9,000 foot level along Mauna Kea..I am trying to get up there before her bikini shows up.