Humor Non-Fiction posted August 27, 2017


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My last words before involuntary lift-off...

MarBear Versus the Volcano Part 3

by Mary Wakeford

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Brunhilda is my snarky inner voice. She inserts herself into my writing often. Bruni can be a real crank, but she never disappoints with her straightforward opinions or hilarious take on situations that arise. Bruni demanded a lead voice in this story, and wants to start it with a riddle-What's black and blue and flies a two-wheeler airborne?
                                                                                                                   

Recap:  On a trip to Maui a few years ago, we signed our youngest daughter, along with four other family members, to bicycle down the Haleakala volcano to the tune of $150.00 per person, assuming she would love the experience. 

We ASSumed incorrectly. We also forgot to mention she was the #5 rider until the night before launch of the two-wheelie expedition while sipping wine poolside. Daughter #2 made it clear she had no intention of participating in the downhill excursion. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing $150 bucks on a no-show, so I volunteered to ride her banana seat 26 miles downhill on a 6% grade with lots of 180 degree turns, over the course of four hours. 
 
Brunhilda was slightly pissed her plans for beach lounging with a good book and round-the-clock Mai-Tai’s had been sabotaged--while declaring me too cheap to blow $150 but sucking down a $70 bottle of wine a tad bit conflicted. She bitched the entire walk back to our room, and throughout the night of restless slumber due to an innate sense of doom lurking within my bones.

What can I say, I’m three-quarters Irish. We expect the worst. I hoped for an end-story that wouldn’t require IV’s and overnight hospitalization as a result of participating in this downhill venture.

I should also mention I’m the least athletic in my family of superstars, and a mediocre cyclist at best. While on vacation in San Diego a few years ago, my husband and daughter's father-in-law lured me into riding a bike from Mission Beach to Old Town. I was promised a beer and a quesadilla for my participation. I'm a cheap cyclist. They refused my second beer when I crashed on the return ride while trying to avoid a drunk pedestrian at a bus stop. 

****

Following the details of signing away releases in the event of death and/or injury at the warehouse, we arrived at the Haleakula summit in our 'too many passengers' van. We were given a few minutes to pose for giddy photographs atop the hushed volcano before being rounded up and loaded into the four-wheeler for the short drive beyond the park boundry where our downhill peddle to the metal insanity, or as Bruni suggested, pedal to the mental adventure, would begin.

Brunhilda wants everyone reading this to know the National Park Service banned bicycle companies from launching inside the park boundry due to death, injury and lawsuit exposure several years ago. Bruni wasted no time getting our panties in a wad over that little tidbit of information, shared inadvertently by our driver. Like Bruni, he too, was a blurter of the worst degree.

On the short drive to our launch site, we came to a quick stop--the van ahead of us with another tour group was stopped at the side of the road and everyone aboard was gawking at something in a tree while excitedly pointing and bouncing. Turns out it was a large owl.  

Brunhilda had recently learned that people of Italian descent consider an owl sighting to be an omen of impending death, and decided to share that newfound knowledge with everyone in the van.

Following the share, a woman seated toward the front of the vehicle turned and gave me the evil eye while waving her arms. I reacted to the wild eye'd woman's afront by immediately opening a McDonald's portable salt packet, and tossing the tiny white crystals over my Irish left shoulder to counter the wop-hoodoo. Unlike her, I was giddy seeing the large avian outside a zoo cage.

In retrospect...perhaps I have an ounce of Italian in me, and the owl was trying to warn me.

Shortly after the Italian vexation, our caravan pulled to the right and parked. The passengers jumped out and raced to the trailer hitched behind our van awaiting first dibs on bikes and helmets.  

Being a virgin volcano rider, I had no idea this is key in obtaining a decent bike, and a helmet that fits.  

By the time I made my way to the equipment cave on wheels, I was handed a helmet that looked to have barely survived a crash descending the French Jura mountains from the 1982 Tour de France. Bruni was not amused and added to the drama by yelling HOLY HALITOSIS as the stinky hood ornament came to rest on my shoulders. I didn't know bad breath germs imported from France in 1982 were viable, but there they were, front, center and raging.  

The helmet was so large on my head, Linda Blair could have completed her puking head rotations during the filming of The Exorcist unencumbered.  

The helmet was obviously not going to prevent me from a head injury should things go south fast, so I returned to the back of the equipment trailer and advised the aging hippie clad in a Hilo Hattie Hawaiian shirt that I needed a smaller helmet. I spun the topper for added effect.  

Hilo Hattie blurted, "That's no good" as he reached for the only helmet still left on the rack. I prayed it didn't stink or spin.

It seemed a better fit, so I returned to the beater bike I was awarded, also for being last, as Brunhilda repeatedly muttered "Loser" which reverberated around the inside of my new, old helmet.  

Of course the beater bike was too big as well, and no one was giving up their newer wheels to the short lady with a pin head, so an adjustment was made with some rusty tools lowering the seat on my camo-colored death launcher with disc brakes the size of Rhode Island to fit my soon-to-be-battered frame.  

Before launch, our lead bike heeler asked if anyone in the group was feeling uneasy about descending the 10,023 foot volcano. Brunhilda blurted "I AM" before I could stifle her.  For that outburst, I was assigned to the head of the class of single file bikers, directly behind him.  

I knew this line assignment would not win me the yellow jersey at the end of our race. I felt like a preschooler who is kept in close proximity to the teacher to keep him from weeping and upsetting the entire class. 

Brunhilda hoped her blurting and resultant first position would keep us from going home in a body bag, before adding her final salvo "You're a fooooooking cheap-ass'd loser...You can blow $150 bucks at a garage sale buying used shit, but refuse to lose it on a death defying stunt..." I closed my eyes and wished Brunhilda dead. Four hours later, I almost got my wish.

With a brief recap of the rules and understanding we'd be alerted of approaching cars from the front and rear of our convoy by the lead biker (Mr. Pre-K), and Mr. Hilo Hattie driving the van behind the last rider, both conversing via walkie-talkies, off we rolled. FOOOOOOK!

As I whizzed down the switchbacks, my confidence as a biker swelled along with another unmentionable part of my anatomy.

Between repeated salvo's the little bitch was putting out between the "Aaaahs" and "Oooohs" of the tropical scenery and breezy kisses Haleakala was imparting on us as we whizzed downhill, I was enjoying the experience greatly.  

Two hours later, we arrived at our scheduled rest stop for lunch at a lavender farm. I blame the aromic fumes responsible for a member of my family asking about leaving the tour and going off on our own. He was immediately warned about the lack of lead and rear alert system by Pre-K and Hilo Hattie, but my party of five decided without my consult that we were going to break off from the group and go it alone.  

A few other riders not related to our party of five idiots jumped at the inane suggestion as well. 'Pre-K' asked if I felt comfortable going with them, or staying with him and the other owlets for the last half of the descent.  

Lacking confidence, something I deal with occasionally due to the bitch in my head--I asked him if he felt it wise. He responded that I should be okay, but to watch out for the locals who become a tad loco and become aggressive when they come up on bike tours. OH SHIT!!

 
 To Be Continued 


 


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The photo attachment was created using a free phone app called MomentCam

Google references:

Source: Newsday.com

http://www.newsday.com/travel/a-daring-27-mile-bike-ride-down-haleakala-in-hawaii-1.2493477

Source: Review from a customer from San Francisco on a competing bike tour company, titled Disastrous outing - save your time and money assigning 1 of 5 bubbles and Reviewed January 3, 2011

Source: Ed Grabianowski - 10 Bizarre Ways A Volcano Can Kill You, dated 4/12/12:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5901183/10-bizarre-ways-a-volcano-can-kill-you#
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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