Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
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“Listen to this,” my co-worker chuckled, as she skimmed through a Forum letter
that had just come in.
The letter (printed at left) was written by two
Colorado residents, who apparently have spent 15 vacations here in the last 11
Overall, it was a nice letter that indicated regular visitors
empathize with Kaua’i’s struggle to flourish despite numerous
It also spelled out exactly what it is that brings these
visitors back year after year.
But more than that, it conveyed their
concern about recent “changes” on the island.
Some hit close to home …
Traffic, understandably, topped the list. For some time now,
increased traffic has been the source of heavy-duty headaches for highway
officials and pau hana gripe sessions in many local garages.
I can’t say
I’ve noticed a glut of small tour buses on the road, as they have, but I have
seen more moped rentals.
A moped’s lack of speed doesn’t really bother me.
An operator’s lack of common sense does. Kaua’i’s over-crowded roads aren’t
The couple’s concern about “hippie-type,
scruffy-looking people” on our roads sparked memories of the late ’60s when
“flower children” with long, wispy skirts and long, wispy beards first started
appearing on our roadsides.
By the time those colorful transplants had
become such common sights we hardly noticed them, times had changed again.
Before we knew it, days would go by without a single, hitchhiking thumb being
spotted along the highway.
Perhaps our visitors’ observations are a sign
that things are coming full circle and flowers are back in power
Another thing mentioned in the letter was the number of nude
swimmers and sunbathers they saw at family beaches like Anini. They were also
disturbed by people they suspected of being perennial campers who had found a
way around local camping regs.
The above concerns had three things in
common: 1. None were without merit; 2. None had easy fixes; and 3. None were
responsible for the chuckles coming from the other side of our office.
made us laugh out loud that day were these alarmed sentences:
motorcycle gangs coming from somewhere. We could not believe this,” the couple
said in their letter describing what they saw during their lengthy May
“As we drove toward Anini Beach, we passed a group of nine to 10
coming from the polo grounds or park. Then we passed four more, then six more.
“This is not a good image for Kaua’i,” they warned.
I laughed when I
read this because, as many of you already know, several members of our family,
myself included, could have been riding in one of those “motorcycle gangs” the
letter referred to.
It was amusing … at first. After all, anyone who
knows my family and what we’re like probably finds the notion that we could be
responsible for tarnishing Kaua’i’s “good image” too funny for words.
the more I thought about it, the less I felt like laughing. Being “fair” has
always been one of my biggest priorities. It’s nearly impossible for me to let
what I consider “unfair” generalizations pass without comment.
little more thought, though, I realized that — to be fair — these visitors
were probably just sharing an opinion based on their own experiences back home.
Perhaps where they come from, “motorcycle gangs” are a problem and they were
genuinely trying to prevent the same thing from happening here.
live Kaua’i. Things are different here.
My sweet Westside friend, Margie,
confirmed this recently in a friendly note she sent me after reading my latest
column on our family’s ongoing motorcycle saga. She told me how she had come
here from the Mainland many years ago with a negative opinion of people on
motorcycles. Where she came from, apparently, most bikers were bad news.
she was naturally nervous when a group of bikers (and their ladies) came into a
restaurant she was working at. To her pleasant surprise, she found that they
were just ordinary people … and nice ones at that.
That pretty much says
it all. On Kaua’i, most people on motorcycles are just ordinary people. If you
can get past the noise and black leather, you’ll be amazed at who you’ll find
riding a bike on Kaua’i.
I’ve seen counselors and carpenters, pharmacists
and physicians, fire captains and fishermen. I’ve met the nicest people and
been impressed more than once by the camaraderie most seem to share.
come to understand that just as some people spend their leisure time fishing or
hunting or reading a book, these people enjoy cruising the highways.
Sometimes, it’s just for fun. Sometimes it’s for a good cause. On the day,
our letter-writing visitors spotted so many bikes coming from Anini, there was
an island-wide “poker run” that was a benefit for a nonprofit youth
organization. Other events have benefited Toys for Tots.
veterans will be involved in another poker run, in the spirit of Independence
Day. It will help the island remember how many of our nation’s finest were
willing to put their lives on the line when called on to do so.
being intimidated or irritated by a group of bikers on the highway, give them a
wave as they pass by. One of them may be your neighbor.
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