Maui, Hawaii: Jungle vs. Paradise
When I finally booked my ticket to Hawaii for the first time, I had no idea what was in store for me or how it was going to change my life. Honestly, I would have never bought the ticket if it weren’t for a friend that I met four years earlier—Chris Puder, or “Mendo,” as the Californian transplant is called.
In 2010, I found myself wandering aimlessly solo through Mexico with the wonder of a child and the reliability of a single cylinder Enduro to look after me. Now I realize that I was searching for my own identity, but back then I wanted an adventure, and that’s exactly what I got. As it happened, I crossed paths in Mazatlan, Mexico, with a group of three guys from California who had the same “plan.” For one week, we tore up the twisty wild roads of the west coast by day and hit the town equally hard by night. It was beautiful, but like everything, it came to an end. As we split ways, I never thought I would see those guys again, but four years later (thanks to Facebook), I am outside the airport about to get into Mendo’s truck. I’ll be staying with him for a week and riding one of the best places in America, Maui.
There are two main motorcycle rental outfits in Maui. Aloha Motorsports has the Harley guys covered, and Maui Moto Adventures has adventure spec’ed KLR 650s. I pick neither because, luckily for me, Mendo has an extra bike (a Yamaha WR450F) that I can use for a week, but only if I put some fresh rubber on it for him. (Perhaps renting wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.)
Bloody knuckles, bent tire irons, and a few hundred bucks later, the tires are on and we can ride. I’m earning my keep. The next day we gear up to explore a new trail with the unofficial “Maui Dual Sport Club.” Maybe it’s his endless wheelies or his uber relaxed personality, but Mendo runs the show.
Motorcycles & Gear
2007 Yamaha WR450F
2009 Genuine Buddy 150 Scooter
Helmet: Fox V3 Helmet with Thor Goggles
Jacket: Answer Syncron Jersey
Pants: MSR Renegade
Boots: MSR Elite
Gloves: MSR Axxis
Luggage: Wolfman E-12 bags
Vanishing into the Dark Wet Jungle
The Dark Wet Jungle is the tag line for Kalani Prince, who is along for the ride today. He is also the mastermind behind the moto Vlog YouTube channel Accidental Broadcast.
The next character that I meet is known simply as the “Hox.” He is the oldest of the group and takes on a “cool dad” role with his sarcastic personality and eagerness to tell one of his many “true stories.”
Mr. Mike is the last guy to show up for today’s ride and comes with every KTM accessory one could think of, including two KTM bikes. This jock-looking, tattoo sporting, spiked hair spasm turns out to be really cool (or at least really fun to watch ride). He’s not the tallest in the group, so when he rides, he keeps his momentum up as well as his feet.