Not so one with nature
I arrived at Malaekahana Beach Campground and realized it was closed for the night. They left me a parking pass, but I had no luck getting to my campsite because a locked gate was blocking the road. So, I set up the Hale on Wheels in front of the main office.
It took me a while to figure out where to put my suitcase, how to charge my phones, how to run the fridge, how to set up the bed, how to close the curtains. The van was also hot, super hot. I experimented with several open windows to get a cross breeze through the van, but woke up sweaty several times.
The next morning, I woke up early to the sound of roosters, ocean winds, and passing cars on the highway. I got out and saw chickens, cows and wind turbines across the road. I texted my wife, who was back in New Jersey and was mildly amused and nervous about my camping adventure.
Me: Yeah. I have a great time with this motorhome. Glad to try this once – but probably never again. Ha ha. 😂
Spouse: It literally looked like a vehicle with a mattress. They really expand the definition.
Me: Yeah. They equipped it a bit. They have a separate battery that powers the outlets inside as well as a refrigerated cooler. They have a propane stove that pulls out, a small faucet, etc. curtains all around so you can sleep easily. It’s smart and cute but a bit chintzy too – it’s all a fuss. I kinda miss having a bathroom to pee in the middle of the night instead of a sliding van door and walking through the woods in the dark. 🙂 It’s also hot in the van at night. So, I opened four windows to create a cross breeze in this Hale on Wheels.
Spouse: It looks like a Barbie toy which looks cute but not so functional. And yes, I was totally thinking about cooling.
Me: Yes. It’s functional in a way for influencers who want to wow their friends with photos from a surf trip that looks like magic. The rear door of the van reveals a cute kitchen. But they don’t show the pain in the butt of #vanlife.
Spouse: Sweating, the glory of urinating in nature. Burn your eyebrows on the propane stove.
Me: This thing has a roof rack that contains a table and chairs and a “shower”. But they admit in the video tutorial that the shower is more than a small tank that allows you to “water yourself” a little. You really should use the cold outdoor showers at the campsite, they say.
Again, very cute. But…?
Spouse: It looks cute as in a bull —-.
Me: They provide towels. Tons of beautiful bedding. And a surprising range of kitchen equipment. #VanLife is overrated IMHO. Then again, maybe a roomier van feels more luxurious.
Spouse: I just don’t understand wanting to live like you’re homeless… For people who are long term Van folk
Me: It seems like just a trendy twist in the old VR phenomenon. A more affordable way to see the country and be a nomad in America.
Spouse: No thanks…
Day trips on the North Shore
My free day on the North Shore was a dream, revealing why people call Hawaii a paradise. I swam in the ocean, jogged on the beach and read the surf memoir “Barbarian Days” by New Yorker journalist William Finnegan, some of which take place on Oahu.
At one point in the book, Finnegan describes a lineup of waves on Oahu amidst a crowd of other surfers. “The whole scene had the feeling of a religious sanctuary overrun with eager pilgrims,” he wrote. “I half expected people to start speaking in tongues, fidgeting and foaming at the mouth, or the monastery monkeys bombarding us with guavas.”
Although I am a beginner surfer who has surfed waves from the Americas to Spain to Morocco and had long dreamed of surfing Hawaii, I was prevented from surfing on this trip due to an operation Knee. The last thing a knee in rehabilitation needs is violent, twisting movements on unpredictable ocean waves.
I visited the campsite office. Fortunately, I was able to book a second night at the campsite. As I was charging my phone outside the campsite office, I met a young German couple on their way to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We spoke some German and talked about their visit to Oahu. I mentioned the Latter-day Saint ties to the cultural center, and they asked several questions, intrigued by the new information.
Eventually, I embarked on a road trip around the North Shore. I stopped for lunch and a swim at Banzai Beach near the famous Pipeline wave. A native lifeguard and I had a great chat about life, surfing, and beaches. He told me he was going to New Jersey to participate in a surf program for autistic children. “God bless you,” he said as I trudged through the sand to read by the ocean.