When I was growing up, I always had a love for all things off road. I don't know if it was because my early childhood years were influenced by the monster truck racing that seemed to always be on TV, or if it had more to do with the childhood adventures on my mountain bike, or if it was a combination of the two. Whatever it was, if it was off-road, I was there. If it had a motor and it was off road, I was there even faster (probably fighting to get towards the front of the line). It was no accident that one of the first things I signed up to do upon arriving on Kauai, was Kauai ATV Tours.
We checked in at the Kauai ATV Tours office in old Koloa Town. Koloa Town used to be a hub of the once thriving sugar industry, but has since shrunk to a few shops and restaurants. After checking in, we were given a map to the ATV barn where we met our guide Pat.
Pat was a very nice guy that had a farm hand-ish sort of look and personality. He went over the basic operation of the ATVs as well as the two person buggies (which my girlfriend Simone and I elected to try). We also changed into some camouflage pants and t-shirts that were provided for us to use by Kauai ATV Tours. After we were all geared up, we started our engines and began our ATV adventure out on the ranch.
Pat explained that this ranch was once all a giant sugar plantation that extended for thousands of acres on both sides of the mountains. For years the owner of the plantation was forced to pay heavy fines because he had no other option but to use the states public roads to transport the sugar from the fields in Koloa and Poipu, to the mill in Lihue. Eventually, (because of the cost of the fines he was constantly paying the state) he decided that it would make more sense economically to dig a private tunnel through the entire mountain then it would to continue using the states roads. So he did exactly that, and brought in Chinese laborers to make it happen. The tunnel is still there to this day, and we got to drive through it during the ATV tour.
After we made it through the tunnel to the other side of the mountain, we continued our full throttle journey around a giant loop that took us all the way to theside of the highway in Puhi. After going parallel to the highway for a stretch we eventually turned and made a giant loop, but not before stopping for lunch.
Following Pats lead, we eased off of the gas and made our way down a small side trail. The trail led to a wooden pavilion that sat next to a picturesque waterfall. Pat unpacked our picnic lunches from the cooler that he had strapped to the cargo rack on his ATV. We spent about half an hour or so checking out the waterfalls and eating our sandwiches. In the back of my head I was kicking myself for not wearing my bathing suit, because the waterfall and the pool looked like it would make for a nice place to take a break from the hot Kauai sun.
After we all finished our lunches we got back on our off road vehicles and completed our loop around the ranch before we ended up back at the ATV barn. Here we hosed ourselves off in the shower and then changed back into our dry clothes that we were wearing when we checked in. After the tour we decided to go for a swim in the ocean at the nearby "Shipwreck Beach".
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