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Biking Mt. Haleakala

Getting up at 2 a.m. on vacation sounds crazy, but what’s even crazier is waking up at 2 a.m. to bike down a 10,000-foot volcano. At least that’s what my friends say. My comeback is: how often do you get to watch the sun rise over a crater, then ride a bike 37 miles down to sea level and only have to pedal twice?

The Haleakala Sunrise Bike Ride was early, but it was also one of the most rewarding endeavors I’ve ever experienced on vacation. As we headed out in the pitch of night, we were groggy and a bit cold; however, once we arrived at sea level, my adrenaline kicked in. The tour guides mentioned the annual ride to the top of Haleakala, and I knew I was headed for my next challenge. (Apparently, Lance Armstrong climbed it a few times in one day for training.) The ride is officially named Cycle to the Sun (Haleakala means “House of the Sun”), though most locals call it “Psychos to the Sun” (Cycle to the Sun). Either way, climbing straight up for 40 miles is my idea of a vacation.

Am I off my rocker to think of vacations as adventures that take you out of your element? Or should vacation be about relaxing and recharging? You tell me!

Stuck at the Airport? Pass the Time with These Airport Finds

Waiting in line and killing time at the airport tops the list of common complaints for any frequent flyer, but be bored at the airport no more! From spas to local eats, many of the nation’s top airports may actually give you reason to get to your gate extra early. Check out these airport finds:

Austin-Bergstrom International
When you go to a place known for its “family-style” servings, you know it has to be good. A requisite stand-by for barbeque-lovin’ Austin residents, Salt Lick BBQ made its way to the West Terminal of Austin-Bergstrom, giving visitors of the Texas capital a tender taste of Texana as soon as they step off the plane.

Boston’s Logan International
If you’re leaving the east coast, but don’t want to leave all that fresh seafood behind, stop by Anthony’s Pier 4 Lobsters in Terminal B – where the term “carry out” takes on a whole new meaning. Lobsters can be packed live for 48 hour take out. But, just so you know, bib and melted butter not included.

Chicago’s Midway International
Change up what you’re listening to or consider bringing a musical gift. Revered as “the top independent music retailer in the country,” George’s Music Room found its second home just beyond Chicago Midway’s security checkpoint. The original store opened in 1968 in Chicago’s fabled west side and has since been known to stock local and hard-to-find Blues records, as well as the latest hits.