Halfway between Far East and the West lies the most remote island chain in the world, Hawaii. I came to the Big Island to get lost - then someone tossed me the keys to a Pathfinder.
The saying goes that ‘someone must be lost before they can be found’. I’m not sure that everyone wants to be found. Sometimes you lose yourself - to wander for the remainder of your days. A perpetual walkabout.
Hawaii is casually responsible for many whey-ward souls. Bums. Transients. Pensioners. Veterans. Hippies. Salarymen. The working stiffs like me all seek an escape, all come here to forget about it all. The land of sunshine, good vibes, and an ocean with no memory.
Being that I am now lost, I should be thankful for a Pathfinder. The vehicle could be my savior from the island in the middle-of-no-where. I will need a means to escape my Hawaiian walkabout back to where ever I came from - to the life I made myself.
Do I want to follow the path? The faithful hound on lead is following the scent back to my point of arrival. I think not.
The Pathfinder is a dog with few tricks. It eats a lot of treats, I pray it doesn’t know how to roll over, and if it fetches a stick... that’s probably slang for a head on collision into an Ohia tree.
It seeks no path but the one already paved by civilization - and this place hasn’t been civilized by Western standards long. To be frank, the Hawaiians killed their first tourist, Captain Cook, in 1779. In the big scheme of things, it’s the equivalent to yesterday; when Hawaii was put on the map.
You’d imagine then, we could find something undiscovered. A South Pacific gem. Something not in one of the FIVE guide books I own. Sadly, it’s all there, already found, already documented in black and white.
Since being ‘found’ Hawaii has become possibly the most American state we have. There are parts of it representing the first, second, and third world. Places representing the best and worst of those worlds. Polished malls, freshly paved roads, condos, and golf courses to the red dirt roads, tin roofs, abandoned rusting cars, and severe poverty.
My Pathfinder is good for one thing: moving you about the numbered world roads in the middle of the Pacific. It cannot blaze trails. It can’t traverse the unknown.
I can hardly put my faith in it to go on the ubiquitous cracked, shattered, squished, narrow, and sluff-offed Hawaiian ocean roads. Thankfully the speed limits are slow and cell service is now near complete coverage.
The Pathfinder shatters my dream of an adventurous escape from the tropical wilds. It has taken me far and as wide as we can go on asphalt-concrete and well groomed dirt roads.
At first sign of wild and lost places - it will shit the bed. It didn’t come with navigation after all (?!!!). With iPhone in hand, I navigated us back to the safety of numbered civilization. It’s like driving through a paint by numbers project.
This particular Pathfinder is the SV. The trim level standing for Simple Vehicle of course. This Nissan simply will not do. It is a large-ish CUV destined to be the equivalent of the hated minivan of our generation. I’d rather have the minivan as they are easier to live with (read: power doors).
I prefer my vehicles to have the ability to go where my mind wanders and where I wish my feet could take me faster (reasons why I bought a 5th gen 4Runner). The Pathfinder finds malls, grocery’s, and playgrounds of the world. It cannot find you lost in the wild places.
The original Pathfinder from 1986 was more true to its name. With a ladder-type frame and 4wd, it was a response to the Jeep Cherokee (Ohhh XJ, I adore you).
We all know what happened to the Cherokee - it became one of the best selling and most beloved compact SUVs of all time - only to be killed and reincarnated in a compact CUV... sac-religious!
The Pathfinder does nothing better than the Rogue, except carrying more meat and clutter.
I thought our friends were crazy for selling their Pathfinder Platinum and buying a new Rogue.
I understand now - they had no plans on trying to get lost... and they probably wanted to save money.