Part V: Off the Beaten Path

Note: I’ll be on a blog holiday for the next couple of days so no new posts until Monday. Happy Easter!

With this week’s mid-30 degree weather that included falling snow (thank you calendar for reminding me that it is now spring), I have been thinking of warm destinations. Well, today’s neat travel spot is somewhere that never receives snow. Actually, some folks might actually get bored with the weather (I am not sure how though) as the outside temperature stays in the 80 degree range most of the year.

Where is this place of dreams? Hawaii of course—-the island of Maui to be exact. Several years ago, my sister-in-law decided to get married in Hawaii. The spouse and I had only been married a short time and were debating whether to just have me stay home or both attend the event.

We decided that we may never get another shot at going to Maui (and haven’t had any offers since), so we cut some of the stupid costs out of the mother-in-law’s planned budget (most expensive hotel, allocations for something like five meals per day, etc.) and took the plunge for a short stay in Hawaii.

Our time there was fantastic, but for this post, I wanted to stay with one particular part of the trip. Maui’s rich history includes the undeveloped community of Hana on the island’s east coast. No trip to Maui is complete without driving from where many of the hotels are located in the south and east to the other side of the island and Hana.

The road to Hana is only 53 miles long. What persons may not tell you is that the pathway consists of mostly one-lane of travel, 600 curves, plenty of cliffs and waterfalls, and over 54 bridges—-all driving at speeds topping out at 15 mph to make the trip, well one long drive.

If you do decide to brave the road to Hana, do three things:

1) Volunteer to drive. The road is so twisting that the driver will be so focused on steering that he/she will not notice how motion sick (even an avid roller coaster fan like the other sister-in-law who was with us got queasy) that everyone else is in the car.

2) Bring barf bags—well, you get the idea.

3) Do not let an impatient driver remove the audio tour DVD during the trip or you will likely miss the turn and never see this week’s off the beaten path stop (as father-in-law and the folks he was with did).

Fortunately the waterfalls, watching surfers, and at least one other stop make the crazy drive worthwhile. Along the road to Hana, is a volcanic ash beach. The Honokalani Black Sand Beach sand is a rich black color and you can watch the tide gliding back and forth. It is surrounded by hills of hardened lava rocks—terrain that makes you feel like you are walking on the moon or something.

When I was boy, I for some reason, I had saved a magazine photo of a black sand beach. I always imagined myself standing there looking at the surf. Well, this dream became reality as I walked barefoot on a black sand beach--which is really small smooth lava pebbles. At Honokalani Beach there is also a path into a cave along the shore, where from inside, you can watch the waves crash and spray water through circular holes in the rocks.

The Road to Hana’s black sand beaches (there are actually two on the trip) will not disappoint—-even if there are no bikini clad models doing a photo shoot when you go as was the case on our visit.

Previous tour stops in this Off the Beaten Path Series are:

--Centralia, PA

--Murfreesboro, AR

--Lynchburg, TN

--Washington DC


thewarriorpoets said...

My brother-in-law and his wife honeymooned in Hawaii and were so impressed with the Road to Hana that they named their new dog Hana.

Which made them the one couple in the Chicago area that didn't name their dog Wrigley.


Oz Girl said...

I went to Hawaii (the big island) for the first time in Oct 2006 ~ the plan was to take my parents for their 50th. But my father passed away a year earlier, so we still took my mom -- me, my sister and her husband, my brother and his wife and little girl, and my mom. We had the most wonderful time; rented a house near Captain Cook's bay on the Kona side and it was GORGEOUS! Snorkeling was a short walk down the narrow road.

I decided I could live there. My mom didn't feel the same. Figure that out! :-)

I understand your break from blogging -- my mom was here this whole week so I have really been absent. She just left an hour ago and I am getting all caught up!! Enjoy your break time. :)

Oz Girl said...

Whoops, we went to Hawaii in Oct 2007. Small typo...

Slamdunk said...

WP: I guess there are not to many dogs in Chicago named Bartman either.

OG: We enjoyed snorkeling as well. With "we" I mean me, brother-in-law, and the Mrs.' younger sister. The Mrs. was afraid of the deeper water and wouldn't go with us--swimming around those giant sea turtles was really something I am glad that I did not miss.