Hawaii Vacation Day 5 – The Road to Hana

Friday 11/16

“But wait,” you say. “I thought the road to Hana was on Maui, not Kauai.” And you would be right, my friend.

It all seemed to make such good sense at the time I was planning the trip. And, honestly, it did make sense. We got up around 4am on Friday to catch our 7:10 flight to Maui. The idea was to arrive on Maui by 9:00 and start from the Kahului airport for Hana, thus cutting an extra hour off of the drive than if we had set out from Lahaina, where we would be staying for most of our time on Maui. It worked very well, other than the 4am part.

Anyway, we said good-bye to our lovely Kauai condo and off we flew to Maui.

One of the things that makes the Road to Hana so scenic is the numerous waterfalls along the way. Some of them were flowing better than others, but here are a few that we stopped at.

Upper Waikani Falls (aka Three Bears Falls)

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Pua’a Ka’a Falls

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Along the way, “the book” directed us to a lava tube on the side of the road. Steve loves him the caves and lava tubes, and off he went disappearing into a hole in the ground for a good 5 minutes or more. When he emerged, he insisted I had to go in with him. I am a wee bit on the claustrophobic side, and I had just been taking some close-up photos of a massive spider whose web was hanging in the entryway to another, smaller lava tube, so I was disinclined to acquiesce.

However, with a little prodding, I followed along. Other than the fact that, in his excitement, Steve took off with the flashlight and I tripped and fell on my ass in the resulting darkness, it was worth the trip in. A little way back into the tube, after one small squeeze that made me nearly panic, the tube turned a corner and there was light up ahead. The top and side of the tube had collapsed and it was pure jungle through the opening. The roots from the trees on the surface had come through the tube and made their way down all the way into the ground below. It was really pretty cool.

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In addition to lots of waterfalls along the road, the other thing you see a lot of is burned-out cars. I am not exaggerating when I say that every mile there was at least 1 abandoned, and usually burned, car on the side of the road. I did not get the sense that these cars were left over from accidents as waterfall-obsessed tourists veered off the winding road. Rather, I got the feeling that we were seeing something similar to our rubbish heap experience on Kauai. I think that when people are done with their cars, they simply park them on the side of the road to rot. Sometimes they might set them on fire. Or maybe others do it at later times when there’s nothing else to do on a Saturday night. All I know is they were everywhere. Here is one such van we encountered.

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We finally got to Hana late in the afternoon, around 4 pm. We were staying the night, so we got checked into our little rental unit before heading out to see booming downtown Hana. Booming it is not. I’m not even sure it has a “downtown”. The people who live in Hana don’t want their town to be overrun by tourists, so they seem to have gone as far in the opposite direction as possible. One of the reasons the 100-year-old one-lane bridges haven’t been replaced with two-lane bridges is simply because the people of Hana won’t pay for them. They want them to stay one-lane.

So, we went down to Hana Bay and walked around to the decaying old pier, trying not to piss off the locals as we went.

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When I asked the lady at the rental unit where we could find dinner that night, she said we might be able to find a BBQ stand on the side of the road, but they were probably closed. As “the book” had said, there are all of 3 places to eat in Hana, and one of them is only open for lunch. So, we made reservations for the higher recommended of the 2, the Hotel Hana Maui, and settled in for a rest until dinner.

When we arrived at the hotel’s restaurant, we discovered it was a buffet with some type of show, and it would cost $50 each. Looking at the menu, we didn’t see much that really appealed anyway. So, we ditched the restaurant and, with just 5 minutes until the store closed, we raced into the local market and searched the shelves of dried seafood, WD-40, and tube socks for dinner items. We settled on peanut butter to eat with the pineapple bread we’d brought from Kauai, a $5 bag of Sun Chips (import fees, you know), and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cinna-bon ice cream, plus the 2 bananas we had in the car. We headed back to the rental unit where we happily ate our dinner sitting in bed. Ah, so much style and class!