I have been in Hawaii for a few days and with the weekend at hand I got on a plane this morning in Honolulu destined for Kahului on the island of Maui. I’ve heard and read lots of great things about Maui anhaving been to Oahu previously I elected to spend my free weekend on Maui. The flight is a short one, only about 35 minutes so I got to Kahului Airport and got to the rental car center. That’s where it began.
I have status with Hertz. I’m a member of President’s Circle which allows me, at most airports, to pick whatever vehicle I want to drive. I’ve driven Jaguars, Mercedes, all sorts of Infinitis, and some other cool stuff. Hertz on Oahu doesn’t do President’s Circle so I got assigned a vehicle and was upgraded to a Chrysler 300. Great car….big car….and when I got to Maui I was assigned a Ford Edge, not quite a small SUV but smaller than a mid size. And at first I was a a bit disappointed. But I got over it.
I couldn’t check in to my hotel till 3:00pm which was 5 1/2 hours away so I decided to take a drive on the Road to Hana. And that’s when you got me. I can’t remember who it was (yet) but sometime during my research and conversations about what to do on Maui, one of my friends told me the Road to Hana is a great drive and I should definitely take it. For the record, I don’t remember who told me but when time allows I’ll be checking e-mails and texts to find who the culprit is. And that person will be publicly shamed.
The Road to Hana is a bleeping nightmare. For most of the 45 miles from Kahului to Hana it’s a narrow curving Mutha. There are about 6000 one lane bridges and I stopped counting at 475,850 blind curves where 2 vehicles could pass each other but not easily and you probably couldn’t slide a sheet of paper between them. The speed limit most of. The way is 15mph and for the most part that feels a bit fast. There are some really neat things that I would like to photograph but there simply isn’t any facility to pull off the road and park for most of them. I did find a parking place for one of the waterfalls and there’s a nice overlook looking out over the ocean towards Kahului.
I cropped a few swimmers out of this waterfall. It was a shame….a few of the young girls looked like someone had given them major wedgies.
All in all it took me nearly 3 1/2 hours to make the 45 miles to Hana and it was white knuckle time all the way. I spent the last 30 minutes before the road widened in Hana cussing the “friend” who convinced me it was a good idea to take this drive. I took a quick look at the map and decided to go a different route on the way back to my hotel in Kahului. And that road was worse. The first 4 or5 miles was narrow and twisty like the previous route then I saw a sign that said “Narrow and winding road next 15 miles.”
Wait….what? You mean this road gets more narrow and winding than what I’ve spent the last 4 hours driving on? Nahhhhhh…..but it did…..and it was dirt. I’ve been on some pretty gnarly 4 wheel drive roads in Colorado and Utah and a few of them are narrower and more winding than Hawaii Highway 37 from Hana to Pukalani….but very few. Remember what I said about the smallish Ford Edge? I was thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t get another big car like the 300. Add the bright sunlight to deep shade scenario and it was worse than the drive from Kahului to Hana.
In my travels for my employer I have seen some tourist attractions that everyone should see once. Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Times Square in New York City, the Space Needle in Seattle, I’ve seen them all. And I don’t need to see them again. And now I’ve driven the entirety of the Road to Hana on Maui and I can promise you I will never do that again as long as I live. It had some interesting things to see….as you fly by at a hearty 15 miles per hour. But never again.