If there was one thing to do in Maui, we were told, it was to make the drive to Hana. It would take all day, so an early start is recommended. We got in the Jeep around eight in the morning and started the journey east.
It took close to forty-five minutes just to get to the beginning of what is called "The Road to Hana." We downloaded an app that provided a guided tour based on your GPS, which came in handy once cellular service became non-existent. Along the way the app provided contextual facts for what we were looking at, or indicate where we should stop, or pull over, to explore.
While I would like to give you a detailed description of each spot we saw, or pulled off at, it was difficult for us to even keep track of it as we were going. The road to Hana requires your utmost attention as it is long and windy, with over six hundred sharp turns and a lot of one-lane bridges. My knuckles were white, gripped firmly to the wheel at ten-and-two and my eyes were affixed to the road ahead of me as the guided app told me to look at a beautiful shore or bay to my left.
From our hotel, in Wailea, the trip to Hana and back is one-hundred and thirty miles, taking five hours to complete without stopping. A one-way trip from Boston to New York City is almost one-hundred miles longer, but an hour and a half shorter. While the road from Boston to New York City is fairly straight looking at a map, the one from Wailea to Hana is reminiscent of the last strand of spaghetti on a plate. The speed limit signage tops out and thirty miles per hour, but the majority of the trip is in the fifteen to twenty range.
Along the route are amazing views of beaches, cliffs, and waterfalls. Even the more densely forested parts were amazing to see, and reminded us of Jurassic Park. Absent from Hawaii is a broad range of wildlife—cattle and boar being the main inhabitants. But, as pointed out by my arachnophobic wife, it is crawling with spiders. As we drove through a picturesque beach town, she blurted out a noise that I would describe as "muffled terror." I expected to look over and see someone sharpening a machete within reach of the Jeep; instead she was reacting to a house that was literally covered in spiderwebs. She rolled up her window quickly and I hit the gas pedal firmly.
The town of Hana is a quaint little beach spot. The app told us that forty-five minutes beyond Hana is a "must-see" attraction of sacred pools, but it was passed three o'clock and sunset was in a couple of hours, so we turned around.
The ride back was mostly downhill and I was a seasoned pro on the roads at this point. With an underhand grip at six o'clock on the wheel, I wove around all of the turns while the voice on the app gave us a detailed history of Hawaii. We pulled into the hotel around seven o'clock.
We had dinner at one of the resort's restaurants and called it a night early. The road to Hana is supposed to be a long, grueling day full of hikes to waterfalls and swimming in natural pools. We opted to just see what was absolutely necessary and get some good pictures. For what is considered a leisurely version of the excursion, it really takes a lot out of you. Or maybe we are just getting old. Most likely it is both.