After witnessing the sunrise at Haleakala National Park, we decide to take the Road to Hana via Route 31 and 360 located south of the island. We stop by a country store: Ulupalakua Ranch Store and get some sandwiches.
I begin to talk to the locals and ask them questions regarding the road to Hana. They tell me the path can be dangerous. It is windy, narrow at times, and there are some mud roads. I get a little nervous since we have a smaller car with 2 wheel drive.
After our breakfast/snack, we drive on.
Enjoying the beautiful volcanic landscapes.
Justin gets an urgent phone call, so I pull over.
I decide to track my location on Google Maps. We are here, if you can figure out where here is.
After spending sometime appreciating the natural beauty, I turn back and walk towards the car and we drive on.
The road ways get more and more interesting. Especially the signs.
Ah! These were the 'very bumpy roads' that my friends Zhengdong and Mengjia warned me about.
And the one lane cliff side roads with steep falls where you have to honk to warn incoming traffic which you cannot see. Are you up for the adventure?
A change in scenery.
And some smaller waterfalls.
We finally arrive on the outskirts of Hana.
We begin walking the trail.
Obligatory and legal 'dangerous warning' sighs. Lawyers rule the world.
It is a steep and dangerous fall if you fall off the trail, but there is enough room to comfortably walk. Just don't be staring at your mobile phone while you walk.
We walk across the shoreline.
I love the collage of the red mud and green leaves and the trees.
And then we make the turn to see the red sand beach.
More narrower trails. Be careful here.
We get to the beach and it is amazing. The lighting and the iPhone camera I'm using doesn't do the beach justice.
This is so exciting.
I talk to a few of the locals ... local dogs that is. Justin calls me the 'Dog Whisperer'.
Time to walk back.
Still appreciating the view.
When we entered Hana we drove by a local barbecue place, so we decided to drive back to it and have lunch.
It was a decent barbecue, and it supported the local residents.
After lunch, we continued to drive back to the hotel via Route 360 following the east side of the island.
One lane roads makes you yield to Oncoming Traffic.
There are also one lane bridges.
And a couple of wonderful vista points.
It is a very very long and curvy drive.
We decide to be a little goofy.
Wow, there is a signal where we actually have to stop at the light.
Justin, sees something across the road as we are driving and he tells me that I should stop because I will enjoy the view. So we do.
This is what Justin saw.
Obligatory self promoting "ALI" picture.
We drive on and stop by another waterfall.
And randomly as we are driving I see three people (a guy, a girl, and a child) sticking their thumb out for a ride. I look at Justin, we talk really quickly, and decide to help them out. My first time!
After we drop off our new friends we continue on and the road becomes more straight with increases in the speed limit. Finally!!! I was getting a little tired of the driving.
As we are driving we the weather clears up considerably and we begin to notice the mountain at Haleakala National Park. We drive around to find a place to park and take good pictures.
We head back to the hotel: Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport. Time to shower, and relax for a bit. It is about 4:30 PM. We debate about driving to Kaanapali which is on the west side of the island, but it has been a very very long day and we both are tired of being in the car all day.
Later in the evening, we talk to the local bartenders at the hotel and get some suggestions for local food. Kalani suggests going to a local store for the best Poke in the area. We stop by the Tamura's Fine Wine and Liquors.
We walk around and grab a six pack, and then find out that they have specialty and craft beer. And is really really cheap. I ask one of the staff if they have my favorite beer of all time: Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout and surprisingly they do. And it is half the price of what it costs on the mainland. HOLY MOLY!
I get two, because one is just not enough.
We get out Poke from the deli within the store, head back to the hotel, sink in our beds, drink away and watch TV until we cannot stay awake anymore.
Today was a long day. The Road to Hana was very tropical and visually stimulating: from the cliffs, to the curvy roads, to the waterfalls, and the changing landscapes. Driving along the roads appealed to my adventurous side as well.
I really liked the Red Sand Beach, appreciating the colors and the contrast, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, and the small amount of foot traffic. I look forward to camping there sometime in the future.
Helping out up my first group of hitchhikers was also an adventure. Makes me trust the concept of it in the United States a little more.
And finally the delicious store bought Poke and cheap beer. It was definitely a win!
The only regret was not having the energy and will to drive to the west side of the island. The desire was there, but after driving in the car almost all day both of us were exhausted.
Breakfast: $11.53 (Ulupalakua Ranch)
Lunch: $12.00 (Bruddah Hutts BBQ Grill)
Beverages: $13.42 (Courtyard by Marriott)
Dinner: $29.87 (Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors)