I survived the road to Hana
Before we drove to Hana, I was noticing all these t-shirts that said “I survived the road to Hana” – and separately, both Sam and I had the same thought: “hmm… that’s a funny way to put it.” Whenever we talked about this “tourist attraction” to anyone, they all seemed to downplay it. They said – yeah, it’s kind of a long trip, plan for a full day, the road is a little winding.
A little? Wow. Maybe I when I tell stories of our adventures I go over the top with my descriptions, but still, I’d never think to describe that road as a “little” winding.
Quite simply, the road was terrifying. Now I understand why the t-shirts all say “I survived the road to Hana” – because just surviving that road is enough to brag about. Like “I swam in a river filled with Parana and sharks. And then just to make things interesting, they placed a hungry tiger on the shore.” Seriously, the road is nuts. It’s VERY winding, it’s VERY narrow. Some turns are so tight and so narrow, you literally have to hold your breathe as you make the turn praying that the person coming around the bend is far enough over.
This picture above explains why I would be concerned about that in the first place. The huge truck in front of us obviously felt the dividing lines between the two lanes was merely a “guideline,” and not something you really needed to pay attention to.
And with such a narrow, winding road, you’d think people would obey the speed limit. Oh, no of course not! Locals as well as tourists zip through this place like death is a paradise you can’t wait to see.
They also warn you that there is nothing from the town of Pa’ia all the way to Hana, so you better get a boxed lunch in Pa’ia so you don’t starve to death on your way. So of course we heeded these suggestions, but there’s actually tons of little roadside local setups that I would have loved to have tried. It makes me think that the hotel has some sort of deal with the “boxed lunch” place to send business their way. At one point, regardless of the fact that we had plenty of food in the cooler from Pa’ia, we stopped at a little local stand and picked up some of the freshest “Pineapple Bread” I’ve ever eaten. Actually, I’ve never eaten pineapple bread, and probably will never do so again, but that’s just because nothing will ever compare to how delicious this bread was. It was still hot from the oven, and just totally amazing. They also had little bags of fresh coconut. Seriously – how can you turn that down.
One of the things we were going to do, was listen to this CD that was supposed to be a “tour guide” for you as you drive. We didn’t listen to him very much. Although it probably would have been pretty funny to keep doing so. The drive was just so difficult that we needed to keep full concentration on every inch. The one part we did hear and are still laughing over is that he said that the road “used to be” terrible – full of potholes, but fairly recently (2004?) it was paved and widened. Seriously? If this road is wide NOW, I would hate to have seen it before!
The point of the trip, apparently, is not just to drive to Hana and back, but to stop at several locations along the way. In my mind, I pictured a decent sized pull-off on the road, or at least larger signage to indicate where you were supposed to go, but this was not the case. The pull-offs were mostly no bigger than a small ditch on the side of the road. For some of the stops, it required hiking into woods on a vaguely marked path. All that coupled with my severe car-sickness from the road, we didn’t stop much.
At one of the bathroom stops we found on the way (we were told there were NONE!) we looked at the list of “sights” to see on the road to Hana, and decided the one and only one we REALLY wanted to see was the black sand beach. So we headed straight there. It was incredible. There was a lava tube right near the beach, and the sand was truly amazing. All of it comprised of black sand and rocks formed by lava flowing down to the ocean thousands of years ago. I so wanted to take a sample back, but then remembered what someone had told us about not taking sand or rocks… something about bad luck and really with so much of our life up in the air right now, I need as little bad luck as possible. I don’t even want to think about tempting fate.
Coming back was a much easier trip, for me anyway. I had been so wound up and felt so sick on the road in, that I was completely exhausted and fell asleep for most of the trip back to the hotel. Probably made Sam’s life easier that way too. LOL!
If you do ever come to Maui, and have never done the drive to Hana, and want to… well, at least now you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. LOL! I’m not sorry we did it, but I can’t see myself ever wanting to do that drive again!