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.

Look, honey, a waterfall!! Ok keep going!!!

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!


We are in Hawaii right now and I’ve decided that this is where I want to spend every vacation for ever and ever. I am so in love with this place I’ve been moved to tears several times already. The hotel we’re staying in is completely fabulous. The two upgrades I made when we booked the trip were to get a room with an ocean view and to have their breakfast included.

First the view is absolutely spectacular! And the breakfast, for some reason, I thought it was just going to be a continental breakfast: some coffee, a bagel, maybe waffles if we were lucky. HOLY COW the breakfast is HUGE. Made to order omelets. scrambled eggs. Hash browns, eggs benedict, lox, bagels, fruit, waffles, steamed fish, even miso soup! There’s so much I can’t even remember it all. Then for seating, they placed us right next to this koi pond that has a waterfall. It’s simply paradise.

In the lobby of the hotel, in the open air, there’s another huge koi pond with another waterfall, and birds that just hang out there: like swans, flamingos, parrots. Everything is just over the top beautiful.

We splurged yesterday and had a couples massage. Then we drove down to the Maui Aquarium. Again, expectations were moderate, reality far exceeded anything I could have imagined. The first few buildings were very cool, but what totally blew any aquarium experience I ever had out of the water was showing up in the shark building JUST as they were feeding them. OMG!!! They have a glass tunnel that actually goes through the tank so these huge stingrays, hammer head sharks, and tiger sharks swim directly over your head and around you. Just…. OMG!!!

If my vacation was over right now, I’d say we had a fantastic time, but there’s still more to come. Today we’re just going to play on the beach and go kayaking, and snorkeling off the beach, then tonight we’re doing a luau (yes, I know they’re hokey. I’ve still always wanted to see one) Tomorrow, the road to Hana in our convertible. Then later this week, we’ll take a snorkeling boat tour. Still not sure about the helicopter ride. We’ve been tossing the idea around, but with my fear of flying, it might not be a good idea. LOL We’ll see.

All the restaurants are crazy expensive. IF I had any regrets, it would have been to get a kitchen in our room so we could have made our own dinner one night. But otherwise everything is about as close to perfection as I could imagine.

Flower 2



Twikipedia, they’re supposedly seen across the U.S. but I can’t remember the last one I saw that wasn’t in some kind of “butterfly zoo.”

Another unique-to-this-area insect: Lightening Bugs / Fireflies. We used to see them every summer when I was a kid in NY, but I haven’t seen one in so long. I don’t believe there are any in Utah at all. I was really psyched to have Rachel and Zachary see them and chase after and even catch a few. (We let them go after a few minutes of watching them up close).

Beach House Backyard