The Road to Hana

Cruising around my newest addiction, Pinterest, I came across a picture taken along the road to Hana in Maui. And it brought back such vivid memories, though not necessarily all good.

A few years ago, I travelled that fabulous road with my husband, my two brothers and their wives. If you’ve never been on it, let me say it was absolutely the most beautiful, picturesque way to kill oneself I have ever experienced. Although it’s only sixty-eight miles in length there are about six-hundred turns, or if you’re the type to get car sick, about six-hundred opportunities to upchuck your last meal. To add to the enjoyment, at nearly every turn there is a one lane bridge, and a driver on the other side determined to beat you to it. The road is narrow, but as long as the ocean side vehicles drive with one wheel hanging over the cliff edge, and the hillside vehicles drive within inches of the chasm between the road and the rock face wall, there is no problem.

The travel guides say it is about a two and a half hour drive one way. Doing the math that’s about twenty-seven miles per hour, give or take a few white knuckles. We did it in a mere five hours because we stopped at every available touristy pull-off to do touristy things.

This is where the picturesque part comes in. The vegetation is lush, the ocean a beautiful sapphire blue, waterfalls everywhere you turn, lava tubes, water seeping out of rocks, black sand beaches. Truly, God created some of his most spectacular landscapes along the road to Hana.

Too bad the devil was in charge of the road to get there.

One would think, after risking dismemberment or death, that the destination, Hana, would be a fabulous resort town. No, it’s more like a last resort town. From what I saw, there wasn’t much more than a few houses and the Hana General Store. We dropped in, picked up a few refreshments and I bought a “I Survived the Road to Hana” bumper sticker, hoping later I’d be able to buy a sticker which said, “I Survived the Road Back from Hana.”

You’ll find, as we did, that the sun sets quite early in Maui. We drove back from Hana in the dark. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic. The townsfolk of Hana were already home likely because the locals knew that only a fool would drive that road at night.

We weren’t the only ones. If you can imagine a long chain of cars, bumper to bumper, speeding along at about forty-five miles an hour, weaving left then right as the road serpentines along the ocean, you might be thinking of a Sunday drive. If you can imagine lemmings following one after the other over the cliff, you might have been sitting beside me in the car as I muttered something about updating my will. Surely if the lead car had gone over the edge, the rest of us would have followed quite happily into the deep abyss.

My oldest brother, hypnotized by the red tail lights before him, casually remarked as he drove like the other twenty madmen in our congo line, “You guys are sure quiet.”

My other brother responded, “It’s hard to chat while you’re praying.”

Amen to that!

Obviously the prayers worked, because we made it back from Hana safely. And in one and a half hours, to boot.

The oddest thing about the road–no, let me rephrase that–the oddest thing about me, is that I’d love to drive it again. It is undoubtably the most invigorating road I’ve ever been on. The views are spectacular. Plus you get to buy a neat little sticker, “I Survived the Road to Hana.” Everyone should have at least one of those!

PS. To the wonderful Hawaiian people living in Hana, my apologies if I missed the major portion of your town. Perhaps it was around the next bend or over the hill, but I don’t recall seeing it. And I will offer a prayer for those who travel that road to work everyday. You must have nerves of steel!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. denyse
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 20:18:02

    This sounded like a great adventure, Carol. I don’t think I could make it, I feel very carsick and often need to rely on Dramamine even to the shortest distances. 😦


  2. galenrose
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 17:50:23

    I can get to Hana, enjoy it, but by the time we are on the road back, my stomach is done! The 7 scared pools (The Pools of ‘Ohe’o) beyond Hana are beautiful.


    • writeonlady
      Aug 06, 2012 @ 04:32:05

      We never got to the 7 sacred pools. An earthquake had made the road impassable before them. Gee whiz! I guess we’ll have to try it again. I might do better with a bit of a tranquilizer though.


  3. pambmorris77
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 23:57:41

    We LOVED the drive, but did it early in the day. Once of my favorite parts was pulling off (next to straight down cliffs lush with vegetation!) to get a mango smoothie at one of the locals stand. We did not drive back but continued around the horn of the island, breathtaking with an ancient wave tossed chapel of historical renown and great lava cliffs. Then continued up the other side of the island. Couldn’t take enough pictures. And no digital. I need to find them and scan them in!! Thanks for the memories, Carol!!


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