Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maui: On the Road Less Taken

“The road around this north side of Maui is desolate, but ruggedly picturesque. 
It also has a very narrow section of road with a sheer cliff 
and no guard rail before you reach Kahakuloa when driving from Kapalua. 
Not for the faint-hearted. 
Drive at your own risk.”

Had we taken the driving map, we would likely have noticed that warning.

Instead, I’d grabbed the tourist magazine with a general map of the island as we set our for a Saturday drive, heading north from Ka’anapali Beach on the west shore of Maui.

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We followed the two-lane paved road along lush hillsides, past surfer beaches and places with lyrical names that rolled off our tongues: Honokowai, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua

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So beautiful was this Saturday morning that we decided to continue on to the place called Kahakuloa, through an area on the map showing Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetland Preserve.

Not long after stopping to admire the view (above)–near Nakalele Point and Blow Hole, we approached a curve and found a convertible stopped on the roadway, the driver waved us around him. . .

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As we went around the car, it didn’t take long to see why he’d stopped. The road had become a narrow little thing - far too narrow to change our minds at that point. There was no place to turn around so we just kept going..

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While we hadn’t noticed a 'narrow road'  before entering this section of road, but we had to laugh along the way because they were posted at regular intervals – obviously for those who hadn’t noticed the size of the roadway on which they were traveling.

It was comforting to find other tourists, like us, creeping along at the posted speed limit of 5 miles per hour, sometimes as fast as 15 miles per hour. Believe it or not, we did pass vehicles coming from the other direction. . . it was a squeeze as each car  pulled as far to the side as one could. . .

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Oh yes, and that one really narrow section without the guardrail (as if the other sections had had a guardrail).  It was just that. . .

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It was not a road for the faint-hearted. (And those who’ve ‘Survived the Road to Hana’ – the looping road at the south end of the island while biting their nails, might want to avoid this all together).  TIP: If you drive this road, drive in a clockwise direction, starting  from the north end and then at least you will be on the inside when it comes to easing past approaching vehicles.

The reality is that this has been one of the best things we've experienced on this tourist-congested island. We saw a bit of real Hawaii on this road trip, for instance. . .

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This delightful and enterprising refreshment stand parked on the one and only wide spot curve along the way.

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And a close up look at Kahakuloa Head. . .

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This delightful hamlet with this picture-perfect little church. . .

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And some of the most marvelous countryside we’ve ever seen. . .

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Have you been to Maui? Did you take this drive? How about other roads less taken? Are you one to take the road or would you have stopped and waved other motorists past?

That’s it for this installment of the Travels of  Hula Babe and Beach Boy. We appreciate the time you spend reading of our adventures and hope you are having some great ones of your own! Please come back often!

Linking up:
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  1. So glad to read all these stories and look at your amazing pictures! Unfortunately, the only adventure I can live now concerns my mother's health... Anyway, I travel virtually with you and I thank you for this!

    1. I am glad you come along with us, even if we provide only a virtual tour. And I do hope your mother's health matters are only temporary. Hugs to you. Stay well - being a caretaker for an older loved one is hard work. . .so take some time in your lovely country garden to recharge yourself.

  2. Hi Jackie,

    What beautiful countryside, so green and lush and shining in that jewel of a Hawaiian sun! I'm sure you're no stranger to similar narrow and precarious roads here on the island, right? Unprotected cliffs, one-car mountain roads, some paved, others graveled, and still, others just plain dirt! But... they lead the way to breathtaking scenery, stuff of dreams...

    Have a lovely Thursday!


    1. Actually we compared this drive to so many that we've taken in your lovely Crete and we said basically what you have written - the road may be a bit nerve jangling but the spectacular country is so worth traveling to and through. . .

  3. I didn't take that drive when I was there so this is the very first time I've been able to see what it's like! Thank you! you have to finagle your way back against the other traffic, Jackie?? Food truck stop? I'm in :)

  4. No, it comes out and merges again with the main (two-lane) highway so you can circle around the island and not have to do the narrow stretch both coming and going. I should have posted photos of the little booths at each end of that hamlet that sold fresh-made banana bread. . .still kicking ourselves for not stopping at one of them.

  5. What a fantastic drive this looks - I'd love to drive it. The countryside looks spectacular and the road just testing enough.

    1. Sometimes we are quite happy to know a bit less in advance and experience a bit more as we go along! Thanks for the visit, Jo!

  6. it's probably just as well you didn't see the signs before you started the drive but as always there's a reward for doing so. It would have been awful to miss out on this beautiful countryside!

    1. It was drop dead gorgeous so I am happy we didn't read the warnings and re-consider. . .what a loss it would have been. Thanks for your visit, Jenny!

  7. I think we drove all or part of that road on our first trip to Maui back in 2002.

    1. I bet you did, Dick. Yes, not for the faint-hearted, but what incredible beauty it holds!

  8. We only made it to Mile Marker 8 in Hana and did part of this road to Napili. Wow, what a challenging drive but those countryside views and scenery are just beautiful and I'd say definitely worth the hassle and some heart racing roads.It's definitely a far cry from the tourist areas of Maui.

    1. We drove the Hana road to Pa'ia and the traffic was bumper to bumper, stop and go -- again far too many tourists for the infrastructure. Gave it up and headed to Makawao, cattle country. Maui has got to do something about transportation - the entire island (with the exception of this stretch), feels like downtown Honolulu. Thanks for the visit!

  9. I haven't been past the hotel stretch of beach on Ka'anapali on that side of Maui. If we had done this drive, it would definitely be my husband behind the wheel. We have done the Road to Hana, and I remember having to pull over for a police car who was heading to rescue and automobile that had crashed and blocked the road. (Or perhaps a falling rock had landed on its hood. I'm not sure of the order of events.) There are a few roads in Malaysia that get washed out, and you have to squeeze the oncoming traffic over if you don't want to fall over the edge. I don't like driving on those.

  10. We decided that Ka'anapali Beach is not our sort of place - far too many tourists snugged together in too little space. Have to say although the heart-raced, it was freeing to see wide open - undeveloped - space on Maui. thanks for visiting, Michele. Hope to see you again soon!

  11. Hi Jackie, That's narrow! I hope you stopped for coffee at the school bus. I know I'd need something to get the nerves calmed (or maybe some sitting meditation!). I love the scenery. I was to Hawaii and Maui in 1980 (just a couple of years ago!). I didn't do this drive, but I did go up to the rim of the volcano on Maui, and one of the black beaches. I want to go back!

  12. Oh my gosh! :-) My stomach is lurching just looking at the pics! :-) But what a stunning area at the end of the road. So so gorgeous and green. :-)

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  15. We followed the two-lane paved road along lush hillsides, past surfer beaches and places with lyrical names that rolled off our tongues: Honokowai, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua. limo maui

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