You need a few things to drive the highway to Hana: a skillful driver, nerves of steel and a car with good brakes. I got the car with the good brakes from Thrifty. Fortunately, the driving and the nerves come standard with the husband.
He drove every mile of that 105-mile trip across northern Maui and back.
Now, I’m no driving wuss. I’ve driven on the PanAmerican Highway in Costa Rica — at night. I’ve driven in Turkey, and cliffside among the white towns of southern Spain. (I’ll never forget my mother shouting, uncharacteristically, from the back seat when I reached over to get a potato chip from the bag my daughter was holding in the passenger seat: “No eating! Both hands on the wheel!”)
I’ve driven through downtown Boston, even. (Not New York. I’m not crazy) I’ve driven in snow and sleet and all that stuff.
Oh, but the last 36 miles of the road to Hana are something else. Twisting and turning doesn’t begin to describe it. There are steep hills along precipitous cliffs. There are dozens of one-lane bridges for two-way traffic.
Sometimes, there are all of those things at once: a sharp turn on a steep road over a one-way bridge at the top of an incredibly high cliff.
And the views are incredible. The jewel-green and blue Pacific, the crashing surf, the white beaches, the taro fields and villages and the occasional plunging waterfall. Which is all very lovely to see, if you’re the passenger.
The trip took us an entire day, during which we swam in a pool beneath a waterfall, ate lunch at an overlook with the charming town of Wailua far below, ate homemade banana bread from a roadside stand, bought coffee and starfruit at another stand, and swam at a black-sand beach.
We also took a load of photos. Here’s one of the road, in a part that isn’t very challenging: