Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Survived The Drive To .......

Tour books and rental car agencies will tell you that there is no road that completely encircles the Northwest portion of Maui ... but they lie!!!  You really can drive around that end of the island (clockwise please) if you are a brave soul not scared by cliffs or backing up for half a mile in order to find a wide spot in the single lane road.  Even then, pull in your driver side mirror because you will need the extra space!!  Luckily I survived the backing up and the driving ... to find views like this!!
The day began looking over some property Cyndae was interested in buying.  $665,000 gets you a 1300 sq ft,  1936-built plantation home (remodeled thankfully) 20 feet from the neighbor who has more junk outside than inside, laundry hanging between you and the beautiful mountain view, as well as chickens, turkeys, dogs and several bee hives.  It DID have a gorgeous ocean view and a small beach if you didn't mind standing at the side of the road for 20 minutes before finding a space between cars so you could scurry across!!  There were too many right-of-ways to count and your front yard was a "common" area.  I'll pass thank you .....

It WAS a short walk to the home of Leoda's pies however ... which carried a lot of weight, just not enough to part with that kind of money!!
You'll miss this place between Ma'alaea and Lahaina because it looks like a dumpy grocery store and farmers market.  PULL OVER, look for the sign and you will be rewarded with the best peanut butter pie you ever ate!!!  Next time we will share ONE 5" pie ... or better yet, they make the same thing in 3" mini pies!!!  Yes, it's that rich!!!
Having been here so many times, I was looking for unusual places to see and found the book Maui Revealed.  GREAT book to find places off the beaten path NOT full of tourists (well not AS full of tourists)!!  One of those places is the petroglyphs.  Not even Cyndae, who lived here for years, knew about these.  The rocky dirt road up the mountain is easily accessible, but if the rental company GPS tells on me, I may be in for a big fine!!  The story goes that King Kamehameha fought a huge battle just over the mountain in Yao Valley with a local tribe (trying to unite the islands) until almost everyone was killed ... a massacre beyond description.  The survivors cut a trail down this mountain which was later used by natives who drew pictures on this volcanic rock wall.  Don't go too far past the drawings or you will see what a real pig farm smells like!!!
Next up ... dragon teeth.  When the last big volcanic flow happened here, as the hot liquid lava hit the huge cold ocean waves, the lava solidified into these upsweeping teeth.  Don't get too close or you will get VERY wet from the crashing waves below.  I know this from experience!!!
I'm guessing ten foot waves here!!!
There is a lot of sacred Hawaiian grounds that you must respect, including this circular maze next to the wall.  Please don't let your kids run around and through this ancient Hawaiian burial ground.  Even the Ritz Carlton Hotel agreed to respect this area and not build here.  
Further along the highway is the Nakalele Blowhole.  It's not marked ... but you will see a large parking area backed by boulders.  A short walk down the cliff (please be very careful, if you slip on this lava rock, you're done for!!) brings you to the blowhole.  Everything on this side of the island is ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!  There really are no trails or guardrails ... you're on your own, so make sure your life insurance is paid up!!
The next stop was discovered by the author of Maui Revealed.  Although never crowded because very few know about it, you can see the damage from many people climbing down the cliff.  Along the way you will see the lava encrusted with Olivine minerals.  None large enough to make that necklace you've been wanting, but some big enough to cause you major bad luck if you take it from here.  Pele doesn't like people stealing and terror will rain down on you!!  
Here is an image of the pools.  Filled with wave action water, they are quickly warmed by the sun.  More like a big bathtub, you can't swim here, just relax and enjoy the view!!  Again, watch out for those big waves that can wash you overboard in a flash!!
Then comes the scary part of the road.  Barely wide enough for a small car (don't drive your Cadillac Escalade on this road), you will skinny between lava cliffs on one side and a 1000 foot drop off on the other with grass so high you can't see anyone coming.  GO SLOW!!!  The hairpin turns here are like no other ... put it in low gear!!  Constantly keep in mind where the wide spots are.  I had to back up about a quarter mile before skimming the mountain side and pushing the other car's rear view mirror closed in order to pass.

Once through the first narrow section, it opens up to this beautiful old church.
Around the corner and up the hill, you get a beautiful view of the village of Kahakuloa.  They are a very tight-knit isolated community who probably continue the myth that you can't drive here.
Another long section of scary scary narrow road with extremely tight turns, you arrive at Julia's banana bread stand.  Support the local community and stop here if the one parking space is open.  The bread wasn't as good as the one we found up the side of Haleakala, but the cold drink was refreshing and relaxing after that drive!!
Here the road finally widens to a car-and-a-half-width, allowing everyone a big sigh of relief.  I passed maybe 4 cars the entire 25 miles.  Again, if you are not a brave driving soul, just go part way, turn around and return through Lahaina!!

The first stop on the way out of the valley, Kaukini Gallery, sported this welded scrap horse that I fell in love with.  A perfect addition to my garden it was not to be ... prices were just too crazy!!   That $14,000 koa wood rocking chair you were looking for is here!!   It is however a nice place to stop and see the wares of over one hundred local artists.
It was a long hard day ... lots of climbing, hiking and hot sun!!  If you still wish to make this drive, take food, lots of water and sunscreen along with your hiking shoes and bathing suit.  You won't regret it!!!

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