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the [perfectly calm] adventures of david-andrew

wowi (last day)

I woke on our 3rd day in Ka’anapali to discover I had been tagged for time in the Westin pools. After a quick sip of coffee, we had a quick dip in water. To me, it’s a little unnecessary to have a pool in visual range of the ocean, but the intricate circle of water and falls on the Westin grounds were too intriguing to resist. It has a curly slide and it’s waterfalls hide tunnels that lead to the other sides. If the ocean tide had not also been in audible range, I could have stayed there awhile. Also, we were about to have an exciting day.

The bartender at Star Noodle told us that we should go to The Gazebo for breakfast. It is supposedly joyous. So we headed to north Lāhainā to this breakfast-only restaurant that looks out into Napili Bay. We wandered around a bit when we arrived and eventually saw a sign for it in the front of the Napili Shores Condominiums. The Gazebo is in the back by their pool with a beach view. When we arrived there was a short line. I have heard of 45 minute waits from others, so we were lucky to wait only a short time around eleven. The servers are friendly and the food was, as predicted, delicious. This place isn’t fancy. It let’s the view and the food do all the talking.

view of Moloka’i from The Gazebo

After breakfast, we took a little exploratory drive. From Napili, we headed towards the northern point of West Maui. We stopped at a marked scenic pullout and saw a scuba group enjoying the coral views of Honolua Bay.
We continued around the top curve of the Honoapi’ilani Highway.

Remember that part on the map of Maui we saw on our 1st day that says “Do Not Drive Here?” We soon found out why.

 We got our second warning at another scenic look out.
 That little stick man at the bottom is a barely concealed threat of becoming broken if you continue.

I’m not sure we meant to go into the forbidden drive, we were exploring. So far it had paid off in scenic beauty.

As the road began to narrow, the signs became less subtle.

Despite the warning signs, things seemed alright. Soon, however we met a car ahead and realized this road wasn’t one-way. It also wasn’t wide enough for two. We chuckled and had an “oh dear” moment then backed into a curve in the road to let the other car squeeze into the bend.

“At least there are wide spots to let other cars pass.”

We started to get comfortable with the polite passing process. Confidently we zoomed ahead.

Pretty soon most of our movement was either up or down. We would climb a slope, turn a sharp corner, and suddenly be steeply aimed down again.

By now, the road had narrowed to the width of one Mini Cooper with a rock wall on one side and a drop straight down a cliff on the other. There are no guard rails and no room for error. I started to get a little nervous. As the passenger, I was staring at the rock wall two inches from my window. Yet, I was keenly aware of the drop on the driver’s side as well.

We slowed our decent into one curve that was thick with foliage. Another car caught up with us from behind. As we turned the curve, we heard a couple of mopeds honk and pass the car behind us. Blinded by the thick trees and distracted by the activity in the rear, we didn’t see the two cars coming down the next ascent. Then I almost had some rear activity of my own.

We were suddenly face-to-face with a dark blue Honda and no place to go. We were in the middle of a sheer cliff, between a rock and the quick way down. There was a car, two mopeds, and a truck behind us now. They weren’t moving. The car behind the Honda began backing up the hill. The Pilot turned around and motioned that we would try to back down into the wider space of the curve. One of the mopeds honked in resistance to the backing. No one moved. The Pilot threw his hands up in the universal “WTF?!” gesture.

Ahead of us, there was a space that was about five inches wider next to the wall. The blue Honda hugged the wall and motioned for us to use those five inches to go around them. The Pilot started to pull forward. Instinct took over and I reached for the door. Every thought in my head told me to leap from the car. “That’s stupid,” I told myself, “There’s not enough room to get the door open. Jump out the window.”

I was somehow able to control the abandon urges and The Pilot says “This isn’t going to work. No way.” By now the backing process had started behind us and we joined everyone back through the curve space. Once we were in position to let everyone pass we let everyone go first and stayed put for a bit. Would it be worse to go back through what we just did or continue forward?

I found a video on YouTube of the Kahekili Highway. At 1:20 in the video you can see where we had our little traffic jam. You can see I’m not exaggerating the conditions. My heart hurt a little just watching this. I was not thinking about photos or videos when we were here, so I was excited to find this video.

Thanks to PeaceLovingScoobie for this video!

This was one of the wide parts of Kahekili “Highway.” Somehow we kept meeting those mopeds.

Eventually we decided to go forward rather than try to turn the car around with no space. We were relieved to see the roads get a bit wider the further you go. The wider parts now were wide enough for a car larger than a Mini. Passing spaces became more prevalent too. We went through some little towns. One area we went through had a sign warning of the times that the school bus would be coming through. I relaxed in these parts and started taking pictures of the view again.

moo moo

The Kahekili Highway is one of the most exciting and beautiful drives I have seen. I definitely suggest that you rent some sort of tiny, two-wheeled transport to see it.

We passed this wind farm several times on the southern curve of West Maui.

Returning to our hotel, we came to the sad part of our adventure. It was time to head to the airport. We borrowed the hospitality room in the lobby and changed out of our sunny, sandy clothes. We were quiet as we drove past the beaches, the volcano mountains, and the now familiar wind farm. The sun began to say it’s goodbyes too. We pulled over for one last picture. A nice man offered to take one of us both. I hate goodbyes.

a big mahalo to Maui!

I love HI’s open airports. They don’t feel like the cagey, stagnant airports on the mainland. As we waited for our plane outside the gate a relaxing, heavenly breeze made us want to run from the airport and stay. I’m sure it’s just marketing.

If you want resorts and amenities, Maui is for you. We spent about five times as much going to Maui than we have spent on Kaua’i. Maui has big name resort beaches and restaurants. Kaua’i is very chill in comparison. Both islands have a beauty that must be experienced. Get to Hawai’i anyway you can!

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Posted in food and travel by dA on July 24th, 2012 at 5:27 PM.


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3 Replies

  1. The Pilot Jul 24th 2012

    mmmm…. Gazebo breakfast :) Next – time – minininininininnininiinininniiniiii – Cooper.

  2. That drive sounds scary! It reminds me of one of the roads near the Puerto Rico rain forest. Why don’t they just make it wider?! But then you wouldn’t have a reason to talk about it. I love your beautiful photos of Hawaii! They make me feel like I was there with you.

  3. I was thinking that they should block it off to larger vehicles or have a warning sign at least.

    Thank you!