Driving to the Blowhole

You won't believe me when I tell you this, but the day after we attempted traveling the Road to Hana, Conservative Hubby was ready to get back in the car for another morning cruise.

I kid you not.

I think it was the convertible that did it. And the fact we were still waking up so darn early we had plenty of time to kill each day before we were ready to don our bathing suits.

Whatever the reason, I was glad he was game for another cruise, and I promised to find a drive that would be relatively brief and easier, yet equally scenic.

Not surprisingly, the scenic requirement is an easy one on Maui.

We decided to head north past our resort, which is in an area called Ka'anapali, past the resorts and golf courses of Kapalua, and along the coast around the northwestern tip of the island.

Conservative Hubby wanted to stop at the Plantation golf course, which is where the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was played about a month before our arrival.

I wanted to check out the Blowhole, a scenic spot past the golf courses where, when the tide is right, water is pushed up through a hole in the rocks to spectacular heights (hence the name Blowhole).

And so we set out, oohing and aahing at lovely scenery as we did on every day of our trip. (OK, so I oohed and aahed while Conservative Hubby took a more stoic approach.)

Although this drive was curvy and the road did narrow considerably once we got past the resorts, it was still an improvement over the Road to Hana. Plus there was minimal traffic, so as he drove Conservative Hubby was able to enjoy the scenery a bit more than the previous day.

It didn't take us all that long to reach the spot where we parked and hiked down to see the Blowhole.

It was a neat spot but, unfortunately, the tide wasn't right, so the Blowhole's blowing was rather lackluster.

I would've stayed a while to watch the water start shooting higher, but Conservative Hubby needed his breakfast, so after a few minutes we headed back to the car and back down the road the way we came.

We were so hungry by this point that we stopped at a roadside stand for banana bread.

One would think buying banana bread from a place like this would be a bit questionable. And it is. But the guidebook we read recommended banana bread places all along this drive and the Road to Hana, so we figured it couldn't be that dangerous.

(Needless to say, the banana bread was tasty and did not make us sick. It also helped tide us over until we could get back to the hotel for an early lunch, so it was worth it.)

We made one more stop after banana bread to check out the views and discovered a wonderful area for snorkeling. I made note of this fact for the next time we're in Maui (yes, there will be a next time, I'm quite sure of it).

I plan to put snorkeling at the top of my list then since we ran out of time to do so on this trip.

On our way back, we made a stop at the Plantation golf course for Conservative Hubby, as promised. It was beautiful, and the houses we could see were ridiculously large. This made Conservative Hubby happy and led him to visions of being rich and famous and actually being able to live in a place like this.

And then he came back to reality (well, sort of) and we hopped in the car and headed back to the hotel, just in time for lunch and some pool time.


The Luau at Black Rock

After our morning spent driving a small piece of the Road to Hana, Conservative Hubby and I were ready to relax. So we spent the afternoon hanging out at the many resort pools, soaking up the sun.

And then it was time for a "must" on your first visit to Hawaii: a luau.

Based on a recommendation, we decided to check out the one at the Sheraton. It was an easy walk down the path along the beach from our hotel, which was a plus since we weren't interested in getting in the car again.

When we arrived, we had plenty of time for photo ops.

And watching the roasted pig as it was pulled out of the ground. (Sort of reminded me of the Collins pig roasts of my childhood, except I don't think My Dad and uncles ever dressed like this ...)

Then it was time to eat.

Here are the friendly folks we dined with. The ones with their backs to the camera are from Great Falls, Montana. This isn't all that far from where My Mom grew up and where My Grandma still lives. Small world, eh? Later in the week, we also ran into some people from Sheridan, Wyoming, who visit my home town each year for the motorcycle rally. Again, small world.

Anyhow. Then the sun started to set.

And the show began.

It was fun.

Colorful and energetic ... and full of the history of the islands.

Of course, when it came to the last performance of the evening, it was spectacular. I won't bother interrupting the show with words ...

(The next day, Conservative Hubby asked our favorite tiki bartender, Jerome, how authentic the show was. Jerome said it was pretty darn authentic. And so we believed him, because we believed everything Jerome said. I'm pretty sure Conservative Hubby had a man crush on him ... probably because he decided Jerome has the best job ever.)


The Road to Hana

After Conservative Hubby and I donned our Maui Jims and finished our breakfast at Cheeseburger, there was only one thing left to do: explore.

The only problem was deciding where to go.

Conservative Hubby isn't one for scenic drives. He's one for driving to a destination. And getting there in a hurry. But because we were in Hawaii (also known as paradise) and because we had a convertible to cruise around in, he said he was game for a morning drive.

As long as it wasn't the Road to Hana.

We'd heard and read great things about this curving, narrow road that winds its way along the coast, past rainforest and waterfalls and magnificent beaches galore. But we'd also heard plenty of reasons not to make the drive--it takes all day, for one. And it's exhausting. And slow. And did I mention it takes all day?

So we agreed we wouldn't do the entire drive. But I really really really wanted to see a bit of the road, particularly a waterfall or two.

No way, Conservative Hubby said. Not a chance.

And then he found out Jaws was on Hana Road. Jaws is the big, famous surf area where the really serious surfers go and catch waves you can't even imagine ... the type of waves that either land them on the cover of a surfing magazine or in intensive care at the hospital.

Fortunately, Conservative Hubby didn't want to do surf Jaws. But he did want to see it. And so once he found out we'd be halfway to the first waterfall on the Road to Hana once we reached Jaws, he was ready to compromise. And we had a plan.

The problem is, getting to Jaws isn't for everyone--and certainly not for every vehicle. It's hidden back off the main road, accessible only by an exceptionally bumpy dirt track. We tried to make it down there but let me tell you: a Mustang convertible does not ride high enough off the ground for the terrain en route to Jaws. After a few minutes of bouncing along and cringing every time we were sure we lost half the car, we gave up and turned around. No Jaws on this trip.

The drive to that point was scenic itself, and that was even before the real scenery began. Past Jaws, the road got narrower and the views more spectacular.

And the drive got slower--much slower. In fact, what started out as a quick cruise took hours to get round-trip--and we only made it the first 11 miles on the Road to Hana.

But oh, the scenery. It was spectacular. I tried to snap as many photos as I could from the car, but I knew better than to ask Conservative Hubby to pull over at the many scenic outlooks along the way so I could snap pictures. He would've left me on the side of the road or thrown me over said scenic outlooks had I done that.

And so I was content with snapping photos as we crept along in the convertible, oohing and aahing as quietly as possible since a certain someone didn't really get to enjoy the view. He was too busy paying attention to the traffic in front of us and the parts of the road where only one car fit at a time.

Oh, and the construction. Because of course we had construction on our drive.

And then--finally!--we made it to the first waterfall. It was lovely. It made me want to go to the three more waterfalls within a mile and a half of this one.

(And later, when I looked at this photo, it made me realize that one should never head straight from a 2-hour drive in the convertible to a photo op. Just so you know.)

Driving to those next couple of waterfalls would've added another hour to the trip. And I knew better than to press my luck. Conservative Hubby was about at the end of his scenic driving rope.

And so once we got back to the car after the first waterfall, we very carefully turned around and headed back toward the waterfalls Conservative Hubby prefers--the manufactured kind at the resort pool.


Maui Jims and Cheeseburgers

On our first full day in Maui, Conservative Hubby and I took a little trip down the road into Lahaina. We had a specific mission in mind: To visit the Maui Jim headquarters. And to find breakfast.

We stopped at Maui Jim's first. If you haven't heard of the company, they're known for making terrific sunglasses. We're talking really really nice. And it just so happens that Conservative Dad went to college with the owner of the company, so that gave us a little extra interest in checking the place out.

Unfortunately, the owner of the company wasn't in Maui when we visited. This was particularly disappointing to Conservative Hubby because they're members of the same fraternity and he has always wanted to meet this fellow.

But, on the bright side, we did get to meet the owner's delightful assistant who was very kind and, we learned, has a real talent for judging a person's character upon first meeting them AND picking out the perfect sunglasses for them.

Needless to say, we went away from our visit with some amazing sunglasses, which came in handy about five minutes later when we were seated in the open-air upstairs area of Cheeseburger in Paradise eating breakfast. (Which was, for Conservative Hubby, actually a cheeseburger.) Boy, it was bright up there!

Conservative Hubby did not want to take his sunglasses off all week, by the way, because he said having them on was like "seeing the world in HD."

(A big thank you to the Diamond King for hooking us up with the Maui Jim's visit! And thanks to the Maui Jim's folks who were so kind and generous to us when we stopped by.)


Westin, Maui-Style

We loved the Westin hotel we stayed at in Honolulu (which, Conservative Hubby reminded me, is actually called the Moana Surfrider).

It had fabulous views, great architectural character in the main areas, that beautiful banyan tree filling the courtyard. The rooms were spacious and very nice and everyone we met, whether at work or on vacation, was so darn friendly.

Sounds like a lot to beat, doesn't it?

And then we arrived at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, and we realized that if this place didn't beat the Moana Surfrider, it at least came in tied for first with it. (Although, for the record, Conservative Hubby will say it won hands-down, I'm pretty sure.)

There were ponds--with real, live flamingos!

And waterfalls.

There were pools and pools and more pools (five to be exact) ...

spilling over into one another and overlooking fabulous ocean views.

Of course, we even found a few island touches here and there.

Oh, yeah. And the views from our room?

They weren't half bad either.