My wife Sarah and I accomplished something today - something that took 4 years to finally get done.
We rode to Hana and back.
Hana is a very small town on Maui's east coast. There are two roads in. The Hana highway is 50 miles of corkscrew turns deep in the rain forest, with two lanes dropping down to one lane, where you share bridges with oncoming traffic and certain death plummets to the sea on one side and cliff faces on the other. There's a second road that isn't paved and has pot holes and ledges so bad that only dirt bikes can pass. Otherwise you can fly in or boat in. The landing strip in Hana is only big enough for crop dusters or small corporate jets no bigger than a Gulfstream.
We've attempted to make it to Hana twice. The first time was in a busted up Ford Mustang but I got so carsick from the white knuckle twist and turns, even though I was driving, that we turned back after getting half way there. The second time we tried riding in on motorcycle, but we hit dense thundershowers part way there, and since we weren't wearing helmets or rain gear, we abandoned the journey.
But we made it today - again, by motorcycle, with clear skies above.
I haven't been on a bike in 4 months, so it was a challenge getting on a bike and immediately being forced on to the most technical road you could imagine, with a passenger no less. But we made it, although our asses took a beating on the busted up old Honda Shadow we rented. The old dog has 40,000+ miles on it with a burned out clutch and almost no brakes.
Hana is a bizarre place. If the island of Maui doesn't feel remote enough, living in Hana takes it one step further. 50 miles of bad road is almost 2 hours driving each way. But it's beautiful, lush and tropical. And the remoteness and difficulty in getting there is the charm of the town. Oprah has a house in Hana. If that's an endorsement.
The ride back was easier. As we were on the outside lane of the road, there's better sight lines around corners and it's easier to admire the scenery while concentrating on the road. You don't get out of 3rd gear for the entire stretch.
What was cracking us up was all the drivers pulled over on the side of the road, in the little ditches that allow for it, with people puking their guts out from car sickness. We counted two people on the return trip. And when we were having lunch at a restaurant in Hana, I took a bathroom break where I had to endure someone else's projectile vomit all over the toilet.
Here are some photos of the road to Hana:
And here's a map of East Maui. We're staying in Paia to the north. You can spot Hana on the right side of the map. Check out the squiggly line between the two. That's what we rode: