Maui, Day 1

Trip Start Sep 09, 2008
Trip End Sep 30, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We were up early and off to the airport for an 8:00 flight to Maui. The Big Island was really enjoyable and showed an incredible diversity...Maui and Moloka'i still get a chance, but the Big Island is on the short list to being our favorite Hawaiian island.
We managed to do the ballet necessary to get the rental car turned in at an offsite location opening at 7:00 in time for checking in and boarding our 8:00 flight. Fortunately, both our hotel and the rental car place were very close to the airport, so all went well. Not surprisingly, our luggage has gained bag went a little over the edge (51.5 pounds), but Hawaiian Airlines looked the other way. We've been flying Hawaiian a lot this trip, and I think they do a very good job.
We landed at Kahului on Maui, got yet another rental (a real gas hog Chrysler, this time) and set out on the Road to Hana. For those that don't know, the Road to Hana is one of the "must-drive" routes in the world. Combine 34 miles of narrow pavement, single lane bridges, blind corners, impatient natives and jaw-dropping views - you get the idea. Anyhow, this little 34 mile trip consumed most of the afternoon, but the fun was just beginning. Another nine miles beyond Hana is Kipahulu, where the National Park Service has an area of the Haleakala National Park. This is rainforest country complete with dense growth, stunning waterfalls and green everywhere. The road makes the first 34 miles look almost superhighway in its dimensions as there isn't even a pretense of road width for two vehicles along the way. A little nerve wracking, but the payoff comes from the Wailua Falls, a sight straight out of fantasyland.
As luck would have it, we arrived at the Visitors' Center and collected our National Park cancellation just minutes before the area closed for the day. Like most full National Parks, Haleakala has multiple cancellation stamps for the park, and missing this one would have been unacceptable.
We had planned to continue around the island, but a stretch of the highway is still closed due to earthquake damage a couple years back. So, back on the Hana Highway for a reverse reprise...we managed to follow a type-A in an SUV, so we had blocking coverage the entire way back to our hotel in the Kihei area of Maui.
Tomorrow's another day and we plan to spend it in the main part of Haleakala National Park.
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