Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 12 - Whale Watching, Maui Market, Bad Road

January 23 - Saturday - Maui

Another colorful Maui sunrise over Haleakala as seen from the condo.
We watched a number of whales in the bay near the condo.

The neighborhood cat joined us in the whale watching.

Sigrid and Edel spent a few hours at the Maui Shop & Swap. Here are a few photos of the market.

After the market, Sigrid and I set out to find a local restaurant for lunch. We figured that this would be a relaxing and fun way to end our stay on Maui. We set a restaurant into the Garmin and drove to its location only to find that it didn't exist any more. We decided to keep going on Highway 30 to see what we could find. By the time we got to the town of Waihee, the road started to deteriorate. No more smooth pavement and regular lanes. I don't know for sure why we keep going, but we did. The scenery was breathtaking with near vertical cliffs, deep valleys, waterfalls, and sweeping views of the ocean and beaches at least a 1,000 feet below.

I realized that we had gotten on to a road that was similar to the one going around Haleakala that we mentioned in a previous blog posting. The Haleakala road was about 10 bad miles. I guess I was hoping that this bad road would quickly improve. It didn't for the next 22 painful miles.
The road was carved into the mountainside with continual zero visibility hairpin turns. The road quickly became one lane which added to the thrills on the turns. We honked going into the turns hoping that we wouldn't meet another car in the middle of the curve. If we did, someone had to back up until there was a wide spot in the road where two cars could pass.
These photos don't do the road justice. I asked Sigrid to take these photos. When things got really tight, I forgot to ask for photos. Sigrid wouldn't have been able to take them anyway. She was writhing in the car seat making moaning sounds and could not have operated a camera.
Sigrid and I have been on a lot of bad roads together and very few have really bothered us. Height isn't really a problem. Neither is a curvy road. The utter lack of road on curvy high places is a problem. Maui's Highway 30 between Wailee and Honolua is the "Mother of all bad roads".
The road eventually turned into not much more than a cart path on the edge of the mountain. The most feared event did happen twice before we got done.
We met a guy driving a huge older Caddy going down one step hill. We got to a slight wide spot in the road and we inched by each other with about a hands width between us. Our windows were both rolled down and I said, "I think we are going to make it". He never looked at me and just kept driving with teeth clenched. I could hear the far side of his car scraping the bushes as we passed. I was on the very edge of the road with no where to go but down. After we got by each other and Sigrid was able to speak again, I asked her, "What in the hell is he doing driving a huge car like that on a road like this?"
Shortly after the Caddy encounter, we met a jeep convertible with four young girls in it at a really bad place. There was no wide spot for either of us. I stopped and shrugged my shoulders at the girls. The driver of the jeep half stood up out of the drivers seat so she could see and began fearlessly backing the jeep back down the road until she found a small wide spot. She pulled over and I began driving. As I passed her, I gave her a "thumbs up" for the great driving. She was most likely a local and familiar with the road.
As I said, the scenery was spectacular.

We had a very late lunch at the first restaurant we found once we were back on normal roads. We called it a day and went back to the condo to rest.

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