Hawaiian Vacation
February, 2009

The flight from Honolulu to Kahului on Maui takes about 35 minutes. But it passes over two other islands, Lanai and Molokai. It was a clear day so we spent most of the trip looking out the window. The airport at Kalalui was, well, different. Many areas, including baggage, are semi-outdoors - covered, but with one or two sides open. (I wish I'd taken a picture.) The shuttle bus to the car rental stopped right by the luggage carousels.

Our car was a Chevy Cobalt, fire engine red, with all the extras. It drove almost exactly like our Chevy Cavelier at home. That's it, in the driveway of our lodging on Maui, the Garden Gate Bed and Breakfast in the city of Lahaina. The entrance is through the white gate on the left.

Garden Gate Bed and Breakfast Parking
Garden Gate Waterfall

Inside the walkway goes over a stream from this waterfall. It's not always running, but does add to the atmosphere when it does. Tropical plants are everywhere.

They even provide a hammock for relaxing after a day of sightseeing around the island. Not many of the guests used it.

Garden Gate Hammock
View from the Lanai

The ocean view from our lanai was beautiful. That's the island of Lanai on the left, with Molokai on the right. We could see whales in the channel and one morning I even heard them as they breached and landed back in the water with a smacking sound.

The owner of the Garden Gate suggested LuLu's Grill for supper, as they had a "Senior Special" from 4:30 to 6:00. We just made it in time. The food was great along with a nautical atmosphere. Lahaina is a big tourist center on the west side of Maui and has all the usual tourist businesses.

Lulu's Restaurant
D.T. Fleming Beach

The next morning we took a drive along the northern Maui coast. Beautiful beaches are everywhere, such as D. T. Fleming Beach park. Besides the beach, it has lifeguards, restrooms and plenty of parking.

I tried to get some waves crashing on the rocks, but just couldn't get the timing right. There were surfers in the water, but they stayed near the sand beach.

Beach Waves
Cinder Cone

After the beach, the road got, well, interesting. For about 30 miles it was one lane. Paved, of course, but only one lane with narrow shoulders that widened occasionally to allow cars to pass.

But the views were worth it. This is a cinder cone, formed from one of the last eruptions of the West Maui volcano over 300,000 years ago. That little notch in the hill on the center right edge of the picture is the road.

The road winds around the many ravines erroded into the lava shield of the volcano. This house, at the end of a winding driveway, has a spectacular view of the Maui/Molokai channel. The owners probably are very skilled drivers.

There are a few isolated homes and communities along this coast, but it's definitely not on the tourist trail.

House on a Hill
Ioa Valley Looking East

After the road widens to two lanes and heads south through the city of Wailuku, we took a road west up the Ioa valley. Here, in 1790, the last giant battle for supremacy by King Kamehameha was waged. This view is looking east with the Pacific ocean just visible in the distance.

Just up the valley from the parking lot is this garden. The plants and trees are native to this area. The thatched roof shelter is in the style of early native Hawaiians.

Ioa Valley Garden
Ioa Valley Garden

This is a close up in the garden. The path is paved and winds along the stream that flows down the valley. We found a bench with a view and had our lunch, deli sandwiches from the Safeway in Lahaina. We were very careful to pick up anything we dropped. This park is spotless.

You may have seen this in travel brochures. It's the needle, an icon of the Ioa Valley. I had to get a little off the trail to take this view. That bridge is the trail up to the overlook. You can't climb the needle. Well, you're not supposed to, but I imagine some people have when no one's looking.

Ioa Valley Needle
Ioa Valley Needle

It was cloudy this day, and the peak of the West Maui volcano was hidden. But the view of the Needle was clear from the overlook at the end of the the trail.

We didn't take the one lane road back to Lahaina. Rather we drove around the south side of the West Maui volcano, which is the same way we drove from the airport the day before. That night supper was at the Aloha Plate Lunch restaurant. Tomorrow's big adventure will be a whale watching cruise with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Cruise with us by click the right arrow below.

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