Category Archives: Travel

To Hana and Beyond – Tuesday

Today we’re driving the famous Road to Hana. In hindsight to really do this justice, we should have planned to say a day or two in Hana instead of just driving there and returning to the condo in one day, perhaps next time.

Surfers

We start of by crossing the middle of the island and stoping in at our old friend Paia, or more correctly the near by Ho’okipa Beach Park to watch some surfers and check up the wave action. From there it’s a leisurely drive along the Hana Highway and we’re taking in the sights as we move through farm land towards the rain forest. First major stop is to check out the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. We might have driven right by, but there were quite a number f cars stopped so we did too and then we noticed what all the excitement was about.

Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta)Next up is a short 1/4 mile hike through the rain forrest, and yes it’s raining, and the whole area is quite damp. The road is starting to live up to it’s billing as it narrows and gets even more twisty. All the bridges, of which there are many, are one car wide and you need to negotiate who will cross 1st if you meet some oncoming traffic.

Now the road is closer to the coast line and we’re enjoying the view from Kaumahina State Wayside park, and a short distance later  Honomanu Park where a solo surfer is working the waves.

Wipeout

Speaking of waves, we detour off the highway and out onto Ke’anae Peninsula for some spectacular shore line and pounding surf. The Ke’anae Peninsula is a dramatic half-mile long finger of newer lava sticking out from the cliff line of the Hana Highway where there is a historic old Hawaiian village. After taking a lot of photos, we stop at the snack shack for smoothies, banana bread, and coconut candy, all locally produced.

SplashOne of the best side trips of the day is when we head down the Nahiku Road to a park which overlooks the Kipakaon and Honolulu Nui Bays. It’s several miles off the Hana Highway and just as we’re getting close to the park there road is blocked off with a traffic cone and a truck is doing some sort of work on the road. The two cars in front of us turn around and head back. I think about it for a bit and turn around as well, but then I reconsider. There is no sign saying the road is closed, and I turn back just in time to see a car coming out from behind where the road work activity is happening. That’s it, we’re going in. As we edge around this truck a guy is cutting some branches that are overhanging the road, and the road is totally passable. A short distance later we arrive at this beautiful park, and have the whole area to ourselves. The park has a short easy to remember and pronounce name, “Malama keia Aino o Nahiku”

Ocean ClassicFrom there we drive on without too many stops until we get to Hana. As I said earlier, we really didn’t give the Hana areas it’s due. By now it’s about 4pm and we’re interested in getting a little further down the road to see the Seven Pools and a couple of the bigger waterfalls before the sun goes down. We drive through downtown Hana and out onto the pier for a quick look at the Hana Beach Park, and then we off, heading down the road.

Refreshing Swim

Next stop is the Haleakala National Park, not up on the crater, but down at the ocean shore where the Palikea Stream flows off the mountain forming the Seven Pools. Apparently, there are more but for the tourist it’s seven. We hike over to a couple of the lower pools and take a refreshing dip. I even swim over to one end of the pool and go under the waterfall, very cool, literally and figuratively.

Sundown at Kula

Now it’s about 6 p.m. and the sun is about to go down. I’d been planning to head back the way we came, but overhear a conversation in the parking lot where a local says the road ahead, which the car rental company and severe tourist magazines say is quite rough and almost impassible, is actually pretty OK and we won’t have any trouble, not to mention its shorter that going back the way we came. I’d really wanted to drive that part of the road and that’s all the encouragement I needed, and we forge ahead for a real adventure.

Sure enough, the farther we head down the highway, the narrower and twistier  it gets. It also goes from fairly nice asphalt to crummy asphalt, to gravel, and then dirt and then dirt with some pretty big pothole, but no worse that many Winnipeg streets. By now it’s dark, very dark. After winding along the coast line we head up higher on the mountain and are soon rewarded with a spectacular view from up high of the Kihei beach areas light up like Christmas along the shoreline.

We finish our drive by picking up some dinner and heading home to the condo and another full and rich day is done, good night Maui.

Photos of the day.

Crater Climb – Monday

Today is the day to ride up Haleakala, all 10,023 vertical feet from the ocean to the top of the crater.

The plan was to drive over to Paia and get underway by 7a.m. but the days are full and we’ve slept in a bit and then of course getting all the gear together, having breakfast etc. takes a little longer that expected. From the condo, the weather isn’t exactly great either, it’s raining. But, with the bike rented I’m committed so we set out for the close to 1 hour drive over to the stating point.

Snaped a quick pic of the rainbows on the drive over to Paia
Snaped a quick pic of the rainbows on the drive over to Paia

On the way we see numerous rainbows. In fact on the vacation we see one or more rainbows every day. it’s surprising how much rain we’re getting but it usually doesn’t last long or you drive a few miles and you’re back in the sunshine.

It’s still early when we arrive in Paia so there is lots of street and free parking still available. Shirley will spend the day investigating the many shops in town and relaxing on the miles of beaches. I unload the bike and gear up for the start.

In the Paia parking lot, ready to get the show on the road.
In the Paia parking lot, ready to get the show on the road.

As I leave the parking lot Shirley has already explained to some other tourists what I’m up to and I can hear them shouting “Go Garry, you can do it!” as I roll onto the street at 8:30 a.m..

The first few miles are exciting as I get used to the new bike, adjust to the roads and begin to figure out the gearing and what kind of pace I’m going to hold. It’s tempting to go hard early on with the excitement of the challenge ahead, but I’ve had some first hand advice about pacing and there is a long way to go. Already I’m taking note of the constant climbing.

From Paia it’s up Baldwin Ave. to Makawao and the first of many challenges on the ride. Just as you leave the town, there is a straight climb that jumps to a 10.4% grade for 0.4km (according to Strava). Now for a prairie rider this is a bit of a hill and while it only takes me just under 2 minutes, I’m out of the saddle and the heart is pounding by the time I crest the hill. A little easy peddling for a while on a more manageable grade and I’m good to go again.
The next interesting point of the ride is a corner that everyone warns you about. Miss the turn and you can do 1,700′ of needless climbing to a dead end. In fact when we drove up on Saturday to check out the route we missed this turn even though we knew what to look for and more or less where is was. This is not to be repeated today for sure. Just to document the location, my first stop of many on the ride is to capture a few photos at 9:24 am.

P2040001
Cowboy Church, I would have liked to take in a Service here!
Maui Roping Club
Maui Roping Club
The Turn. If you look closely, there is a small sign for "Haleakala"
The Turn. If you look closely, there is a small sign for “Haleakala”

With “the turn” successfully negotiated, it’s onward and upward, ever upward, just more and more up.

The first official elevation sign
The first official elevation sign

I’m still feeling quite good and enjoying looking around taking in the beautiful scenery of the uplands farming and ranching areas. At 9:44 I’ve arrived at 2500′ vertical, just a little over one hour of riding. So far, it’s just been me and a few cars, I’ve not seen any other cyclists. The road quality is good and I think I’m beginning to stabilize my pace and efforts with a heart rate holding fairly steady at 163 BPM.

Over the next few miles I see a couple of other riders going up including a couple in matching kits that I chat with for a bit. At one point a rider passes me and we greet each other briefly, and then I begin to think “I can keep pace with that guy.”. He seems to be just slightly faster that my current speed. Then I remember the advice to ride a your own pace and I suppress  the competitive urge to get on his wheel. Turns out this was a really good idea. A short while later I see the same guy coming down and realize he was not going all the way to the top and could afford to expend more energy on that section of the climb.

At the intersection of 337 & Crater Road
At the intersection of 337 & Crater Road

The next stop is at about 10:18 and I snap the directional sign to the national park. While I’m stopped, the matching kit couple that I passed a while back pass me. We’ll leap-frog each other for the next few miles.

Did I mention the unrelenting nature of the climb yet? It’s really starting to test my psychological resolve. Around every corner, there is just more “up”. I think over the whole climb there are only three very brief sections, each a few hundred feet, that are flat.
The stops are getting closer and closer together. It’s not 10:42 and the legs are saying “We need a rest!”. At this corner there is a Lavender Garden display also some zipline, ATV and horseback riding services.

Lavender Garden
Lavender Garden

While I’m resting a bit the BMC rider hammers by at quite a pace. I don’t see him again.

BMC Rider
BMC Rider
Half Way Up!
Half Way Up!

On the road outside the National Park somebody has nicely painted some signs on the road surface. Here I am at the half way point at 11:12am. In addition to elevation markers every 500′ vertical, there are encouraging reminders like “Breathe” and “Feed”. I have no problem with the breathe advice and at this point “feed” is just something I know I need to do, the desire to eat left some time ago, but I continue to force down some Power Bars.
Somewhere after 5,000′ things begin to get really tough. I’m feeling tired and I’m starting to wonder if I can really keep this up and get all the way to the top. The stops are becoming increasingly closer together and I’m starting to think about how I can explain to everyone who knows I’m doing this why I didn’t make it. The explaining seems more difficult that carrying on, so I just keep turning this cranks and setting short-term goals. In my head I’m telling myself “Keep going to that next corner”, “Another 10 minutes”, “to that sign over there”, and slowly progress is being made.

At Cloud Level
At Cloud Level
Curves and Climbing
Curves and Climbing

 

Stopped again at 11:41, good excuse to take a few more photos, which don’t do the elevation, grade or switchbacks any justice at all. This is one crazy road!. While I’m at and climbing through the cloud level, it’s not on the road and I’ve enjoyed sunshine the whole way. The temperatures have dropped significantly at this point. The refreshing coolness is nice, but the work of the climb is keeping me plenty warm with just a short sleeve jersey and shorts.

Off the bike for a few minutes.
Off the bike for a few minutes.

It’s 11:55 and the legs are screaming. It’s only been 14 minutes since the last stop. This section is really difficult for me, I’m tired, losing motivation but still pressing on.
Somewhere over the next few miles I get a second wind, and the riding is getting easier. I stop on one corner under some trees for a brief rest only to find that the Park entrance was literally around the corner, where I need to stop again to show my park pass. The entrance is at about 7,000′ and I’m finding that the roads inside that park are easier to ride. There is still a good grade going up, but it seems to be more consistent where as the road outside the park had a more variable grade making for short hard sections. Either that or the altitude and exhaustion factors are kicking in and I’m hallucinating. Either way I’m feeling good and push on to 8,000′ without stopping.

 

Garry @ 8,000'
Garry @ 8,000′
The Bike @ 8,000'
The Bike @ 8,000′

It’s 1:13pm and the confidence has returned, I’m going all the way to the top, and there is no stopping me now. Strangely, the riding is actually easier at this point, but there is a known hard section ahead, but no worries for now! After a good solid push, the frequent stops are returning.

The road behind
The road behind

 

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
The Road Ahead
The Road Ahead

OK, I’m going to start blaming all these stops on the altitude. I’m at about 8,700′ and this stop at 1:48pm is only 14 minutes from the last one! I am going to make it all the way, right?

Lava Rock down to the Road
Lava Rock down to the Road
High Up & Twisty Stuff Below
High Up & Twisty Stuff Below

Wow, an amazing push for 13 minutes before another stop at 2:01 pm, time for more photos.

Riding on the Moon
Riding on the Moon

Another short-haul and the top is visible at 2:25pm! The visitor center on the left, the summit in the centre and Science City on the right. The end is near! Notice that the road conditions have deteriorated at this elevation.

Closing in on the Summit
Closing in on the Summit

At short while later I’m at the corner that make the final turn from the visitor area to the summit. I should have stopped there for a photo, but I was feeling good and excited about the push to the top so I just motored around the corner and began what is probably the steepest section of the climb. I’ll learn later via Strava, that this segment is referred to as “The Last Brutal Effort”, and brutal it is. Despite being so close to the top, I’m forced to stop two times in this section. Getting re-started on this grade and being so tired is a challenge in itself. Then at 2:30pm, 6 hours after leaving Paia I ride across the last parking lot, up the path and top out at the summit!

Climb Conquered
Climb Conquered
On Top of the World
On Top of the World

At the top I met a guy from Calgary who encouraged me up the last section and took those last two photos. It felt awesome to make it to the top and I actually did a fist pump coming up the path at the end of the parking lot.

It was about 80°F at the bottom and at the summit 50°F, the predicted 30° cooler. For the ride down I’d been warned about this temperature shift. Going up and working hard in 50°F was no problem, but coasting down at up to 84km/hr was going to be a little cool, in more ways that one! After putting on leg warmers, a second long sleeve jersey, and a jacket, I’m ready for the decent, let the speed begin! BTW, no more pictures from this point on, no need to stop and having too much fun!

The first 3,000′ vertical feet literally flew by and seemingly all of a sudden I’m at the Park entrance, what a rush! The brakes really got a workout on the hairpin turns and more that a few times the rims heated up so much as to cause some brake chatter. I didn’t touch them but suspect they were smokin’ hot at some points. I’m using the full lane on the way down and at some points I’m closing up on some cars and need to back off. I’m being careful to stay on my side so as not to make a sudden discovery of a car coning up around a blind corner.

Coming up I should have taken better note of intersection where 377 joins Hanamu Road. As I get close to the turn I make a split second decision and end up turning too soon onto Kealaloa Ave. Shortly, I realize I’m going the wrong way and I’m a bit lost. To correct this mistake would mean more climbing, which at this point is out of the question. Without a map or GPS, it’s line of sight navigation. I can see the ocean and it should be all down hill so all further navigation choices are influenced by “going down” and “towards the ocean”. This results in me getting on Hwy 37, the Haleakala Highway, a very long, very straight decent. I think this is where Strava indicates I hit 84.4 km/hr!  I think this might be a little fast, or at the very lease a brief spike, for sure there were some good runs at 60+ km/hr. All the speed your nerves can handle. In the end this works out, but adds somewhere between 6-8 extra miles to the ride, including 4 miles on the flat in the rain back to Paia.

It was an awesome day, a great personal accomplishment, and the climb can be summarized in one word, unrelenting.

From the Strava analysis (click on picture for full size):
Strava

Haleakala by Car – Saturday

A lazy start to the day and breakfast at the on site restaurant , The Beach Club, gets us on the road just before noon. We’re going right past the Costco so we swing in that way for gas and unbelievably more shopping. Gas is certainly a deal at almost 25 cents below the typical gas station. However, the Saturday traffic in the area is a zoo. This little stop costs us close to 1 hr in a traffic jam.

Wave Rider
Wave Rider at Baldwin Beach

Once free of congestion we roll over to Paia and check out a beach noted for boogie boarding and body surfing. The wind is strong and sand is blowing everywhere. This will likely be the starting point for the ride on Monday.

As we head up towards the summit there is one particular turn that we’ve been warned not to miss, but sure enough I blow right through the turn but quickly realize the mistake and turn around. In the car this is no big deal, on the bike it adds up to an additional 1,700′ of climbing to a dead end.

Sure enough the road is an unrelenting “up”. I note only 3 short flat sections. We see about 5 riders going up, two couples and a solo rider in a lime green jacket. I knew about the distance, the grade, the switchbacks, the narrow road in places, the 30°F temperature drop by the time you get to the top, but nobody mentioned the wind! It’s howling today and we have to brace ourselves just to walk around. At one point we spot mister lime green walking his ride. Initially I thought he was tired but later figured out that he was having trouble staying on the bike and on the road in an open section. We later saw him successfully grinding his way up to the summit. I hope it’s less windy when I ride on Monday.

As we’re driving up the scenery goes from uplands cattle grazing ranch country,

Uplands

to sparse plant growth above the tree line,
Silverswords

and then just volcanic rock.
Vista at Haleakala

At Leleiwi, the first of two overlooks, we get our first glimpse of the crater. You have to hike a short distance on a trail and the wind is howling and the temperatures have dropped substantially from the 78F on the beach. Shirley returns to the car and I push on to get a look and take some pictures. I’m rewarded with a spectacular view of the crater and need to hide behind the shelter just to manage to hold steady enough to that the pictures. I intentionally increase the shutter speed just to compensate for getting buffeted around by the wind.

Crater Overview
Leleiwi Overlook

Back in the car we continue up to the summit at Puu Ulaula Overlook (also known as Red Hill). It’s a windy walk up to the shelter but really everybody gets their picture taken under the summit sign.

It's Windy!
It’s Windy!
Shirley at the Top
Shirley at the Top

At the summit you are right next to the Haleakala Obsevatory also known as Science City. Because of the US Airfoce presence here we, not alowed to go over and explore that area.

Science City
Science City
House of the Sun
House of the Sun

On the way down we stop at the Visitor Center, just below the summit. It’s already closed at 2pm, (they have really short hours) so we don’t get to see the exhibits, but take quick look around and of course some more photos of the crater.

 

 

Further down the road we stop again, this time at the Kalahaku Overlook and get yet another spectacular look at the crater and surrounding areas from a different vantage point.

Crater Cones
Crater Cones
Makawao Union Church
Makawao Union Church

We wind our way down the Crater Road and take a slightly different route back hoping over to Kula and then back over to Makawao where we stop to take a few pictures of this beautiful church we spotted earlier in the day.

The Makawao Union Church was built in 1916 in memorial of Henry Perrine Baldwin and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Mr. Baldwin must have been quite the force back in the day, a lot of stuff is named after him.

After checking out a couple of dinner options in Paia we decide to find a new guten-free restaurant over in Kihei which is about 45 minutes away. After picking up fish & chips we head back to the condo, another 45 minutes, and enjoy dinner and a movie. Lots exploring, lots of interesting stuff, lots of driving and we’re done for the day.

 

More Pictures of the Day

Snorkelling Adventure – Friday

WakeUp early again at about 4:45am to get ready ad drive over to the Maalaea Harbour to catch the snorkelling adventure at 6:15am. The 1st part of the adventure was the boat ride to the first site. It was windy and rough and our course had us cutting through the wave trough going sort of with the wind. Within minutes everybody was soaked from the spray breaking over the deck. I was quite glad to be wrapped up in my black jacket I use for cycle commuting. Even with nice temperatures being wet and out in a strong wind had folks huddling under their beach towels.

Unfortunately, due to the wind we didn’t get to go to Molokini or Turtle Town, which was the hype of the advertising (small print, subject to weather conditions, destinations at the captains discretion) . They did their best and went to a couple of sites that were a bit sheltered from the wind. The snorkelling  was fun and we saw lots of fish, green sea turtles, a manta ray, and four reef sharks. One of the stops was over a wreck in about 90′ of water. Most of the passengers hopped in to float over the wreck to get a better look. Snorkel Stop #3The last stop was at an old pier where several 100′ of concrete and steel were taken out by a storm and the sunken remains have become a man made coral reef. Back on the boat for a BBQ lunch and we’re heading back to the harbour Six hours and a sunburn later we’re back in harbour and have a look around at the shops. This location is also home to the Maui Ocean Centre Aquarium which only contains native Hawaiian marine life. The Centre was very well done and quite impressive After the snorkelling and seeing quite a variety of fish were were able to put some names to faces.

Then a drive around Kihei for some casual sight seeing and a stroll on a beach and we’re “done” for the day. On the drive back to the condo we pick up some takeout from Outback and settle in for a relaxing evening. Later a dip in the ocean and/or pool before calling it a day. Tomorrow is a lazier day with a sleep in and brunch at the Beach Club and then a drive up Halalekala to check out the bike route. The 3am start to see the sunrise has been canceled due to the need to dial it back a notch or two and relax a bit more.

The Presentation – Thursday

After surviving a Timeshare presentation from Wyndham I’m not sure it was really worth the $100 show discount, good thing it was raining most of that time.  Speaking of rain, what’s up with the weather? All the locals are saying this is quite unusual etc. etc. but Thursday drizzled most of the day with some serious short downpours mixed in. I know folks back in Winnipeg are dealing with -35°C so some rain when it’s +80°F is not exactly a hardship but some sun would be nice.

During one of the sunny breaks we had lunch in Lanahai at Cheese Burger in Paradise and then walked the town taking in the sights. The humidity is through the roof with the rain and then heat so we move on to explore more of the island by car. Driving north we head to mile marker 38 to see some pools on the edge of the ocean formed by a lava flow and a blow hole. The road is narrow and twisty and the guide books don’t even mention that in comparison to the road to Hana so I wonder how crazy that drive will be.

Hiking around on the shoreline cliffs is quite something. No trails or trails everywhere, no or few signs, and certainly no restrictions. Just walk right up to the edge of a 200′ cliff, as close as you dare, at your own risk. Makes for some good photos.

After some exploring t’s back to civilization for some take-out dinner to bring back to the condo.

It’s Friday and we’re up before the birds today or perhaps they are just hiding because of the wid. High surf warnings made the news last night so we’re not sure if today’s snorkeling adventure is a “GO’ or not. We’ll drive over and find out. Could need some alternate plans for today. The weather forecasts have been for sun, but so far, day by day the sun is getting pushed out until “tomorrow”. This really needs to stop.

 

1st Day in Maui – Wednesday

Getting the lay of the land on the first full day in Maui after a late arrival.  Did some exploring of the resort  and then attended an orientation session put on by the concierge. He did a great job and of course managed to sell us all kinds of stuff as the result of his pitch so we’ve got activities lined up for the next few days. He also got us to go to a timeshare presentation to obtain a discount on some stuff. I hope that won’t be too much of a mistake, I’m not too keen on these kinds of “deals”.

The Aston Kaanapali Shores is a great resort with wonderful grounds and a nice beach and a great view if the ocean with the island of Lanai in the distance. Just looking at the ocean for a few minutes any we spot multiple Humpback whales either breaching, waving a dorsal fin, flashing a tail in the air, or spraying up some water as they surface to breath through their blowhole

Our original room, while OK, had a queen size bed. Shirley checked with the front desk and managed to change rooms to get a king bed and as it turns out quite a nice too upgrade. We’re now on the “penthouse” floor and the room, while the same size, is much more nicely decorated, better appliances, bathroom fixtures and an awesome view. We think the lady at the front desk really decided to bless us, because this is a primo room in the resourt.

With al that done we headed over to the Beaches Club and enjoyed a great breakfast while overlooking the pool and ocean and then hit the road for a little sightseeing.

Considering where we are we managed to see a lot of shopping centres, grocery stores and the Costco. Hopefully, that’s the end of that, and we’ll be on to seeing the real sights for the rest of the vacation.

The one major attraction that we manage to get to is the Iao Needle, in Iao Park, in the Iao Valley, this is kind of an Iao thing. Anyway, the main claim to fame is the “needle” a large lava formation that from the park vantage point does indeed look like a needle. Later in the vacation we fly by in a helicopter and learn that it’s actually the end of a long narrow ridge. The park is nice with several short hiking trails and gardens as well as architectural heritage area featuring Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and New England style houses.
Not sure what the deal is but there are lots of chickens and roosters roaming the island and we’ll hear lots of “cock a doodle doo” during the vacation.

After being out and about for the afternoon we return to the condo and get a pleasant surprise as we pick up the keys to our new room, which is very nice. We unpack and settle in for the rest of the vacation.

Bus Rider

I know a lot of people ride the bus, but not me, not until yesterday that is.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the cost of operating a vehicle lately and when you add up the payments, insurance, parking, and repairs it’s an amazing amount per month. So, yesterday was the start of my bus adventures for commuting to work.

I needed to take the truck in to have the windshield replaced, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to start riding. Armed with bus tickets and an app to find my rides I set out on the #57 Express from Southdale to downtown. Nice ride, not crowded, as fast or faster than driving and strangely relaxing. Perhaps it’s just the 1st time novelty.

Going home was equally good. The stop is a block from my office and the bus was exactly on time.

Today I’m on the #19, not an express but moving well. Oops, spoke too soon! We’re jammed up on Archibald with all those darn cars!

Giving up the truck and going to a one vehicle family will be a big change for me. Bussing in the winter seems like it will be OK, and way less expensive. From early spring to late fall I can be on the bike so that will be excellent. I think I’ll turn the mountain bike into more of a commuter bike with fenders and skinny tires and perhaps the reward for my new transportation style will be a new full suspension 29er.

Temperature

I thought I’d planned well for the trip as far as what temperatures we’d experience but I think I payed too much attention to the daytime highs and ignored the overnight lows and the effects of altitude. Night time temperatures can be a little important when your camping in a tent trailer.

At the Loveland Pass (11,000ft) we experienced snow and thankfully were not camping there. But, later in the day beside the Colorado
River near Arches National Park (~6,000ft) the overnight lows were in the 3° range.

Tonight at Bryce National Park the campground office has a sign requesting that you disconnect your waterline as the overnight low is expected to be -3°C.

Right now I’m by the cosy camp fire. Could be some snuggling for warmth later.

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