One time, not too long ago, I spent a Thanksgiving weekend in Maui. It was my first time there and as much as I would like to think that I will have numerous future opportunities to go to Maui and all the other places I want to see, I was anxious that this might be the only chance in a while so I decided to cram as much Maui into my 4 days as I possibly could.
I also needed very much to relax, so my first move was to … not move. I had a day sitting in a beach chair, facing the ocean, reading a novel. It was great, but I started to get restless.
I had done some research and had decided that I wanted to: ride a motorcycle to Hana; ride a motorcycle to the top of Haleakala to see the sunrise; see whales. I had thought about doing a shuttle to the top of Haleakala, and mountain biking down, but then when I looked into it I learned that “mountain biking” meant being driven to the top, then about halfway down then, inexplicably, riding a mountain bike down the road. Ugh. A long, long downhill on pavement is actually not all that much fun, at least IMO.
So, Friday I drove my rental car over to Lahaina to pick up the motorcycle. It was actually a giant scooter, with two front wheels. It wouldn’t have been my first pick, but it would have to do.
Maui is kind of built like misshapen, reclining, 2-ball snowman. My hotel was in Wailea which is on the southwest side of the base of the snowman and Lahaina is on the southwest side of the snowman’s head. A lot of the commerce, and the airport, are located on the snowman’s neck. To get from Lahaina to Hana, you cross the snowman at the neck and then go down the northeast side of the base. I headed straight to Hana from Lahaina.
It was an interesting trip in some ways, but the scooter complicated things because I couldn’t figure out how the two front wheels were going to behave and I didn’t want to test them out on the road and have an expensive crash. The scooter design was kind of dumb, because the only reason I could see for the two front wheels was to allow a rider to remain upright when stopped, by locking the wheels together and preventing them from steering. The rest of the time they work as a dynamic parallelogram – when the scooter tilts, the wheels tilt together, which means they’re really not that different from one front wheel, except they look weird and confuse the rider. I think they solve a problem that shouldn’t be solved – i.e.: the problem of someone riding around on a 2 wheeled vehicle while lacking the skills to keep it upright.
Along the way to Hana I stumbled on some interesting things:
The best American-made Indian curry I have ever tasted, served from a hippie bus outside the local market in Haiku.
The restroom inside the local market, also in Haiku where the bathroom door fell off just as I was using it. Why do these things happen?
Anyway, I finally made it to Hana, sore of butt and crampy of throttle hand, but it was nice to be able to say I made it.
Stay tuned to find out if I made it up that crazy volcano.