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rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Sarasota, Florida
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132 posts
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rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Background: We have been planning this trip for six months to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We have two young boys and it has been a full 10 years since we’ve had a full week to ourselves sans kids. Without further ado here she blows…..

Day One (Getting There):

We left at 9:30 from Tampa and had a one-hour layover at DFW before another 8 hours in the sky to Maui. I finished reading Mudbound (***), watched “The Wrestler” (***) and “Hot Tub Time Machine”(*) and we landed at 3:30 (9:30 EST). I let the wife pick-up the luggage while I hopped on the Alamo shuttle to the pick-up counter. I was the only one on the shuttle bus and third in line at the pickup counter. The line went quick and I went out back to pick-out our convertible. There were no Mustangs available so I picked out the Sebring with the fewest dings/mileage. I dropped the top and went to pickup the wife. We stopped at Wal-mart to pickup some water, beer, snacks, and fan (the wife has to have her white noise to sleep). The sun was bearing down on us pretty hard and we are a shade away from albino, so the wife reached into the make-up bag to get some sunscreen and, ughhhhh, something slippery/slimy had leaked all over everything during the flight. We drove to the Sheraton. Our attendant, Galen, showed us around the resort and then led us to our room. Our room was Deluxe Oceanfront and was on the 4th floor in Building #6. Building #6 is away from the main resort and has its own parking lot. We followed the attendant, who was in a golf car, in our car to our room. Building #6 is directly on the ocean and overlooks the back side of Black Rock and Kahekili Beach Park up to Airport Beach. It felt like we were hovering over the ocean. We walked around the resort and the views were amazing everywhere. The trip from our room to the main pool area was: Elevator from Floor 4 to Floor 3 at Building #6, go across breezeway from Building #6 to Builind #5, Elevator from Floor 3 to Floor 8 at Building #5, go across breezeway from Building 5 to Building 4 (awesome view from this breezeway overlooking resort and beach), take Elevator from Floor 8 to Floor 1, and you are at the pool. The breezeways between the buildings are amazing little quiet spot in the resort with equally amazing views of the resort and ocean. We ended up at the Tiki Bar for the sunset cliff dive ceremony. We ordered a “non-vegetarian” pulled pork nachos and a Longboard Lager and were treated to an amazing sunset. We walked to Whaler Village (about an 8 minute walk). We first passed Hula Grill and then Lehlani’s and took a look at the menus (my wife is non-fish eater, so we have to find places with a good chicken or pork dish). We browsed through a few stores and then headed to Maui Dive Shop to rent our snorkel gear. Then we headed back to the Sheraton at 9 (3AM EST) for some sleep.

Sarasota, Florida
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1. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Day Two (Honu Time):

We both woke up around 12, 3, and finally were wide awake by 5:45. We hit the gym for a good workout and then hit the buffet (which was included in our travel package). The buffet had a large selection of fresh fruit, breakfast burrito bar, standard eggs, pancakes/waffle, hashbrowns, sausage, etc. and an omelet station. My staple was an everything omelet and fresh fruit. After breakfast we headed to the pool to try and get a lounger in the shade b/c of our near albino status. It was 8ish and we got the last chairs with an umbrellas. The Sheraton has four private cabanas that are available for rent but they were booked for our entire stay. I made off to Black Rock for some snorkeling…..boy the pacific ocean is cold. Our pool and our Gulf of Mexico in Florida is a steamy 87 about now. The front side of Black Rock was very cloudy and very few fish. When I got to the point, the current was very strong (it would take me 6’ one way and then back 6’ the other). Once I got used to this and quit fighting the current I started to enjoy myself. The coral and fish selection was much better on the backside. I just got around the point and turned around and a honu went between my legs about 3’ down from my feet. I snapped a few photos and he went to the bottom of the ocean. I then headed in to take a break. The wife then wanted to snorkel so we headed back out and it was much clearer and the current had died down. We went around the point but no turtles this time. I drove to CJ’s Deli for lunch and got a turkey sandwich and French dip. We chilled at the pool until 4 and then washed up to go to Lahaina for the evening. We paid $10 at a parking lot and walked onto Front Street. We went from shop to shop until we started to get hungry. We stopped by Kimo’s and made reservations for 7:15. We walked down to the Banyan Tree for pictures and then got some sunset pictures. We were seated on the 2nd floor against the balcony rail at Kimo’s which was an awesome view. I had parmesan crusted Opah with a Big Wave Golden Ale and the wife had steak and chicken kabobs. Carrot muffins were brought out once we ordered and they were delish. We were beat and headed home.

Maui
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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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2. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Aloha,

Rgator, it's so nice of you to keep your promise and do a TR!!! More!!!!!

Bradenton, Florida
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3. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

This is DW adding in when necessary. :) I have to add that when we landed in Maui there was cheering and clapping on the plane. I have never been on a flight that cheered when we landed! So cool! It actually made me tear up. My dream of coming to Hawaii for the last 10 years had finally come true!

Sarasota, Florida
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4. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Day Three (Clouds, clouds, and more clouds):

We woke up at 5:30 and had to wait in line at the open of the buffet at 6:30. We loaded up our cooler, stopped by CJ’s for some subs, and headed to Waihe’e Valley to hike the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. This trail is a 4.7 mile hike which gains 1,500 feet in elevation. It starts with a steep concrete ramp and then continues on a dirt, root-filled path. The views at the trailhead were of Kahului Bay on the right and Hakuhe’e Point on the left. The clouds started rolling in and we quickly lost the view…..and then it started raining….then raining harder. We threw on our rain gear and motored up the muddy hills to the peak. We were surrounded by clouds the whole way and absolutely no view at the peak (but you could tell the view would have been amazing). It quit raining at the top. We ate some snacks and slid our way down. About 2/3 of the way down the clouds broke and we were given back our views. After the hike we were wiped out and headed to Iao Valley. This whole area was stunning. The sides of the mountains dropped off like cliff edges and everything was so lush. We took the lower path down to the garden area and had our packed lunch. Our original intent was to hike the Tableland trail but we were too wiped so we headed back to the Sheraton. I napped while the wife lounged by the pool. I got up, Red Bull, then beer by the pool. (Just after the nap we decided to re-evaluate our itinerary. I was tired and didn’t feel very relaxed on our second full day on Maui. We had the RTH scheduled for tomorrow and Haleakala/zip line schedule for Day 6. We decided we needed a down day tomorrow, would do RTH on Monday, skip Haleakala for this trip, and push our zipline from 8 to 12:30…..it turned out to be a great move.) We weren’t very hungry and didn’t want to wait anywhere, so we headed to the Whaler Village food court and hit up Nicks for spaghetti and a meatball sub. We ate at an outside table and got to watch the second half of a free Polynesian hula show held in the courtyard. The performers were from age 4-18 and the show was great.

Day Four (Bang Bang):

Buffet and on the road by 9:00. We planned a trip to the Blowhole and snorkeling at Honolua Bay. The police had the road closed just past Kapalua at Plantation Golf Course. Apparently there was a shooting a Honolua Bay at 4:15 AM that morning and the road would be closed for 12 hours. We took out our travel guide and tried to find a close-by snorkel site. The only one shown in our guidebook in the general vicinity was the left side of Oneloa Beach (Ironwoods Beach). We drove down Office Road and were wowed by Kapalua. Nice lush rolling hills and great landscaping. We parked in the public beach parking area and headed down to Oneloa Beach. It should be a warning sign when you are carrying your snorkel gear down the beach while the guy next to you is carrying their surf board. The waves were pretty huge at Oneloa this morning. The views were awesome though. We took the beach trail from Oneloa over Namalu Point to a view of Kapalua Beach. This trail had great views with the waves crashing against the lava cliffs. We headed back to the Sheraton and grabbed a pool side pulled pork sandwich and then snorkeled Black Rock. We read at the pool until 4, cleaned up, and then headed to the Old Lahaina Luau. Mai Tais were handed out as we walked in. We originally scheduled the OLL for Wednesday but we were going to be staying in South Maui at the end of our trip and didn’t want to drive back to Lahaina. By rescheduling OLL, we went from a front table to the back of the rear table. The view was still great. We spent the first 45 minutes walking around to the various demonstrations, watching the sunset and enjoying the open bar (I completed the entire sampling of all of their rum concoctions) . I thought the food was good not great although the wife said it was great. I enjoyed the pulled pork the most. The show and wait staff was awesome. I just wanted to note that this was the first day that I really felt on Maui time. While my wife was on heaven the moment we landed, today was the first day I finally got rid of the jet lag and the stress from work and started really enjoying myself.

Oregon
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5. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

I love the clapping on landing as well. I think even the hard core travelers know they are landing somewhere special. But also, landing at Kahului can be a frightening experience when those high winds hit the plane just right.

Gotta keep reading.

SF Bay Area
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6. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Great TR so far! I can't wait to read more!

Sarasota, Florida
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7. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

Day Five (RTH):

We got up and left the hotel at 6:30. We stopped in Pa’ia and gassed up and got sandwiches at Hana Picnic Lunch for lunch on the road. The wife drove the first leg (loaded up on Bonine….which was a savior for her road sickness). Our first stop was the Lower Puohokamoa Falls. It is a 200’ falls and the hike was pretty short, albeit muddy. Stop #2 was the Upper Puohokamoa Falls….a short hike to a 20’-30’ falls. Stop #3 was short trail to Haipua’ena Falls. Then, we stopped at a pull-off area to take pictures of Ke’anae Peninsula. Waterfall #4 was Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears Falls). We took the trail at the far side of the bridge to the base of the falls. Just past Nahiku Road we stopped at the first roadside market. The owner said she was getting a late start but we waited around and had a great homemade pizza and a 100% fruit smoothie that was excellent. We picked up some banana bread and diet coke and headed back on the road. We didn’t realize that there were 4-5 additional food vendors within the next two miles, but were happy with our choice. Next stop was Wai’anapanapa Park. I would consider this a must stop. We walked on top of the lava cliffs and watched the waves crash into outcroppings. We walked down into several lava tubes and then headed over to the black sand beach. This is not really a swimming beach as the waves were pretty huge with a good under current. We couldn’t stay too long because we had the Pipiwai Trail ahead of us. We stopped by Koki Beach for some photos (great beach) and Hamoa Beach for a quick swim. The road gets pretty narrow and bumpy from here to Ohe’o Gulch with lots of single lane roads. We drove past Wailua Falls on our way to the Gulch and it was too nice to not stop. There were a couple vendors here. Then we hit the Pipiwai Trail. The elevation gains aren’t nearly as much as the Waihe’e Ridge Trail that we hiked earlier. The trail starts off with dirt and roots and large canopy trees. There are numerous side trails that lead to very cool water pools and waterfalls. We stopped at all of them and they were worth it. We kept seeing a little critter running around and eventually I got enough of a look to see it was a mongoose. I’ve since read about their introduction in the late 1800’s and the problem they are causing to endangered species. Then we hit the bamboo forest where the canopy floor turned from dirt to boardwalks. At the end of the bamboo forest was a couple creek crossings and finally to the 400’ Waimoku Falls. We were the only ones there….in fact we only passed about a dozen people on the way to Waimoku Falls and ~30 on the way back. Once we got back to the trailhead we took our prepared lunch (now dinner) to Ohe’o Gulch and found a large rock overlooking the pools to picnic. This is where all the people were at….the place was packed. We ate, got some pictures, and headed out. Please bring bug spray on the RTH and load up early. I didn’t and was itching the rest of our trip. I would say we had a perfect game plan for the RTH….all stops were awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Notice to moderators….please skip the next paragraph. If you have some fancy device that reads your emails to you….all I can say is “earmuffs”.

We went the “back way” home. What a crazy crazy drive. The roads get worse and it starts with a one lane road on the edge of a cliff against the ocean….what awesome views. I just gave a big honk around all the turns. The gravel (unpaved) road was actually not that bad…..it was the paved part, if you call it that, that was bad. It was basically just a row of potholes that lasted for 10-15 miles….going 10-15 miles per hour. With views of the ocean against the cliffs on one side and the backside of Haleakala on the other side, we were in awe....they are unlike any other on Maui. There were several cows in the middle of the roadway and we saw some wondering goats. We got back to the Sheraton at 8:00 PM (13.5 hours later). Wife went to bed and I sat on the lanai and downed a few of my new favorite brewer, Maui Brewing Co’s Big Swell IPA.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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8. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

rgator, shame on you!! Well, everyone has to decide for themselves whether they break their rental car agreement or not!! Your post makes me want to get back to Maui and do a Hana trip of my own, it's been about 3 years!! Can't wait until the rest of your report. Thanks for getting back to us!!

Sarasota, Florida
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9. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

msfuzz.....you were supposed to skip that paragraph :-)

i understand the concern and we willing took the risk and understood the consequences. as for the rental car agencies, i could see why they wouldn't want people back there b/c it definitely gave the car's shocks, suspension, brakes, and tires a workout.

Sarasota, Florida
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10. Re: rgator Trip Report (7/15-7/23)

i didn't want my TR to be about car rental agreements, so here goes day 6:

Day Six (Transition):

It was checkout day at the Sheraton. As we knew, they charge a ~$30/day resort fee which includes parking and DSL in-room internet access. We decided to eat a bowl of cereal in our hotel room when we got up at 6, hang out at the pool until 10, and then hit the buffet as a brunch before we headed out to Makawao for our 12:30 Piiholo zipline. It had been 10-years since we last ziplined (in Costa Rica for our honeymoon) and boy has the technology changed. From the harness to the breaking system, it is all about safety. We did the 5-line course. I was fun and we had some great guides. My wife was the one that pushed for the zipline. She would say it’s worth the money and, although I had fun, I would have to disagree. We asked one of our guides for a recommendation for a shaved ice place in the Kehei/Wailae area since we were headed that way. He recommended Local Boy Snack Shop. We stopped by on our way into town and there was a 10-person line on the sidewalk. We ordered the “Big Daddy” with ice cream on the bottom and cream on the top. I’ve never had one, but it was good….just not sure about all the fuss. Local Boys is located in Kihei Kalama Village. We shopped around the area and the wife found a ring and we bought some bonsai plants growing in lava rock to send home the grandparents (babysitters). While the wife was shopping I decided to go off and look around. I found a bar at the back of the village that had a girl with a guitar playing some pretty good cover songs. After shopping was complete we headed over to the South Shore Tiki Lounge. Happy hour was 4-6 each day and every day they had a different artist playing. The wife had some $2 bud lights and I downed some $4 Guinness and margaritas. The singer, Sabrina Barron, was leaving in three weeks to try-out on American Idol in San Fran. After happy hour we headed toward Wailea and stopped off at Mulligan’s on the Blue for dinner. Mulligan’s is an Irish pub located at the Wailea Golf Course Blue. They had a guy with a guitar playing a mix of his own tunes and cover songs. The wife got the shephard’s pie and I had the fish and chips….both were very good. We had the best sunset of our entire trip on the deck of Mulligans that night. After sunset we headed over to check-in at the Four Seasons. We booked a Mountain View with a preferred Four Seasons agent and were given free buffet breakfasts, one free lunch, and a guaranteed, if available, room upgrade. We were shocked when we were upgraded to Prime Ocean View which was a 4-5 class upgrade and typically goes for $970/night. The room was great. Hawaiian music was playing when we entered the room. An assortment of dessert was on the coffee table. The lanai has a screen door so you can leave the sliding glass door open without any bug issues. The bathroom was huge. It had its own music system with six available channels of music. It has double sinks, a soaking tub, and large stand-up shower (the shower was a nice upgrade over the Sheraton’s regular tub/shower combo).