I was up at 4:30 again, so I took advantage and packed our cooler/goodies/necessities for the long trip to Hana. Around 5:30 I anxiously awoke the hubs and told him to get up and get going! I wanted to be out the door by 6! I’m not entirely sure that he wasn’t sleepwalking to the car.. anyway, we got downstairs, loaded up Rental Car 1 and we were on our way! I started up the GyPSy app and soon enough we’d made it to Paia. We filled up with gas at the Shell Station right off the highway (and they put a hold on my AMEX for $100 for two days for $19.95 worth of gas – just an FYI for those of you who also obsessively check your balance). I pointed out the restaurants I’d heard all of you chat about and we were on our way!
The GyPSy app recommends four stops – the Keanae Arboretum, the Keanae Peninsula, Wainapanapa State Park, 3 Bears Falls (I *think*) and O’heo Gulch/Pipiwai Trail. Those were all the things I really wanted to see, too, so we trusted our guide and decided to just check out those options.
After driving for what felt like ages and twisting and turning, back and forth, we finally made it to me the Arboretum. We walked the asphalt path up to the Arboretum. It’s so peaceful there! It was quiet, we barely heard a sound until we ran into another couple that assured us we were headed in the right direction. We checked out the different trees and I practically pulled Ken’s arm out of socket to see the beautiful rainbow Eucalyptus trees. Amazing! I’m not sure he was excited as I was but that’s pretty common for us! Soon we headed back to the car to head to the peninsula. I was so pumped to get Aunty Sandy’s banana bread! As we rounded the corner I saw the open sign lit up. Pshew! We weren’t too early! I picked up two loaves of bread, two packages of the mix for our moms (who were splitting duty and watching our toddler back home!), an apple banana, two hot dogs, two bags of chips and a soda to share. We sat at the picnic table and enjoyed our “breakfast”. Our guide told us the story of the typhoon that nearly wiped out the buildings on the peninsula. Soon we were back in the car and heading towards Wainapanapa State Park. When we arrived we decided to do the cave’s first. SO COOL! There was a family of four jumping down into the super clear water. We didn’t have our suits on but they told us it was very cold in there – I took their word for it naturally! I like that when you hike down to the cave’s and hike up the hill afterward that it takes you back to the parking lot. No back tracking here! I asked K if he wanted to change into his suit for the black sand beach but he didn’t want to change. We decided just to go hang out on the beach and watch the waves for a bit. We hiked down and took about a gazillion pictures. It’s so beautiful! I wish we would have brought our blankets down and hung out a bit longer but I think Ken was excited to see what was next. So, off we went. The next stop was 3 Bears Falls, and we drove right past it. I couldn’t see much since I was driving but Ken assured me I hadn’t missed much. Ugh. Oh well, on to O’heo! When we got into the park I told K that we should probably do the hike first, because I REALLY wanted to see the bamboo forest. He obliged. About a quarter mile in to the hike this out of shape and overweight 33 year old started to wonder what she’d gotten herself in to! The hike was pretty difficult for me. I made it all the way, but it was TOUGH. I think the first half mile with the sun beating down on you and all the tree roots in the ground is definitely the worst part. I joked to Ken that this must have been what our parents were talking about when they said they had to walk to school uphill BOTH ways. After the hike I was exhausted, tired and cranky. The thought of putting on my suit to go to the pools sounded terrible. Ken was tired too and ready to head back. I’m pretty mad at myself for missing the pools, but I guess this means we’ll just have to go back!
Back to the car. Thinking of all of those curves had the two of us dreading the drive back. We decided we’d stop for shave ice in Hana and hopefully that would perk us up a bit. We’re driving back and hit the detour for the Road to Hana. The road is pretty narrow here and there was a BIG SUV that was not getting over. So I did. And soon we heard a CRUNCH and a THUD. Whatever that was sure didn’t sound good. We decide to keep driving and I tell Ken we should probably pull off and check the car. He points his mirror down and says, “Kristi… pull over whenever you can. We have a flat.” And here begins the freakout. Are you kidding me?! I’d heard the millions of horror stories about getting a flat outside of Hana but I figured there was no way I could be so unlucky! WRONG. Not only do we have a flat, we have a punctured side wall. Luckily the husband is super handy and spent all of his college years changing flat tires for extra money. Only there’s a problem… spare tires aren’t standard on 2013 Hyundai Elantras. Nope. I’m not kidding. I started crying, then laughing, then crying. Ken decided we could NOT stay on the pull off with no facilities/food/water, so we drove on the flat to a little beachfront park across from Koki Beach. I stumble out of the car to the food pavilion/stand there and ask what the stand is called. It didn’t have a name – just run by some friendly locals. Oh no. I couldn’t even tell the ERS folks where to send the tow truck! Luckily, the locals said we could “cruise” (aka hang out, drink beer, use their bathroom, eat their food) with them. I can’t remember all of their names but “mom” insisted that I give her my phone and she described where we were to the tow truck driver, who was told by Alamo we were in Paia (um.. no). They took wonderful care of us while we waited 3 hours for the truck to arrive. Honestly, I was sad to leave them when he showed up! Here’s a little tip, too. If you have AAA, there’s a tow driver IN Hana. If not, your tow truck driver is coming from Kahuliu and you’ll be there awhile. :)
Anyway, the driver swaps out the tire so he can tow it with the back tires on the ground and tells me we can’t do the southern route back because of the tour buses (pshew – I was so nervous to take that way!), so we’re going back north. Okay. He then asks me if I get carsick. I tell him I’m okay as long as I look dead ahead. He says no problem, buckle your seat belts, you’re about to experience driving with a local. My husband is clapping with glee at this point. I think the speed limit is 15 on the road? I’m pretty sure we did no less than 40 mph the whole way back. It was an experience!! I so enjoyed Don Anthony, our driver! He was from Molokai and told us all about his home, and his family, and where we should eat and visit. I know we hear stories about locals who don’t love the tourists, but I’ve never felt so welcomed by locals anywhere! It was fantastic!
Shortly after 8:45 we arrived back at Alamo and they swapped our car out. I asked them WHY we didn’t have a spare, and they told us almost none of the compact cars have spare tires. I refused to take another car unless it had a spare, so we were given a Chevy Cruze. Oh my goodness. It was SO MUCH NICER than the Elantra!! I told Ken the car gods just wanted me to have a better car for the rest of the trip. I’m not sure he was amused. He told me he was glad I was driving when the tire popped or he’d have never heard the end of it. Probably true! ;)
We FINALLY made it back to Honua Kai and faceplanted on the bed. I was (and still am) worried about what sort of bill Alamo will be sending me, but I guess we’ll see! I didn’t take out the extra insurance but did rent with my AMEX. Everyone cross your fingers for me!! The Alamo folks were super nice and apologetic at drop off. I think they knew I might be getting slapped with a big bill! ;)