AN EXCITING DRIVE AROUND WEST MAUI
Nail-biting return home
The trade winds have returned to Maui this morning. After more than a week of VOG (volcanic emissions), the sky was clear once again.
So I decided to try to kill two birds with one stone: Test the endurance and range of my Leaf (electric car) and enjoy some beautiful sights around the wild and woolly West Maui.
In the past, Elizabeth and I have driven around the West Maui mountains’ twisty single lane roads a number of times – in El Jeepo or some of our other gasoline-powered cars. But never in a Leaf.
Because even if everything went according to plant, the round trip would be about 100 miles. Which equals the rated range of the Leaf under normal conditions.
Alas, conditions are never normal on a volcanic island like Maui. There are hills and valleys, headwinds and tailwinds, light and dark. So I realized I was taking a chance when I set out on this journey a little after noon today.
For, now let’s just say that the Leaf and I returned home around six this evening on a single charge. That’s 105 miles!
There was a bit of nail-biting toward the end, but we made it home on a single bar (there are 12 bars when the car is fully charged).
It is rare that one can see so clearly the West Maui Mountains while driving from my home into Kahului. Normally, most Hawaiian volcano peaks are enveloped in clouds.
I took the first picture while driving past Ho’okipa Point, a famous surfing spot. The other two shots were taken from Kahului harbor. When the “Pride of America” cruise ship is in town (every Sunday and Monday), it instantly becomes the tallest structure in Kahului. 🙂
Here’s also a view of it from across the Kahului harbor.
Maui’s “Rock of Gibraltar
Ever since we returned from our May 2014 trip to Europe, which included a visit to Gibraltar, I have been calling this rock on the northeast side of Maui as our “Rock of Gibraltar.”
The height of the overlook north of the “Rock of Gibraltar” offers wonderful views of the coastline to the north.
A few miles north of the “Rock of Gibraltar” is another popular tourist attraction – a Blowhole. I did not bother going down to the ocean to see it, but I did take in the wonderful ocean and coastline vista from the high overlook above the Blowhole.
View from the Blowhole overlook, northeast coast of West Maui
Enchanted forest at Honolua Bay
My next stop was Honolua Bay. I have never been here before today even though Honolua Bay is close to Kapalua, the first first spot on Maui where I landed for the first time in 1986.
Well today, I walked through this forest of huge trees and giant vines before reaching Honolua Bay. Take a look…
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Here are also some still shots from the enchanted forest and the Honolua Bay beach…
D.T Fleming Beach Park
My next stop was another first – the D.T. Fleming Beach Park. The place is on the doorstep of Kapalua. Yet I have never been there before, either. The sign in the parking lot proudly announces it as “America’s Beast Beach of 2006.”
Well, it is a nice beach. But America’s best beach? That sounds a bit too self-aggrandizing.
Who was D.T. Fleming? That’s what I was also wondering. So after some effort, I found out today that he was one of the early settlers here. And he left behind a record of his experiences, “The Fleming Journals: West Maui Land Records and Family History 1905-1910”, which is now in Lahaina Library.
Next was my longtime favorite – Kapalua Beach. That’s where I stayed when I first came to Maui in 1986. The beach is still the same, and the views are beautiful. But there are a lot of condos now in place where there used to be just green lawns.
“Progress?” Not in my books.
This is where I was hoping to recharge my Leaf’s battery. Alas, all charging stations were out of order. But I still had 6 out of 12 bars left in my battery. So I was hoping I might make it back home on a single charge.
If so, that would be about 105 miles – 5 more than the rated range of my electric car. That’s because I had not charged the Leaf at home before I left this mornbbinbg. I did it the day before at Pukalani while I was doing laps in the swimming pool. So I figured, it would be touch-and-go driving home.
But, it is what it is. I figured God and my spirit guides know that they are doing. So I shrugged and I went to the Kaanapali Beach where I actually had my first and only swim of the day. It was already close to 4PM and the sun was getting low over the island of Lanai.
Visit to Lahaina
No trip around West Maui would be complete without a visit to Lahaina. So I parked at our usual spot in front of Starbucks, and then walked the length of Front Street all the way to the big Banyan tree and the Lahaina harbor. That’s where I took these pictures.
By the time I headed back to my car, it was already almost 5PM.
“Ah, rush hour,” I thought.
There is only one road in and out of Lahaina. And at the end of the business day one is almost certain to end up in stop and go traffic. And so I did. We crawled all the way from Lahaina to Maalea Harbor where the road widens. Probably just as well as it helped save my car battery’s life.
I smiled when I realized that. “God knows indeed what He is doing.”‘
Drive Home: Winging It
When I got to about the Target store in Kahului, I was down to 3 bars in my car battery. That’s when I had to make a decision – do I go to Kaahumanu Mall and recharge, or risk it go for it – straight home. I decided on the latter.
“God, now I need your help to get me home,” I said out loud.
I was thinking maybe those charging stations in Kaanapali were out for a reason – to test my faith and trust in spirit guidance.
I got home comfortably with one bar in my car battery still left. Whew! 🙂