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One of the things that Maui is famous for is the drive on the Road to Hana. Hana is not the point of interest: it is the road itself (i.e. the journey, not the destination). The Hana Highway is 68 miles long and has 617 turns and 59 single lane bridges. The estimated time to complete the drive is 3 hours, one way. Obviously this would be an all-day affair. The four of us (myself, Matt, Joe and Clare) started out by having another hearty breakfast at Castaway Café. Yesterday we all indulged in the raisin bread French toast. Today Matt ordered French toast with pineapple. While the French toast was still good, the pineapple was not freshly sliced fruit. It was definitely from a can. Matt made a very sad face while eating the canned pineapple. After breakfast, we all piled into the car and set off for the Hana Highway. A huge thank you to Joe for doing all the driving today!

Certainly the journey to Hana would have been a true journey of a lifetime if we had managed to execute it on motorcycles, but the distance and the sheer number of turns was rather dizzying. Some of the interesting things that we saw along the road were the many rainbow eucalyptus trees and groves of bamboo plants. Rainbow eucalyptus trees have a very smooth bark that peels off (sheds) at different times, revealing a light green interior and then ages to different colours including blue, purple, and orange. 

We stopped at Nihiku Market Place to stretch our legs. While we were there, Clare was able to get a fresh coconut to drink the coconut water. She had been craving one since attending the luau on Oahu. The same vendor had other coconut offerings, specifically coconut candy. He explained that he sliced the coconut thinly with a mandolin and then toasted the sliced coconut with sugar. Quite tasty. We picked up some coffees at another vendor along with a coconut pineapple loaf and continued on our way.

Our next stop was at Wai'anapanapa State Park. We were here to see the Black Sand Beach (Pa'iola Beach). We carefully made our way down to the beach. What a spectacular sight! My initial reaction: I felt like I was walking towards an ashphalt beach because the wet black sand glistened in the sun. It wasn't fine grain sand; it was large granules, tiny pebbles. The surf was quite strong and it was very noisy when the tide washed in and out. Larger pebbles were constantly being tumbled back and forth, adding to the noise of the rolling surf. We braved the vigorous waters and bobbed about in the ocean once again. We had a quick "picnic" on the beach before moving on.

Our last stop before turning around in Hana was Kaihalulu Bay and the Red Sand Beach. The hike down to this beach was more challenging than the hike to the Black Sand Beach. Once there, the sights were again quite spectacular. The sand here consisted of large deep red-black granules. The surf here was also quite strong. The beach was quite a bit smaller than the other one and far more isolated. It was certainly worth the effort to see it.  

Despite the fact that there were several waterfalls along the Hana Highway, we chose not to stop at any of them. Joe quite correctly pointed out that we have many waterfalls at home, but no unique beaches like the Black Sand Beach and the Red Sand Beach. On our return trip from Hana back to Ka'anapali (where we were all staying), we stopped for dinner at Da Kitchen in Kahului. Their portions of Hawaiian fare were absolutely huge. After being completely stuffed, we made a quick stop at a grocery store to pick up some breakfast food for an anticipated early morning start. 

Our original plan had been to do a sunrise bicycle tour the next morning on Haleakala, Maui's dormant volcano. Unfortunately, the recent shutdown of the U.S. government foiled our plans. The silver lining, though, is that we will be meeting at 9am instead of 3:30am. I guess this means that I will have a bit more time to pack up our things in preparation for flying to Kauai tomorrow afternoon! 

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