Sunday, September 21, 2008

Final Thoughts on Maui

I truly loved my adventure on Maui and the best thing about it was being able to share it with my mom. I learned some things I never knew about my mom and we created some great memories I’ll cherish always.

It’s amazing how friendly and happy everyone is on Maui. The island just moves at a slower pace and I guess everyone instantly gets in a relaxed and happy mood. If only we could bottle the positive energy created on the island and bring it back to the mainland. The world would be a much more positive, peaceful and joyful place. Hopefully all those that visit bring a little piece of the island outlook back with them and can hold onto the peace of mind the island brings. If we can do that, and remember that feeling the next time we start to get caught up in all the day to day crap, we’ll all be a little more at peace.
So I’ve been asked which did I prefer, Maui or Oahu? It really depends on what you’re looking for. Honolulu is much bigger and much more developed than Maui. It’s like a lot of big cities and has a lot to offer. Maui is smaller, less developed and much quieter. If you’re looking to just kick back and relax, Maui is a great option. For the Traveling Hillbilly though, I have to say I prefer Oahu. Don’t get me wrong, Maui is stunningly beautifully and I truly enjoyed my time there. However, when traveling alone Honolulu gives you the best of both worlds. You can kick back and relax, but there are still plenty of options if you want to get out and about

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Last Moments in Maui

After an exciting day of zip lining across the valleys of Kaanapali Beach, it was time for a dip in the pool before heading out to a traditional Hawaiian luau. After reading a variety of tourist magazines, we had settled on the Old Lahaina Luau. It is known as the most traditional luau on the island.

We were not disappointed. From the time we walked in until the evening was over, we felt welcomed. They put on a truly great show! It’s educational, colorful and exciting. Plus the food was delicious and all drinks were included. We tried a variety of foods and each one was more delicious than the other. We sat at a table with six other people who were all very friendly. Our waiter was exceptional. All in all is was a truly wonderful experience, one The Traveling Hillbilly highly recommends! Want more information? Then click here

After our exciting evening at the Luau, it was almost time to say goodbye to Maui. Since our flight did not leave until very late in the evening, we decided to rent a car and explore some of the island on our own. We started the day having breakfast at The Gazebo Restaurant, which the Traveling Hillbilly also highly recommends (click here for review and restaurant info). The banana, macadamia nut pancakes are truly spectacular!

With completely full stomachs, we went off to explore Kapalua and the rest of west Maui. The drive is like a mini-drive of the Road to Hana. It’s full of twist and turns and some truly beautiful scenery. Unfortunately neither of us had a camera! We’ll just have to keep the pictures stored in our memories.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Me, Mom and the Zip Line!!!!!

Today is the day. Today is the day the Traveling Hillbilly is finally going to do a zip line. What would it be like? Would the Traveling Hillbilly actually be able to go through with it or would the Traveling Hillbilly’s mother do it, while the Traveling Hillbilly sat by watching, too scared to take the leap? Would it be anything like sky diving?

It’s 7am and we are about to find out! We meet at the Eco Adventures store, sign a waiver too scary to read (one line on the form tells you, you are not allowed to turn upside down intentionally) and then hop in the van that will take us up the mountain. The ride up the mountain was an adventure in itself. It is only accessible in a 6 wheel drive. Talk about off-roading, we were tossed, turned, bounced up, bounced down before finally coming to a stop. We are fitted with harnesses, given helmets and some instruction about what to do when we start to spin! Spin? You mean we will start spinning? What about this turning upside down thing? I certainly would not do that intentionally but is there a chance that will happen accidentally? Are these things really possible, probable? Will I panic? My mind is running a mile a minute as we get back in the van for the remaining ride up to the zip lines. They should have given us helmets in the beginning. This last bit of ride was not nearly as bad as the first leg.

We make it to the top and it’s time for that first zip! There are 8 lines in total, each one longer than the other. The Traveling Hillbilly is shaking with fear. Will I accidentally turn upside down? Will I panic when I start to spin and not be able to turn myself back? After watching a couple of people do the first line, I realize it’s now or never for me. The longer I wait and watch other people go, the more nervous I’ll get. So I walk up, get snapped in and walk slowly down the steps before launching across the valley below. Wow! I scream all the way across! Some even said I was cursing along the way.

A few more people make it across and then I see Mom step up! There she is up on the platform, getting ready to do her first zip line as well. She takes a few steps down and then she’s flying across the valley! She’s actually doing it. Suddenly she turns and winds up landing on the platform backwards. It’s a little frightening but she handles it like a trooper and is ready for the next one.

Mom does four zip lines in all and I have to say I was so proud of her. Who knew mom had such an adventurous spirit? She has walked, hiked, climbed over rocks and zipped across the valleys above Kaanapali beach. I hope I still have her sense of adventure when I get to be sixty!

By the end of the tour, I’ve taken running jumps off the platforms and even pushed off backward! It never got an easier. I was nervous every time. My biggest fear was getting halfway across and stopping and having to just hang there for a while or seeing it happen to someone else! By the time we get to the last line, which is over 1,100 feet across, I decide to go first. I step up and zip across all 1,100 feet, thrill to have survived the day, adding one more amazing experience to my life and happiest most of all to have shared this adventure with my mom.

Interested in a zip line in Maui? Check it out

Me, Mom and the Road to Hana

We decided to take my little sister’s advice and have someone else drive us along the road to Hana. We were very glad we did. There are over 600 hairpin turns and 50+ one lane bridges. During most of the drive, there’s the mountain on one side and a steep drop on the other. Often when two cars are approaching each other, whoever has the “widest” part of the highway has to stop so the other car can pass. Cars pass within inches of one another. We brushed mirrors, tires and one car even scraped the side of the mountain trying to pass us. There is no way the driver would get to enjoy the beauty along the way. We saw several waterfalls, although most were rather small, bamboo forests so thick it didn’t even look like bamboo, and even a few mongooses. It truly was a scenic drive. I’m glad I did the scenic drive up the coast in California recently. Had I done it after seeing this scenic drive, I may have been a little disappointed.

The changes in weather were quite amazing as well. We went from beautiful sunny skies to dark low clouds to rain, back to beautiful sunny skies and then rain again. We had nice balmy breezes in some places and then just a few miles up the road we had humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife.

After about 4 ½ hours on the road we stopped for lunch at the Hana Ranch. Then it was on to Haleakala National Park for a quick dip. About 10 miles past Hana, there are pools that are carved from volcanic rock and fed by a stream. The pools are connected by waterfalls. They used to be called the Seven Sacred Pools but are now referred to as the pools of Ohe o Gulch. We hike down the path, ready to jump right in and take a dip in these amazing pools. We were in for a bit of a surprise. Once we got to the pools however, we quickly realized we couldn’t just jump in. You have to climb over rocks to make you’re way into the water. It was quite a treacherous trip and is not done very gracefully by anyone. However we made it! Once you’ve navigated your way through, the water is quite inviting. It was definitely an experience.

All in all in it was a great day. The Traveling Hillbilly was very proud of mom today. She was quite the brave trooper, hiking, navigating the rocks and taking a dip.

Even though the road to Hana is only like 52 miles, it was almost a twelve hour day. Every time we saw a steep drop off, all the Traveling Hillbilly could think of was, is that what the zip line would be like? I must admit it started making me nervous!

Advice: If you ever decide to take the trip, allow yourself a full day to do it and let someone else do the driving. This is probably not the best road for those who get carsick.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Me, Mom & a Zip Line?

So we're officially on island time! Mom has commented more than once how it seems like time has just slowed down since we've been here. It is amazing how much one can enjoy a day when it's not taken up by 8-10 hours of work!

The Traveling Hillbilly's mom actually had fish tacos for the first time last night. She was a little afraid to try them at first, but after the bartender (who actually has a mamaw and papaw from Hazard County, Kentucky) told her they were the best thing on the menu, she decided why not and went for it! She was very happy she did. I didn’t think they were bad either. Most of you know how much The Traveling Hillbilly hates seafood, but this fish had the texture of chicken. Not bad.

Apparently Fish Taco's aren't the only thing the Traveling Hillbilly's mom is ready to try. She's actually agreed to do a zip line over the jungles of Maui! We scheduled it this morning and we're going on Saturday. This Traveling Hillbilly has wanted to do one for years. As most of you know, The Traveling Hillbilly is truly afraid of heights, but it seems like it would be so exhilarating. If you’re going to do it, why not do it over a place as beautiful as Maui?

I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Me, Mom and Maui

The Traveling Hillbilly is sitting in a hotel in El Paso, Texas waiting to catch a flight to Maui first thing in the morning. The Traveling Hillbilly's mom has always wanted to go to Hawaii. What will Maui be like? Will Mom like it? Will it be all Mom dreams it to be?