The Fabulous Road to Hana – and Peddling There

Visitors to Maui – well, the more adventurous ones, anyway – take the long drive to the far end of the island to the little town of Hana.

The road along the windward coastline is quite good and the scenery is truly breathtaking, but there are a lot of twists and turns and there are somewhere between 40 and 50 little, narrow one-lane bridges along the way.

The other way, around the south side of Maui, takes longer. It’s certainly passable, but it’s a greater distance and the road is rutted and there are patches on patches. A lot of people opt out of going this direction because the rental car companies discourage them from taking the southern route. And that’s too bad, because the scenery is very different from the tropical, lush vistas of the windward road.

The last time we took the trip, we went around the leeward way to Hana, had lunch at the Hotel Hana Maui, then returned along the windward coast. Just before we reached Hana, after more than two hours of driving on a hot day, we came upon a small roadside building with a colorful, hand-painted sign out front advertising “ice-cold fresh fruit smoothies”. That sounded perfect!

We stopped, went in, and I ordered my smoothie. The young lady scooped out the delicious ingredients and stuffed them all into the blender, then added juice and some crushed ice.

The she looked at me. “OK,” she said, “Up you go.”

She was pointing at the frame of a vintage racing bicycle which, I now noticed, was bolted firmly to the floor. The little house had no electricity, you see, and the blender would work only when someone climbed up onto the bike and peddled furiously.

The smoothie was delicious, but I sure as hell earned it.