Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

617 turns (x2) ... and I can still feel them!

I could tell as soon as I awoke this morning that the weather at least seemed a bit more promising than it had been. I got myself organised, went for another Burger King breakfast and set out for another day's sight-seeing. Having missed out on my train ride yesterday, I thought I would start by putting that right. Whereas I had called in at Lahaina station yesterday, I chose to drive to Puukolii and start the trip there instead - that way, I could be finished earlier and could get on with the rest of the day's programme. I was greeted at the station by another old acquaintance. No, not a person and not a ship (see Sydney!) - a double-decker bus! When I was here in 1997, I had ridden on a couple of British-built deckers in what turned out to be their last year in service. One is now a static 'attention grabber' for the railway; the other is languishing in a corner of the train depot.

I took the first train trip of the day to Lahaina and back. This train is, of course, purely for the tourists, serving no possible useful purpose apart from entertainment. Still, I thought it was nice to ride a steam train and everyone on board seemed happy enough with the experience.

The train trip over, and with the weather now starting to look a bit more ominous, I drove to Kahului for a Starbucks lunch and then onto the famous Hana Highway. This coastal road from Kahului to the small town of Hana is definitely not for the faint-hearted, the inexperienced motorist or anyone prone to motion sickness. It's only just over 50 miles, but is really a very demanding drive. There are said to be 56 one-way bridges and 617 bends. Take my advice : don't count! For most of the way, the posted speed limit is 15mph, but this can safely be exceeded in the right places as long as you know when to slow right down again. I had to make one emergency stop when a pick-up truck came round a blind bend well over onto my side of the road; the driver yelled "Sorry!" out of his open window

I made very few stops along the way. In the first place, you have to be very careful indeed about where you stop and the few safe places are usually already taken. Secondly, the weather had indeed broken and conditions were not that pleasant. I really wasn't having much luck with the weather on this visit to Hawaii   By the time I got back onto ordinary roads again (that's over 1200 bends, right?) I could feel the effect of the road on my sense of balance. In fact, as I write this, I still feel as though I'm on that road, and I suspect I'll still be feeling those twists and turns when I go to bed as well.

Tired of my last two do-it-yourself evening meals, I went out to a local restaurant for a seafood dinner, very aware that this latest visit to the State of Hawaii was drawing to a close.

Sugar Cane Train

Hana Highway

(Yes ... that really is black sand!)

Monday 29 Mar

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