The Road to Hana is spoken of by people who have taken it in hushed, mystical tones. "Oh, if you're on Maui, you must take the Road to Hana," they say. "It's wonderful!"
They say this because they were passengers in the car on the Road to Hana. They marveled at the lush rain forest, the birds singing, the crystal clear ocean waters. For them, the Road to Hana is a spiritual journey of wonder and amazement.
But there is another experience on the Road to Hana - that of the driver. For the driver, the Road to Hana is a nerve-wracking, white-knuckling, sweat-staining, terror-inducing nightmare.
That's because the actual Road to Hana is barely wide enough to fit two hummingbirds side by side. And it contains more than 600 sharp mountain corners, curves, and hairpins, all of them blind; many double blind. Some entire sections of road are only wide enough for one car. Plus more than 50 one-lane bridges, all of which have traffic barreling towards you thinking that the "Yield to oncoming traffic" sign doesn't apply to them because they are the oncoming traffic.
When you're on the Road to Hana, you'll want to be listening to the helpful tourist CD that's sold everywhere. The CD - originally recorded as a tape apparently during the Carter administration and helpfully now burned onto CD without the benefit of being updated - will tell you all about landmarks that you would have passed in 1977 but no longer exist. And the driver will find the barrage of aural information extremely helpful as he rounds the 75th of 10,733 blind corners.
It's important to note that you will be stopping many times on the Road to Hana. There are many roadside merchants eager to offer you a delightful variety of local handmade goods and treats. There are numerous beautiful black sand beaches and crystal clear waterfalls. And your driver will need to regularly change his underwear.
Please note that while you are welcome to stop and explore the many natural wonders available to you along the way, the Hawaii Parks authority warns you that swimming, diving, surfing, wading, photographing, looking at or being near a waterfall or ocean is extremely hazardous to your health and could result in injury or death.
Accordingly, Mr. Trip Advisor strongly recommends staying in your car and eating cookies.
After several hours of navigating treacherous, narrow mountain passes, the driver will be quite relieved to hear the voice on the CD say that you're in Hana, where there is ... nothing. That's right! Haha! Those wacky Hawaiians fooled you! Hana itself has no real amenities, no tourist stops and one overpriced gas station.
So why take the Road to Hana? The Seven Sacred Pools.
These are what causes people to speak in such hushed and reverential tones when talking about The Road to Hana. Because as legend has it, the Seven Sacred Pools reflect the Seven Virtues (kindness, gentleness, humility, wisdom, recycling, Starbucks, and Apple), and whoever swims in all seven pools will have a ticket to Heaven.
This tale will surely elicit a chuckle from your driver who has just spent several hours trying to avoid the afterlife.
So does Mr. Trip Advisor recommend the Road to Hanna? Yes. As it is truly a spiritual journey as much as a physical one. For the passenger, they will get a new appreciation of the glory of God's creation. And for the driver, they will spend every blind corner and hidden yield sign in prayer, confessing sins real and imagined and when they are finally on the real highway back to the city, they will cry out, "Thank you Lord!"
So, yes. Take the Road to Hana. But whatever you do, call shotgun.