After three years of having our summers trumped by Jen pursuing her Masters degree, we decided to take a crazily overboard vacation to make up for it. As it happened, Hawaii won the coin toss, and Maui seemed a good start. We ended up tweaking our travel times just right and got a deal, so from June 14th to the 20th, the continental United States could no longer taint us with its relative banality.

Getting there however, seemed to be part of the adventure. Though first assumptions may blame the two-leg flight, that was actually relatively uneventful. The pilot for the last leg was enthusiastic and offered a prize to any passenger who could guess when we’d be exactly half way there. Getting out of the airport took longer than we wanted, but really everything went well. It was everything that came afterwards on that fine Monday evening that initially had me literally cursing the island.

This was easy to do, because the Honoapiilani Highway (30) spends most of its time as a four-lane split roadway around the north bulb of the island. But keep going straight long enough, and it becomes a glorified goat trail wrapped around the mountain, cluttered by switchbacks, blind turns, and one-lane bridges. Surprisingly, this was all paved. Verizon Navigator assuaged our suspicion this path was awfully convoluted for a resort, and really it was kinda fun . . . for the first twenty minutes. Hawaii is five hours behind Illinois’ time zone, meaning I was driving around a treacherous mess of mountain roads in the dark, at 3am Central. It wasn’t until we lost cellphone reception that I really started to worry, and being scared generally makes me angry, so we turned around and went back to a side road we remembered seeing before getting caught in the spaghetti.

There was a supermarket there which hadn’t quite closed yet, and they directed us to the correct road to Napili Kai, all while I vowed to obliterate Verizon and their filthy Navigator. It turns out that highway was split thirteen years ago into an upper and lower portion when a huge resort built out the coastline. Even though we entered the address for our resort, the thirteen-year-old (or older!) map in Verizon’s system blithely directed us into the upper portion, which is intended to be a 4WD trail around the northwestern half of Maui, shortly after the point we gave up and turned around. So if you go to Maui and have Verizon, throw your phone out the window and drive over it; you’re better off with paper maps and a goat.

We eventually found the resort and checked in some time around midnight, some three hours after landing. Upon arrival, I couldn’t help but notice that the main office has no doors. It didn’t even have walls, just a series of pillars to hold up the roof. The front desk, concierge desk, furniture, bookshelves, everything was just sitting around in the open air. The hot-tub the size of a pool was clearly visible from the stairs leading down from the office, and tiki torches lined all the walkways. Despite the harrowing trip, I started relaxing almost automatically just wandering around the resort grounds.

But I was tired beyond reason, so I slipped bonelessly into our king-sized bed and passed out, glad to have arrived at all after the mildly terrifying detour. Tuesday, as it turned out, was much more enjoyable.

Until Tomorrow

Maui Confidential – Part 1
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