Indiana Jones, Butt-Cracks, and How to Climb a Banyan Tree

18 06 2011

We won’t say who but SOMEONE had the brilliant idea to drive the Hana Highway yesterday. Honestly I was non-plussed about the idea but phrases like “The Garden of Eden” and “Once in a Lifetime” and “Not to be Missed!” were bandied about with such extraordinary enthusiasm that I became convinced. How bad could a road trip in Hawaii be, even if it did take “all day”?

Oh. Oh how unimaginative I was, that younger and more foolish version of myself.

The day started at 5:30 am. I woke up and dragged myself down to the kitchen where I scrambled two eggs and downed an enormous glass of juice. Mostly to offset the intense dizziness that I’d been battling all night. We were on the road by 6:45 and made a quick stop at Starbucks/Safeway for water and snacks.

Now, it was early decided that we would take both Barry’s convertible jeep and my Nissan Sentra. To all fit in the jeep one of us would have had to sit in the way back and my porcelein skin would not have survived all day exposure to the sun.

The sun that, it may be noted, rarely made an appearance.

So there we were, me driving my “Gray Ducky of Doom” following Captain Speedy in his black jeep. Let it also be noted that all three of the kids opted to ride with me. Turns out they were wiser than they could have known. About fifteen minutes into the drive the rain started so we all pulled over and I sat in the Ducky and watched Barry and Lynn scramble to get the top on the jeep. It’s a sight that we were able to enjoy at least fourteen times throughout the day as Barry took off then replaced the top sporadically.

Somewhere in the middle of Maui we were treated to a double rainbow and somewhere farther along we got to see some Eucalyptus trees. They are WORTH pulling over to enjoy.

And then it started…. three hours of single-lane switchbacks through mountainous, ravine-laced mountains. I’m told that this portion of the drive was the “Garden of Eden” that I’d heard tell of, and it may well have been. You don’t get to enjoy much of Eden when you’re focused on keeping on the road and staying close to the ass-end of the lead vehicle. Never mind the fact that I had a car FULL of nausea-prone young people who were also growing hungry. Hungry Mansours are no joke, let me tell you. ¬†Indiana Jones would have wet himself. (Meghan’s are naturally bold and fearless, though, so I was cranky but undaunted!)

At the end of the three-hours we found a roadside stand with good salads and sandwiches and gratefully replenished our diminishing blood sugar. The near-constant drizzle had abated so we found a public park where a spreading tree made a good picnic spot. Of course, just as the last bit of pasta salad disappeared the rain RE-appeared and we were running for the cars. I’ve never been so grateful to not be driving a convertible. Wet buns would have been the proverbial last straw.

But I did feel some relief at this juncture. We were getting closer to Hana and the “Seven Sacred Pools”. May I just point out that a) there are not seven of them and b) they were never sacred. It’s a fabrication for the benefit of tourists. I thought to myself surely we must be near the end or at least the 2/3 mark?

Not so much.

Hana is a little over 1/2 way. We still had three and a half to four hours drive ahead of us and we hadn’t yet seen the pools or the bamboo forest that Barry was hell-bent on reaching.

Yeah. That’s pretty much how I felt.

So we found the public park wherein dwell the bamboo and the pools. On any venture with the Mansours I am usually foggy about eventual goals so when we all changed our shoes and headed up a woodsy trail I was under the impression that we were on our way to the pools. It wasn’t until many minutes later that I realized no, we’re going to look at the bamboo forest. The BAMBOO freaking FOREST. It’s the same as a single bamboo just lots of them- I could have done that in photoshop and not had to battle the heat/humidity-induced dizzyness that the hike was exacerbating.

The really bright spot of the hike was an enormous banyan tree. I’d never seen one in person and so had NO idea that the alien-creature-looking plant was a banyan. All us kids climbed up into its’ branches and James and I attempted to do some kempo-on-a-tree-limb. It was really fun, not going to lie. When they took a poll as to who wanted to continue the hike to the bamboo I opted out. The stress of the drive plus my general tiredness/dizzyness made me want a nap more than anything. Everyone but Rachel and Barry agreed so while they continued on we hiked down, found the sacred pools, admired the 300 other people at the pools, watched the ocean and just sat.

After which James and I took a nap in my car.

It was probably an hour later before we got back on the road. Once again my hopes were high- I’d had some blueberry bread and SURELY nothing could be worse than the 3-hours of switchback jungle.

Once again- totally wrong.

Granted, the next three hours were, on average, straighter than the threee preceding Hana. But if they were a little less curvy that’s the best that could be said of them. Unpaved gravel climbing steeply then dipping sharply and curving along the base of 75 foot cliffs with sheer drops to the ocean feet away mixed with stretches of pavement so patched that the effect was that of driving over 20 layers of offset cement pancakes. Then there were the frequent cattle gratings and oft-repeating single-lane blind hills. Once again I stress that my car is a NISSAN SENTRA. I ground out only once, thank the Good Lord.

Luckily, I’d warned the kids early on in the drive that it looked like a cuss-inducing trip. They were well warned.

After an hour and half of cement pancakes and gravel I literally almost wept from joy when we hit pavement. Real pavement is a beautiful thing, let me tell you.

Of course, we still had three hours driving ahead of us through mostly deserted scrubland. It was a wildly beautiful place but I hardly got to enjoy it. What I DID get to enjoy was lots of time with my extra siblings. We discussed everything from shoes to ships to how many boy butt cracks there seemed to be in Hawaii. I’m not sure if it’s because men aren’t able to size themselves properly for board shorts or if there is some kind of underground cult of men who enjoy having butt cleavage but WOW. Never yet seen a girl whose swimwear didn’t fit her tush but the men can’t get it right to save their lives.

The road trip ended up lasting roughly 12 hours. Next time someone tries to convince me of something using the phrase “Garden of Eden” I’m going to tell them that Eden is gone and to shut their face. I’m staying home to read my book.

Amen.

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5 responses

18 06 2011
jgavinallan

I like the warning…cuss inducing trip.
Also–I wondered about men and their butt cracks…maybe they need tutoring?

nice little article…different and interesting
Jaye

18 06 2011
Robin

Oh yes. The road to Hana. Sprained my ankle at the start of the hike. Never got to see the bamboo forest or the pools. Then on the drive back, going all the way around as you did, it was not pretty, the thoughts running through my head……

19 06 2011
Michael Carr

Hah I like the closing paragraph and the last line– oh and I wish I was in hawaii

19 06 2011
Jennifer

I would do that drive, if I could be drinking and also have dramamine. Which means basically I’d be asleep.. Obviously, someone else would have to operate the vehicle.

25 08 2011
jhtravis

So, I don’t know you at all but I found the blog through a link. Title was interesting so I read the blog. I laughed out load at your take on the bamboo forest. Well done. Fresh take on life haha. Cheers!

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