From the farmers’ market to the farm – Our month (March 2019) in Hana, Maui
We are here – a year after Pat established a relationship with Sharon and Alan, on property he had wanted to buy six years earlier. We will be here from March 1 to March 27, spending all but 4 nights in Pats “wet dream-land” (Hana gets 79 inches per year on average). I view this as practice retirement for him. God forgive me, when I told him he needed a hobby to make retirement more enjoyable, I didn’t mean going to work on a ranch on the rainy side of an Island 2500 miles away from Reno.
Here is a brief background on this property: The owners bought it with a plan to retire here eventually. They have remodeled it to their liking and Sharon lives here all the time taking care of the property. Her husband Alan lives in their other home in Keihi because he works on that side of the island. They don’t get to see each other much and we worked out an agreement to watch their property for a month in exchange for us caring for the animals. They also have a guest house with people coming and going and it needs to be cleaned after every guest stay. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do animals and I have a housekeeper who comes twice a month. OK color me spoiled – I like it that way. I had surgery a year ago and still am not able to do many physical activities, so when I say US I actually mean Pat. We made an agreement he would be in charge of the animals and the outside, and do the cottage cleaning – I agreed that I would be able to paint and write and enjoy the sun, and the overall beauty that is everywhere you look.
March is one of the rainiest months in Hana and this year has been no exception. It rained 8 of the first 10 days, but mostly at night and rainfall in Hawaii is generally brief, 10 minute ordeals followed by a mixture of spotty clouds, partial sun and occasionally cocktails. It has gotten better (read more sun) and we have been able to get time in the sunshine, and enjoy the many surrounding local spots that are missed if you try to see Hana on a one day drive.
I was raised in the country, but I am not a country girl. Pat was not raised in the country and has a desire for this experience. I went camping when I was a child and backpacked across Europe for four months in the 70’s. And that was enough outdoor rustic living for me. I love the beach, biking, and hiking – but preferably from a hotel or my home. I know you’re thinking spoiled, and yeevery chance I get. Because I’m limited in my activities due to an issue with numbness in my leg, I can’t do many of the outdoor Gung-ho experiences, which really bums me out that I’m restricted in a place of such remarkable beauty. I have had cats as pets and cared for them. We had many animals when I was growing up, but most of the time I was able to avoid them. I’m afraid of many of them, and I don’t like cleaning up after them or being responsible for them. When we had to put our last cat down, she was 18+ years, it was a devastating experience, I decided I never wanted to have a pet again. We bought a new couch and got rid of the dust and mess of a cat box and I have no desire to go back. I also hate bugs, and we are in a jungle. As jungley – (is that a word?) as “Romancing the stone” type jungle.
When Pat found this property for sale six years ago we drove by to look at it. He fell in Love with it and wanted to move here and buy it. I as you might guess by now I did not (surprise face!). I love Hawaii, but I know Hana is not the “sunniest” part of the Island. It is also reached by the famous Hana Highway, that you can’t begin to understand if you have never driven it. It is winding (which is a tame word) almost the entire way with multiple single lane bridges and hairpin turns. As a matter of fact there are in excess of 630 turns between Hana and Paia. The waterfalls are beautiful during a wet season, but there are few places to pull over to enjoy them. There are a couple of rest stops, but when I stop and get out of the car, I almost require a pep talk to convince myself to get back in the car and keep going. Of course, people who enjoy driving roads like this (my husband) just see it as part of the beauty that comes with the experience. To me the Hana highway is an elongated version of the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland, only built inside Jurassic Park – like for an hour and a half. You count your blessings when you don’t run down a tourist who has arrived fresh from Oblivion, who decided to stand in the middle of a bridge and take photos or videos of the waterfalls, or come face to face with a tour bus coming your way. I should interject for you that have not driven this road that in both directions there are “yield to oncoming traffic signs”, with “road narrows” being the second most popular posting, followed by “one lane bridge” coming in a close third. I often find myself wondering how are they measuring the narrowing part? In Inches? WTF! as the flora and fauna pound the passenger side mirror as we go smoothly from one curve to another, I have a death grip on my I-pad as I try to play candy crush and pretend it’s just another scenic road. I don’t really need to look. Perhaps the most useless sign on the Hana Highway is about 2/3 the way to Hana it is on a stretch where you can actually see “300 feet” straight in front of you it says “Pass with Care” – are you kidding me, the sign before that said “road narrows.” Help me Jesus.
We have noticed that one of the more popular rentals on Maui is the 3 wheel open air Cycle which is 2 wheels in front, one in the rear. These appear to reserved and rented to only over-bearing Macho–testosteroned enriched men with no previous motorcycle experience, and it is apparently mandatory that one receives a “I am entitled” badge when you rent them – (kinda like I am driving the Hana Highway and I’ll do it my own way, sometimes spinning out the back tire, and sometimes moving so slow that you’ll think I’m outta gas. Neither with any logical reason.) What a bunch of a…holes, and as groups; we’ve seen 2-4 traveling in packs. These dorks pretend to master the turns, while they actually are the worst drivers you will ever come in contact with. The tour bus operators on the other-hand are phenomenal drivers. Most locals are “used” to the whole thing and have long ago stopped worrying about damage to their drivers’ side mirror. Note – if you are a timid driver be courteous and pull over where you can to let the tour buses, locals and Parnelli Jones get by you, for timid people its better to follow than lead. I feel like it’s a gamble each time that you get from Paia to Hana. Guess that should be a familiar feeling, gambling, since I’m from Reno. But it’s a different kind of gambling.