Not having much time on a 3 day break in the US, I decided I would take the plunge and do a road trip instead of signing up with a tour operator in the city. The challenge, however, was to drive on the right as they do in the US, in contrast to driving on the left in India.
I rented a Lucerne Buick, a luxury sedan and slowly set off from the airport, rambling about slowly for about 20 minutes, trying to din it in my head about driving on the right. As the rubber met the road and the GPS were starting to make me feel comfortable, I started to turn the music on to the yesteryear Kishore da road trip number ‘Chala Jaata Hoon’, humming my way along the expanse of the 60-mile ride to my hotel.
Once I went to the hotel, I decided to keep only what was essential for the road trip, and kept the rest of my baggage at the hotel. The drive restarted with some wonderful vistas of the Pacific ocean by the side.. The agenda for the drive was a 300-mile stretch to Hana, through mountains and a rain forest, and back, followed by another drive to a 10,000 feet-above sea level volcano, before sunrise.
The drive started with the contrast of the grey roads, and the ensuing scenery of the blues of the Pacific Ocean in the background, which changed to a green and grey contrast, as soon as I entered the rainforest region. I stopped over a quick lunch, in a ramshackle caravan that was serving lunch in the rainforest, and proceeded on my drive to Hana. The interesting part during the drive at a point was to sea sunshine on side with the sea on the left and sees rains on the other side with clouds and mist building up, and I was driving exactly between these 2 weather patterns. I found time to explore Hana, trek to a nearby volcanic red sand beach and have some lovely ‘me’ time peace that I had not found in the chaos of work.
I had time to drive by a beautiful ‘Greekish’ sunset by the beach, and now proceeded to drive to the best part of the journey after a short rest and dinner- The drive to Haleakala crater was a 150 mile distance again, and this started at 1 30 in the morning, driving on the mountain roads with no street lights. As you meander along the curves of the mountains overlooking the clouds, the chill in the air went up every curve until you reached the summit at 10,000 feet. It was beautiful looking at the how the clouds go orange from dark blue, as the sun comes up to take over from the moon, on its celestial duties! What started off as ‘Chala Jaata Hoon’ ended with a Bryan Adams number-‘ Those were the best days of my life’ as the morning sunrays became stronger!