Hawaii is an amazing destination. Vibrant, scenic, awesome seafood, and beautiful people. The island of Maui is famous for it's resorts and beaches, but also is also home to some great scenic roads. Obviously, there's no better way to explore paradise than on a motorcycle.
My wife and I were vacationing in Hawaii this past week to spend time before our baby girl arrives later in August. We would normally go riding 2-up, but with the baby coming, I had some time to myself to rent a bike and go for a joy ride around the island.
The day started at Maui Dual Sport in Haiku. This company specializes in tours and rentals of mid size D/S bikes including KLRs, a DR650, a few KTMs, and CRF250L. Helmet and full gear were all included. I chose the DR650 because I had never ridden one before.
The bike had clearly been off road and was banged up a bit with rashes, a broken rear right signal, and slightly tweaked handlebar, but the brakes worked well, wheels were true, and engine running just fine. The mid size D/S would be the perfect size bike for the route ahead and I knew it would do fine getting me there and back.
This is the stuff of motorcycling dreams. The road to Hana is only 52 miles long, but contains over 600 hairpin curves, 52 one lane bridges / passes, and winds its way along the dense rain forest and across gulches carved by tropical rains and water falls. No shoulders and you are between a rock wall and a cliff. Mediocre drivers go home. This road makes the tail of the dragon feel like a stroll through the park.
The town of Hana itself is a small sleepy beach town with fantastic views of the ocean. Not much going on other than a few restaurants, local shops, and the beach, but nice place to spot for lunch.
The weather in east Maui is driven by Haleakala which is a dormant volcano extending over 10,000 feet from sea level. Trade winds carrying moisture from the Northeast bring heavy rains creating the jungles and gulches on the north and east side of the island. There is a constant cloud cover next to volcano which provides ongoing rain, but also obscures the view to the top.
Coming around the southeast side of the island, the road devolves into a narrow 1 lane road with dirt sections perfectly suited for the DR650.
Now on the south side of Maui, the landscape quickly transitions to arid desert as the rains are contained on the opposite side of Haleakala.