Solo Maui

I could stay here... 

The plan was never to do Maui solo. After amazing experiences with Anthony in Kauai and Alexa, Machiko, and Cathy bikepacking the big island, I was hoping to take a "relaxed" Maui vacation with Anthony and our respective boyfriends and maybe bike *a little*. A few personal disasters later, I had Anthony for 1.5 days in Maui and then a week over Thanksgiving to myself.

Sunrise on Road to Hana
I'm all about girl power and solo trips, but solo holidays are sometimes rough, especially unplanned solo holidays while recovering from a sinus infection. But, with some encouragement, I had my bike and, hey, I was in Maui. As a friend put it, "no one is going to feel bad for you". Truth!

I started out with the road to Hana out of Paia. The Road to Hana is a 64 miles from Kahului. The secret is you have to start early and beat the cars. I started at 5 AM, and I think any later and you're risking high traffic and getting stuck behind cars (UGH). At 5 AM out of Paia, it meant I start to hit the pretty part at sunrise. OMG what a STUNNER. All of it. The Road to Hana is cyclist heaven, especially dry  - curvy roads in beautiful scenery overlooking the ocean. 
Lots of tree tunnels 

I made it Hana by 11 or so, and to be honest, there was nothing in Hana. I ate my lunch in a pretty boring park and then continued on. Now, I was warned that the side side return from Hana was, erhm, rustic. Boy, that was an understatement. I had to walk my bike several times because the mud was so deep it was unrideable. Only like 25 miles of that, heh. 
Backside of Hana - serious mud! 
Fortunately for me, Anthony gave me a pick up on the South Side of Hana (note, very, very hot in the afternoon and not a lot of places to stop). We retreated to the beach and then Anthony left and I was on my own.
A clear demarcation in road quality. 
The next day, I took a rest day/still have a sinus infection and spent my time split between a pottery class and beach time. The next day was Thanksgiving, the weather looked good (important!), so I decided to do another early wake up and go for Haleakala. Yes, I did cheat (this is like the Lo is a normal person type of vacation) and started at my airbnb in the mountains (so 3,000 ft advantage).

Dawn start

It was delightful, in very possible way. I started early enough that I saw almost no cars (once again, at dawn). The climb is never hard like Mauna Kea - it's a steady 6% grade and the scenery is diverse. Before I knew it (OK, actually like 3 hours later), I was at the top! Holy cow, another volcano done! 

Above the clouds 

The descent down was as glorious as you can imagine, and I beat the afternoon rain that was ramping up. I finished early afternoon (2-3 PM), ate an entire pizza, and drove to a sunny beach where I spent the rest of my day in the hammock reading and playing in the waves. Again, perfect. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to me!
The best days end in hammocks <3 

The next day was a "free" day for me. Again, I woke up crack of dawn, made myself coffee, did my ab routine, and then headed out to finish the south side of the island that I hadn't finished after Hana (only did part of it). Although not high on the "must-do" rides of the island, I really enjoyed this ride and found the isolation peaceful. There was a young guy (early 20s) stranded on the side of the road in his car at about 8 AM. He was SO excited to see me (OMG a rescuer!) but then it sunk in that I was on a bike and could offer no additional assistance except moral support. However, a car soon came by and helped him jump his rental, and he was so grateful for the emotional lift that he drove to find me, took a picture of me and said "THANK YOU ANGEL!".
dreaming of roads like this - south side after a sprinkle 

Of course, I was f'ing terrified. I mean, I'm alone on a bike and this young man is following me and taking pictures of me. Whew!

The next day was relocation day - I left my airbnb in the mountains and headed to the next one in Kihei, which is very touristy. I took a pit stop at the Target though in Kahului and started the famous West Maui Loop.

The views !!!

Everyone raves about West Maui because the greatest, and it is really nice, but I personally preferred the Road to Hana. It was an exceptionally windy day on the day I did this loop, and (being honest) I was pretty exhausted so I wasn't that fast (still had sinus infection!). But it was lovely, I found Lorraine's on my own (I didn't even know Lorraine's was a cycling mecca stop! I just was really thirsty and saw her sign, it worked out well for me!).

Beach time for both of us on West Maui! 

So another great day in the saddle, another evening of beach time. On my last day, I decided I wanted to beach and trail hop via bicycle. I took off for the trail at the end of the road in Kihei and walked for as long as I felt like it before turning back. I then stopped at 4-5 beaches on the way home, each one spectacular in it's own way. Some were rocky, some perfect sand, some had nudists, etc.

Ready for everything! 
This was probably my favorite day. I just felt totally relaxed, did everything on my own cadence, and I felt like I saw and experience a lot. At the end of the day, I drove up to Star Noodle (highly recommended to me!) and did a quick hike along the way.

Hiking Biking Beaching wonder girl 

And that was it! The last day was short - a quick, fast bike followed by a paddle board and then packing and airport. While paddleboarding (which, fyi, I was terrible at and was shaking like a mess for the first 30 minutes), I had a sea turtle swim under my board (!!!!) Also, finally, my sinus infection was like 95% healed by the last day -- healed by Maui!

Overall, it was an incredible experience. Would it have been better with a house full of friends and a big Thanksgiving festival? Maybe. That was certainly what I thought I wanted. But when plans didn't pan out the way they were supposed to, I am really glad I stayed and gave this different sort of vacation a try. By the end, I was a bit lonely and, I'll admit, I was starting to talk to myself. But I came back refreshed and with a renewed sense of self - like if it's just me on my own for the rest of my life, I'm OK with that - I certainly enjoyed this vacation with ... myself!

Those Maui sunsets ! 

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