Friday, June 19, 2009

Photos from Kahekili

Last week when I posted my description of our exciting ride from Kapalua to Wailuka (Maui, Hawaii), some people urged me to post pictures. Here are the best of the few I took. Then, below, is a link to some professional shots.

Here's Ellie Crowe's take on the story, with photos by William Crowe, Ron Dahlquist and Nina Lee, at Maui No Ka 'Oi,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Road from Kapalua to Waihe'e

Lee and I are exploring the Hawaiian island of Maui this week. Day before yesterday in the morning, we headed off from our amazing resort digs on the southern stretch of the west coast intending to explore two towns north and further west. We'd understood these places represented some history, but they were resort towns, mostly duplicating the features of any contemporary beach resort.

Continuing north and rounding the northern coast headed east, I thought I'd treat my mate to a scenic coastal drive. The Kahekili Highway follows the shoreline for about twenty-five miles. But we use the expression 'highway' very loosely here.

To the friends who advised us that Maui was touristy and commercial, we're making book you missed Route 340, also known as Kahekili.

As we continued north and east, the roadway narrowed and wound past spectacular views and glorious breakers. The sides of the road were parked solid and rock beaches below were full of families, couples and groups.

Then gradually the road twisted and narrowed. When a sign warned of winding, challenging passage for the next 17 miles, I noted my odometer: something-73; we should complete the demanding stretch at something-90. And nothing seemed too overwhelming yet – more primitive than we’ve seen in a long time, but do-able.

By something-79, however, my mate was beginning to ask how much longer this would be taking, in between ohhs and ahhs at the scenery.

Then about something-81, the roadway narrowed again, now barely as wide as my car, with a steep drop to my left. Meeting a car coming from the other way would mean driving backward in reverse on this path. I couldn’t see around the next curve but could clearly see the same narrow passage on the hillside across from me.

As I decided we’d come as far as we dared, my companion developed determination. So, at his prompting, I moved forward, slowly, carefully, hands in a death grip. For the next 45 minutes, we inched along, timing movements so we hit wider patches as we approached cars coming the other way. Luckily these switchbacks do allow drivers to spot one another well in advance of the meeting.

At about something-88, we greeting a companion headed the other way: “How long until we reach something resembling a regular roadway?” “Oh, just a couple more miles,” he laughingly confirmed my original calculations.

Unfortunately, in our family, the driver that morning is also the primary photographer and, at least on a first pass, I couldn’t manage much picture taking. I would be posting a couple of shots which don’t come close to doing justice to this very special trip, except I am posting from a public computer and find no slot for my media card -- oh, well, not a big loss.

And despite my deep sigh of relief when we were again on an ol’ ordinary street, I’d be off again for a slower, more photo-oriented pass – if I could convince one of you to come along.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chain, chain, chain; chain of love

This morning I found two chain e-letters sitting in my email in-box.

Each was sent by someone dear to me and each asks me to send the item on to others. Both convey powerful, worthy messages. In one case, the piece indicates that, by sending it on, I will help maintain vigilance against radical human cruelty, certainly an appeal that gets my attention.

But each creates a dilemma for me.

Back in the earlier days of the internet, I used to get lots of chain e-mails claiming to convey good luck. These emails would come from some friend or acquaintance, often apologizing while explaining that he or she really needed the promised luck. The letter would either offer good luck in portion to your forwarding behavior or threat bad luck for failure to forward – or both! I hated these things and tried to resist the superstitious compulsion they inspired.

Then a young friend, wise beyond her years, sent me a ‘chain letter to end all chain letters.’ It purported to be a talisman again bad luck arising from chain letters. It stated that, from that day forward, I was categorical protected from chain-letter-bad-luck and free to do anything I chose with email chain letter without fear of consequences. The letter itself said to feel free to forward the ‘chain letter to end all chain letters’ – or not; totally up to me.

Incredibly liberating!

After that, I would occasionally get a chain letter that offered something worth sharing. If I wanted to share it, first I would copy and paste what I liked, deleting all nonsense about how the sender should send it on to 1 person for 1 day of luck, 2 people for 2 days of luck – or whatever the gambit was.

But I digress, for neither of today’s missives appeals to my good/bad luck superstitions. Yet, as I said, each creates a dilemma for me.

I know a lot of people and I have lots of email addresses. But I cannot name even a handful I am confident will welcome these letters. I am sort of a ‘permission marketing’ type; if my audience hasn’t volunteered to BE my audience, I hesitate to foist a message. I guess because I am not happy to be asked to forward these items, I cannot imagine my contacts will be any happier. So, what to do?

Well, I am not going to forward the emails.

I’m going to do this. One of them has a medium length quotation worth sharing and I will post it on my Facebook where FB Friends can read it if they like, at their leisure and under no duress to pass it on.

The other – the one with the ‘vigilance against man inhumanity to man’ message I will check carefully for copyright issues and, if there are none, I will share it here sooner or later.

And what do you do with e-chain-letters?