An 80 Degree Christmas

It's been about 80 degrees all week.  I keep expecting it to be cold outside.  Or at least cooler, but it's not and the only thing I don't like is that it's too warm for Uggs.  I have two pairs and I don't get to wear them nearly enough but I'm not complaining.
My Fossil Cross Body
We had a great Christmas.  Presents first thing in the morning.  MJ knocked it out of the park as usual.  He picked out this great Fossil Cross body bag for me all by himself.  It seemed just a little bit too small so we ended up exchanging it on base for the "big sister" version.  It's large enough to hold the DSLR and a sweater and anything else I'll need to carry with me.  It will be perfect for travel.  It has tons of pockets and I LOVE it.  I also love it that he picked it for me.  I'm not sure how he ended up being the purse guy but he's bought every new purse I've owned since we met.  He also got me a Victoria's Secret Pink sweat suit and brassiere  a remote and a flash for the DSLR.  He knows me so well and he's so sweet and I'm so lucky to have him.  I always feel like such a turd after he spoils me.  My mom got me a few really nice and thoughtful things too.  I got MJ the basketball shoes he wanted and surprised him with a new pair of dress shoes to replace his old beat up ones.  I also got him a lunch box; nothing big, just something he needed. 
We ate a quick breakfast before we rushed to meet my parents for the movies.  I'm so glad everyone was in agreement on seeing Catching Fire.  In preparation I watched Hunger Games again the night before in bed alone on my iPad.  I cried when Rue died just like I did the first time around and then I cried again when I saw her family on Catching Fire.  So, so sad and the movie was so good.  I really  can't wait for Mocking Jay.
Me and my beautiful mama
Dinner was at mom's house but in a different house then it's always been before.  They sold my childhood home a few months ago and this was my first time at the new place.  It's weird not going to the house that they've lived in since I was 5.  My house.  The one that held so many memories.  My Dad is already retired and my mom plans to retire next year so this was a good move for them.  They are only a few miles from the old house and they still have a ton of space in the townhouse they are renting.   They are happy there and I'm happy for them as they move into this new life stage.  My mom made a delicious meal and I finally got the Mac and Cheese that I was missing on Thanksgiving.  I took some home too.

I'm feeling really bad for my older sister.  She spent Christmas dealing with an eye disorder flare up that's been plaguing her for the last 4 months.  Her family spent Christmas Day at a hotel near Duke University hospital.  She's been in and out of the ER all week long.  She had to travel 3 hours from home a few days before Christmas, have eye surgery the day after Christmas and came home on Friday.  They did presents on Saturday.  DJ doesn't know the difference. He's 3. Christmas is whenever his parents tell him it is. Poor thing. I hope the doctor's can finally figure out what's causing it and make it stop.

There have been times when I've had so many shows piling up in the DVR that I couldn't keep up but now that I have plenty of time there is nothing there to watch.  This time a year is a dead zone for TV.  House Hunters isn't even coming on right now so I've been watching a lot of Netflix.  The day after Christmas I ran to the mall early to exchange something and then spent a few hours at my favorite coffee shop writing.   On Friday MJ was off too so we ran errands together.  Saturday I stayed home all day long.  I got some writing done in the morning and then pretty much relaxed the day away.  More of the same today.  I did yoga first thing in the morning.  I'm making dinner for the 2nd time in 2 weeks which is kind of a big deal for me...and my husband. 

Friday felt like a Saturday.  I never want this staycation to end!  We finally made it through all of the baked goods but there is plenty of wine.  This is what $170 worth of wine looks like.  Yesterday I turned Pandora to the Christmas channel and the lights on the tree come on every day.  I'm holding onto the holidays and my staycation for as long as I can.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

We've been together for five years and have never ordered Holiday cards together.  He never wanted them.  Ordering cards seemed too much like work so I didn't care either way.  He doesn't remember this but I suggested it jokingly a few months before Christmas.  He didn't even answer he just gave me a look.  Which meant no.  So imagine my surprise when he says out of the blue around Thanksgiving he says, "We should order Christmas cards this year."  What?  I about fell out of my chair.  I was shocked but I went with it.

We decided to use a picture from Maui and ordered them from Tiny Prints.  I love the way they turned out.   They have a slight gloss to it.  The envelopes are really thick.  I didn't want a traditional holiday card.  If you want green, red and Christmas trees they have it, but they also have a huge selection of non traditional cards.  It was so hard to decide that I about lost my mind.  As usual.  I made about six samples by the time I finally picked one.  I didn't order them until Tuesday of last week and we got them yesterday.  They are kind of New Years cards too so it's fine that they won't go out until after Christmas right? 
Happy Holidays from Maui
We do all of our Christmas stuff late.  We didn't get our tree until the 14th and we'll probably take it down late too.  I didn't start any of my holiday shopping until the Monday of the week before Christmas and he waited a few days longer then I did.  I picked up one last present today.  We keep it pretty simple in my family so I know I can get away with it.  This year we did a couples gift exchange between us, my younger sister and her boyfriend and my older sister and her husband.  My little sis set it up on Secret so that we can post our wish list and then receive an anonymous e mail saying who to shop for.   I don't want to spend the holidays running around stressing out about what to buy everyone and spending a ton of money.  We've been doing this for about the last five years or so.  At first I felt weird not buying something for my mom for Christmas especially since she can't help but get something for us even with the exchange but there is still Mother's day and her Birthday.  We gave my parents a Hickory Farms gift set to enjoy. We are adults.  We don't need a million presents anymore and the older we get the harder it is to find unique gifts for people that they don't already have.  I have a 3 year old Nephew so I send him presents and I also shop for MJ but the family gift exchange cuts down on a lot of the crazy.  I was able to do almost all of my shopping online to bypass the malls and the post office. 

I'm the worst gift giver EVER! MJ is so much better at it then I am.  I can hardly ever think of what to get anyone and then when I finally do decide I agonize endlessly over exactly which kind and usually resort to gift cards. Which are nice and all but sometimes it's nice to give something more personal.  He usually tells me a few things to choose from and if it's a good year I can usually come up with one or two things extra that might be a surprise.

I love our tree! It's nice and wide on the bottom.  I think it's the best one we've had yet.  We have a routine.  We walk across the street to the Boy Scout tree farm set up in the Elk's lodge parking lot.  MJ suggests a few trees and I protest a little that they are either too big or too expensive.  He gets the one he wants anyways and then carries it across the street to our house.  We put on Christmas carols.  He puts up the lights and the pretty star.  I pour myself some wine and then add all the rest of the ornaments and despite my fussing love the tree anyways.

I am really going to enjoy these two 12 days off from work; even though it already seems to be going by way too fast.  MJ's been baking again.  The house smells like freshly baked Apple Sauce cake and Chocolate chip cookies.  I'm trying to be a good wife so there is a hot pot of Chili simmering on the stove for dinner.    The holiday music is playing.  I need to address our holiday cards and I have one more present to wrap.  The only thing missing is a glass of wine but that's okay because I added some Bailey's Irish creme to my coffee earlier. It was a gift from my parents.

Happy Holidays to everyone!!!

Falling off the Wagon

The vacation recaps are over so now I can finally talk about something else.  Thanks to all who read or commented.  It was really nice to hear from some of you that you actually enjoyed them. 

I seriously had the most awesome work out today. My last day of work was Friday and I'm off until the day after New Years.  One of the big reasons why I can't work anywhere else.  I woke up in a great mood because I was laying down in bed instead of sitting up at my desk at work.  I was happy to be going to the gym and it showed in my work out.  Attitude is everything. 

Confession.  I've totally fallen off the exercise wagon.  The work outs were becoming less and less per week until they just stopped.  On Tuesday the week before my vacation I forced myself the gym and then realized I didn't pack a shirt when I got there so I left.  I was secretly really glad and I could have come home and worked out but I didn't.  I just said forget it and took it as a sign that I wasn't supposed to work out that week at all.  I kinda feel like it was bound to happen at some point.  It got cold,  I was tired, and the holidays were coming.  That's no excuse but I've been exercising consistently for the last 3 years and I just think I needed a break.  I did not work out the week before my vacation nor the two weeks after and I've been really unmotivated since the beginning of last month.  I'm planning on getting back into the swing of it this week while I'm off work and then continuing those good habits into the new year.  So far so good.  I worked out on Saturday and Sunday at home.  Saturday I did 30 day shred and was happy to find that I can still do level 3 from start to finish even though I think it's been a good month since I've done it.  Today and tomorrow is cardio at the gym.
Work out song recommendation for your play list
So back to that awesome work out.  Once I got started I really felt like I could go on forever.  I know a big part of it is the music.  I downloaded about 4 new songs right before I left and they are really doing it for me right now!!  I was jamming out the whole time.  I was silently lip syncing the songs and bopping my head to the beat.  I WISH I had my own elliptical at home because it would have felt great to sing it out loud.  I kept upping the resistance higher then I usually do.  I was smiling and having a really good time.  It was just the music and me pushing myself to go longer and harder.  The endorphins were flying and even though my legs were so sore from my previous work outs I was feeling really good.  When my 60 minutes were up I didn't want to stop.  Which is really weird.

I wish every work out could be that way.   Why can't I bottle up this feeling and whip it out whenever I'm severely lacking in motivation?  Specifically at 5:45 pm on a Tuesday evening after a long day of working and barely keeping my eyes open.  Some days working out just sucks.  I'm so glad there are days like this to remind me that yes, I actually do enjoy working out and that dripping sweat for an hour on the elliptical can actually be fun.  When the daily grind starts saps the life out of me is when I have the problem.  So basically, the problem is work!  If I could just do away with that pesky little activity I'm pretty sure I'd be a lot better off work out wise.  I'm always so much more motivated and energetic when I'm on break.  I can only wish that were an option.

So now the trick will be as always, sticking with it.  I'm hoping that I can.

Our Last Days in Maui

The last three days in Maui were really bitter sweet.  Mostly sweet.  We were having so much fun.  I didn't want it to end.

Friday we hit the beach and spent most of the day there.  Later on it was time for the spa day strategically planned after Road to Hana.  We did a couples massage and facial and it felt really good.  Then we went out to dinner at Hula Grill Kaanapali.  It was the only night we went "out" out to dinner and the only night I actually got "dressed."  Still no make up though!!

My cutie!!!
For a change of scenery we decided to check out a new beach on Saturday.  We went to Kapalua Bay which was just a few miles away.   It's the beach for the Ritz Carlton.  I'm not sure I've ever been that close to a Ritz Carlton.   We liked this one better then Ka'anapali.  The sand was a lot finer and softer and there were less rocks.  The waves were so powerful that they knocked my bikini bottoms off.  Really.  I kept having to pull them up.  Mj had fun swimming the waves but the water was too turbulent for snorkeling.

After we spent a few hours at Kapalua we went to the beach again at Ka'anapali.  I know.  Such a hard life traveling from beach to beach.  We got a bottle of Dom Perignon as a wedding gift 3 years ago.  Like everything else, I hoard champagne too.  Especially really expensive champagne.  There never seemed to be a moment perfect enough to drink it.  Until Now.  Mj went to our room to get it while I scoped out a lawn chair.  He brought back the bottle of champagne and a platter of the cheese, meat and grapes that we'd picked up at the grocery store.   We sat there on the beach and drank a whole bottle of Dom together while we gazed out at that perfect view.  Seriously.  It just doesn't get much better then that.  We stayed out there until the sun set. That night we gave the pizza downstairs another chance.  We ordered a cheese Pizza for dinner and it was delicious.  I think the Pizza we had on the first day just wasn't fresh.  We sat down in the outdoor bar area and listened to the live singer who was really, really good.  Then we went upstairs to finish off the movie that we'd fallen asleep on for two nights in a row.  It was a nice way to spend our last night.
Last sunset
Sunday was our last day.  We checked out, took our luggage to the car, walked to Slappy Cakes for breakfast and then spent the rest of the day at the beach.  MJ rented us the mini cabana again and we stayed until the last moment possible.  Talk about milking every last second we could.  We were able to see one last sunset before we had to go.  I was really glad they had showers and changing rooms available so we could spend our last day at the beach.  We got our stuff and showered.  Then we hit the road for the airport for our overnight flight.  Which sucked as most overnight flights do!!  I didn't even realize I had picked an overnight flight but I'm glad I did.  I liked it that we didn't have to leave Maui in the middle of a perfect beach day.  We got to enjoy every last second of it and then leave.

We drank wine on the beach every single day and the one day that we didn't was spent chasing waterfalls.   We went zip-lining for the first time and had some awesome spa time.  I love it that we got to basically spend every single minute together for an entire week.   The only time I didn't see him was when he was using the toilet!!  We had such a good time.  I couldn't have asked for anything more from this vacation and I'm already looking forward to the next.

Day 1-3 in Maui

That Day We Spent 10 Hours Chasing Waterfalls

 twin falls
The first stop was Twin Falls.  It was still pretty early and we knew it wasn't going to be a long walk so we kept our flip flops on.  It was fine but half way through I wish we'd changed.  It was so beautiful and so quiet.  It was the perfect start on our journey to Hana. 

the three bears
The next stop was even better.  We had to park our car on the side of the street and then walk back to see it.  The Gypsy guide said you could go down to get a closer look but that he didn't recommend it.  Well, we decided to go for it.  It's hard to even tell that you can.  It's like going into a giant ditch at the side of the road.  We held onto the rocks and climbed down.  There wasn't really the clearest of paths to the falls.  We wound our way over rocks, under trees and through streams.  I lost my balance and stepped in the water fully submerging my left foot tennis shoe and all.  We got to a point where we had a good view of the water falling down the rock but couldn't see the pool of water that it was landing in.  There were giant boulders blocking our view so we kept climbing to get closer.  I'm so glad we did.  When the pool came into view it was breathtaking.  There was another couple that made the climb down when we did.  It looked like they weren't going to keep going.  I said, "Come on.  You need to see this."  It was simply amazing.

That bridge over my head is the street that we climbed down from

waianapanapa State Park
black sand beach
At Waianapanapa State Park we stopped at Black Sand Beach first.  It's a beach with black sand and it's really pretty.  Then we headed for the trail which is basically a big circle.  I felt like I was in some kind of fantasy adventure movie like Hansel and Gretel or The Hobbit.  Moss covered rocks.  Babbling streams and trees so lush that the sun was completely blocked out.  The air was crisp and cooler in there and it's so quiet you can hear your each and every step.  We happened upon a cave with a pool in it.  That's the best way I can describe it.  There were four people swimming in it and one of the guys challenged us to jump in.  The only way to get in is to jump and then you have to climb out.  I was too scared because I can't swim but MJ went for it.  It was pretty damn cool to see him swimming in a cave in the rain forest.

Black Sand Beach

See how clear the water is?

haleakala national park
 pipiwai trail, bamboo forest
waimoku falls
seven sacred pools
The last stop was my favorite and most anticipated one of the trip.  In all we spent about 3 hours in Haleakala National Park.  The first thing we did was hit Pipiwai Trail because it's a 4 mile hike (round trip) and I wanted to make sure we had enough time to enjoy it.  I got really hot so I took off my shirt. 

I'm so lame.  I was trying to open the gate from the wrong side and nearly broke the darn thing.  Oops.

We walked deeper and deeper into the wilderness until we finally hit the Bamboo forest.  I was so excited! We were surrounded by sky high thick shoots of bamboo so deep and so thick that it blocked out the sun.  I'm telling you.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in my life.  By the time we headed back it was almost pitch black in there.  And oh so quiet and peaceful.  It makes you feel so small and like you are the only one on the planet to be so surrounded by nature.

After what seemed like forever we started to hear the rush of water in the distance.  The ground got muddier and then we got to a part where all that was left of the trail was boulders scattered across a stream of water.  We were getting closer!  It took us 1 1/2 hours and it was so worth it.  Waimoku Falls is by far the largest and most powerful waterfall compared to the other three.  It is truly magnificent.  People gathered around staring at it but not everyone was going in.
Waimoku Falls
I think we're going to ignore that sign
There was a long stretch of rocks leading up to the pool.  I looked at that crisp cool water and said, "I'm doing it."  Mj was shocked.  I stripped off my clothes and started making my way to the falls.   I got as close as I could before taking off my shoes.  Bare feet on rock is kinda painful so this is where aqua socks would have come in handy.  I almost fell down several times but I  had walked so long and so far to get there nothing was going to stop me.  The bottom of the pool is covered in rocks too so even once I got in there it was hard to move around without falling.  The roar of the water was really loud and the water rushing down was so cold but I was so excited I barely noticed.  I had my photo op then MJ had his.  I actually had to go back and do it all over again because he didn't get not a single decent shot of me the first time.  There was no way I was leaving without preserving this forever so back over the rocks I went.  We knew we had to get moving to get on the road before sunset so we were booking it on the way back.  It took us 45 minutes to get back so Pipiwai Trail took us about 2 1/2 hours all together.

Me in my 3rd outfit of the day.  4th if you count the bikini.
It was a quick hike to Seven Sacred Pools.  When we get there I see kids and babies chilling on the rocks with their parents.  I was like, how did they get these babies over here? We had a hard enough time making it on our own.  It's all rock and there is no clear path.  MJ went in first to test the depth and it's a good thing he did because that side was pretty deep and I can't swim.   I got in from a different side and then he literally had to carry me in because I was too afraid to let my legs touch all the moss that that was growing up the sides.  I might be brave enough to stand under a 400 foot waterfall but I'm still a girly girl.  On the way back I lost my balance and my left foot went in the water.  I was used to it by then.
Seven Sacred Pools
sexy face

It was a quick walk back to our car after that.  My shoes were so filthy I tossed them in the trash and put my flip flops on and then it was a 3 hour drive home.  We spent 10 hours chasing water falls that day.  We got to experience the wonder and beauty of Hana together and it was so much fun.  It was the longest, most exhausting but also the most exhilarating and best day of our entire vacation.

Our Last Days in Maui

Tips on driving the road to Hana

Surviving the Road to Hana

The Road to Hana aka Hwy 360 is a 55 mile stretch of road that is literally carved into the mountainside though a lush rain forest on the Eastern coastline of Maui.  It has 620 curves and 59 bridges.  The bridges allow two way traffic but are only wide enough for one lane of road.  It is narrow, curvy, sometimes blind and it goes on like that for hours.  I read that driving the Road to Hana will either be the best day of your vacation or the worst and I totally believe it.

I read way too many reviews so I was really nervous about us doing this on our own.  Motion sickness.  One way streets and windy roads with a drop off down a mountain on one side.  Crazy drivers and locals who won't slow down.  Rental car contract violations.  Some people said, they saw a lot of close calls, it was awful, scary and they would never ever do it again.  Other people said it wasn't so bad.  The guy running our hotel orientation scared me even more.  He said we'd spend $70 bucks on gas, it was a huge risk and we should leave it to the experts.  I had visions of us tumbling down the side of a mountain in a horrible roll over crash.  The tours were going for $125 plus per person which is really expensive for something we could do on our own.  That's part of why we wanted a rental car.  Mj left the decision up to me but he was pretty confident he would have no problem. I should never have doubted him.

Hana itself is unremarkable.  I barely even realized we were there.  The Road to Hana is all about the journey and oh my gosh it was so freaking amazing!!!  In my book it was the best day of our vacation and if you go to Maui you HAVE GOT to experience this.  Here are some tips.

Drive yourself vs GuidedTour 
If you or your travel partner is a confident competent driver the road to Hana is totally doable.  If not, then forget it because it's a really intense drive.  I tend to be a timid anxious driver.  I probably would have gotten us killed or at the very least suffered a nervous breakdown but Mj handled it like a champ.  All the bridges allow two way traffic but are only one lane.  There are yield signs before each bridge.  Everyone is supposed to take their turn crossing it with opposing traffic.  There are blind curves and narrow roads the entire way but he drove slow and paid attention and he did well.  I don't think I saw any stretch of road that was right next to the side of the mountain without a guardrail.  Guided tours are so structured.  We like the freedom to stop when we want and spend as much time as we want on each stop.  It was comforting to see the tour buses along the way.  It let us know that we were on track time wise but they stopped at more places then we would have wanted to and didn't stay long enough at others.  I was most looking forward to Pipiwai trail and we would not have had time to do that stop the way we wanted to if we had been on a tour.  He didn't say it but I think he really wanted the opportunity to handle a drive like that.  It's pretty cool to be able to say you did it.  Be sure to gas up in Paia if you are low on gas because it's the last chance until you come back.  It only took a little over 1/4 tank of gas in our Altima.
close call:  tour bus vs car

Buy the Gypsy Guide
We decided not to do a guided tour but I didn't want to do this thing blindly.  If we were going to do this on our own I wanted to do it right.  We needed some guidance.  I read about the Gypsy Guide on Trip Advisor.  It's available for iPhone and Android and is only $5 in the app store. Once you download it to your phone no cell service is required and it's GPS based so as you drive along the narrator knows exactly where you are, gives you suggestions for places to stop and guides you along the way.  On the way back it provides a lot of Hawaii history that was great for keeping us occupied on the long drive home.  It was perfect!  The guy has a really nice voice too.  It totally enhanced our experience and was so helpful.  Make sure you have a car charger to keep it going.  There are free Maui guides all over and one of them will have Hana information in it.  Bring that along too.

Leave Early
Driving the Road to Hana is an all day thing because you don't just drive there and drive back.  Well, you could but you would miss out on so much.  Hana itself is a typical small town in Maui but the journey along the way is what makes it such an adventure.  You don't want to rush and you also don't want to be stuck driving those crazy roads in the dark the whole way back.  We found out that the tour buses leave at 6:15 so that was our goal.  We set our alarm for 5:45 am and left the hotel by 6:25 am.  Paia is the city that leads to the Road to Hana and it took us 45 minutes to get there from our hotel in Lahaina.  Once you hit those narrow one lane roads you can't drive any faster then about 20-40 miles max the whole way.  With stops it took us a total of 7 hours to get from Lahaina to Haleakala National Park which was our last stop.  We didn't leave Haleakala until 4:30 pm so that was 10 hours spent on the way there. On the way back we hit Paia at 7:00 pm so that was 2 1/2 hours from Haleakala to Paia and then another 45 minutes to Lahaina.  So without stops the drive back was 3 hours and 15 minutes.  All together it was a 13 hour excursion for us.  It's basically a rain forest with a road in he middle of it.  There are no street lights.  It gets pitch black after the sun sets so we did get caught in the dark but only towards the end of the drive. It was the only day we had to use an alarm clock.  I cannot believe we were up by 7am and moving constantly every single day we were in Europe.  I don't know how we did it. I could barely keep my eyes open on the way home I was so tired.  I read on Trip Advisor that a lot of people rent a hotel room and stay in Hana for the night.

Plan Your Stops
You may not have time to stop at every look out spot so decide what you HAVE to see and plan around that.  I had my eye on Pipiwai Trail and the bamboo forest. It's a 4 mile round trip hike and it's the very last stop so we needed to leave plenty of time for it.  We didn't stop everywhere the Gypsy App suggested and I don't know what we missed out on but the four we did were AMAZING!  We did Twin falls, Three bears, Waianapanapa Park including Black Sand Beach and Haleakala National Park including Pipiwai Trail, Waimoku Falls, and the Seven Sacred Pools.  There was a $10 fee per car for Haleakala. 

Bring food AND bug spray
It's a really long day so you will need to eat at some point.  We stopped for McDonald's Egg White Delight Sandwiches for breakfast on the way in.  Along the way there are plenty of roadside stands to stop for food  but I was glad that we didn't have to.  It saved us time.  We picked up Subway the night before and stopped at Hana Bay to eat it on the way there.  Most of the shops and little highway stands close at 5pm so stop for something early in the drive back if you are hungry.  The mosquito's were all over Pipiwai trail.  I got about 8 on one leg alone.  The sad thing is that we took the time to pick up bug spray but then never put it on.  You need it.  And bring it with you so you can re apply after swimming.

Wear a bathing suit AND real shoes
The trails we climbed were pretty rigorous and muddy.  You need comfortable shoes.  Ones you can get dirty in.  Some of the trails led right through streams where you literally had to hop from rock to rock to get to the other side.  At Three Bears I miscalculated and my right foot sock, tennis shoe and all went in the water.  At Seven Sisters it was the left.  Don't think that you are better off without the wet socks.  Trust me you aren't.  Wet socks inside wet tennis shoes is way better then bare foot in wet shoe.  Aqua socks would have been perfect to carry along and waterproof hiking boots would have been ideal.  We did our first stop with flip flops and that was pushing it.  We saw people doing Pipiwei in flip flops and I don't know how they made it.  The tennis shoes I brought were my older back up set and I literally threw them in the trash at our last stop.  Mj planned on keeping his but after zip lining AND Hana he ended up trashing his too.  If you want to experience swimming in a waterfall and trust me, you do, wear a bathing suit under your clothes.  There are signs warning of flash floods but none telling you that you can't get in.  We each carried really light nylon backpacks with us.  The camera mostly stayed around our necks.

Drive back the way you came
Apparently, if you continue forward after Haleakala National Park and leave that way making a full circle instead of leaving the way you came there are some interesting sights.  If you do that you are taking a huge risk because the roads are really bad, there is no cell reception and if you get stuck out there you are on your own.  The Gypsy narrator explicitly advises you that if you go that way the Gypsy tour is over.  It's so risky that  it invalidates your rental contract if you break down or cause damage to the car out there.  I  didn't even bother to check ours.  Even if we wanted to we were running out of time.  I already knew it was a risk we didn't want to take.  We took the longer and relatively safer way back. 

My next post will be about the four AMAZING stops we did.  I meant to fit Hana into one post but I just couldn't do it!

The Road to Hana Sights