Why Elevation Matters On Maui

Aloha!

People write to me all the time to ask where they should live when they move to Maui. This question stumps me. It would seem they would know if they are beach people or mountain people….or if they want to be surrounded by tourists, or live in the middle of nowhere. So here’s some food for thought….

Let’s say you plan to move to Maui and will drive an electric car. You get to live in a jaw – droppingly beautiful place and help the planet while you drive, right?

Not so fast. A friend did just that – – moved his family to Kula at around 3,000 feet elevation, and bought an electric car. Only one problem: he found he cannot go up and down the hill on only one charge. At flat – level driving, the car (a Leaf) was rated to make the mileage – – it just couldn’t handle the elevation (kind of like my brother-in-law who got elevation-sick while we were all visiting the lavender farm in Kula. Hi, Richard!)

(www.aliikulalavender.com/ “In the uplands of Maui, nestled along the skirt of Haleakala (House of the Sun) mountain lay the beautiful gardens of Ali`i Kula Lavender. Maui’s Lavender Lifestyle experience.”)

But I digress. Of course, that is just another thing to consider…will you suffer from elevation sickness?

So my Kula friend now plans his days around charging his car. One day he had a meeting in Kahului (flat-land), then another meeting right afterward in Makawao (1,500 ft.) He had to re-schedule the second meeting to build in charging time, so he could make it back up the hill. Not a happy camper.

We inherited a Prius when my mom passed away. She is named “Lulu” and is the first car I’ve owned on Maui that won’t let me run the air-conditioner up the hill to Upcountry without grinding and complaining. So I pat her and turn off the A.C., even though it’s 95° out. My insurance agent told me she has the same problem with her small – cylinder car, that is neither electric or hybrid. Just not enough power.

The beauty of living Upcountry is that you can get a view, you’re away from the tourists, and it’s a bit cool-ah in Ku-la. (I owe that one to my niece).

The downside to elevation is that it’s really hard on your brakes. I burned mine up as soon as I moved Upcountry, and my mechanic said, “Downshift the whole way down, to save your brakes.” To which I replied, “But that makes the engine grind – – what about my transmission?” He just shrugged and said, “Choose.”

Everything in Maui comes down to choice, just like life. Beach or mountain? Hot or cool? Flat or views? Close to work, or a commute?

I leave you with this: your ears will pop every time you go up and down the mountain. I’ve always wondered this about airline folks too…is that an okay thing?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Goldilocks and the Three Towns on Maui

Aloha!

A recent letter from a reader who wants to move to Maui asked, “What’s the prettiest town?” I think that’s a very subjective thing, and I can’t choose pretty for you any more than you could choose it for me. A better question might be about the weather of the town you choose to live in. For instance, I was at a party up in Kula, and everyone there was freezing. It was an outdoor party, and the windchill felt about 30°. I was wearing the same leather coat I wear in San Francisco and was still cold. After you live in Hawaii a while, your blood thins out and you can’t take the cold anymore, particularly if you live at an elevation that is always warm.

At the party I visited with a lady who had moved from Oahu (very warm there) and needed to choose a place to live on Maui. Her husband asked, “What about Haiku?” and the lady responded, “Too rainy.” Her husband said, “What about Hana?” The wife responded, “Too remote.” (At least she’d done her homework, lots of people don’t). So they ended up in Kula, where there is less rain, but it’s too cold for her. I almost asked her, “So what about Kihei, or Lahaina? But I know what her response would’ve been: “Too crowded. Too hot!”

So it really is like Goldilocks, you have to pick what’s “just right” for you, and you alone.

I also spoke with another couple who recently purchased a home in Maui Meadows (a residential area up the hill from Kihei) after living in a condo for years. I asked why they moved, and he said, “It gets old living in a resort. Tourists coming and going all the time.” So that’s another thing to think about when moving here: condo life might sound wonderful and low – maintenance, but there are very few condo complexes on Maui that are long-term rental only. What that means is at least half (or usually a higher percentage) of the people on the property where you will be living are transient or tourists. There is no getting to know them better, and the worst of them really feel no obligation to behave. (“We’re on vacation…par-tay!!”)

Then there are the maintenance fees at condos…ask lots of questions. I was tempted to buy a lovely condo when I first loved here, till I found out the maintenance fees were $1,200. per month– and this was fifteen years ago!

If you’re thinking of a move to Maui, like Goldilocks, I hope you do your homework and find the area that is “just right.”

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Aloha!

No matter what I post on any topic, it seems the thing people really most want to know is: where the heck does Oprah live on Maui? So, I will tell you.

I directed tourists on how to get there all the time when I worked as a concierge at the Maui Kaanapali Villas: (www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com.) Hard to believe, but it’s a destination drive for tourists now. I wonder if someday they’ll stop there with the tourist buses like they do on the Beverly Hills “See the Stars’ Homes” tours.

Soooo (drumroll please…) Here is Oprah’s House, as seen on http://www.oprah.com:

And this is how we’ll get there: Let’s pretend you fly into Maui and board my Maui Magical Mystery Tours bus. We are now driving away from the airport, and the mountain range on your right is the West Maui mountains, and the mountain on your left is Haleakala. We’re going to go toward Haleakala. If you look at a map of Maui, and see Highway 37, we are going to follow that out toward Ulupalakua.

image

When we get to the main intersection in Kahului (Dairy Road and Hana Highway, just past K-Mart) we make a left onto Hana Hwy. and stay on it about one mile till we see a big green sign on our right that says “Haleakala Crater” “Kula” and “Pukalani”. We will make a right.

This is Hwy. 37. We will stay on this ALL the way until the turn-off for Oprah’s house. Since you’re not the one driving, you will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery as we slowly climb the mountain. We will pass the turn-off for Makawao. While it’s a perfectly nice little cowboy town with a few art galleries thrown in, we won’t turn off. We will then pass the signs that say “Crater.” But we are on a mission, so we don’t turn off, as much as we might like to see Haleakala Crater.

We will eventually pass mile marker 12, then mile marker 13. We will pass Rice Park on our left. We will keep going until we see mile marker 16.5 and Keokea Park will be on our left.

Now, we SLOW DOWN. We will see a sign for “Thompson Ranch Road” because Oprah bought Thompson Ranch. Grandma’s Coffee House will be on our right, and we make the left onto Thompson Ranch Road, which immediately veers to the right. We are careful to make this right or we will be going uphill to Kula Hospital!

Thompson Ranch road is a bit like a small roller-coaster ride, up and down and all around. It’s pretty much one lane, so we are careful of all the people going in the other direction who have already been to view Miss Oprah’s house, and are now probably on their way for coffee at Grandma’s. (Oprah would probably make money if she put a coffee stand at the bottom of her driveway, there are so many people who go there now.)

We won’t know we are at Oprah’s house unless we are watching the hillside on the left. About a quarter mile down there it is, white and gleaming, perched on the hill. Lucky for us there happens to be a little turnaround were we can pull off on the right and view it. Would you like to get off the bus and stretch your legs? We’ve been on here for about 35 to 40 minutes now. Be sure to bring your camera…though you won’t get pictures anywhere is good as the one at the top. It’s uphill and the angle is not right for photos.

Okay now, everybody happy? That’ll be $19.95 for the bus tour. Oh wait, this is Maui. Make that $89.95.

Thank you for traveling today with Mauidailyescape.com. Remember, you read it here. Please tell your friends about this blog, and be sure to direct them to this post so they’ll know how to get to Miss Oprah’s house. Share it on Facebook…tweet it….then I can cover other interesting topics on this blog in the future. Thank you for riding along.

A hui hou! (till next time.) If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica