It’s me and my rental car against the forces of nature. In the course of the morning I endured wind, sand and blazing heat. I ascended the side of a volcano and was blitzed by pounding rain near the top. Now, on the way back down, I pull over at a viewpoint and forget the most basic natural force of all: gravity.
I get out, slam the door and walk across to a fence guarding the rim of the immense Waimea Canyon. I hear crunching gravel behind me. Odd. There’s nobody else here. I turn to witness the alarming sight of my car rolling down the mountain. I’d left the parking brake off.
By good fortune, the wheels point toward the road rather than in the direction of the 3,000-foot drop into the canyon. Nonetheless, I sprint to catch the runaway vehicle and sling myself into the front seat. I jam it to a halt just as an oncoming car appears ahead. I face a flash of lights and a horn blast. A small price to pay for a potentially catastrophic mistake.
This Chevy Impala is just the latest of a succession of rental cars during my island-hopping tour of Hawai’i. While other vacationers settle by the hotel pool or lounge on the beach, I am keen to see as much as I can of these incredible islands, and for that I need wheels.
I tried to match my rental choices to the particular requirements of each island. On the Big Island, I chose an SUV, all the better for looking across the stark lava fields and negotiating the cinder tracks on the upper slopes of the great volcano, Mauna Kea. On Maui, I went for a convertible — the perfect mode of transport for the sunny drive along the coast to Lahaina with the radio on, the wind ruffling my hair and humpback whales breaching offshore. I opted for a compact Chevy Aveo in Oahu, ideal for fitting into parking spaces in Honolulu and Waikiki.
The choice for Kauai posed a challenge. The island features a bit of everything. The clincher was the knowledge the island’s summit is one of the wettest places on Earth. Definitely not convertible country. The roads are good, so an SUV was not essential. And I didn’t plan to spend much time in the towns.
So it is me and the Chevy Impala. Having rescued it from gravity’s pull, I reverse it back to the viewpoint, apply the brake and for additional security place a volcanic rock beneath one of the front tires.
Now I can fully appreciate the raw landscape. This is the beginning of Hawai’i’s geological end. The canyon formed when the main volcanic dome collapsed, compounded by the eroding effects of water and wind. The process continues unabated. Over the coming millennia, the highlands will wash away, reducing Kauai to a ring of small islands around a lagoon.
The narratives of geology unfold over vast timescales impossible to grasp from a human perspective. But the scenic results are breathtaking. On the descent, I often pull over, restrain the car and take in the stunning view from new angles.
Back on the flat coast road, I realize a police car is suddenly tailing me. I measure my speed, check my seat belt and meticulously obey every road sign. Eventually he overtakes me and continues on his way.
A traffic cop is one force of nature I don’t intend to mess with.
Qatar Airways is expanding this year, adding eight new destinations to its network. The list includes:
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Hotel Indigo recently launched its Clues to the Neighborhood initiative, a fun way for travelers to discover experiences in property neighborhoods. Clues to the Neighborhood uses curated artifacts to artfully present travelers with a new look at a locale, with the hope of leading them to local museums, shops, music venues, restaurants and bars.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Travelers in Las Vegas can enjoy a new dining concept at Wynn Las Vegas starting March 19. A new restaurant, Elio, will debut, offering an energetic environment and thoughtful menu items reflecting Mexico’s rich culinary traditions. Small plates focus on seafood and produce, while entrees are shareable. A lounge offers agave-based spirits.
ForwardKeys.com found an increase of 4.5 percent in 2019 was significantly slower than the 6 percent growth in 2018 and the average over the last decade of 6.8 percent per year. The increase last year was less than expected, but projections for quarter one of 2020 is more optimistic. Bookings are expected to grow 8.3 percent when compared to the same period in 2019.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Château Élan Winery & Resort reopened in Braselton, Georgia, following a $25 million comprehensive renovation. The first major refurbishment since the resort’s inception in the mid-1980s pays homage to the estate's 16th-century charm, while taking the property into the future. Now, the resort offers 251 brand-new guestrooms and 24 suites, four new food and beverage venues, an immersive spa, pool terrace and new lobby. The winery likewise received a facelift.