The Dreaded Minivan in Maui

Honolua Bay, Photo by: Desiree Bilon

To my horror the only vehicle available for rent was a Dodge Caravan – A MINIVAN. What irony! What mockery! From the time I obtained my learner’s license at age 14, I had a strong distaste for minivans. Where this loathing came from is somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps it was something I had heard others say and picked up on.  Or maybe it was something that I came up with on my own after assessing the general behavior of minivan drivers on the road. I certainly wasn’t born despising minivans; it had to be learned.

When I lived in Italy, minivans were considered “cool” and they were luxury.  I laughed at my Italian friends and explained that where I grew up in Canada minivans were anything but cool; they were the epitome of suburban life, a symbol of being locked into the system, the rat race. The Italian rat race was different. They did not work 9-5 jobs and driving around with your family in a comfy car was considered fantastic.

Even after living in Italy for all those years, I still hated minivans. But why? What did they ever do to me? On the whole, I am an open-minded person. I can be flexible in my ideas. I like learning new ways of doing things. I enjoy collecting knowledge, but this was one piece of information that I was not interested in adding to my vault of world understanding.

“Actually there is also a Corvette available. Which one would you like, the minivan or the corvette?” I didn’t like either of them, I told the rental car woman on the other end of the phone. I was even prepared to wait a day or two and asked if any other cars would shortly become available. Negative. I needed a car to go surfing and I need a car to cart my peeps around. Clearly, I was going to have to set my prejudice aside and do the right thing – drive a minivan. In all essence, I didn’t really have a choice. The Corvette could not even be considered an option because it was: a) too expensive b) too small to accommodate the family and c) not suitable for transporting a surfboard, not even a short one.

When we picked “it” up, my heart sank into deep despair. “It” was awful and “it” was burgundy and I was going to have to drive “it” around for a week shuttling my family to and fro. On the way home from picking “it” up, I tried to forget about how bad “it” was and to find something positive within the situation.  At least there were three different reggae stations on the small island. I tried to reason with myself; people who listen to reggae will not care if I am driving a minivan.  I also listen to reggae. Therefore, logically it follows that I should not be bothered by driving the minivan either.

Later that afternoon we, the younger folks, piled into the mini van to explore Kaanapali, a long white sand beach to the north of Lahaina.  In an attempt to console me, my brother’s girlfriend Kael told me “it” was not so bad.  It was new. It was a smooth ride. It was a top of the line minivan. It was something that maybe even a gangster rap star would drive. Perhaps Puff Daddy. Yeah. We christened the van in a fit of laughter, “The Puff Daddy”.

Size-wise The Puff Daddy was ideal. There were nine in our group. My older brother had rented a white 4 door Toyota Yaris and between the two of us we could cart our peeps around the island, convoy style. If we were seven or fewer, we could all travel together in The Puff Daddy comfortably even with my surfboard. I should have been happy or at least not upset. I could just chuck my board in – no seat lowering, no angling, no rearranging, and certainly no roof racks. But my deep-seeded dislike for minivans would not dissipate. I tried to laugh it off, but to no avail. Every time we pulled up to a traffic light I wanted to hide, to crawl under the high tech, motorized, extremely comfortable seat.

On one occasion we drove up the coast to D.T. Fleming Beach in convoy. Before deciding on whether I would surf there, I wanted to check out one more spot first —the famous Honolua Bay. Nobody was interested in accompanying me;, Troy and Kael had already been, and Brett, Lauren and her sister Jenna really liked the beach we were at and did not want to go in the car anymore. Understandable. I would go by myself up to Honolua Bay, no problem, but I could not bare the thought of rolling up to one of the best surf breaks in the world in the minivan.

It took some clever convincing on my part to get Troy, the reluctant older brother, to relinquish the keys to his nondescript rental car. As I drove away, my board laid down beside me on the fully reclined passenger seat, I felt great, alive, young, and possibly even cool. I was on my way to Honolua Bay and even though I wasn’t exactly sure where it was, it didn’t matter.

A series of minor curves and dips were the only obstacles I faced on the road to my destination. The views of the ocean, from this high up, made it look even more like something out of a magazine. I took a moment to reflect.  I was in Hawaii, on my way to one of the most legendary surf spots of all time, the sun was shining, I was listening to reggae and life was grand. I am not sure if I would have felt the same in the minivan.

Photo by: Brett Bilon

This entry was posted in Maui / Hawaii, surfing, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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