I think Jaime and I were on different trips. First of all, we didn't go to Maui, we went to Oahu, and we didn't camp in a van, we rented a convertible Mustang like all the other fat mainlanders.
I kid. Jaime is not crazy (on the day of her posting) and I admit, the bugs ate dinner with us some evenings, but otherwise, it was pretty awesome. Imagine driving around a mountainous, beach-surrounded tropical island in your little mobile home, stopping wherever and whenever you darn well please while still maintaining a better turning radius than the aforementioned over-rented Mustang convertibles. The theme of our trip was T.F.D.I. (Totally friggin' doin' it), and that we did.
Because we didn't need to return to a "home base" hotel room each night, we got to take in a lot more of the island, soaking up much more outside time and seeing many more obscure roads and places. I'd have to say my favorite part of the trip was just being the driver. Driving on narrow, winding cliff-side roads, up the volcano, on the beach, windows always down, bob on the radio = good times and very therapeutic for me for some reason. Some people relax by sitting on the beach with a book, and we did plenty of that too (I re-read Catcher in the Rye on the trip), I enjoy driving as long as the weather and location are beautiful. We had both. Jaime's right, people did think we were locals in the van, which makes a surprising difference on the road. On two occasions, we picked up hitchhikers on the way into Pa'ia, and especially the second time, after our skin had seen plenty of sun, we had them fooled. You can sense a bit of a feeling of disdain and resentment from the locals that their economy heavily relies on the predictable touristy escapades of aloha shirt clad mainlanders. Personally, my goal was to see the island while avoiding the typical and commercial.
I'll post some of my favorite photos here (as soon as I get them on my new computer), and encourage you in the meantime to see the whole batch on my facebook album HERE.