Before tunnels made it faster for vehicles to reach Kailua and Kaneohe from Honolulu, there was that long and winding Old Pali Road in Nuuanu Valley.

Yep, in the old days, it was a task of sorts to go Windward side via this twisting two-lane highway, which zigged and zagged along the mountain terrain, to link then “country” with the “city.”

This was then the fastest way to travel to visit Kailua and Kaneohe for family, beach, and other recreation. There was no Windward Mall in Kaneohe and Kailua still was a budding district for home owners, not yet a dining and shopping destination.

Narrow, winding Old Pali Road

The speed limit was likely 25 mph, because the curves were frequent and potentially dangerous. The only route worse than this was the Maui drive from Kahului to Hana with twists and curves galore.

Vintage vehicle heading to Windward side

If you lived on the Honolulu side, you’d stop at the Pali lookout to view the expanse of green and blues. Yes, there were parcels of forestry sights and beyond the green, the pristine aqua of the seas. The lookout then, and even now, had howling winds, depending on the weather, and girls and women donning dresses and skirts, had to hold ‘em down to avoid unwanted peeks.

Remember those snaking roads?

Back in the day, the Kailua Drive In – an outdoor movie theater – was a destination for viewers from both sides of the Pali. Of course, the drive home in the dark, going up the spirally curves nighttime, was a challenge, too.

And there were tales – obake stories – about crossing the Pali turns with pork. ‘Twas said to be bad luck, that your car engine would conk out, but I never encountered anyone who had such misfortunes, though few dared to travel with pork in the car. That’s discussion for another time.

So what are your reflections of this long and winding road? …

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