Unless something drastic happens, I will go to Waikoloa directly after we land in Hilo at night, but would like to know if any of you have different ideas or tips. What would you do if you were I? Thank you.
We will arrive at Hilo after a 6 hrs of flight at 8pm. I got a package deal that I couldn't pass up but the catch is that the hotel is Marriot in Waikoloa. I thought about staying the arriving night at Hilo and have separate reservation for the rest of the trip, but that would give up a big discount on hotel (~ $800 total for 7 nights). I don't think Marriot would let me check in a day late by double booking a hotel for 1 night in Hilo and still pay for 7 nights in Marriot.
So the plan is arriving at 8 pm, get the baggage (1 or 2 at the most), get the rental car, buy quick bites for dinner and depart Hilo by 9 pm to drive ~ 2 hrs via Saddle Road. The moon will be near full moon (~90%) so it won't be total darkness but I'm aware of fogs.
I've done Saddle road many years ago during day time. I heard it's much improved now. I've driven many off roads (including other Hawaiian islands), done steep and curvy mountain roads in Rockies, Sierra Nevada, and off roads in Arizona/Utah. So with proper cautions, preparation, and help of GPS, this shouldn't be impossible, but at the same time, I won't ignore locals advise either. Thanks again.