An exciting side trip from Kailua Kona and the Kohala region is to drive winding Saddle Road (Highway 200) towards Mauna Kea, the world's tallest mountain (measuring at approximately 17,000 feet below sea level and another 14,000 feet above water). Mauna Kea (white mountain) is one of the five surviving volcanoes... that have linked to form the Big Island. As you drive along the difficult 53 miles of Highway 200, it hits home that Saddle Road was built by the government in 1942 as an access road to Pohakuloa Army Base, and not really meant for public usage. The road with the poor reputation however has since become an important cross-island connection.