Road Trip Mmmm

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Tue 22 Jul 2014 21:47
Our Road Trip – Wicked Witch, Bear and a Veto 
After a steady start, showers and a straightened Mable, we bade ‘farewell’ to our number nine slot at the Top Ten in Christchurch. We headed out on this very grey, wet morning toward Lyttelton and the Gondola ride – joint ticket with the tram from the other day.
Cold, dark and sleeting. Eleven o’clock in the morning and it was really poor light. I know, oh I feel a plan coming on....... let’s go on to Akaroa spend the night. It’s on a peninsula so we have to come back, so we can do the Gondola tomorrow. OK I replied somewhat brighter then the weather. These pictures were taken through a two inch gap in the window, pressed the button the wrong way and the darn thing dropped to fully open – not to be repeated, sleet in a strong wind is very cold and wet indeed.


I take this ‘one careful owner’ as a sign that people ‘slip off’ these roads, the car was down a really steep bank but it doesn’t really look steep in the picture. Bear liked this no nonsense driveway on the other side of the road.
We climbed higher and higher, Mable taking it in her stride. A nice anchorage. Yes, dear.
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Up into the snow belt. Things were really chippy now, pictures were taken through the windows. Navigator just smiled, driver thought it was fun – must mow that beard he’s beginning to look a lot like Santa or Old Father Time, Huh. Pretty though, a certain lack of other tourists, or anyone for that matter. The Wicked Witch - Bears ‘woman from hell’ - the one he argues with and disobeys to which she says in her faintly American accent Recalculating, Recalculating, chirruped brightly and said “At the next left, turn left, turn left” Mmmm, there was no left. This should have raised alarm bells.
A sight I have not seen in many a long year. Now bear in mind, this is the only vehicle we have seen in the last half hour, more warning signs. Driver still smiling perkily. Wicked Witch reporting “half an hour to destination.”
Over the next hill we faced an ominous sign. Now I have driven a fair few miles over the years and was not immediately alarmed by this sign. Neither was Bear. Let’s go to the end of this bit, look round the corner and assess. OK. We got to the corner and no stopping, driver just bashed on. What about the discussion at the corner. Oh well, we have tarmac, it’s not too steep and we are below the snow line, it’s not too far now.........
Suddenly, things got lumpy.
I’m an adventurous sort and don’t mind living on the edge. Let’s face it if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space. I didn’t mind the sheer drop next to me, the slashing-rain-cum-sleet, or the fact that there were bits of safety fence missing and dodgy bits of slippage on the ‘road’ edge. But, when I looked up at the road – to where we were headed, seen up on the far left, the one disappearing into the snow line, I actually balked. I remember a certain journey in a little hire car in Antigua, marked as a B road. I remember getting out of the back door to leap over the back of a massive puddle and directing Bear through where I had depth-tested with a stick. I remember using both hands to signal him over the higher tracks left by for-wheel drives, as the road fell away each side. I remember as we popped out in a village ten miles later and the looks of total respect on surprised faces.
Back to now. Bears face was not so smiley. Time for me to call a veto. Ahead in the stand of trees was a culvert followed by a very steep bit. In a matronly voice I announced that further onward travel would be done on foot by way of a reccy. On went drivers anorak, hat pulled down and off he stomped. Some while later – report time. It’s very slippy and steep, shame really. I for one didn’t feel the need to test the snow chains and a shudder from Mable made my mind up fully. I donned all my outerwear and paced through the slush. The culvert had a concrete edge, I took this as a useful boundary and insisted a fifty point turn wouldn’t matter a hoot..........Bear and Mable managed it in about eight. I now worked on the assumption that if – like on Beez, we had got in, we should be able to get out. I successfully got Bear to agree if we saw a ‘not suitable for camper vans’ sign in the future, we would believe the chap who had erected it. The Wicked Witch went into a hairy fit. Bear took the wild motion of switching her off, there will be repercussions in the future, mark my words.......................
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Back out on the ‘main’ road, we could once again enjoy the scenery.
Steep and wiggly, Mabel once again purred contentedly. Below the snow line some pretty winter colours.
We stopped at a free campsite. I know, oh no, what now. It’s cleared up, we’ll do the Gondola now, head back into Christchurch and head off in the morning. On the morrow we WILL find another way won’t we. Oh well, we won’t have to do this road, we’ve seen what was planned today, have we ??? Yes. Oh. Tomorrow we’ll be heading for Timaru. Oh great, I managed chirpily. In that case we might as well head back for the Top Ten. OK. Plan, I love it when a plan comes together.
In the corner of the freebie they had actually made a ‘feature’ out of a ‘one careful owner’. Marvelous.
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People in these parts clearly don’t mind the word – steep.
Up at the top of the Gondola Ride, Bear scratched his head. I’m still trying to work out where the Wicked Witch took us. Looking at the map I would say from here to number 13 and we got as far as number 2. Pity we only had to get to the inlet, bet it was pretty there. Yeah, right, if you could see more than ten feet in the haze.................
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Our fun pictures. Back to Top Ten, we saw someone was on number 9. The nice lady put us on number 4. Electric blanket on and the second Hobbit film......