Off to Auckland to Collect the Camper Van and Onward
Tuesday the 1st of July. Kate – Ioleta, gave us a lift up the hill to the bus stop. Someone was eagerly awaiting breakfast.
Off we went at eight o’clock. By half past we were going through an area where to the left the morning mist made for a nice photograph, but to the right was amazing.
We have never seen such a total white blanket.
At midday we pulled into Auckland, trotted from the bus station, down a couple of streets to the main ‘high street’ - Queen Street, just missing the transfer bus to the airport. Never mind they run every ten minutes. Time for our excitement to build – or – in my case anticipation of sleeping in a fridge, we’ll be fine said the optimist.........
At the airport we had some lunch and Bear used the freephone to call Apollo, fifteen minutes later a smiling chap collected us for the short ride to their base. In the reception a chap told me the girls in front of him had been there nearly four hours. Oh dear. Our new friend had been there for nearly three. Oh dear. We cheerily sat for the long haul. Maybe it was a queue that had formed over lunchtime we hoped. Vera called us forward and went through the small print. We had to pay $5000 in bond. If we paid $44 a day we could get the bond halved. But either way you lose if there is any kind of incident, our fault or not. We told her that we had no plans for anything untoward to occur and politely refused the $7 a day to cover for tyres and windscreen. That all done off Vera went for our wagon. The smiling captain of the new nest between horrendous downpours.
Vera and Bear went all round checking for scratches, using a mirror on a stick to check the roof, I stayed aboard to explore cupboards as the rain fell again. All done and dusted in two hours. Final signatures and time for the great land At-Venture to begin.
We had originally planned to sail out but would have regretted not exploring New Zealand properly and missing the photographic opportunities the Lord of the Rings films had shown us. It worked out the difference between insuring Beez to go out to sea as opposed to leaving her on the hard has paid for the wagon. So all it will cost us is the fuel. Marvellous so here we are with a plan forming.
The layout of Mabel – after Rod’s auntie. OK, Mabel the Merc she is then.
The advertising pictures. Yes, we can see ourselves parked next to water, but, don’t see ourselves in vests – not in mid winter. I see the bottle of red – now and again.......... The funny bit in the literature was when we read that two medium built people would find it “snug” passing by the sink. Sooooooooo the two of us stand no chance, we will operate a one way system.........
We have to say Mabel looks ‘just like on the packet’.
Out into the Auckland rush hour and more rain. The original plan was to leave the depot and head straight for the supermarket to stock up. At gone five o’clock we headed to see Rod and Brenda – State of Mind at the marina in Whangarei with one stop at the Liquor Store where a couple of smiling chaps gave me a present of two glasses. I had a celebratory snifter en route. Clearly, I was driving, only right you should do the induction journey. Yeah, yeah, pull the other one.......Huh. Brenda had done a wonderful lamb curry. I introduced Rod to Ancestry and a fun evening adding a few leaves to his family tree. Mistake ???
Wednesday the 2nd. We got up and went out to breakfast. Rod kindly drove us to Arthur’s Emporium and the Para Rubber to get some bits we needed for Beez. We had a routing meeting where Rod and Brenda gave us some local knowledge about what we couldn’t miss as tourists. We bade them a fond farewell and headed off to the Warehouse and Countdown. Major supplies for me to label and list tomorrow. We met Paul and Kate at half six in the Yacht Club for supper. Home to Beez for our last night before the great explore. I went to sleep after checking Rod’s tree, twenty five people. I woke up to fifty two, clearly he had been doing some fun stuff, sadly, there were now three Mabel's. One dying at sixty two, one at seventy two and one at ninety nine – clearly he will now be called Pecky Fingers and will have to be stopped, very soon or risk the loss of his two index fingers. To add insult to injury there were two James, two called John born three years apart and several other dodgy characters. A little tidying to be done.
Considering Mabel has done over seventy five thousand kilometres, she is in incredible condition. The thing we are most thrilled with is the Tourist Box. This gadget fixes on the windscreen, has a GPS in it and tuned to the radio on 102.9 goes ‘ping, pong’ ping pong’ every time you are heading somewhere of note. Very nice voices tell us the local history, which tourist ‘must do’s’ and where the camp sites are. Chuffed, or what. We have always loved going on the open-topped, Hop On Hop Off tourist buses. This gadget is like having our own private tour guide and no need for earphones. If there is nothing doing it plays middle of the road music, no adverts and no DJ babbling. There is even a free phone number to ring with specific questions. Winner.
Thursday the 3rd. Up and sorting Mabel. All tins labelled, logged and stowed. A long day up and down the ladder loading Mabel as a mini home on wheels. Showers and ready for the off. Farewell to Beez and hit the road back to sort out Pecky fingers taking supper that wouldn’t fit in the fridge.
“I thought you would be proud of me, I added more and cross-checked ALL the details before I pressed accept.” Yes but. Any tiny detail that is different means a new person. “Oh.” Fun done we couldn’t be swayed to sleep in our bed aboard State of Mind, we braved going to Mabel and snuggled down. I was so grateful that Brenda sent me off with a ‘hotty’, my first hot water bottle experience since my nana sent me to bed with one at the age of six. Must nip forthwith on the morrow to The Warehouse and buy one in a fluffy jacket.
Friday the 4th. A interesting night in our new nest. I tried to deglove my little finger on a unit edge rescuing my escaping pillow – not used to a gap behind us. There were a few tugs of war with the quilt, but other than that, a fairly successful beginning. Don’t think I need it any colder though. Breakfast on State of Mind, a quick check of the activity of Him called Pecky Fingers and out ............
On the Road.
ALL IN ALL A BUSY FEW DAYS
A NEW LEARNING CURVE