Monday, January 19, 2015

Driving with Thelma... To Christchurch and Back. (Part 1)

Thelma and me
Back in November I was asked if I would like to go with a lady I knew to keep her company and help with the driving to Christchurch. I would only have to pay for my ferry crossing and I would be able to see Theresa and her family on the way down, and back, and then stay with Katrina while I was down there.

With a bit of excitement I checked the ferry crossing times that Thelma was booked on but unfortunately one was booked out already and the other (the return trip) only had the top rate for a passenger left.
Even if I got a ferry at later time to go down and Thelma waited for me, it was really a bit much for us, so I left a message to say "thank you but it was not possible."

But it would seem that God had other ideas and the next day I was rung by another friend (who Thelma was staying with at that time) to say that I was booked on both the ferry's and it was all paid for. My goodness did I feel blessed and just so happy that I was going to see my girls. Little did I know that there was also another reason for me to be going.

The morning of the 2nd January arrived and I was all packed and ready at 10.00am, the time we arranged for me to be picked up. Three quarters of an hour later I rung to see where Thelma was. She had left at 10.00am to pick up her dog Pepper so I figured she must be here soon. Finally at 11.10am she arrived and we then tried to find places in her BMW X 5 SUV to put my two bags and pillow. It was chocker with her bags but with much rearranging we managed, while still leaving room for Pepper to have her spot on half the back seat.

We called into the local garage to get the tires air pressure checked, but they were closed. The 2nd of January is a public holiday in New Zealand - which I mentioned to Thelma but she didn't know this, as she is English and the New Year Holiday is not observed in England. It can be confusing as business' are not open but then lots of service and food places and shops are open. Thelma got us some Subway and we then traveled to Putaruru to check the tires and I helped using the free air pump as she was unsure of what to do.

We drunk our coffees there as they were starting to go cold.

Finally at 12.30pm we left Putaruru and were on our way - two and half hours behind time.

So with lunch already purchased we arrived at Lake Taupo by 2.15pm and stopped to eat, with Pepper having a good romp in the water at the lake edge.

I, however, was just happy to sit and watch the activities and wild life around us. I already felt at this time a need to just relax and focus. I wanted to calm myself from the mornings activities.
After a sort out of all our belongings looking for some tablets for Pepper (that we never found) we were on the road again but Thelma was still driving.

I wanted to take a turn to drive but Thelma said she felt she had rested enough. I was keen to have a drive but also to take over for awhile so we would be driving without the pushing of buttons and switches everywhere.

There was a computer on the dashboard and all sorts of other devices to see how we were running fuel-wise etc. Thelma kept wanted to check all sorts of things as we drove along. She even told me we could watch TV on it.
It wasn't long before we were on the desert road and Thelma was keen to take photos - while driving - so I took them for her. The road was busy and although we could see some of Mt Ruapehu there was some cloud cover.

In the end Thelma stopped so she could take some herself - safely.

We were making good time but as we were not catching the ferry until the next morning we didn't have any deadlines to keep. I had however arranged for us to have tea with Theresa, Steven and Kate thinking we would be there by 5.00pm but with all the delays so far it didn't look like we would be there until after 7.00pm. I was in constant txt contact with Theresa so she decided to organize the roast for 7.30pm.

Even with a second comfort stop Thelma was still driving and talking all the way. One thing that bothered her was that she couldn't get any of the radio stations she had pre-programmed on her radio. I tried to explain that she would be out of range but she thought that the lady who had looked after her car while she had been away, had probably played and reset the channels.

It wasn't long before we were passing through Waiouru at which Thelma asked if we had been through the Desert Road. I realized that people did not understand that the Rangipo Desert area is just a barren place with extreme cold weather in the winter receiving snow and often closing the Desert Road. For this reason it has received its name but it is not 'desert like'.

So we kept driving and heading to Taihape. I asked again if I could drive and Thelma said when we have our next rest stop.

It was coming up to 4.00pm and we were ten kilometers out from Taihape, although I didn't know that at the time.

... to be continued

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