The Napier wind was so strong on Saturday morning that it was quite a job to open our door. And once open, it was slammed straight back again. Our plans were to get on the road bright and early, but the extremely strong wind had us worried. It’s no fun towing while struggling to keep the caravan on the road, and we had to negotiate the wind swept Takapau Plains. Our fellow campers at Erikson Road were worried too, on our behalf. The advice was to sit tight for a couple of hours and perhaps the wind would decrease to an acceptable level. So we did, joining fellow Forum member Chris and his wife for a cup of freshly brewed coffee from their coffee machine in their new Jayco Silverline van.
Finally, we got on our way, and the first stop was the dump station. Quite a picturesque setting, situated just off the beach at Napier. There was a queue, with two vans in front of us and two pulled up behind us, and we almost got embroiled in a bit of “dump station rage”. The last van in the queue pulled out and entered from the alternate side, leaving the driver behind us fuming. But why she complained to us and not the van concerned is beyond me.
Although the wind had dropped, it was still rather a trying drive. We met up with our travelling companions Geoff and Eileen for a lunch stop just south of Waipukarau at the 40 degree Parallel Rest Stop. Latitude 40degrees South passes through three countries, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina, and surprisingly Waipukarua is the only town in the world which the 40degrees South passes. And it is the start of the Roaring Forties. Who would have thought that such a small rural New Zealand town had such a claim to fame! Last time we stopped here, there were quite a number of resident chickens making this spot their home, but they seem to have all been moved on now – or eaten, perhaps.
Continuing driving south, we soon came to the Manawatu Gorge, with the wind turbines taking advantage of all that wind. This is not my favourite road, by any means, as is subject to slips, and I always breath a sigh of relief when we make it safely out the other end.
Our stop for the afternoon was not too far from our home, in rural Koputaroa. We had a surprise 70th Birthday to attend, and guests could bring their caravans, if they wished. We didn’t need to be told twice, so parked up on our hosts picture perfect lawns, all ready for a night of fun. Bet the birthday boy gets a surprise to see us all when he turns up for his dinner!