A severe wind warning on the Rimutaka Hill Road dissuaded us of taking that route on Thursday. Instead we took the longer trip north over the Pahiatua Track. Although still very blustery with gusts which rocked the car and caravan as we drove along.
Up and over the Pahiatua Track
We always like driving over the iconic concrete bridge with it’s half circle sides as we approach Pahiatua. Constructed between 1931 and 1932, the Pahiatua Town Bridge is a striking bowstring arch bridge, built for the Pahiatua County Council in the midst of the Great Depression by Fletcher Construction. This reinforced concrete bridge was the first in a series of similar structures from the period, marking a key developmental point in the building of this visually appealing bridge type.
Pahiatua Town Bridge
We were pleased to pass safely over Mt Bruce as just a day or two earlier a car and caravan had flipped over on this stretch of the road. A couple from Napier lost control of a caravan they were towing, and the car and caravan tumbled down a bank, with the caravan landing on top of the car. Scary stuff indeed.
The wind continued to buffet the car and caravan as we carefully drove down the length of the Wairarapa to meet up with friends Bill and Val before heading to the Tauherenkau Race Course for a weekend of country music. We secured sites together leaving a space for Lorraine who arrived in her camper a little later. Goodness knows how many vans were on site, but as the hours wore on we were completely surrounded.
Ready for a weekend of country music
There was plenty of catching up to do and in the evening the wind dies down and we looked out at the most beautiful orange sunset.
The music festival started on Friday afternoon and we found our allocated seating in the grand stand – well worth the extra dollars paid when booking to ensure we got a good seat. It was a bit like meeting someone at the airport who has your name on a board! With the addition of a couple of cushions for a bit of comfort, we were all set to go.
We were very impressed with two young girls just starting their singing careers, Mollie aged 14 and Jennie aged 16 respectively, as they belted out their songs in a very professional manner. They will both go far, we are sure.
Jennie Smith, from Waiuku, aged 16
The star of the evening was blind singer Eddie Low, who was discovered in the 1970s by music impresario Joe Brown. (Kiwis will remember Joe Brown for his many entertainment ventures such as running the Dunedin Town Hall dances – and I can proudly say I attended one in the early 1960s when I visited that fair city. Joe Brown went on to produce the annual Miss New Zealand Show and discovered and promoted many other NZ singers). Eddie Low sang quite a variety of songs, his rich voice washing over us all as our feet tapped along to the music. I particularly loved his segment originally sung by my hero, Elvis. Eddie Low has recorded 23 albums, won numerous awards and has sung at the Grand Ole Opry.
Eddie Low on stage
We were glad that we had thought to pack torches to light our way back to the caravans at the end of the show. It had been a lovely evening, full of toe tapping music, with much more to follow over the next couple of days. The full moon was rising adding a ghostly glow to the evening – such a lovely sight.
Full moon rising