Romany Rambler: Travelled 19681Km; 326 Nights Away
Christmas Day was certainly a “day of two halves”. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of hot croissants stuffed with ham and cheese as we sat outside at the motor camp. Several hours later the delicious smell of bacon filled the air as Robin slowly cooked our chicken breasts wrapped in bacon on the barbecue for Christmas lunch, and some prawn kebabs. Served with an assortment of salads, it was a meal fit for a king, or in our case, fit for campers. As Dot and I had both made a different version of trifle each, we had to try some of each for dessert. Thank goodness for the shade from our gazebo on such a hot day.
After the lunch dishes had been done, and a change of clothes, we set off to visit Robin’s family who were having a Christmas get-together in Palmerston North. The main route across the Manawatu Gorge has been closed due for several months to a major slip, so we drove along one of the lesser roads, the Pahiatua Track, to cross the Tararua Ranges.
All the younger family members we setting off down to the river to cool off when we arrived. The large house that Robin’s brother Neil and his family live in has had an interesting life. Built in the 1930s as an orphanage for the Anglican Church, it was later sold to the Catholic Church and is now owned by a property developer. It has 19 bedrooms, and a huge lounge, kitchen and dining room. These days Neil and Michelle run it as a hostel for overseas students. One of the young cousins visiting for the day always refers to it as the “Haunted House”.
After a pleasant couple of hours catching up with the family, it was time to start our drive back to the motor camp. We decided to travel along the other lesser road, the Saddle Road, which crosses the Ruahine Ranges and comes out at Woodville. The wind turbines from the Apiti Wind Farm cover the hills of this region, and we watched as the blades slowly spun in the breeze. They almost have a mesmerising effect to them.
The Saddle Road is quite steep and very windy and the turbines were everywhere. This one seemed to be right in front of the road.
Our 250km round trip gave us a good opportunity to check out the state of these lesser roads as we had heard that they were both suffering quite a bit of damage. With the Manawatu Gorge being closed for some months, all the heavy trucks now have to travel across both the Pahiatua Track and the Saddle Road, causing quite a bit of wear and tear on the road surfaces.