Friday turned out to be a busy day of Christmas shopping and sorting things out, still more of trying to fit stuff into the Suzi. Then Saturday started with a bit more of the same. But lots more actual preparation to leave. There were lots of people we never got to see, just not enough time. The first job of the day was to load up with water , 400 litres takes quite a while through a garden hose! Then it was off to see the Isuzu people to see what they could do for our cab doors that don’t quite close up at the top. They managed to get them working better, which is good. Wyn with the Toyota) and I met up at the dump station – not the most romantic rendezvous. From there we went round to the weighbridge at the Transfer station. Suzi weighed in a bit over 6.5 tonnes. So we’ve a bit pessemistic paying road user charges on the 8-9 tonne category. And most people are pessemistic of my chances of getting back the amount we have overpaid 🙁
Finally, it was time to hook up the A-frame and the Toyota. It was a bit tense, being the first time we’d used an A-frame. So we had a trip round the block a couple of times. Finally I ran out of excuses, so it was on the road – south and then west, to Central Otago. The day deteriorated as we headed inland, with steady rain by Roxburgh. Plus just before Roxburgh one of the sliding doors ripped its catch off the wall. Plus while in Roxburgh the vacuum toilet stopped vacuuming! Remind me to bypass Roxburgh in future!
We managed to wedge both internal doors open – the Motor Caravanner magazine came in very handy. We were relieved to finally reach Val’s Park Over Property at Earnscleugh, and in time for the Saturday night BBQ. It was a good place to start our new life, very relaxed and friendly.
Today (Sunday) started with no rain – so that was an improvement. It was cold, and there was light snow on the tops of the hills! We had a leisurely start to the day, before heading off for a walk at 10.30am. With some directions, we went via the Packing Shed cafe to the Millenium track beside the Clutha River, and up that to Clyde. By this stage the sun was out and it was warming up and we were making notes to not leave our sun hats behind next time! A coffee in the shade at the Post Office cafe revived us, and we walked back to Earnscleugh via the road, more exploring. It was 2pm by the time we got back, although we hadn’t covered anything like 10km.
After a catchup in the sun with our neighbours, we had a late lunch in the sun, before heading back in the car to the Packing Shed cafe to pick some cherries – $8 per kg. It took us a while to pick 1.2kgs, not sure how we’d go at making money picking them. The cherry orchards won’t be happy today after all that rain yesterday, followed by the sun today. Their cherries are now at high risk of splitting and being ruined. There were helicopter our last evening trying to dry the cherries out.
With our cherry treasure, we had a bit of a drive around, finding the Fraser Domain – there are a few people camped there. We made it back for a late happy hour at the POP, then made for Alexandra for what we hoped was Christmas Carols in the Park. They sort of were, except most of them were sung to us, not by us. Having sung only two carols in the first hour, and getting more distracted by bored and wayward children, we figured it was time to cut our losses and beat a retreat.
Which we did, having a look at the Shakey Bridge over the Manuherakea River – I mightn’t have spelt that correctly. THe bridge is a shakey suspension footbridge. It is sobering to read that recent floods (1990s) reached the floor planks of the bridge. It is high and discoloured today – after the rain yesterday. With the sun setting on the hills, we haded back to our mobile home, ending our first full proper day on the road.