Papamoa to Pukekohe – Suzi Reclaimed

Thursday was moving-on day. It was raining again at the Papamoa Top 10 and the forecast was for more. The word on Suzi truck was that her springs would be on the first truck in from Rotorua and she should be ready to go later in the morning. The Isuzu people lent us a ute so we could get out of our cabin in the camp. It had a tow bar so we were able to get the bikes on as well. We stopped at the Bayfair Mall for some shopping and a coffee. On the way we remembered we’d be passing the Baking Shack on Hewletts Road that sometimes had cake off cuts cheap by the bag. We were in luck, and for the rest of the day scoffed end bits of banana cake and the next day started on the carrot cake trimmings.

The springs took a bit longer to get back in so we parked up by the harbour down towards the Mount. It remained a dismal day with occasional showers. Eventually Suzi was ready and we loaded all our stuff back in and headed off at about 2pm. We were heading for Pukekohe but via the dump station near the airport. I’d already seen that we could get drinking water there and we wanted some before we started south. The tap was one that had to be held open, probably as a protection against idiots leaving it going for a lark. It was frustrating having to stand out in the rain holding it on and I soon started working out ways to jam it open. A nylon brush turned out to be perfect for the job and I was off inside out of the weather. Wyn thought that a dump station wasn’t a very classy place for lunch but we didn’t want to stop again.

A call to Pukekohe confirmed that the car was ready to be picked up and for a start it looked like we could make it there by 5pm and start south to get some kilometres out of the way; we wanted to make Marton by the end of Friday. Traffic holdups across the harbour bridge made this more unlikely and Nev the Nav became increasingly pessimistic about our chances. The rain became more frequent and heavier. Wyn hadn’t had a drive of Suzi for a long time; it’s more daunting with the car on behind and we hadn’t been going long distances anyway. Without the car was a good opportunity to get back in the driver’s seat and she had a spell from Paeroa across the Hauraki Plains. She copped the heaviest rain; at one stage when a white car went by in a cloud of spray all we could see of it in a gray mist were the dark windows. By this stage there was water running down the paddocks and small streams beside the road – but only one across it. Luckily it eased off about this stage; if it had continued it’d have gotten hazardous. We swapped drivers again before the motorway; it had been good for Wyn to get started again and she’d definitely had the worst of the weather.

It was 5.30pm by the time we made it to Pukekohe. We made for the supermarket for a bit of a stock-up. The vegetable section of the PaknSave did seem better priced than what we’ve become used to, but was still a disappointment given that it was in the heart of the country’s vegetable growing area. We headed to the Cosmopolitan Club and parked down the back of their carpark – as we’re allowed to. We’re no strangers there now, it’s like home away from home. We had time for a quick tea before Coro Street and had an early night. We were keen to get the car first thing and get on the road south; it’s a bit of a drive down to Marton.

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