Friday was a nice-enough sort of morning at our carpark in Petone. I met a nice man from Australia who’d spent the last three years seeing the South Island and was about to start on the North one. When you think about it, he’s spent more time than most of us South Islanders seeing the South! We sorted ourselves out and headed back onto the motorway to go south a little before interchanging and heading up the dreaded Hill of Death (aka Ngauranga Gorge). It’s a steep climb for sure. The trick is to know which lane to be in at which stage as low-speed lane changing in a lumbering truck amongst high-speed cars feels a bit like a game of skittles.
Once up the hill we were cruising along the undulating motorway working out what time we’d be in Palmerston North. About then I spotted the Police car behind so I made sure we were in the right speed zone. Then I spotted his flashing lights, about the same time as we were coming up to an exit where there was another Police car with flashing lights. I thought the flashing lights behind were going to join the flashing lights ahead. Soon enough it dawned on me that the lights behind were for me to pull over, which I did just past the exit, not far off the road. I wasn’t getting out on the motorway side – that wasn’t safe. After a while the Police man walked up on the other side and began a discussion about number plate obscured by bike racks (and new bike rack cover). I launched into my long story about bike racks and Oamaru 5 years ago and being stoppe in Nelson the previous week and ordering supplementary number plates and getting the new bike rack cover with a special slot for the new plate when we picked it up later that day and ….
Somewhere I missed the point where he switched from concern about visibility of our number plate to visibility of our brake and indicator lights. He eventually stopped me rabbiting on about number plates to explain that our lovely new bike cover was completely obscuring our rear lights. Darn – we’d never thought about that. Neither had the guys who’d fitted the cover to the bikes on the car. Mind you it wasn’t them who was stopped on the Wellington motorway, it was us.
He was very helpful in suggesting ways we might overcome the problem – short term and long-term. Eventually we took the cover off to make the lights more visible and the number plate no less visible than it’d been for the last three years. And he let us head off although that was interesting as well – pulling out onto the motorway from a standing start. We spent a while after that thinking of ways to solve the problem long-term. Maybe we’re going to need some supplementary light to go with our supplementary number plate. Then all we’ll need is some supplementary vision to overcome the fact that the new bike cover completely obscures rear vision in the car and we’ll be all safe and ship-shape again!
The weather got worse the further north we went and by the time we got to Palmerston North it was raining properly. We went to visit a lovely motorhome couple who make great little folding wooden tables. They might even be able to make one for us which would be great as it just the sort of thing we’ve been looking for for three years. From there Nev the Nav took us through the middle of Palmy which was interesting. Then it was on to Feilding to visit Wyn’s sister. And finally on to Marton to stay with Wyn’s brother. He’s got a great extra concreted driveway long enough to drive our whole 15m-long ensemble straight off the street. Which we did. And then relaxed until Ian came home. Then we relaxed on his new covered deck. What a change some doors and a deck can make to a house. We moved his dining table outside – and maybe it’s still there.