Tearooms of State Highway 1 – Part 1

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The Longest Leg – Auckland to Pukenui

The end. The end to months of planning, saving, buying and building. All you doubters can get down o? your high-horses. And all you supporters, thanks, why don’t you go grab yourself a horse, a whole herd just opened up. Despite all the nay-sayers, the negativity, the no-you-won’ts and the nuh-uhs, I have done it. I’ve converted a Toyota Hilux Surf, complete with double bed, fridge, gas cooker and secure lock-away expensivities drawer. It took many weeks, most of my money and much of my will power, but I’m glad I did it. I narrowly came in well over budget, always needing something else that would de?ne my trip. But I did manage to save something, and as such have left the comforts of home and made it to the beginning of my journey, the Far North. Speci?cally Pukenui Holiday Park. The inaugural leg was pretty uneventful, in spite of being the longest leg of my two-month journey. This was simply a ‘get from A to B’ kind of trip, a prequel to the main event. As such it featured highlights such as: half an hour in stand-still tra?c thanks to the hard working road workers of Whangarei, the always forgettable Kaitaia, frequently bypassed Kamo and of course sweet old Kawakawa and it’s famous work of art that sums up the entire town. Yes, if there’s one thing the Far North has to o?er, it’s the letter ‘K’. 

One thing of note was a sad, literally life-or-death situation that involved me, a truck and a duck that was fresh out of luck. I was following a truck for a while, I do that sometimes when I’m driving, when suddenly I noticed up ahead something ?ying o? the front of the truck and onto the road behind it. As I got a little closer I noticed it was a duck that had been hit, but not killed. With one wing moving, and a what-just-happened look on its little duck face, it rolled helplessly around on the road. Then, like a truck travelling close to 100kph, it hit me. This duck isn’t going to make it. Should I or shouldn’t I? What if it’s just ?nding it’s footing? No, I saw it get hit, nothing could survive. But how arrogant to think I have the right to smite. Mighty human with my mighty machine. I swerved. Did I hit it? I don’t know, I think I felt a bump. I did the right thing though, it was in pain, it wouldn’t have made it. Don’t judge me. It all happened in a matter of seconds. That duck would have done the same in my position. I stand by that. Rest in peace my ducky friend. 

So as I sit here being bitten by mosquitoes, being in such a rush I forgot to bring insect repellent, I remember that I also forgot to bring my guitar. Kind of the opposite of a Catch-22 situation. The only thing I really need to do outside my car is play guitar, but when I’m outside I get bitten because I don’t have insect repellent. However, since I also don’t have a guitar, then there’s no need for me to be outside. That’s poor logic and deep down I know it. But I’m cut up about not having insect repellent or a guitar, so leave me alone. Damn it, I just realised I also forgot my book, now there’s no reason for me to be inside. I’m doomed. 

It’s nearly bedtime anyway. ‘8:00pm Gareth? Nearly bedtime you uber- grandpa?’. Yes, nearly bedtime. It’s actually 8:30pm now, and I’m getting up at 4:30am in order to drive up to Cape Reinga in time to catch sunrise. I might even catch some spirits jumping o? the point. More likely I’ll catch someone drinking spirits who will then jump me and hold me at knifepoint. I have a New Years resolution, and that’s to survive my journey without being held at knife/gunpoint. I understand it’s still November, but by maintaining the resolution I hope to make it to New Years. I’m sure I will. I have my faithful companion Palin to protect me, who at the moment is very intimidatingly lying on the grass resting his head on his paws and occasionally sni?ng the air. LOOK OUT POTENTIAL ATTACKERS! Palin has your scent. . . 

Now I’m o? to lie down in my co?n-like bed. It’s actually quite cosy, in a claustrophobic’s-worst-nightmare kind of way. I just hope when my alarm wakes me up at the sub-crack of dawn, I don’t sit up so fast I cause myself to very quickly, and not so healthily, go straight back to sleep. 


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