Rang Gary the Self-containment engineer this morning. I have been trying to get the bus a certificate since before Christmas. My first appointment with Gary was dead easy but the bus failed. Trying to get it re-examined turned out to be a bit more of a problem as it is onion-harvesting time in Puni so Gary is busy picking onions. Anyway got all set to go away to the Katikati Avocado food and wine festival but Leo the cat went missing. Rang Gary and yes he can do the bus at 13:00 hours so abandon Leo and get up to the inspection yard. Great. Passed, all well and good, even go my sticker. The bus is now certified as Self Contained. Back to Mel’s to pick up Leo and off we go just about on time, around 2 ish. The cats travelled in their cages, as this seems to be a better way to control them. We made a stop at the Wood turner’s café in Mangatarata for a coffee and a butty and of course being a man of a certain age, a comfort break.
Arrived at around 4 ish so not too bad, no big hills to slow me down too much. Did miss the parking as it was the local market at the same spot so no signs for the festival, as yet and all the camper spots taken up by Joe public and stall holders. Anyway managed to squeeze in and claim a spot. I will move once the great unwashed have all gone home and get level.
All done. Backed up under a willow tree and got the cats in the big cage outside. How different from UK. A little girl arrived on a bike and admired the cats. We had a long conversation about how she walks other people’s cats and her dog and her pony. She must have been about 9 years old not a care in the world. You could not let a 9 year old talk to strangers in UK.
Started to rain so brought the cats in. Not before Leo slipped his lead and headed for the big field. Caught him but need to look at how he is getting out??
Decided not to do the salmon for tea as I had pokuras at the market so have made a chilli for tomorrow. I will give that a bit longer and then off to bed. One more Speights me thinks.
Had a walk in to town to use the loo as the festival does not start until 11:30. Katikati is a nice little town, a town of murals. Did see some of them painted on the side of shops depicting times gone by.
The Avo festival was very good. I had scallops bacon and sweet chili sauce on an avocado buttered bun amongst other things. I should have stuck to buying the wine by the glass and not opened the bottle I bought. It was late in the afternoon and I think I had already had enough but there you go. No self-discipline. Anyway, what I do remember was good and the food was excellent, obviously with an emphasis on Avocado. Bit disappointing on the wine front as there was only about 4 or 5 stalls selling wine. Somehow imagined a lot more.
Slow start to Sunday. A little under the weather, not too bad just jaded. Did bacon and egg for breakfast and drank loads of tea. Packed up around mid-day and decided to head for Rangiriri and park up there. Not to far for the final push back to Pukekohe on Monday morning. Down through Tauranga and then across to Hamilton. This unfortunately meant crossing the Kaimai Range. One big hil had me down in second gear doing about 25 kl an hour fortunately it was a four lane road so did not hold anyone up. Got to the top and decided we would stop for a coffee at the café at McLaren falls. What I did not realise was it was about 3 kl from the main road and was like a switchback and very narrow. I got to the falls and there is a single track bridge to cross and no signs of the café. I had to find somewhere to turn round and get back on the original route. With great difficulty I turned around and back over the single track bridge then 1st gear back up the hill to the main highway. Didn’t get my coffee nor see the falls.
Of course now we are going down the other side of the Kaimai range so this was 3rd gear all the way for about 20 minutes. At last, it levelled out on to the Richmond Downs and we found a coffee stop in Te Poi, a bikers pub with a dozen Harley Davison outside and some rough looking chaps in leather. But had the Craic with them. One had been to the Isle of Man for the TT’s. Coffee time over we pressed on soon to be passed by the biker boys in what can only be described as rolling thunder.
Hamilton is a pain in the arse. Loads of roundabouts and all the traffic lights are on hills. My hill start technique has improved no end. I was glad to get out of there though and roll up in to Rangiriri around 3 ish. Nice little parking spot opposite the heritage centre. Un packed and set up for the night to come. Had a coffee and then decided to slip over to the pub for a Guinness and a bowl of chips (French fries not crisps). Snooze was in order and later did the warmed the chili and took the cats for a walk. Decided it would be better not to go to the pub in the evening after yesterday’s overindulgence so had a walk around until it was time for bed. Interesting place and I was parked outside the cemetery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rangiriri
Up at 4:30 to take Leo and then Lea for a walk around then back to bed until 7. Packed up ready to roll and set off around 8. Back on Mel’s path now so shower and shave, do some laundry and get ready for the next trip.