Tag Archives: Sharjah

Heading south for the winter. Pukekohe to Wellington.

Gentlemen! Start your engines.  We have set off. Managed to get the trailer sorted by Wednesday afternoon so Thursday morning get the air up and off we go.


Now like all good adventures you need a plan.  After all how can you tell if it has gone wrong if you don’t have a plan.  Looking on the TomTom at the route I thought we would run as far as Tirau and park up there for the first night and then jump the Desert Road the following day.  I was looking to get to Palmerston North by the weekend, to meet up with Ed Teece.  When we lived in Sharjah the Teece’s were are best mates and Ed and his brother Will, were big mates with my two daughters.  Weekend would see us on the beach or up the Wadis picnicking or BBQs while the kids set fire to anything they could find that would burn. Ed is all grown up now but thought it would be nice to catch up.

Any way Got to Tirau in good time so thought, press on to Tuapo and make that the night stop. Tuapo saw me arrive just after lunch, so what the hell, let press on we can stop at the war museum on the desert road.  Nice flat parking area a few takeaway spots or just cook in the bus. Inshallah. So Friday morning sees me wake up to 8 deg C on the desert road and almost a day ahead of schedule.


Roll in to Palmerston just after lunch. Get parked up.  Idea was to meet Ed on Saturday as I did not want to impact on his weekend.  Using Google maps located an Irish bar with in walking distance Thinking behind this was. A couple of pints and some Jockey’s Whips and then off to bed.  First pint of Kilkenny and post the event on Facebook.


Ed sees this and messages me.  Had I arrived?  he would drop down and have a beer with me.  This of course led to. Come back to the house and we’ll get a takeaway. Then the offer to stay.  This I declined as I had not planned on being there until the following day and had left the bus heater running and all the lights on.  I promised I would stay Saturday night and his partner Jo said she would do a roast dinner.

Saturday was very bright but had been windy through the night and the temperature had dropped.  but we all met up and went for a walk

then back to Eds for beer, wine and a lovely roast dinner. Sunday, Ed and Joe provided bacon butties for breakfast and I returned to the bus.  My plan was to set off towards Wellington but it was 10 o’clock and I needed to stow everything before I could travel so I decided I would leave early doors Monday morning.  Spent the day tidying up and packing most things so I could get an early start.  Looked at ferry timings and prices but decided I would park up close to wellington on Monday and book a ferry for Tuesday or Wednesday.  Nice NZMCA park poped up at Plimmerton which is about half hour from the ferry so that were we headed.  Settled in and set the computer up so I could book the ferry on line and also up date my Tom Tom.  Coming down from Palmy the new express way was not on my maps so I was a bit in the dark to where I actualy was.  The nice lady on Tom Tom ke[t telling me to turn left at the end of the road then turn right but I’m bowling along at 90 on a duel carageway with no exsits.  not used the new computer to up date TomTom befor and of course it could not see my device,  After much messing around and trouble shooting it appears that all the USB ports are USB3 and TomTom only works on USB2.  not sure what I did but eventually we’re connected.  7 updates availabkle 3 hours forty minutes remaining.  Hate it when it says that.  We had a few goes befor we managed a clean download and then it had to up date the device another 40 minutes.  Any way look like we are up to date now.


Going to be cold tonight so light the fire now it too bloody hot  cant win.  bet it goes out around 4 in the morning and ill wake up freezing.

easy drive to the ferry but arrived a bit early.  Got to the check in line and it was closed.  Now it did not say when it would open or if it would open so I went around the block.  Anyway a guy stopped me and said it would be 12 before it opens and I would be okay just to wait outside the terminus and park in the shuttle bus bay.  This I did and went for a coffee.  Get back the bus and another guy says “you cant park there.  Go around the corner and find a spot there you’ll be alright there”. Get parked up and finishing my coffee and the first guy appeared and said that I was okay in the original spot and the other guy was new.  Anyway we have opened the check in just for you so head down there now and the lady will sort you out.  And she did.  First on the wharf and first in lane 5.  While waiting I heard on the wireless that they had closed the desert road behind me, so that was a bit of luck.







First trip away with the cats.  I booked two nights at Miranda Hot Pools about 45mins to an hour away from Pukekohe.  Mel and the boys were to come also but Ben was away at friends, so James brought a friend. We bought a tent from Warehouse for the occasion.  I arrived before Mel but by the time I was on y pitch and plugged in to shore power Mel and the two lads arrived.  We pitched the tent, which was very easy, considering we had not done it before but it went up no problem.  I think with a bit of for thought and team work it would take about 10 to 15 Minutes to be up and functional.

I had put my cats in their travel crates for the journey this was more for their own security, as I needed to stop for diesel.  If they are not caged then they sit by the bus steps when you stop and it is like having two white fluffy Slinkys.  Every time you lift one to the top of the step the other one pours down it.  I now understand the phrase “like herding cats”DSCF1647 DSCF1649 DSCF1650A Big Bedford SB3 arrived for the night

The journey to Miranda was pretty good only big hills were coming over the Bombay’s.  I did run off the road at one point and the back road, which was quiet narrow and the edge of the road, fell away.  The front wheel dropped of on the the grass and then everything followed.  Obviously I got it all back or  would be writing a different tale.  Mental note take it a bit slower on the back roads!

Unlike my last venture to the local park, I could not let the cats out due to camp rules unless they were on a lead.  We tried this in various configurations but found one at a time was about all we could manage.  Leo is quiet used to walk on a lead even if it is not where you want to go but Lea is still a bit skittish and likes to go under the bus.  We did enlist the help of the two lads but their attention span was that of goldfish and the leads were around the chair legs, under the bus, through the hedge etc. so we ended up tying them off to a stake in the ground and shortened the leads so they could not get under anything.  Again, the boys were asked to keep an eye on them but the both managed to escape from their harnesses without the lads noticing.

The evening we locked them in with the lads while they watched a movie, Mel, and I had a soak in the hot pools.  Leo was up for his morning walk at 04:30 but Lea was not keen.

Second day we did chili omelettes in paratha, an old favourite of mine from the teashops of Sharjah.  These seemed to go down well and not too difficult to make and easy to eat as they are wrapped in paper.  Just as well, as the boys can eat for New Zealand.

The day was spent just lazing around by my bus while the boys and Mel went net door to the hot pools, they got a day pass. Danny brought Ben up mid-afternoon so they went back to the pools for a bit and then came back and played French cricket. Again the lads watched a movie at night and Mel and I had a soak in the pools.

Final day and it was pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup requested by James’s friend.  He must have seen the pancake mix in the shop the previous day.  Consequently we could not start breakfast until the shop opened on the campsite.  On reflection, it would have been easier to have taken all the gubbins to the communal kitchen rather than try to cook on the bus.  We got there in the end if a little hot.  By the time we had cleared up and all showered, I washed my bedding; it was time to check out

Ben rode shotgun in the bus and we all arrived back in Pukekohe safe and sound.