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It’s an Adventure Right!

Day 2. The Adventure Continues

On reflection I am glad to be away from the seemingly never ending moving that I’ve been doing the past few weeks. My life seems to have been taken over by sorting, chucking and moving things from one place to another. I’m glad to be away from all of that. It was beginning to really drag me down and I am not a happy camper, not that camping is my thing at all but if I don’t get my act together and actually do some camping I’m not going to able to afford to travel and be gone for a month, at least that’s my hope.

Because I’m doing the trip the opposite way round to what I thought i.e. ferry first to Prince Rupert and Vancouver last, I have had to put off my visit to the family that was involved in the fatal accident of my brother. (See first part of the trip)

We wake on day two at what we can see now is quite a pleasant camp site. It isn’t crowded so nice and quiet but one night is all we’re having here, so I’m glad I don’t put up the tent yet. We leave after breakfast and a good walk with the dogs; we’re heading for Hope, and then Kelowna which is in the Okanagan. This is fruit growing country. We reach Hope around mid-morning and I hope (no pun intended) to find a good coffee shop. The Sheppard’s are not much for going out for coffee but I am and so I take them and we find a pretty decent one. The sun is shining and we drink outside. We wander around a bit but I’m growing a tad anxious to be on my way as I’m unsure how long this next hop is going to take. I’m hopeful not to be driving quite that distance again. I’d like to take things a lot more steady. But we do decide to go and see the Othello tunnels which were part of the railway line when they first went through. There are a number of them and we walk through them all. The Sheppard’s have seen them before but I haven’t. They are a tourist attraction and are really interesting and the scenery quite lovely and overlook a large river. They were built in 1914 for the Canadian Pacific Railway.  I am sensing we need to get on the road, but don’t want to be pushy. We finally get away after a quick lunch much to my relief.  We then got onto the Coquihalla highway towards Kelowna. I had not realised we were going on this particular highway as I have heard that it can be a bit of a nightmare with big trucks and especially in winter, very bad. Signs are everywhere to carry chains from October 1st on, with big fines if you don’t. And so we are on the road again with me tagging Brian who again gives me all the signs and signals of where to go what to do. And for me the white knuckle driving begins. The juggernauts are thundering past me, sometimes I’m sandwiched between two of them. God please help. Stay focussed, keep your eyes ahead, don’t panic, I am telling myself. We drive for miles and miles. Once again I am working hard at staying focussed at not needing the bathroom which of course I do, plus needing to stretch my legs again. We’ve been driving for at least 2 hours by now and I’ve had enough. But then I notice that Brian is slowing down and driving only around 40 klm’s an hour instead of the posted 100, what on earth is going on. This time I decide to pass him and point to the side as in, pull over. I have to stop. This is a good thing but takes courage. It’s a good thing because there is an issue with Brian’s truck. Again! We all need a bathroom break anyway so we find somewhere to go out of sight of traffic. Brian believes he knows what the problem is but can’t do much to fix it until he can get a part, something to do with fuel system. He jiggles with it and it clears somewhat enough to get us on the road again. Joyce is more upset than I am. It’s Ok it’s not my car and things happen. How’s my attitude going to be…J They are heading to Kelowna to pick up a parcel that has been left there by a friend? But this won’t be until tomorrow now. With all the stops and starts today, plus finding the part for Brian’s’ truck, we are very late once again finding a camp site. This time it’s not dark but is past 7 0 clock. The trip is not going according to how I would like, but its early days. I cannot believe the miles we are clocking. Thankfully the Sheppard’s know where the camp sites are and although it’s very busy we find a site that someone had booked but hasn’t shown up. For this I am very thankful indeed. I decide I’m not going to pitch my tent for one night. I’m very tired and once again sleep in the car. Are we having fun yet!!!

It’s an Adventure Right!

Unsure what re-blogging is?

Standing on the Rock

24 towns in 21 days, Northern Canada, BC, including Jasper AB and back…come with me on this challenging, awesome, dastardly trip…

As of right now I don’t have a home. Well I do but the cottage I’m semi moved into is undergoing renovations and I have to wait for the seemingly never ending process… Plus it is going to be done while I am away. I like this idea…

I know I need to get away, and have been longing for a road trip for years, but living alone and no one to share my vision it is never going to happen, unless, unless…I go alone. But first I have to circumnavigate Vancouver and living and driving only on a small island for the past 20 plus years this is extremely daunting…’never,’ I said would I drive in or through Vancouver…ha, of course I said it didn’t I, that never…

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It’s an Adventure Right!

24 towns in 21 days, Northern Canada, BC, including Jasper AB and back…come with me on this challenging, awesome, dastardly trip…

As of right now I don’t have a home. Well I do but the cottage I’m semi moved into is undergoing renovations and I have to wait for the seemingly never ending process… Plus it is going to be done while I am away. I like this idea…

I know I need to get away, and have been longing for a road trip for years, but living alone and no one to share my vision it is never going to happen, unless, unless…I go alone. But first I have to circumnavigate Vancouver and living and driving only on a small island for the past 20 plus years this is extremely daunting…’never,’ I said would I drive in or through Vancouver…ha, of course I said it didn’t I, that never word…all I know is that I want to visit Jasper and Prince Rupert so I figure if I take the Prince Rupert ferry from Port Hardy I can put off the dreaded Vancouver part until near the end, and when I hopefully gain more confidence with driving places I know not. (It is basically a circular trip) Jasper Alberta is on the list because a trip I had booked the previous spring on the train had been stopped due to Covid. There is another thing I want to do and this involves my brother who was killed in a vehicle accident in Port Alice in 1967. I have the name of the family who were involved at that time and I can possibly call on them on the way back, they also live on an island about 50klm from me if, that is they are up for it. The guy who was driving the fatal car along with family members apparently live there. They do not know me or anything about me so one day I trepidly pick up the phone, find the last name in the phone section on the internet and call. After the third and I had decided, last call, someone picked up…how on earth do I say what I want  to say, I did it quickly and so had not thought anything through. Will they think I’m after something or be revengeful or what…so I begin… ’hello this is kind of a strange phone call…’ stupid stupid beginning. At that point I thought he would put the phone down…but ‘go on’ he says. Then I tell him who I am and what I’m calling about. He laughs, yes laughs, which is a bit surprising, but then I know someone else who laughs at things when they are nervous so I let it go. I learn some interesting things. Laurie the guy who was driving died aged 67 from cancer about 10 years ago. There were several brothers. Their father was the school principle in Port Alice. He too died at 67.  This is getting kind of weird as this 67 number keeps coming up…I feel disappointed that Laurie had died as I was hoping to meet him. Derek and I looked so much alike as kids growing up that folk assumed we were twins, of course he was 3 years older than me and naturally bigger but it was obvious to everyone that we were unmistakably siblings. In my mind I imagined walking in on Laurie unsuspecting, and he all agog because he would recognise me even though we had never met.  (obviously I am much older now, yet folk still tell me I haven’t changed a bit)…well the wrinkles of course, but those big Bryant eyes, can’t get away from them…  Anyway back to the story, I find out that the father owned property in another province which was sold and then a large piece of land purchased on this Island. So the brothers and sister all moved in and built on the same property. And yes they would be happy to meet me and have coffee on my way through during the trip. We say goodbye with the prospect of me calling once I knew my dates.

After a while, September was drawing ever closer and following long periods of procrastination I knew if I didn’t get my act together I wouldn’t be making this daunting trip at all. Winter is just around the corner and I will be traveling further north. My nephew gave me one of his maps so I can plan my journey but I don’t want to have everything buttoned down to the enth degree.  I want to feel free to change plans as I go along. So I make a preliminary and very loose plan. I decide to speak with my friends the Sheppard’s as they have traveled and camped excessively and know the road. As I share my plans with them and invite their advice they say that they too are traveling at the beginning of September and heading to and through Vancouver and I can tag with them as they help me through the traffic in the city. This seems like a Godsend so I immediately agree. They also give me tips on how to avoid the traffic by waiting at Horseshoe Bay to let the ferry traffic clear before we continue. This too seems like a good thing. So it is agreed then that we go together in less than a week and will part ways after a few days of travel. They are also avid campers and so can show me the ropes. I am not a camper but I have a decent tent which a friend co-ersed me into buying from her as she wanted a different one!!! I can’t possibly waste the cost of that…J Knowing I want to be gone for a month ish I quickly sort out my business affairs and begin to throw camping gear etc. together. I find an old and pretty thin foamy but it will have to do as there isn’t time to go out and purchase a different one. I sit up late one night, unable to sleep and so write out a pretty comprehensive list putting down everything I can think of that I require for the trip. For the following 3 days I stay focused as I gather it all together crossing off each thing as I pack it. I thoroughly clean out my car and try various sleeping angles should I need to sleep in it. I call the mechanic and have him check it out and give it a good service hopefully it won’t need anything too drastic done as it is the night before I leave. It is an old Honda Accord 1993, pretty old but seemingly reliable. I have been looking for a vehicle that would serve me better for sleeping in but it is just too late and there isn’t time to get one, besides which, I know my car pretty well and want to see if the old girl can do it. I’ve been told a number of times that ‘those old Honda’s are well made and pretty reliable.’ I aim to prove that.

The day of the trip comes up fast and we head out to Nanaimo together. I begin to get used to following Brian and his method of driving. I learn quickly and he gives me good signals and signs before he changes lanes or turns a corner. He also pulls out and give me time to pull out and in behind him waiting for traffic. He is a great leader in this respect. If they get too far ahead or too much traffic comes between us he pulls over and waits for me. All I have to do is follow his lights and signals. Unfortunately it would seem that ‘everyone’ had decided to go through Vancouver on this day. Midafternoon and traffic is unbelievably heavy. Before we even reach the Lions Gate Bridge, we are stopping. My car is manual and so it goes, first gear second gear stop, first gear, stop. This process repeats itself on and on for an hour or more. I’m tiring. Then I notice Brian’s vehicle swerving to one side. I wonder what is going on. It happened a few more times and then he pulls over onto the hard shoulder. Being mechanically minded, he figures out the problem pretty quickly. We need to get to a parts place before they shut and it is getting on for 4. O clock by now. Thankfully a tow truck is parked just ahead of us, the driver directs us to a Canadian Tire. While Brian is in C. Tire I have a sense that I’m going to need food before we get bogged down somewhere. I quickly see a Freshii, run in and grab a nice salad. Joyce waits with their truck and dogs while I take Brian ‘shopping.’ Nothing at C Tire but just down the road is another parts place which was thankfully still open. Yes they do have the part he needs, but then we have to find our way back. This is easier said than done because we have to circumnavigate quite a bit to get back to where the truck is parked just half a mile up the road…alone I would have found it very difficult. I just drive where I am told and it works well. Brian quickly whips off the wheel and puts on the brake thingo, Ok now I know it is a brake caliper. Then we are quickly on our way again. We have lost about an hour and half, thinking that the traffic would surely have cleared by now, unfortunately not. The Sheppard’s are heading for a camp site they have been to before, near Harrison Lake. Heading up to and past Abbotsford, again we encounter the same stop go traffic which goes on and on for at least another hour or more, when we should be clear and on our way. It is quite the night mare. We seem to be driving forever and my legs are cramping. I begin to do some counting in my head and then singing, then praying…something like ‘Lord you know I’m really really tired and need a break please let the traffic clear and get us to a camp site before dark’ and let my cramps be OK. Not that I feel like singing but it keeps me awake. It helps to stop both the boredom and sleepiness that threaten to take over. My car radio and cassette player have long since packed up but the distraction would be nice. I’m realising I need to get it fixed, but too late now.  By the time we reach the camp site at 8.00pm it is almost dark. No way am I going to try and pitch a tent now. I figured, if we ever get there I am going to sleep in the car for sure. I do. I am glad I tried it out before we left. It really wasn’t that bad. I could have slept virtually anywhere by then. Day one done and dusted tomorrow will be better and no break downs… Right? Wrong!

A funny happened today on the way to manicure…

Well at the manicure parlour…

Aside

Part 12/Final J

 

Well that just did not happen—(getting my booked flight back to Auckland and having a whole day to kill at the airport.) What ensued next is every traveler’s nightmare but to begin at the beginning…

I was in good time for my flight and so settled down with a coffee to wait and chill out. After a time I noticed people getting up and moving around. I spoke with a girl next to me and she said – I think your flight has been cancelled…WHAT!!! No that couldn’t be, I checked the board and yes it was. I simply could not take this in. Sure there was some mist and it was drissling but flights were coming and going- just not Jest star. ‘My’ airline. I saw lots of people on their devices once again either phoning or contacting airlines…I began to panic and rushed to the check in place where there was a lineup of people trying to get on the next flight…I had been sleeping… oh no I am not going to make my flight back am I? I’m trying not to think it’s happening all over again the same as when I was leaving Vancouver only that time it was partly my fault…I rush to the front of the line and tearfully ask the people if I can push in as I have to make my flight out to Canada tonight and desperately need to be on this flight. It leaves at 3.15 and if I can get on it I have chance of making my international flight home. They graciously allow me to go next and no-one is nasty thank goodness. ‘God what is going on? What are you trying to teach me in all this?…not to panic?…oh well…not much joy there’! As I tearfully explain to the woman behind the desk concerning my predicament another airline lady is saying to her ‘remember you have to save me 30 seats to which she is nodding- I’m thinking THIRTY SEATS! That’s an awful lot and will I get one…well she did get me booked on and I profusely thanked the kind guys who let me in. At least I’m booked on the next flight out but would it be time enough to get my international flight – If it leaves on time I think I should be ok.

As I leave to go back to my seat and wait it out I notice the New Zealand airline line up as well with people trying to book on their next flight out. I hang around the line to see what I can find out thinking that if they have lots of seating I might just book with them and hang it all pay through the nose to get home tonight. But as I’m waiting an official comes up and say’ s look you people it’s no use hanging around as this flight is just about fully booked..what I was learning was what most Kiwi’s know that the New Zealand Airlines are able to come and go whatever the weather because their equipment is more sophisticated, whereas Jest Star does not have that equipment, and is much less reliable. Great!

Oh well I find my way to a computer $4 for 30 mins. I must get on fb and let folk know to pray for me that my flight will make it out and that I will get my international flight home…

The system is lousy and I am getting very frustrated as its taking forever to load up and get me on-line. I go to the desk and complain that I didn’t even get half of the time I was supposed to. She gives me another round thankfully. None of this is helping to keep me calm.

I go back to sit and look out of window at the runway and watch the mist settle in with no sign of it lifting. Its mountainous territory and could be dangerous..

After a while I go to the small food section and grab a hot pie and some salad to eat. There is no way I’m going to spend my N.Z. dollars at a big airport now! The latte’ is good though.

I sit and pray and try to stay in peace. Eventually I go back to the New Zealand Airline check in and ask the nice man there if by any chance I had booked a flight today with them out of Queenstown today when I was in Christchurch and nothing had come into my mail box? He looked me up and said no but you did book a flight out of Christchurch to Auckland today…..Well what could I say at least I knew now what had happened. I asked if there was anything they could do for me. All he said was that they had me on file and would give me a discount if I wanted to use it but it would have to be within a year… Oh well this is life I guess. I was working to a budget and made it work – it would have been nice if I hadn’t overspent on that, but it s not the end of the world. Just means I have to go back within a year to use it up…

I went back to my window seat and noticed my 3.15 flight was being delayed…This was a bit much to handle…I stared out of the window and prayed. As I looked up, I noticed a bird hovering in the air over the mist and wind. Then I noticed two more. ‘Ok Lord what does that mean?…I feel a small stirring inside of me. Dare I hope that I will make my flight?

I make my way back to the computer and spend another $4. I Tag my fb book friends and request more prayer for peace and that I will get a flight out today and make my international flight home. I need peace as much as anything. I check the flight board. My flight is still delayed. At this rate I may not make it. Am trying to think of the worst possible scenario. (Like the counseling course I took) What is the worst thing that could happen? What would that mean?

Eventually we get called to the flight desk.. It is now past 4. We are all lining up to get on. I know it’s going to be touch and go for me. Then the woman at the flight desk gets on the blower to the Captain. ‘Where would he like the cello put? It had been allotted this seat but believe it should be ‘that’ seat. This is taking a lot of time. After about 10 minutes I am screaming ‘put the bloody cello anywhere you like just get me on this plane’….in my head. Not out loud…This is madness, here we are, and extremely late for this flight to be leaving and she is fiddling about worrying about where a stupid cello should be put. Well finally after a looong time we are allowed to board the plane I am looking or trying not to look at the time. 4.45 when we finally take off. As we are taxiing along the runway the sun comes out. I burst into tears. The steward looks at me sympathetically and comes up to chat. People are staring but I am past caring. We will see if we can contact your flight but being a different airline it’s difficult to communicate but I will speak with the captain. I nod and thank him. I am sitting right near the front and close to the door. I am on the end of the row. Two young women are sitting in the other two seats and the plane is to capacity. I realise I don’t want to take my neck cushion back with me and offer it to the girl next to me. She is amazed and thrilled do I really not want it? No really you have it. (I had noticed that my $3 neck cushion from the dollar store here cost $16 in N.Z. for the same thing.

We are finally coming in to land. The steward says he will have me out of the door first with his assistant showing me the way. He is kind. I have my pack on and am ready to run for it. I have 20 minutes to get my flight – this is mad. I need a miracle. No-one gets an international flight with 20 minutes to spare. At Vancouver the Air Canada people were nasty to me and I had almost an hour to spare, they berated me all the way to my flight desk.

Well they opened the door and I ran – follow the green line around the car park and into the international flight area. I am thankful I packed light. I run and follow the green line. I am puffing and blowing it’s a long time since I ran like this. People are staring at me my eyes must be bulging. I finally make it to a N.Z air desk and quickly tell my story. A nice man at a window checks on my flight. He calls an assistant and she helps me to check in through the computer. (I could not do this if you paid me right now)… He says ‘they will keep the flight open for me’.. I’m not sure I believe him. The assistant takes me up stairs and down escalators we walk very fast I can hear them calling my name I walk faster if that’s possible. She says to me-‘it ok they are keeping the flight open for you don’t worry.’ I’m not sure I believe her… We finally get to the check in and they rush me onto the plane. I get on – the flight attendant kindly say’s you have free seats next to you, so get settled as we want to take off. I quickly ask if I can use the loo. ‘If you’re quick.’ I am. I then settle into a three seats just for me. This is luxury and I’ve made my flight. I still can’t quite take it in. He also informed me that my seat is equipped with a seat belt that allows me to lie down and strap in without being disturbed if there is turbulence. I sit down and we take off. It’s that quick. I am amazed and can’t quite take this in just yet. I’m going home. The flight is wonderful and only half full plane. Everyone is kind and helpful and the food is great and we don’t have to pay for any of it not drinks or anything. This is the best airline I’ve ever travelled with and would def. recommend it. What a totally different attitude from Air Canada.

All my connections work well and I am so very thankful. I did get my miracle after allJ The End.

Aside

ImageHostelling/Backpacking/Part 11.

 

Marie from Scotland said it was her anniversary o f a year being in N.Z. She really wanted to go out and celebrate so we went to a very noisy pub- who say’s I can’t party!!  I was pretty tired after the trip but felt as I’d been asked didn’t want to let the girl down, so off we go. German lad came along as well. They felt like my kids for a night. We yelled at each other for most of the night, but it was nice to out socializing for a change.  We eventually walked back to the hostel together yakking most of the way. I learnt that Tom is working his passage doing whatever but he didn’t seem terribly keen to move on or find work. I got the impression that his mother was shelling out to keep him there. He was a nice kid though and we had some good talks about Germany and the war and such deep things! Apparently they get taught all about the war and the atrocities’ that were done, the camps and so on. I asked him how he felt about this. He said it was ok but that he felt that it was all a bit much and doesn’t know why they have to learn all that when there is a lot more to history than that.

In the morning I’m not sure what to do the weather is iffy – some sun some drissle- can’t quite seem to make up its mind. I found a nice coffee shop and had my lovely latte’ overlooking the Harbour.  This is my last full day in Queenstown. It’s not a big town but is very pretty. I find a ‘Million Dollar Cruise. On a very nice boat for later on at 10.30 for $25 wow can’t beat that me thinks. So while I’m waiting, decided to walk around the town a bit. I forgot it was Sunday and happened upon a small church. What time was their service? – 10.30 – darn- what about later any prayer meetings? no- but they did let me go in and peep around and gave me some information on the church. I am thinking I will probably ditch it later as obviously don’t want to carry stuff around. I find a place where you can hire kayaks and bicycles and think I will do that later on after the boat trip.

The boat trip was great on Wakatipu Lake. Again a running commentary from the ‘captain’ I met and hung out with ‘Mark’ from Wales. He seemed nice and chatty – quite young and was keen to go out in the evening – as it was my final night in N.Z. I decided to go. I would ask my roommates to accompany us. Mark seemed keen to do this.

After the boat trip I hired a bicycle and did the town. I found the supermarket- it was quite a way off so glad I had a bike. I purchased some food for supper. I cycled around the harbour trail declined the kayak as it was drissling again.

Got back to the hostel showered, packed my stuff carefully and got dressed ready for my final night. I wore the nice outfit that Suzanne had given me for my birthday.

For some reason Marie didn’t seem keen to go out (although she seemed keen earlier on)and was a bit ‘off’ – oh well I could have pointed out, but didn’t, that I had made the effort to go out with her for her anniversary but on my last night…oh well it would just be me and Mark I guessed. I figured he would be disappointed as it was going to be only me and he is quite young- early 40’s I would say. I figured it might be a good match meeting Marie whose boyfriend had got fed up with their prolonged year plus stay and had decided to go back home to England thinking she would follow but she had made a plan and decided to stick to it. So end of relationship.

Mark was gracious and found me a seat and we chatted for about an hour when the others did finally show up. We found a table for the four of us and we found out that Mark’s wife had MS. She ‘let’s’ him go away from time to time. I was a bit taken aback as I had no idea he was married. He had not let on before this. Not that I was interested for myself I have to addJ

Around 9.30 I decided to go back and get an early night as I would have a big travelling day tomorrow. I made my farewells and walked back to the Hostel.

They got back around 2.30 am and slept in.

In the morning around 8.00am I showered and got ready to leave. Tom was awake and as usual was on his device. We whispered our goodbyes but Marie was out of it. I’m catching my bus to the airport at 9.30 and so there is time for a nice latte’ in town first.

Goodbye Queenstown I’m heading back for Canada now. I will be in Auckland airport for most of the day as my flight out doesn’t leave until 6.50. Still that will give me chance to spend my last few dollars and chill out before my long flight back.

 

Aside

Backpacking /Hostelling pt/10

 

Friday morning we walked the dog and left around 10.30 for the Wildlife Park. We walk the park backwards as I ‘know’ the Kiwi’s are going to be last- they were, and I wanted to make sure I saw them- this was fine. They were in an enclosure which was dark- they are night birds so they had to ensure the birds think it is night time. Only problem was the nice man who took the flash off my camera forgot to show me how to do it and so with no flash everything turned out black. Still I was able to see them and see their large beaks’ digging into the mud to extract goodness only knows what. They are an endangered species now and I have no idea if there are any left in the wild but anyone can check this out on Google since Mr. Google knows everything. I was thrilled to be able to see them at any rate.  We stayed in the park for a few hours and had lunch and saw wallabies (or were they Kangaroo’s) with Joey’s hanging out of pockets – but far away and so pictures didn’t show the babies.  After the previous day’s shenanigans I was determined to enjoy my time at the park. And I did.

After the park we travelled around to a friend of Kath’s for a visit on the outskirts of Christchurch.– all the way there were signs of damage to the houses roads and Cliffside’s with many houses hanging over the edges of cliffs.  It was quite something to see. The friend’s house was ok but across the road most of her neighbours houses were unlivable.

Back at Kath’s after supper/ except they call it tea just like the British – (in many ways it was like being back in Britain as many of the terms were British,) We then went to visit Kath’s cousin Diane who lived on a small holding which she managed by herself and went out to work..I do not know how she does it all. Anyway after a cup of tea we walked out in the dark and climbed fences to feed the sheep. That was fun, especially as I was wearing my ‘nice’ shoes and not the walkers I wore most of the time. It wasn’t raining or too mucky and so we managed ok.  I am always introduced as the author from Canada- this is nice and makes me feel a tad special- however the Lord just knows how to bring me right back downJ

When we got back to Kath’s I finished packing my stuff and went to bed fairly early. Kath is more of a late night person.

 

Goodbye Christchurch what I saw of you…

 

In the morning I got my bus early at 8.00am and am excited to be on the final stage of my trip, just two nights to go and I’m set – no more figuring out where to stay or how to get from A to B.

 It’s a very nice bus with not too many travelers and its going to take all day – I’m ready for a rest.

When I began this trip I had no idea if I would manage to work my rough thought out plan which was to do exactly what I had done and I was glad that I had. At any stage I could have given up and just stayed where I was but then would have defeated the object to see as much of N.Z. as possible in the two weeks I had. It seemed that at each stage there was something pushing me on keeping me going. But I have to say I had my eyes opened as to how stressful traveling can be and having to make all those  connections. It seemed like everyman and his dog had devices they could connect on to and book the next stage of their trip where as I had to rely on libraries and hostels and pay through the nose to use computers. This was all very time consuming. I made mental notes to get more technologically savvy.-So far I haven’t!

 

The bus driver had a running commentary most of the day but you could tune out. Most of it was interesting though. We learned all about the milking cows of which there are millions to be exact…there are 6.4 million milking cows, I wondered if they had miscounted and maybe there were really 6.5 and a half million now!  We passed the 44th parallel hmmm interesting as I live by the 50th parallel in Canada.

We went through the McKenzie Basin – it was all quite beautiful. It was called the McKenzie Basin because of James McKenzie who was a sheep stealer who along with his dog stole hundreds of sheep in his lifetime. He was quite a character, a legendary figure and much has been written about him. He was eventually caught and his dog shot because they thought the dog had a demon or some such thing – poor dog-he was just doing his job.  Well McKenzie had a huge land mass named after him at any rate.- this all took place in the 1850’s.

We went through Dobson Mountain pass, Burkas pass and the Southern Alps- all very beautiful – this trip was one of the best I did scenery wise.

We stopped at the fruit bowl of N.Z. and purchased some fruit of course. Past the gold mining area hmm would’ve liked to stop off there and do a bit of mining…

My silent comments were ‘Lord this just beautiful.’ Lord must have got fed up with my singular comment!

We bypassed Arrow town another special gold mining town made a mental note – next time if there is one I would like to visit that town. There was the Shot over River where Gold was first discovered.

Finally after an impressive trip –( would def recommend this one) we reached Queenstown my final leg of the journey whoohoo. I was told that my backpacking hostel was quite a hike out of town. This was fine by me as I wanted to walk and stretch my legs. It was a good hostel not a partying hostel ( I had been informed that Queenstown was a party town – like Wellington) – oh no…’My’ hostel was just out of the town so not as popular which suited me just fine. I was in a 4 bed mix with one guy Tom from Germany and Marie form Scotland. Both are very young and working their passage and staying at this hostel for a break.

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Part 9!

Backpacking/Hostelling/Part 9

 

Did I say looking forward to seeing Christchurch…it did not turn out to be a good experience? Delays trying to book flights, busses and hostel for my last two nights..But here are the encounters…

 

First because we had to pick up Zackie (Kath’s dog) and then was chatting and sightseeing, I was dropped off later than expected. The drive into Christchurch was dotted with explanations of the churches that are now just shells, the roads that are wonky and lurching and the boarded up houses that people no longer live in. It was quite a sight. When I am in town I make my way first to a bank and change the last Canadian dollars I have- I am pleasantly surprised, the lady serving me is really nice and the exchange rate seems a lot better than the one in Canada. I had decided before I left that I would budget and that I would use the visa to buy trips and hostels and the cash (which I placed in a few spots)  to purchase food and anything else I might need. So far I was doing quite well in this.

 

 As the town is wrecked due to the earthquake- (most of the shops and banks are pulled in large boxes – like box cars from trains to keep the place going,) It’s not so easy to find places. My main interest is to see the town and take pictures. There were certainly large cranes and bulldozers everywhere. I go secondly to the library and after a fruitless search to book a flight (you get only half an hour and your time is up. Not only that each time you try to reconnect the prices are escalating) I decide to have something to eat and try later but not too much later hopefully. After what seemed like an age I find the information centre and book my bus for Saturday to Queenstown, plus a hostel for my final two nights.  The lady seems to know what she is doing and is helpful. I am beginning to feel stressed as by now it is way past lunch time and I’ve yet to book my flight. This is crucial and the library is a long walk back. Buses are not an option. I find another couple who are lost and also trying to find their way about.. Everywhere is a long way from everywhere else and walking just takes a lot of time. I am snapping pictures as I travel speedily along. Kath is going to cook supper and  seeing that my time for sightseeing is disappearing fast. Trying not to panic I get to the library once again and get on-line. As my time is running out I believe I have booked my flight but it is not coming into my in box via web mail. Now I am panicking. Finally I log out and go to talk to the librarian where I burst into tears and sobbing she talks me into her office. I explain that I’m pretty sure I’ve booked my flight but can find no reference to it. Can I call my visa number and see what has happened. No joy here.  I decided to go back to the bank and the nice lady where I burst into tears once again. She recognises me and takes me into her office…( people are so nice)Can’t get hold of visa but she gets on line and finds a flight ( for a bit more money ) something like$175) for my flight back on Monday morning to Auckland, with Jetstar.  I just said book it. I have to leave and get my flight home on the Monday evening so booking an early flight seems like the best thing to do. I don’t want to be scrambling like I was when I arrived…By now it’s getting late and I have to find my bus to go back to Kath’s – I’m not quite sure where it all is and don’t want to be late home for dinner. However I see that I do have time if I hurry a bit to scurry around for a quick visit to the Cathedral –or what’s left of it- and snap a few pictures. I notice some bike trips around town – no time and really expensive so no go. I find a great little souvenir shop and quickly buy a toque for my self- (this proved to be a good thing as the weather was chilling somewhat.)And a nice pack of N.Z. cards with pictures on.

I then head for the bus stop and find a bus going to where I want to go and head back to Kath’s feeling quite disappointed that here I am in this amazing town with no time to visit it properly. (Tomorrow we are going to a Wildlife park to see a real live Kiwi and on Saturday I’m heading further South to my final destination of Queenstown.)

Back at Kath’s she asks me how it went and I promptly burst into tears again. It is then I notice that the pearl on my silver ring is missing. Oh great, what a nice way to top off the day. It was my own fault when in Rotorua I just ha to put my hands in the ld bath place–it was on a beach. My rings I noticed were turning black and now I’d lost my pearl…I just can’t keep my fingers out of things that I should…Just like those corroded pipes at the bath house…Kath had cooked a nice supper of beef casserole, lots of nice veggies and found a polishing cloth for my rings which worked nicely. I shower and get ready for bed first. I am dead tired and just want to go to bed. But we eat and chat some more. I refuse to think about the possibility I double booked a flight to Auckland.

Tomorrow I see my first real live KiwiJ.

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Aside

Backpacking /Hostelling/Part 8

 

So I woke fairly early and made my porridge in the nice kitchen (the best one I’ve encountered so far.)

A new lady was in there sitting down at her breakfast too. As we get chatting it becomes obvious that she is a Christian. She did however have a few problems and so we chatted for a while. Eventually we moved to the sitting area and had a time of prayer together; we then both left the hostel to go our separate ways. As the train wasn’t leaving until mid day I walked around the small town area once more. Noticing some lemons growing on a tree I snuck one –OK I stole one. If you’ve never eaten a lemon off a tree you don’t know what you’re missing. You can eat them straight like an orange- they don’t taste as sweet as an orange but still good and as the food I’d been eating wasn’t exactly fresh, green and healthy.  I felt the lemon made up a tad for that not so good diet. I finally got to the station only to be told the train was going to be an hour late. I think it had something to do with the Inter-Islander ferry – due to bad weather it was going to be an hour late and so the train had to wait for the connection. I got my ticket and made my way across the road to the info centre to check it out. I found a very cute kiwi in a rolled up zipper baggie which when squeezed made a Kiwi sound. I bought it for Jasmine of course. I wasn’t into buying much because of carrying it but this was just too cute, besides I had yet to see a real live Kiwi and I imagined this would give me a boost in that direction. Finally, finally the train rolled up. As we all had set seats there was no point in a mad scramble to get on. Still good to get on and sit for a bit. And then we were off. The train trip was another one of those ‘must do’s’ if ya travel N.Z.

Blenheim was the second stop where I saw Kath and Tracy and the grandson looking to see if I‘d got on. So we met up once again and sat together and chatted once more about anything and everything. There was also a commentary going on if you decided to listen, concerning where we were and what was what. We listened to some but mostly just talked. It was a pretty journey and was better when the man in the seat opposite managed to turn the flash off on my camera as I was trying to take pics out of the window. Much of the scenery on the trip was like Canada with mountains and tall cedar trees. Weather was getting colder the further South we went. Kath and I had our dinner on the train and sat in the dining car for a lot of the trip. It was comfortable and the young waiter was full of knowledge and interest concerning the various places we were travelling through plus he was good lookingJ He informed us it was going to be minus 1 that night. He pointed out some snow on the low mountains and said that they had never seen snow that low down before…we passed some salt lakes as well where they extract the salt for markets.-interesting, I took some pics.

We also had to stop for a short while and wait as there was some spillage around the tracks, of gravel from the sides of the hills

We finally reached Christchurch and Kath had a lift already arranged for her and so, me too.  We arrived at her house around 7.30. I was bushed, but she wanted to go for a walk. I figured I could manage it if she could, so we walked about a half klm around a lake. – Very pretty and close to her housing estate. 

She showed me my room –nice- I was able to shower and crash. Tomorrow we would pick up the dog and I would be dropped off in Christchurch where I will see the town and devastation from the earthquake, make reservations for the bus to Queenstown (final destination) and flight back to Auckland from Queenstown. I’m on countdown now. Looking forward to visiting Christchurch.