@ The Wavehaven, for the last time
I'm bummed out about leaving the Wavehaven tomorrow, but it's stormy and rainy and windy today and tomorrow, and it's not helping! But I checked the forecast, and it should be sunny again by the time we get north of Auckland. So, this is it- we are entering what is probably Phase 4 of our trip. Phase 1 was Opotiki, Phase 2 was the meandering around Rotorua, Taupo, Tongariro and up to the Coromandel, and Phase 3 was here in Taranaki, if you'd like to frame it that way. Now we're headed off on some new adventures, and it's exciting even if we're leaving behind an awesome place and fantastic people.
Although the weather has been a bit gross for our last few days here, Matt got in a final surf at Ahu Ahu on Friday, with the waves to himself and his sunhat strapped firmly onto his head :) I thought he looked pretty intrepid:
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
How I often spend my days, if I don't feel like surfing.
We've spent the last couple of days preparing to live in the van again. Yesterday I completely emptied Lucy while Matt did some small surfboard repairs, then cleaned the dashboard and the insides of all the windows, and then Matt vacuumed every surface. And he attached the surfboard fin I posted photos of awhile back- Lucy now looks even more like the dinosaur she is. I'll get a photo of it when the weather isn't so rubbish. We also realized we needed to get the oil changed, and it just so happens that Al, co-owner of the Wavehaven, is also a mechanic, and changed Lucy's oil for us this morning, free of labor charge. Between that and airing up her tires, we should get slightly better gas mileage for this next phase of driving.
We have successfully eaten our way through the remainder of our frozen food, and I have our final load of laundry in the dryer right now. We got one load dried on the line yesterday, but unfortunately the weather intervened this morning. We've stocked up on a few things so far- I scored a deal by getting 3 bars of soap for $1.08 the other day, and a guest here left behind a couple full bottles of conditioner, which are now in my possession. We have a decent amount of staples like rice and pasta already in our cupboard, and we'll buy everything else we need for the next week or so on our way out through New Plymouth tomorrow. I have gotten all my mending projects done, and besides coalescing everything into bins and baskets and getting it all tetrised back into the van, we are ready to go.
Matt has owned these Carhart pants for about 8 years, and is bound and determined to make them last another several. He recently busted a hole in the bum of them, so this was my solution. The patch was cut from a cotton button-down of mine that was a little too small anyway. I cut a large patch and folded it over several times so hopefully it won't wear through for some time. The rest of the shirt was cut into large pieces and folded into the sewing kit in case we need more patches along the way.
My straw sunhat, which I adore, has taken a beating since I've worn it almost every day since late September (and it got an Oregon summer's wear before that). The brim was becoming detached from the crown in a couple places, and I adore this hat and want to make it last the whole trip. I'm pretty sure it will be thoroughly dead by the time we go home, so it will likely find its final resting place in New Zealand, but for now I'm going to mend it until it is in tatters!
I had bound this whole side together with dental floss (hey, it's stronger than sewing thread) before Matt pointed out that he had brought along some waxed sail thread. So my repairs to the other side of the hat are much less obvious:
I'd like to give you all an idea of our trajectory for the next few weeks, but honestly we're playing most of it by ear, planning to camp where we find suitable places, hang out in spots we like for undetermined amounts of time, and generally meander around a lot. We do plan to make a bit of a loop, heading up the west coast once we're north of Auckland, and eventually coming back down the east coast through the Bay of Islands and Whangarei. Some places we know we'll hit are the Waipoua Forest on the west coast of the northern peninsula (home to huge and ancient Kauri trees), Ahipara on Ninety Mile Beach, and Cape Reinga at the northernmost tip of the country. Our only scheduled thing in the next couple of weeks is the farmstay in Kerikeri starting on February 6th. Until then, blogs and communications might be few and far between, depending on the availability of internet and our willingness to pay for it. But rest assured I will be thinking of you all, and, as is my habit now, spotting good potential photos for the blog and thinking up posts and captions!
Many thanks and much appreciation to all of you following along, as we move on to new adventures in this second half of our 8-month saga. I love writing here and it means the world to me to know that you all are out there, traveling along with us. So here's to you.