Saturday, 12/25 Camp Eldson- Porirua- Christmas Day
So this is Christmas. Well, Merry Christmas. As Tiny Tim nearly said, “God bless us, everyone. Except the Jews. They already got a holiday.”
What started out as a simple is somewhat solitary driving day opened up very nicely by the end of the night. We got up early, had breakfast, dumped our gray water, filled our main water, and hit the road.
The plan was to straight shot it all the way to Wellington, a 300+ km haul. Most of the way it was an easy 80-100km/h drive. The wind made it interesting sometimes.
Today the wind was ubiquitous. It was always there. It made the drive louder and Captain Slow shudder and shake. I only noticed it when there was no wind. It was like the line they used in M*A*S*H once a season. There would be heavy shelling all episode and then it would stop all of the sudden and Hawkeye would say, “Hey, do you here that?” And someone else would say, “What? I don't here anything.” And he'd exclaim, “Exactly!” That was the wind today.
In my continuing trampoline watch, I saw more today. New Zealand is the trampoline capitol of the world.
It is also a civilized country. This means that nothing nothing nothing was open today. We stopped at three closed petrol stations before finding an open on. Do gas stations in the states ever close? Everything being closed did mean that we made no stops today and pushed straight through for about five hours. Unremarkable for the most part.
New Zealand's travel ministry does not believe in straight roads. Every road in this country bends and twists over the landscape, becoming a part of it rather than cutting through it. This led to minor bike sad early in the day, with big sweepers and twisties for kilometers. And later, major bike sad.
The 2 between Featherston and Upper Hut is a brutal 13km stretch of mountain pass awesome. Higher and higher we climbed, with hairpins and 35, 20km/h. It would have been an intense two-wheeled challenge. I'm not even sure fun is the right word. Fun like a triathlon is fun. Fun because you did it. Fun because its hard. Truth: some of the mountain would have been a little scary. But so worth it. Angela was glad for the caravan over the bike. I was whimpering and giggling the whole time. And I was good again at not being That Guy. It doesn't help when the views are that astounding and pristine. I'm going to need to buy a thesaurus soon to keep coming up with adjectives to describe this place. Not a bad problem to have.
Angela skillfully naviguessed us to our campsite and we arrive about 2pm. Very early for us. We decided since everything is closed anyway we could have a guilt-free decompress day. So she napped and I played PSP and read. She also finished knitting my beanie, which is coming in handy because the temperature has dropped tonight and its pretty cold right now. Yay crafty wife!
We totally scored on this site. We arrived and asked for a spot and the guy in the office said, “Pick a spot. Its Christmas.” Yes! Free ninety-nine is the best price!
The camp filled some during the day and we (I) decided we should try to be social. Three pairs were sitting in a small group by their campers talking so I walked over and inserted myself into the conversation. Being the friendly and interesting people they are, they welcomed us into the group and we spent the rest of the night hanging out and getting to know each other.
One couple, a boyfriend/girlfriend, is from Holland and the other male/female couple is from Brussels. The third, two guys, didn't say much but were also Dutch.
Dinner was great and it was really nice to sit and chat with non-American travelers. My ego is blown by their command of English. The woman from Brussels said she can handle or French, Dutch, some German, and English. Fuck. We need to get on the ball.
The Dutch guy was super-gregarious and awfully funny. He had an iPod full of Christmas music playing in the background the whole time. It was nice to hear non-Americans say they find the Palin to be insane and scary and they know we aren't all like that. We didn't bring it up, they did. How much do you know about politics in the Netherlands? Me neither. But they know us.
We shared wine and also exchanged a camping guidebook that we had extra of for a thing of salt they had extra of. Thus goes the economy of caravaning.
Hope we see them in the am and maybe around Wellington tomorrow. Going to try not to shiver too much tonight.
(ed. Note: FAIL! But not so much because of the cold. Tune in next time, campers!)