Day 30. Which way which way which way
12:02pm Sunday blogging about yesterday. (While doing laundry) (and eating)
I woke up yesterday of course to rain. It seems to happen 90% of mornings. I lay there for a bit thinking about my game plan for the day. I guess I didnt realize it was almost 9am and I need to be out by 10am. They don’t usually strictly enforce it, but its kind of a nice motivation also to get out of there asap. The longer I sit there, the less travel time I have. I eat some quick snacks in my tent and hop out to brush my teeth. Hmmm
A handful of chickens are just hanging out.. alright. I just put that in the category of when I arrived and there was a goat and a pony tied up. I pack up my pretty wet tent. There is no wind, not just where I am, but anywhere and its cloudy. No sun. I try and put the tent cover and tent on some bushes but after 15 minutes, they are barely any more dry than before. I shake them really good and pack them up still wet. Blah! No time to blog, its 9:44am. Next to me are two empty campers. Reminds me of into the wild type campers. Lol. Or maybe it’s because its my favorite movie..?
Or any scary movie set based in a motel:
And the goat and pony again.
I see a horse in the distance that looks like he could be ridden by a knight with his head covering. Lol
On my way! I locate the nearest bus stop as it would take me an hour to walk back into town. I hangout with a young German fellow named Robin. We just talk about how long we are in NZ for and the best places we have seen. He is staying with a family that has put him up here. I think he had 2 months here and had one month left. Probably wrong. He was headed into town to meet some friends to eat. I figure ill head to the train station to see where its going and if I have time the town is basically right next to the station. He hops off at a McDonalds stop (of course there’s a donalds) and I hop off at the train station. I got to open the front door and its locked. I try the other door. Locked. ? I see a notice on the door “open mon-fri, CLOSED Sat and Sunday” Noooooooooahhh. They have all the train pamphlets inside. I make quick work and find the route on my phone. People are still coming and going on the trains and busses, just the office isn’t open. What’s crazy is that yesterday I didnt realize this town was the second to last stop the train made! Ohhh greeeeat. I had in my mind I would take this train further north. Guess snot… Welp…. I’m hungry. Ill figure this out while I eat.
I walk around the close town and my brain is spinning… I find a place that serves breakfast at 11am and its ran by Chinese people. Interesting, they have a bakery, and kind of a kfc inside where you can grab your own chicken in Chinese buffet kind of environment setting.
I get some eggs and bacon and toast and grab a power aid. I need to figure this out…
Blue is highway one..which goes right up where I wanted to go and was the biggest highway. I ended up taking the train on my red line and that stopped at the Upper Hut. I either had to take highway 2 out of here (where obviously i did because of the blue dot) or I backtrack to Wellington.. I was looking at roads that cut up Tararua Forest park which I would have to hitchhike and I assumed barely any cars would be going through there. Highway 2 looked like it was going kind of far out of the way though….
Which way…which way…which way….
This restaurant place only accepted cash, it was a good job that I had a little bit left. I needed to find another Westpac ATM to get a little more. I located the nearest ATM and decided I would hitch up highway 2 and hit the east coast then double back.
The new game plan..which I was pretty anxious and a bit worried about this morning. I prayed a bit about and felt at peace with the new direction. Now… I needed to hike to highway 2 and get a lift. ‘As far up 2 as you can take me’ is what I would tell the drivers. Hit the ATM and started to hike. It would be about a 30-45 min hike to just get to the highway.
I finally make it to highway 2 and of course the cars are going by really fast…there’s no chance I could be picked up here. I would have to go down the road further to a smaller town or gas station or something where the cars were going slower. I crossed the road and went down onto a biking / walking path to stay off the highway.
It was noon and I hadn’t really gotten anywhere.. It was party cloudy but warm. I was only sweating a little bit, but just hiking along side a road on not up a mountain seemed so slow. I had thought about my Hope Ride where at least I could be riding a bike…BUT in this case I could hitch hike..
I probably walked for a solid hour after hitting the highway initially. It was kind of a nice walk alongside a river though..
I cross the bridge and spot a gas station ahead. Cool, and a nice area behind a tree where the people would be going slow enough to think about it, and pull over. I dropped my backpack and leaned it against the tree. I had my thumb out for about 5 minutes and figured I should make a sign. I get out my cardboard and am digging for the marker when I hear a voice, “Where ya headed?”. I look up to see a young girl in a car at the gas station behind me. I jog over.. “as far up 2 as you can take me!” She said she isn’t going too far but I could hop in. I mean any further at all, is progress! Nice! I put my pack in the back of her car. I told her I was about to get out my sign but she had seen my thumb in the first 5 minutes I had it out. Her name was Max. She was born in NZ but had spent most of her life in the US studying Computer Science in Seattle, Washington. Niceee, I told her how easy it was for programmers to get jobs. She is back in NZ for a while now…several months she has lived with family, but today is her first day going out on her own in NZ. She said “you can only stay with family for so long before you need out!” So she had planned to head to Rivendell to camp for a night or two (LOTR Reference) and was going tot take the ferry to the South Island and find work for a place and take time off to travel more. ‘Woofing’ they call it. Working on a farm in exchange for a place to stay and food. It’s pretty well known out here. It’s almost 20 minutes up the road, and I say I woooould like to checkout one of the filming locations for LOTR. It depended how far out of my way it was I guess..? She sees the sign for Rivendell and pulls in. We go through a campground and check out an information booth. It was a few minutes drive to get there and downhill…so if I hiked out I would have to walk back up and out of there. She said she could drop me off if I wanted to.
Cooooool! There are a few short hikes to checkout these filming locations. Yea, I’ll join you for a bit! It was 1pm. Meh. I said I wanted to check out some things on the way to Auckland. We see a hike that says LOTR filming location and its only a 10 minute loop.
Yasssssss! The little nerd in me is jumping around again. She is a big LOTRs fan also. Which is why she wanted to come to this location. I had told her that I had got 2 of the actual rings from the movie in my backpack. One for me and one for a friend. We found our common interest.
We walked a little further..and saw a group of people gathered around someone talking. It looked to be a guided tour?
She was holding up pictures from the movie and standing in the same spots as the film was located. “So this tree here is famous!” Lol
We kind of awkward stood close to the group and listened. It was nice gettin ya little more info about where we were. We slowly followed them to the next spot they were talking about ands he held up a picture and said that she figured most of us had seen it.
She wanted to know if anyone wanted to put on this claim and take this bow and arrow and pose like the picture.. oooo boyyy… There was about 8 people in the group and one girl said she wanted to pretty quickly and while her family took photos is scooted close to the person giving the tour and asked if it was a paid tour? She said was. Ummmmmm yea…. sooooo would you mind if we used those props REALLY quickly to take photos too? “Sure!” I looked at max before I asked…I said i reallyyyy wanted to do it. She was like ehhhhhh. After I asked…she thought it was an amazing idea since she told us we could. Epic idea! ….plus we didnt have to pay for the tour! Heh….As we were handed the cloak and bow..one of the fathers said “Oooo we got some party crashers!” Lol uhhhh Yeaa..just for this photo. Max didnt even hear him.
WOOOOO! Which one is me??? Lol niceeeeee
I took Max’s picture and we kind of got out of there fast because they were onto us! Lol. The next stop was a replica of the cement arches in the movie.
And that was the entire ‘Rivendell’ LOTR track. Ten minutes walk but it brought in a ton of tourists. Like us. The rest of the campground was hikes through he woods, suspension bridges, and lush forest. I said we could go on some more walks it would be ok. There was a 30 minute track and an hour track and a 3 hour track. We did the 30 min and the hour one.
It was about 2ish now and I should be moving on. She dropped me off at the entrance and we said our goodbyes. She said she felt bad that this location for hitching was not as good as the one I had before. It’s ok, I said. It always works out. Grabbed my bye pack and started assessing the hitch spot. Ehh It was on a curve and the speed limit seas too high. I had a do a a little more hiking to get to more of a straight road portion. I get to a T in the road and once again I put my backpack down. Something very odd….I be had at least 5 drivers go by me and point to the other side of the rode as they drove past. NO IDEA what that means. Were they trying to say I would pick you up but I’m turning ahead? Or you shouldn’t be there? Or you should be on the other side of the road? Lol i know which way I’m going, the other side would make no sense. I was googling it with no help. I did pick up some more tips on hitchhiking though. If you wore bright colors instead of dark colors you seem nicer? No blacks or browns or grays. I look down at my shirt….black…It was pretty warm out but I put on my blue jacket anyway. “Always face the direction of traffic so the person picking you up has time to assess your personality and decide”. “Never sit down and try to hitch, no one likes to pick up a lazy hitchhiker”. “Try and lay your backpack down as to disguise its bulk”. Lol I slide my backpack behind me up against a white small pole.. “Be interesting, but not too interesting.” Uhhh ok. And other tips that were mainly common sense. So where I was at was a poor place to hitchhike. People could see me coming across a bridge but they were going pretty fast. I had a turn in front of me Incase someone really wanted to grab me. I think I waited for 45 minutes with my thumb out..I had looked at my gps and the corner past me I saw no better place to be. A couple that was turning right there said they weren’t going too far and I agreed amy place was better than here. They said they were just heading to a coffee shop. I handed them a card and told them a brief explanation of why I’m hiking. They drove almost 3 minutes around the bend ahead and said “oooo nooo we are sorry we didnt realize the coffee shop was soo close!” Meh its fine, a better place that before. But after hearing my story…They decided that they could take me to the next town where it would be easier to hitch out of. Very nice of them! They were both from Ireland but their names escape me. They had been traveling and working in NZ for while and were in the process of looking for jobs. I told them my plan to try to head up 2 to get to Napier on the east coast then head to Lake Taupo (where there was hot springs) then to Hobbiton in Rotorua (to see the actual set of where the hobbits lived in their hobbit homes) then to head to Auckland. They reassured me as soon as I got to Lake Taupo, there were tons of people and busses heading to Auckland so I didnt have to hurry once I got into Taupo. She also said as they were stopping in the next town to drop me off that there was a bus leaving on Sunday at 3:55pm from Masterton (a city about 30 minutes away driving) headed to Napier. It was only like 5pm..I had first said I think I could get a little further than that in the day of hitchhiking but thought this would be a nice chance to catch up on blogging and laundry and to take another shower. Yea ok! I like the sound of that. They headed into a coffee shop and asked if they could buy me an cup of coffee. Sure why not. He ordered a cappuccino and his girlfriend ordered kind of the same thing but not? He asked me and I said my go to is a cappuccino. Very nice of them.
We sat outside and talked as his girlfriend looked over bus schedules for me. We sat for about 30 minutes then we headed our separate ways. The next town was a 30 minute drive, but an 8 hour walk…?? Didn’t make sense. Meh, This was a slow paced town and I didnt think it would be any problem getting to the next town. I waited for about 30 minutes when a middle aged woman picked me up. She said she was only going to Masterton, the next town over. Perfect! That’s where I’m headed.
She was just getting off work. She was some kind of consultant. She dreaded the commute back and forth from Masterton to ..whatever name of the town we were in when she picked me up. She drove me all the way to this camp ground and I told her my plan to get to Napier. She said she didnt think any busses ran on Sunday’s? Hmmmm Ill have to look into that. She said that it shouldn’t be too hard to get from here to Napier because many people go down to Wellington for the weekend and head back on Sundays. She said she would ask any of her friends and let me know if they were headed to Napier tomorrow. Awesome Sauce! She dropped me off at the main office to the campground and got my number. Thank youuuuu!
I head into the office and ask about a tent spot..”Yup plenty!” Nice nice. I asked if he knew anything about busses running tomorrow. He said busses dont run on Sundays. Ugh… Ill have to do some more research.
(2:16pm..I need to get going to catch my bus at 3:55. Ill finish the blog on the bus)
5:28pm. (First bus was an hour, this bus is two.)
I went to setup my tent and kind of unpacked it and put it on a fence to dry.
A lady I recognized from the previous campground pulled up on her bicycle. She had all 4 saddlebags filled like I did for my Hope Ride. She recognized me too. The difference, I hitched here and she peddled there lol. She was drying her tent out too and we were talking. I gave her a card and she was saying that’s the same reason she is biking around New Zealand. A family member closer to her passed away and she just wanted to live out her dream and cycle New Zealand. She said seeing the person go through that make you realize how fragile life is, and you just have to take advantage of it. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It was only about 6pm so I decided to explore the small town and find food. Also while I was waiting for my tent to dry, I did a bit of research on the bus situation. I was trying to figure out where that woman found the date and time of the bus that she found leaving. Found it! It was in fact running on Sunday’s. It was a between cities bus.. maybe they thought I wanted to ride on the inner city buses? Niceee
I purchased a ticket to get to Napier via two busses. A 3 hours ride. So. I had from 6pm till the best left at 3:55pm the following day. Like i said I went to explore the town.
It still confuses me how small towns close down before 6pm on a Saturday..
Cars but not many places open.
I took a few lovely photos on the way to find food. I also saw that the bus stop would be a 30 min walk so I wanted to check that out too.
I found a few places that were open so I stopped into one called ‘The 10 o’clock cookie bakery cafe. There was a girl singing songs with her own speakers setup. A nice vibe to the place. I ordered a mango smoothie and fettuccini with bacon. One of the relatively cheaper things on the menu. So good. I went to pay my bill and my server asked where I was from. I said Toronto thinking she meant where did I come from before this trip. She got a little excited and said she was born into Toronto too! Umm no I was born in New Brunswick, but spent the last two years in Toronto. Ah ok. She had lived in NZ forrrr a year and a half or two? Just worked and explored. Gave her a card. She added me on Instagram. Kewl
I left and walked another 5 minutes and found where to meet the bus.
It was getting chilly so I made my way back to the campground.
There was a gate to the the campground that was closer to the city instead of walking around the block and back to the corner to my tent. It took like a 12 digit combination which the office guy had given me. Whyyy?
Anyway I grabbed snacks out of my tent and got the necessary Materials for blogging. I think I sat there in the kitchen area with 2 on their phones and one watching curling on the tv for almost 4 hours. I had planned to knock both days out but it was like 1:30am or something just blogging for one day. Plenty of time tm! So I put on much warmer clothes because it was plenty cold outside. Zip locked myself into my sleeping bag, put on my eye mask and ear plugs and passed out. There was a road close and I had picked a spot where the sun would come up and dry it off.
I woke up at like 10:15am like I was being cooked in a frying pan! I was baking in my cocoon! I had to find where the sliding thing was that pulled the sleeping bag closed. Then I had to struggle to unzip the sleeping bag. Then take off my gloves. Unzip my jacket pull my hood off. Take it my ear plugs and take off my eye mask (very slowly because it was so bright!) unzip my thermal layer shirt and get out of my sleeping bag and pull off my wool socks and take off my jacket. Whew! I busted out of that thing so fast I felt like a new baby deer all squinty eyed and sweaty and didn’t feel like I would be able to stand. Lol
The first thing I did was grab stuff to head to the shower. Most campgrounds have a checkout time of ten.. I looked on my app..nothing. He only gave me a paper with the gate code and pointed where to setup my tent. No checkout time. Ah well, hope they don’t mind me staying a little longer..
I took a nice long freee shower and went to grab some breakfast and head to the kitchen to do a bit more bloggin. I went to checkout how much it was to wash and dry my clothes. Found the laundry room.. found the dryer cost but couldn’t find where to put the coins or the price for the washer. I asked two ladies outside drying their clothes. They said it’s free! …free? Lol nothing is ever free. They said yup! Free washing and free drying as they clipped their clothes on the laundry line. The sun was incredibly bright and hot. Not the air but to the skin. Wow nice! In my effort earlier to find the checkout time I saw that this campground had a perfect rating on trip advisor. Not just for the laundry, but everything was immaculate. Had free tea and tubs of silverware sitting out for people to use. In each bathroom it had its own shower. They had 8. Thy also had two little baskets on the clothing line that had plastic clips for clothes. They had dryer baskets to take or your clothes to put on the lines. Impressive!
I went back into the kitchen to eat, have some tea, blog, all while doing my laundry. Which you read earlier.
I thought I would have enough Time to finish. Lol. I ran out! For some reason I thought if I had an hour that would be enough time. Ha. Ha. Wrong.
I cut the blogging short, grabbed the clothes off the line and took everything back to the tent.
I had now decided that hour was NOT enough time and had to pack everything super quickly. I had also remembered that the walk to the bus stop would take 30 minutes.. eesh! Gogogo!
Throw my pack on and head towards the gate… where the code… ooo noo I had swapped my shorts for my pants so I could wash my pants. I changed back when they were dry. I reached into my pocket to a small ball of paper. I tried to gently open it… nope it was just shredding. Gah. I had to go out the main entrance probably wasting another 15 minutes! I’m not sure how often you put on a 45lb backpack and try moving fast with it. It’s not easy. Trying to speed walk like in the olympics with a small elephant on your back. Let’s just say I sweat a lot and my shins got a good workout. I saw on the ticket I was supposed to get there 15 minutes before hand too. 😅
I got there in record time! Asked the driver if this was the correct bus and he confirmed it was. Put my backpack under the bus and grabbed my power bank, water, cords, and beef jerky. Whewww!
On. The. Way. Thank you random people who picked me up for telling me about this bus. No one else knew about it obviously.
How to dress business casual but remain cool..(the bus driver)
I relaxed for the first bus ride. (One hour) Then hopped off to wait for the next bus. It would arrive at Napier at 7:20 pm. Not enough time to wonder about. I searched for campground… barely any.. most are self contained vehicles only.. ok. Hostel search. Found a cheap one close to where I’ll be dropped off at. Two bunk beds in the same room.
Should be a pretty nice view since it’s close to the ocean though.. 20 minutes till we arrive.
Boom caught up.
We can make all the plans we want. If you depend on your own planning you will often times be disappointed. You have to roll with the waves of life. The more you embrace change, the happier you will be. This direction wasn’t my plan, but I’ve met some cool people along the way had I not come this way!