The centre of the island had snow and the main road, State Highway 1, was closed for part of the journey. So we veered west at Waiouru and headed for Ohakune. What a neat little snow town - there is a giant chocolate eclair shop where you get these roughly hewn, fresh cream chocolate eclairs bigger than your outstretched hand, for just over a dollar! We had one each and kept driving north, through National Park and on up the west side of Lake Taupo to my old route years ago via Putaruru, White's Line East and over the Kaimais. Hardly a single car on that route but longer overall now that we don't speed anymore :-P The snow on the mountains was magnificent. Snow always looks so pristine and glowing and fresh.
Had a few days at my mother's house. Survived. I did all the cooking and shopping. Saw some fantastic sunsets up there and we had some calm days. One day the entire estuary was like glass. Christy took photos while I drove so I shall have to upload some of her pics.
Driving back was pretty smooth today. The snow had disappeared from Route 1, just a few hardy blobs of dirty white to show there had been anything there! We saw one spectacular accident at Ohingaiti which was sobering. A police car had sped past us at the bottom of the Mangawekas so we knew something was going to be ahead of us. Sure enough, by the time an ambulance sped past, we'd reached the former township of Ohingaiti and a car had rolled off the side of the road, windscreen gone, fire engine there so hopefully they had rescued the occupants. I had a look at crash websites and it looks like there was another crash there just on Wednesday. It's a weird place, with a nasty rail crossing. Used to be plenty of houses there but they're almost all gone now. Same with Rata. It's odd, the little towns we used to drive through year after year as I was growing up are all disappearing, just empty sections, the occasional outhouse and broken fences. Maybe a pub or a garage or perhaps a converted craft shop surviving on its last legs. People have moved to towns and cities, which is really sad. Only the farms remain. It's like the land is taking ownership again, but the cities are not the great 'other option', eating up land with suburban sprawl. I'd love to bring back the small towns. Mangaweka, Hunterville, Rata, Ohingaiti, Utiku... they had character and community.
I actually spoke to my brother in Brisbane last night. He's going to purchase Nick's book for me!! Yay. I will finally get to have it in my hands...
And so I'll update more when I have photos to share. Hope you are well. It's rather nice to be back. Nice? Actually, it's brilliant. We have a Bar Mitzvah to go to in the morning. A friend of Finn's. Mazel tov, Sam... there's always a Sam, huh.