DAY 312...Wind Windmills and Walking!

This morning, the first thing I have to say is that I was treated to the best Angus steak dinner last night. The steaks were thick and juicy, exactly how real meat should be; a truly delicious dinner, Trent. I have to confess, I didn’t feel the earthquake. I may have stirred but I’m so used to Cuzzie rocking about due to wind gusts that I didn’t even think there was anything unusual or different, at least not until I read the news this morning. But it must have been a heck of a jolt for many people.

After a yummy breakfast, we went to feed two pet lambs which, for me, was a trip down the memory lane of my childhood, recalling our yearly pet lambs that I totally adored. These two were both very cute. Thanks, Cam, for letting us share in the feeding. Martin and myself are still smiling, all the more so, remembering how the lambs came running round the paddock with us after they had been fed. Then we all headed off to start what turned out to be quite an entertaining day.

Firstly, Trent and Cam came back to watch the final day of the netball with us before we went hiking to see the huge windmills in the Manawatu Gorge. Having decided that the “there and back” option of the full Gorge walk was the only one worth doing, off we set with backpacks and nibbles packed. I have to admit that I was a little concerned as my legs are not nearly as long as Martin’s and I only hoped that I would be able to keep up. At the end of the day, however, the pace was pretty even, so I needn’t have worried unduly. As we got into the actual hike, a couple of people were heading back down the track from an earlier hike. Then another person stopped to let us pass. Believe it or not, we recognised each other! How truly crazy is that, out on a bush walk and I bump into Kelly! I think we were both rather surprised but, after the initial "no way” moments, we hugged and chatted and now we have a catch-up planned for tomorrow.

Off we headed again and up we climbed before coming across some fat wood pigeons, hearing some tuis and seeing some fantails coming out to play as well. Then there was a new sound, the noise of the windmills turning and soon, they too came into view. When we got up close, they seemed huge. Personally, I think they are rather cool and to be honest, I find them absolutely fascinating and love seeing them standing on the hillside. Then, having climbed up to the top of the hill, we wandered down the other side to the end of the track. We saw Nikau Palms and large Matai, as well as lots of other beautiful bush around us. At one stage, we could hear loud music down in the valley but couldn’t work out exactly where it was coming from. When we got to the end of the track, we sat and ate a few snacks.

Before heading back on the return walk, I accepted a crazy challenge from a friend in Auckland. To try to do 22 press-ups for 22 days in an attempt to raise awareness about the huge amount of returned servicemen worldwide who are suffering from depression, of whom 22 per day apparently commit suicide! Accordingly, Martin and I did our first set of press-ups. Mine were pathetic but Martin’s were way too bloody good. Then we had the return 10km hike back to Cuzzie. By the 5km stage, all I could do was talk about food which seemed to make Martin’s long legs move all the faster and indeed, our return trip turned out to be some 25 minutes quicker. It was a nice hike and good to have actually been and done it, and not just keep driving past all the time.

Back in the camper-van, there was a long silence while we both just sat and ate. We were more than a little bit hungry by the finish today! The next step was to clean Cuzzie, to remove all the muck and grime off her after so many months on the gravel and muddy roads. Now, she’s smiling again, too. A campsite was located, thanks to the amazingly generous people of the Palmerston North Holiday Park. Wow, you guys rock! Raewyn, you need to bottle your lovely personality. What a great welcome you gave us! Then it was chill-out time, with some book reading and me re-stocking the cupboards with a box of supplies I got yesterday. Just as I was finishing I saw another a sight for sore eyes, a pet lamb that belonged to and lived in the camper-van that had just pulled up next door. In all my days of travelling, this is a “first” for me, a pet lamb on tour in a camper-van! That’s a “must do” for tomorrow, to find out the whole story about the baby lamb.

My smiles today:
Memories of a huge Angus steak.
Pet lambs on the farm and in a neighbour’s camper-van. Quite simply adorable.
Windmills. Insanely cool.
Hiking in the hills.
The silence when you are so hungry, all you can do is eat!
The new 22 press-up challenge.

My thoughts today:
Give someone a compliment.
Make a new friend, do a random act of kindness because it creates good karma.
Take chances and finally, start living life to the full.
No matter what is thrown at you today, smile and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Until then, goodnight from Red, Martin and a sparkling Cuzzie.

Ma Te Wa.

Windmills. Huge and amazing.

Windmills. Huge and amazing.

Pet lambs playing.

Pet lambs playing.