Day 332...Highway 45 South

Thursday 22 September 2016

When you are freedom camping and park in a location like we have been in for the past few days, there’s no way you can expect peace and quiet every night. It’s not Fiordland after all! We got home late from the Blues concert for which I have to say the hugest “THANK YOU” to the guys for the invite, it was wonderful and so were the people and their generous donations to our journey.

Hot soup for supper once we got home and got quickly into bed. Just as it hit midnight, we had a car pull up nearby with a group of young guys enjoying the night. They chatted loudly for the next hour or so, enjoying a few beers and typical male-type storytelling and yarns to each other. It was impossible to sleep with all that going on and eventually they left, just on 1am. I think I actually nodded off to sleep soon afterwards but that darn inbuilt alarm system of mine had me wide awake again before 6am. I had to pull open the back curtain to stare down at the incredible view, at one point believing I had seen something large, dark and exciting out in the waves. But it only turned out to be rocks! With a view like we have at the moment, once again it was hard to get moving this morning. I could stay in this miniature time bubble on my hillside in Cuzzie, looking out at the ocean, forever and ever!! But all too soon it was time to depart, time to head back to reality on the South coast of Taranaki, to remind myself of the route I will have to paddle, and of the fact that I will need to leave this city.

Before we hit the road, we use the reliable internet and mobile connections. But I really need to feel the salt and the sand and to stare out at the ocean I am going to be paddling on. As I’ve said so many times before, staring at a calm mill pond starts to eat me up and I begin doubting my weather-reading abilities. Firstly, into town with Anna to do a couple of chores, then off along coastal Highway 45 South. To Anna's delight, we soon see paddocks with calves and, at last, some sheep with lambs. We’re both happy to be heading back towards the remote coast and the farm paddocks. We swing out to the coast on every likely-looking side road, inspecting beaches and possible check-point locations. As we drive along, we watch surfers in action, and the wind-surfers carving up and down out at Cape Egmont point. All really good reasons why I’m not actually out on the water myself today!

The wind is blowing with its predicted fury and, sitting out at the Cape, we rock and roll about in Cuzzie while eating our lunch. There’s quite simply no way of getting away from the wind today and though a sheltered, sunny location would be nice, it seems a sheer impossibility. We had planned to stay out on the Cape overnight, but quickly decided against it! Instead we just drove, with me showing Anna my possible landings and then, the very best part of the day, locating the boat ramp for Opunake. Just past the surf beach in the next bay, a calm landing spot! Now that was one of the best finds, all thanks to ourselves for having given up on Google for once and spending the day weaving up and down all the back roads. I was one happy person!! Did we stay at Opunake? No, we just kept heading South and, in the end, located a cute little campsite beside a river, the Kaupokonui Beach Motor Camp.

Now, we are tucked up on a small, sheltered hillside, sitting on an old chequered blanket, enjoying the afternoon and evening sunshine and I intend to stay in this position until it gets too cold to sit outside. We’ve walked some of the sand dunes, we’ve done our camper-van chores and I’m ready to start cooking dinner so we can have an early night. We’re still playing the waiting game and, although it sure is rather painful, there could be an awful lot worse things to be doing, like living in the city, tramping on the treadmill of life.

My smiles today:
I have completed my 22 days of push-ups.
A warm pot of salty/sweet popcorn.
Back down the coast, waiting. 
Clean, tumble-dried clothes.
A sign on the beach "Beware of wild cows in the sand dunes!"
Cell-phone coverage is a total nightmare. More of a wry smile really!

My thoughts today:
“The cure for anything is salt water - tears, sweat or the sea.” - Isak Dinesen (Thanks to Nat.)

Goodnight from Red and Anna. Ma Te Wa.