October 13

Last night was one of the scariest nights of my life. As I mentioned in my last post, we were the only people at our campsite. It was bad enough that the site was completely unlit and we were alone, but somewhere around 9:30 or 10 our car started rocking like mad. Lindsay started to panic and asked if I was causing it. I wasn’t. There is a cemetery next to the site and several walking paths so I told her that maybe some kid was playing a prank on us, but that we shouldn’t get out of the car. She grabbed her phone and shined the light from it out of the car, trying to see what was around us. We couldn’t see anyone or anything at all. My worst fear was that we would see someone standing there watching us. She thought it might be the wind. It lasted for maybe 15 or 30 seconds. It was almost like when you get stuck in the snow and someone tries to push your car out but your tires just spin and your car rocks. A minute or so later it started again, but with less force. In the meantime, Lindsay had grabbed her tiny Swiss Army knife. We started dragging bags out of the driver seat (which was hard because the front of the car was jammed full of stuff). We were both panicking because we couldn’t see anything (plus it didn’t help that earlier in the night we had joked about what we would do if someone attacked us, seriously, we had). Lindsay dove into the front and we drove to another road just off of the campsite where we thought we had seen some campers. It was abandoned. Then we drove up literally next to the bathroom blocks. There was a light on there. While our heart rates were returning to normal and we were devouring M&Ms in fear, we started to discuss what to do. We could leave the site, but it was unlikely there was another one nearby, plus we had already paid for the night. We decided to tough it out. We started trying to determine what had caused the strange event. I still maintained that it was a kid messing with us. Lindsay chose to believe that it was the wind. About 10 minutes later she made a different suggestion, maybe it was an earthquake. We googled in haste and discovered there had been a 5.4 earthquake centered in Masterton, 37 minutes before. We were able to sleep after that, but I will certainly be buying a knife, just in case!

Today we felt we were paying our dues after having two great days. Everything seemed to go wrong. We started heading out toward Feilding, by way of Palmerston North. En route, we decided to stop for coffee and to use the wifi at a McCafe (which is a McDonald’s cafe that seems to be more respectable here than at home). However, the wifi didn’t work at all so I was unable to even check my email or post on here. We tried for an hour. Fortunately, the lattes were acceptable and the chocolate muffin helped a bit.


It was my first McCafe experience and I would give it a 4 or 5 out of 10. It lost a lot because of the lack of useable wifi. However. I did try my first macaroon ever there. It was passable, but I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was warm. I’m not even sure if they are supposed to be warm. We were able to get our bearings though and we headed toward Feilding. The day was rainy and overcast, but we had high expectations for New Zealand’s most beautiful town. Of course, we were sorely disappointed. It was fairly ugly.


(Apparently this clock is supposed to be the best looking feature of the town.)

We are very curious to know what towns it was being compared to. The one high point was that the town did have a Bin Inn, which is a bulk health food store and there we ground our own peanut butter for the first time. It was absolutely delicious and we felt it was healthier since all it has is peanuts in it.

We decided to cut our losses and head for Whanganui (or Wanganui, I can’t figure out why they use the different spellings at different times).

On the way, we saw a cryptic sign pointing us to a “Historic Site.” We decided that maybe we would get lucky again with a detour and it would salvage a questionable day. It did not. The site was an old building standing alone in a field, completely empty. We attempted to be excited about it though.


There was a cool looking tree house on the road to the site though.


We continued on to Whanganui. It was still raining, but the town was fairly cute. The Main Street, Victoria Avenue, reminded me a bit of the main drag in Greenville, South Carolina.




(Strangely, there were old school telephone booths all over town.) Lindsay saw a sign for roast dinners and decided that comfort food would help. However, it was the most bland and flavorless food that either of us had ever had. Lindsay summed it up when she asked, “How can you make carrots taste this bad?”

We decided to call it a day and headed for a campsite outside of Kapongo. When we arrived it was totally empty except for the monument erected for the dozens of people who had died on the site during a battle in the 1800s. Our campsite app hadn’t warned us about that, or about the spiders who had made their home in the unpowered (I.e. No lights at night) bathroom. Fortunately, other people arrived so we weren’t nervous in the evening. We ended up chilling in our car/bed and drinking cider and watching movies to make the day better. It worked!


One thought on “October 13

  1. Great to hear from you…Don’t forget Lake Taupo, the Huka Falls are right near there. There is a nice downtown.

    Bob and I went to see Sitto and Giddo this weekend, they are doing great! Sitto said they are enjoying your blog.

    Do you remember how Bob and I put screens on the van when we are camping? It’s a great idea for fresh air. Let me know if you need directions.

    Sounds like you are having a great time, be safe and enjoy! I love you!


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