Special news from home / "Go Greased Lightening...

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , Tasman,
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Today we recieved some very special news from home... my little sister is getting married next spring! Congratulations Sarah and Gaz!! Its a very strange feeling, being so overjoyed for them and at the same time so incredibly sad that I won't be there to celebrate their special day with them. But I know that they will have a fantastic day and that my sister will be the most beautiful bride.

Back in New Zealand we have had a pretty crazy day too! We were leaving the Abel Tasman National Park this morning and heading to our next stop, a place called Hokitika on the west coast. It was going to be a very long day as the drive there would take us about 7 hours. As such we were awake extremely early; our alarms went off at 6am and we were on the road by 6:45am. So off we set, through the hills surrounding our campsite, through the village and up Takaka Hill. Or should I call that 'Evil Takaka Hill'? About two thirds of the way up the hill we started hearing a strange bubbling sound coming from the tank next to my seat. A couple of seconds later we heard a loud pop from the engine and the temperature gauge went though the roof. We stopped the van, got out to have a look and saw yellow liquid pouring out of the side of van and running down the road. In a blind panic we started walking away in case it was a diesel leak. We quickly realised that it wasn't diesel and Tom went back to roll the van from the side of the road into a lay by behind us. We pulled our phones out to ring the AA and discovered that, being stuck on the side of a mountain, we didn't have any phone signal! Our panic levels were being rise quite rapidly. Our two options were to either hitch a ride back into town or walk down the hill into Takaka. The problem with catching a ride was that it was still only 7:30am and looking down into the valley we couldn't see any other cars on the road and if we wanted to walk it would have taken us about 7 hours to walk back to the main village where the payphone was. Running kind of short of options we decided to try and roll the van down the hill and see how far we could get it before it broke down again and then, if necessary, walk the rest of the way. So we started the van and were relieved to see that the temperature had gone back to normal. Slowly Tom managed to get the van down the hill and gently drove it all the way back to Takaka... my hero!! We pulled over at the nearest layby and used the payphone to call the AA, who turned up in about 10 minutes. We managed to drive the van to the mechanics garage and he diagnosed a burst engine-coolant overflow pipe. Being out in the sticks he didn't have the part we needed but directed us to the Toyota dealership back in Nelson, telling us that if we took it steady we would get there in one piece. Which we did! We made it to Nelson and arrived at the garage. This was when our bad luck really set in. The garage had actually shut ten minutes before we arrived and wouldn't open again until 9am Monday morning. We gave our campervan company a call to get their input and their resident mechanic told us that the van would be fine to drive it to a place called Greymouth, about 6 hours away and just north of our destination Hokitika, which had a Toyota dealership too. Not wanting to be stuck in Nelson with nothing to do until Monday morning we set off for Greymouth. We managed to get about half and hour out of Nelson and then we encountered our first hill of the journey. This hill wasn't a particularly big one but we really struggled to get over it. We had to top three times and had two blowouts with engine-coolant pouring out of the side of the van. We got over the brow of the hill but the temperature just wouldn't go down. Realising that we were never going to get to Greymouth at this rate we made the decision to head back to Nelson and stay there until Monday. We were both feeling upset because we had already spent time in this area and were keen to move on to the west coast, but it was obvious we wouldn't get there until the van had been fixed properly. We booked ourselves into a campsite for the night just outside of Nelson only to find out that the campsite we were at was actually more of a Country Club with an American style trailer park at the back. And in keeping with our current run of bad luck, we were parked right next to the clubhouse which had a wedding in it. For some God forsaken reason the people getting married had hired two of the worst cabert singers known to man and we were treated to an array of cabert classics until gone midnight, including Elvis, Cher and (in a crime against humanity) the Grease Megamix! I can only hope that our luck improves over the next few days... and that I never have hear Elvis sung with a New Zealand accent again, it just doesn't sound right!    

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Maria & Jamie on

Hopefully the campervan has been fixed now and you're on the road again to your next adventure.

rach on

hi ya dora and diego !!! hope the vans been fixed and your back on your travels xx as always love the pics are you going 2 have a go at skiing? love to both xxxx oh and i was thinking the same as caz about the twigs hahaha xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ur wally of a sister - Lisa xx on

just a quick message - i had to go to a&e on wednesday night. don't worry i'm fine... was washing the pots and badly gashed my hand between my thumb and index finger. had 6 stitches and is bandaged up. gotta go back to hospital on monday to see if i have nerve damage, coz the cut was very deep. but i will be fine. i can feel more and more in my fingers every day. im a plonker - wot do u expect from ur wally of a sister... glad ur having a good time. dont worry about me im fine... will keep u updated on what the hospital says... so if i have 3 fingers wen u come back u know why.... just kidding !!! xxxxxlove u loads take care - Lisa xxxxx

rach on

did your hear that hayley .............lisa WASHING dishes !!!lol i,m off later on our jollies , so hopefully when i get home next week there will b lots of new adventures and pictures that we can read about,and maybe you can read mine (will b mark getting p...sed every nite ) love and miss you both loads xxxx
ps when were away does that mean were closer 2 you ? x and its 5.30am and i carnt sleep ! u now why ,! i,ve bought a bottle off bachs rescue remedy so i,m off 4 my first dose xx

rach on

just thought id say hiya were in mallorca and the sun is shining !! hope your both ok cos you,ve not written on your blog 4 a few days love and miss u both loads xxxxx

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