the road trip


Rimutaka car failure

This is us broken down in the Rimutakas this evening. Sunday night return trip.

The first time the car broke down we thought it was because the petrol light had come on, and we were miles from the nearest petrol station. Then we found the Onga Onga General Store (and met a puppy called Brandy, named after the drink) and filled up at an old school pump that looked like it was only there for a bit of small town decoration, but worked a treat.

We talked about maybe moving to Ongaonga – just for a month or so – but dial-up woul be a deal-breaker, apparently. Not for me, though. Actually, a bit of digital detox (an expression my mother passed on to me this weekend) would suit me quite nicely. I might struggle with no Google. But I’m sure after a week or so I would lose the compulsion to check my work emails in the middle of the night (and then wonder why no one had emailed me since the last time I checked them).

Second time we broke down it was here. On the Rimutaka ascent. So it wasn’t a petrol thing. Everyone was very calm. I don’t really like the Rimutakas at the best of times.

We were fine in the end, after a bit of bunnyhopping and a few spells hanging out on the side of the road to give the engine some respite. First day of daylight saving. The last light of day. Hazard lights and the Boss. Or was it Florence?

Upon googling Ongaonga just now I learnt that Ongaonga is a poisonous nettle, native to New Zealand, with one human death recorded at its hand (a ‘lightly-clad’ hunter who took a stroll in a dense patch and died five hours later). I also learnt that Kupe, having stolen many wives, put obstacles – including ongaonga – in the paths of his avengers/the pissed off husbands. Who knew.

Stuck in the Rimutakas 2stuck in the Rimutakas 3


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