Shiai over we load our gear into the cars and say our goodbyes to the other kendoka. Someone comments that although a nice city, “Wellington is far too cold for us northerners and that if we didn’t know better we’d think it was going to snow!”
Next we drop Marleen and Joyce back in the city centre so they can do some sightseeing…. More goodbyes then we’re off.
The journey starts off ok; the cars stay a little closer this time. We stop for a quick coffee … the barista is quite rude to Do-Hun. I will take this opportunity to apologize to Do-Hun for not admonishing the barista for his rudeness. Sorry Do-Hun.
We drive on. After a couple more hours its starts to get dark and we pass a sign saying Road Closed. Unsure which roads are closed we stop for fuel at a one horse town called Hunterville. The lady in the petrol station tells us that not only is highway 1 closed because of deep snow but she thinks our alternate route highway 4(national park) is closed too. Do-Hun says that now even the weather doesn’t like him. lol.
We see a coffee shop over the road so we go there to gather our thoughts, study the map and make a new plan. Its nice and cosy inside and we gather round the wood burner with the other customers. We are unable to find out more about the road closures but a young lady informs us that the local motel is full …… However she has a room and is willing to share with a certain (another) member of our group. Once more honour produces a polite refusal.
We decide that we need some accurate information as to road conditions and that the best place for that would be the police station at Wanganui. As we enter the police station Do-Hun says that as he doesn’t want to be arrested he is now Japanese named Daitaro. More laughter. Inside we are told all routes to Hamilton are closed. We can’t even go via Napier or New Plymouth.
We are stuck.
Getting hungry now, we head to McDonalds for a bite to eat and to make yet another plan. While the others are eating one of our group asks the staff if they know of any cheap accommodation. After a short pause a women steps forward from the kitchens. She is a handsome woman of mature years and a good figure. Thinking he is alone and with a twinkle in her eye she tells him that she finishes work at midnight and would give him a room for the night. As he is a gentleman he tells her that although it is a great compliment to have an offer from such an attractive lady he must decline. With a smile she then gives him directions to a nearby motel.
At the Avro motel we tell the owner/manager? Of our plight and book in for the night. As he shows us our room, which is really nice, we tell him of Do-Huns woes … he breaks into a big beaming smile a gives Do-Hun a big hug telling us that he likes Koreans. Everyone laughs.
Warm and cosy we settle down with some liquid refreshments. We talk long into the night about everything imaginable. From silly word games to boys things to the Israeli/Palestinian problem and more.
In the morning it’s a quick McD’s breakfast and check in at the police station. They confirm that highway 4 is open and we can restart our journey. Highway 4 is a twisty road so we take our time and enjoy the scenery. After several hours of driving we see Hamilton. Just enough time for Clement and I to have one more debate …. This time how to cure world hunger. We talk fast… get louder … interrupt each other.
Suddenly we are at Clements house so the result is … hiki- wake!
Exhausted, we are home.
I have been on many trips, sporting and otherwise, over the years and have to say that his one ranks among the best. We went as club members and returned as brothers.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in Waikato now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,