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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday 16 March 2023

Road works and Jandals

 March 16th

Lovely end to the evening yesterday, sun was still warm and the continuing Quiddler competition was held outside. It sure is getting tense. From me being 7 games ahead, Ian drew level two days ago. I managed to claw back two so I am only just in the lead. With three days left before the winner is declared, its all to play for!

The departure from Tongapลrutu was late, mid morning and we had only just got ourselves sorted. Passed the wall of Jandals, looks like more have been added since 2020.



It was off to New Plymouth to find a car wash. We wouldn't fit in the conventional car washes so it has to be one of those DIY places where you drive-into a bay to do it yourselves. Took almost all Ian's change as the Toy was a tad dirty! At the same place was a car vac, a dollar a minute was all you got. With 6 dollars left in coins, three went into the machine. Surely this would give him all the time needed. And no doubt it would if the blooming thing worked! With the remaining three dollars he drove to another machine. I was left guarding all the stuff taken out of the van as he departed. Next thing I know this young lad appears, looked questionably at the stuff lying around including the porta potti and I was quick in explaining what had happened. He was one of the workers at the garage. Told me he would return the three dollars and proceeded to fix the machine. His parting words were "all working fine now". Ian returned, I told him the machine was fixed, he put in another dollar to do the mats and....nothing! One dollar spent and forever lost!

It was a day of roadworks, not just a short section but kilometre after kilometre. The delay the first time was about 5 minutes, looked to be new power lines going in across the gorge. The second had us sitting waiting for nearly 20 minutes! A new road surface was the cause of this delay. 

2nd hold-up

If you look at this photo, and remember we waited without another vehicle coming for nearly 20 minutes, 

 how amazing that the queue waiting at the other end was only short and it was on SH3! Think M1 or for that matter any of the UK's motorways, by now the queue would have stretched for miles. Now if that doesn't tell you how quiet the roads are over here, nothing will!

Tonight's stop is at a paid campsite, $30 for both plus free showers and washing machine! I could have used that machine but the weather had turned drizzly and with no dryer to hand just a washing line, felt sure the clothes would still be wet even if left out overnight. We managed a short walk on the beach though.

So no more freedom camping for us. our last few nights will be spent in proper camp sites where we can pack our bags and clean the Toy at our leisure. Sad that his is nearly the end but oh so glad I don't have to use any more of those 'long drop' loos. End of summer is nie and they are becoming a health hazard! Lots of flies and the smell is quite unpleasant!


Tom and Jan said...

I suspect you are going to desperately need the Quiddler on The Ghan..... along with several books :-)

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Sounds like you found the trip boring Tom. This has been on our to-do list for what seems like forever and I fully expect to enjoy every moment. As to my brother, he is of the same opinion as yourself, what will he find to do for four days! I had to twist his arm to join us! I don't even think the internet will be available, hopefully, he will engage with fellow travellers and end up enjoying the trip. Xx

Tom and Jan said...

I used to sit up front with the loco crew for hours and see a considerable amount of endless kilometres of exactly the same scenery! The crew seemed happy doing the same return journey three times weekly. However I had to control the urge to end the misery by drink hemlock!
In the end I used to take the 4WD up on The Ghan and drive back to Adelaide.

But then we are all different. I just hope your brother doesn't feel as if he has wasted four days of his life :-) We found Adelaide the city that most looked like the UK. Dinner on HMS Buffalo at Glenelg is recommended.

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