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Gypsy Housetruck

Waihi, New Zealand

WAIHI (63km, 1196km total) - Today was a frustrating day. It started out well enough. We woke up and had breakfast with Melissa. After that she took us to the grocery store to buy some supplies for the last leg of our trip. She had to go too because she is hosting her daughter's 4th birthday party tomorrow. We were very grateful for the ride. When we got back I made lunch for everyone. Shad and I had toast and she had toasted sandwiches. Toasted sandwiches are an everyday item down here in New Zealand and Australia, as ubiquitous as meat pies. They're basically a griled cheese with 2 or 3 various ingredients. She had hers with cheese (not always included), capsicum (the down under name for bell peppers), and "capery things" (green onions, apparently). I first tried to find a frying pan to cook them like I'm used to, but Melissa didn't have a frying pan. So I discovered the grill function on the oven and cooked them in a baking dish. I'm not sure if I prepared them right at all, but apparently they came out "perfect". We finished lunch and said our goodbyes around 1:30.

The real trouble didn't start until we got out of town and after Shad had a second lunch of chicken vindaloo at a takeaway Indian place. About 15km out, just after a short break, my chain broke. Shad was in front of me and out of earshot, as I yelled his name at him and he just rode off.. I spent probably 20 min trying to find the borken pieces of link in the roadside gravel and at least another 20 trying to smash the whole thing back together with my pliers. Shad eventually figured out I wasn't behind him anymore and turned back to help me. Together we got the thing pieced back together as best we could, cursing ourselves that the one tool we didn't pack was a chain breaker - the one tool we desperately needed. Our pinch job worked, but I was scared it wouldn't hold if I shifted it around too much or put too much strain on it. So I picked a lower gear and was determined not to shift from it unless I really had to. Then we set off with me praying for forgiving terrain.

The chain actually made it most of the way. About 12km out from Waihi I noticed it breaking again, so we stopped and pinched it back together. Some nice guy noticed us and brought over two oranges for us to snack on. Then we set off to finish the last bit to Waihi.

Because of our delays we didn't make it to our couchsurfing host's house until just after 8pm. He was a real nice guy about it though. His name was Stuart and he was in his 40s, living in a housetruck he built himself while he was a part of the gypsy fair. Now he runs 3 businesses of his own: renting bicycles, renting motorbikes and guiding rides, and doing canvassing work (think boat covers and sunshades). Stuart lived a real "cruisy" life of independence and regaled us with stories of enduro motorbike races, old girlfriends, and life as a gypsy. He drove us into town to a Chinese takeaway place where he was friends with the owners and managed to get enough food to feed all 3 of us for only $10. We just finished having a few beers and a cup of coffee while watching a DVD of an enduro race he was in in Auckland and looking at pictures in various magazines that he had collected to illustrate his stories. Stuart's got a very interesting life, perhaps not one that I would want to live, but very interesting nonetheless. Tonight I'm sleeping up in a loft in the house truck and Shad's got a bed in the office/shed.

permalink written by  aeonhunterinnz on January 5, 2010 from Waihi, New Zealand
from the travel blog: AeonHunter in New Zealand
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