Irregular Posts; Ulverstone, TZ

Wednesday Feb 19, 2014 G’Day, “HeyYouMissingGuy.” “yeah been an adventurish awhile since I could log-in.  Remember the posts “Vanning” and Vanning Again”?  Well this should probably be called “Vanning AgainAgain”.      We landed in Hobart on time on Valentines Day and found that our motel had changed its name but not its location.  But the wifi and the continemtal breakfast were no longer free.  OK, they srill had the shuttle that took us to pick up our Britz van.  It was very similar to Jackpot in NZ.  Slightly different configuration but OK.       Hobart is a provinchal capital and downtown had its Saturday market. There must have been a couple hundred vendors of vegs, crafts, food, buskers, and thousands of folks walking and viewing.  The world-wide attraction in Hobart is now the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).  The old is some egyptian stuff but the new is out of this world; conceptual, and digital, and installations of surreal things.  Nothing would be considered wall art.  In the courtyard there was a nude life form male posing for painters and sketchers. This is not your traditional museum.      In the Holiday park nearby, we had difficulty connecting to the AC electricity.  Local folks stopped in to help and talk but we got no electricity except the 12V battery.  So no charging the computer.  Dinner saw a thunderstorm that went on for almost an hour while we ate and talked to another traveler from NZ.      In the AM we drove 30 minutes back to Britz thinking the van had 240V circuit probs…but it WAS...

Irregular Posts; Ulverstone, Tasmania by Meg

Wednesday Feb 19 2014 Tasmania‏ guest writer Meg Holmes At the public library in Ulverstone, east of Penguin TZ, with 30 minutes free access. Briefly arrived in Hobart Feb.14, picked up Britz campervan Feb 15. Nice day in Hobart at Salamanca Market and the contemporary edgy provocative love/hate museum called MONA. Experiential multi-media art and installations at its most challenging. Sensory overload and, just as museum is mostly meandering in the dark, some of the artwork left the observer pondering in the dark. Sunday Feb 16, a quick back to Britz because power for appliances didn’t seem to be working (remind you of MightyVan?!!!). Then up the A10 to Mt. Field National Park and a walk into the falls. Very beautiful rainforest. Suddenly I felt something crawling up the inside of my pants legs – the attack of the leeches! I probably pulled off a dozen. The leeches and our first view of a pandemelon (kangaroo like critter) introduced us to Tasmanian fauna. Up the road to Lake Saint Clair National Park with a stop at the Wall in the Wilderness – a 300 feet long woodcarving mural of Tasmanian Highland history. By then Jack had had enough windy mounatineous driving for the day so we stayed at Catherine Bay at the park. This gave us an opportunity to walk, and we saw either more pandemelon or a wallaby crossing the road as well as an echidna feeding. We walked to platypus Bay and saw patterns in the lake water – could have been platypus, fish, or water rats. I am going to think platypus! Monday Feb 17 up...

Irregular Posts; Christchurch, SouthIsland

Thursday Feb13, 2014 Kai Ora, “Leaving on a jet plane…”   Well, headed back to Christchurch to turn in the Mighty Highball, visit the city, do some laundry, repack, and then fly to Tasmania on Valentine’s Day. We stopped at the  small quaint village of Three Creeks where there was a “store” and “theme park” made into a tourist stop based on the United States’ Route 66. Prices for most things were very high.  But the lunch sandwich was good and not too expensive.  There was beside the site the old St Patrick’s church, a little church that was the first multi-denominational church in NZ. We retraced our route back into Geraldine on Route 72 and took the scenic byway to Christchurch.  Our Airport Palms Motel was very near the van rental, the airport, and the bus line to downtown. The receptionist helpfully advised us how to take public bus into the city center after returning the campervan. Up the road to MightyVan.  Different personnel greeted us but they seemed to know about our first van and its gear issues. No problems with the return and we left our extra travel foodstuffs ij the recycle for other travelers.  Bus stop was just down the street, and Bus 29 soon stopped for us. By this time secondary schools were being released, and the public bus seemed to be the de facto school bus. Uniformed teens crowded on, and we noticed how short the uniform skirts were – a modern trend in uniform fashion? The bus arrived at the central city bus station? which was a curb in the large park.  A short...

Irregular Posts; Cardrona, SouthIsland

Thursday February 13, 2014 Kia Ora, The 5-Point Drive with a layer of apprehension. Meg worries about the gears on our Jackpot; actually she worries about my being able to get into the correct gear. From a “dead stop”, it is sometimes hard to find 1stor reverse gear. The clutch needs to GOTOTHEFLOOR and the gear notch I occasionally do not find on first attempt. The gear notch may not feel obvious to me so I do not know if I am in the gear until I let up the clutch and listen for the motor tone/sound. Sometimes I need to get rolling in 2nd gear because 1st seems unavailable. That is OK on the flats or the downs; the ups REQUIRE 1st. Afetr I am rolling there is no problem although…it sometimes really wants the clutch TOTHEFLOOR. This leaves Meg a bit apprehensive and me too. Rising out of Arrowtown was such a drive. But “Hey. No Problem” that a few deep breathes doesn’t solve. When your slower van gets to a “chain bay” pullout, you can pull in and let the faster vehicles pass; all the time being sure you DO NOT have to stop and start again in 1st gear. We drive the Crown Range Road to Cardrona. Only those who intimately know the songs of Camden Maine singer Gordon Book would know of Cardrona. “…Hey but it’s hard, cruel, and cold searching Cardrona for nuggets of gold. An ounce to the bucket and we’d all sell our souls…” The Cardrona Hotel is still in business for the passers-by along the Crown Range Road from Arrowtown in the south....

Irregular Posts; Te Anau SouthIsland

Wednesday February 12, 2014 Kai Ora, Sunday after Moeraki, we drove thru Dunedin, and thru Gore, and on to Te Anau which is the Gateway to Milford Sound and other local attractions. We checked into a new and inexpensive holiday park for two nights. Meg wanted to take a cruise on Doubtful Sound. It is a full day pricey multi leg trip. There were just a few openings on the first trip Monday at 8AM. An early rise at 6:30A to be sure we were able to drive the 30 km and planned to have breakfast at the boat. But, the morning had amazing ground fog which shawled the shoulders of the mountains, and flowed across the valley and flats. Lake Te Anau had a white blanket. The sun just broke above a ridge and painted the land gold and the fog shawl tops pale-yellow. Sheep were grazing in the field beside the road as usual. Across Lake Te Anau, the mountain peaks poked above their fog shawls. No time for breakfast; it was near boat loading time. The cruise on Doubtful Sound is a three legged affair. Leg one is a lake cruise of about 45 minutes to the 7 generator hydro-electric plant buried in a mountain. The head is about 180 meter from lake to outflow. A tour of the plant is included. Then a 30 minute bus ride over a mountain pass to the dock of the Sound cruiser. Leg three is the reverse without the plant tour. Leg two is the cruise on the Sound which was quite lovely. Walls of the two thousand foot...