Edit Blog Post
Published: July 26th 2010
View from lay-by where you can pull over to take photos. See how the pavement shrinks to about 10 centimetres of shoulder between your car and the drop off.
First, when driving down those hairpin turns beside very deep gorges with very, very little road (in Canadian terms) in frosty winter months, try singing very loudly. It helps relax the muscles and it probably is a cheerful way to meet your maker if anything goes wrong.
Second, why pay for rental car when you can get one for free or a dollar if you check out this website: http://www.transfercar.co.nz/
This is especially good if you come out of season, there are more cars and caravans to choose from that need driving to next city. I decided to skip the cheap vehicle because I want to take the scenic train north and rest my nerves. ha ha It would probably be easier if there was more than one to navigate the road signs and maps and venture into side roads. Maybe if I had more time I'd do it because it seems so simple and cheap.
Third, understand that the Lets Go manuals and the New Zealand maps, brochures and friendly advice come from the perspective that highways can be less than six metres in width and that ditches and paved shoulders are North American indulgences. Once you get use to
Oh the days can start out so lovely, with decent roads. Beware the mountain passes.
those sad white posts with the red tops that probably mean something....like 'don't stop here' or 'there is nothing in between your car and the river ten metres below'....then you take your own fate in your hands. Kinda empowering, in a stupid fashion.
Fourth, there are few road rails/fences around those horrific bends. Again, perhaps another north american indulgence like not knowing that the next stretch of road is where lots of car crashes happen. My advice is to keep your sense of humour.
Fifth, do NOT get seduced by beautiful scenery or the wide roads that might be in front of your car. Within 100 metres you could get informed that you must cope with a one-lane bridge (they are ALL OVER this country) or that a hairpin turn of 190 degrees is soon upon you and you must slow down to 25 kilometres to survive the turn.
Sixth, keep your sense of humour and adventure. Try imagining the stories that you can tell and the photos that you can print to display the level of great courage that you must have had to drive to that fiord or that volcanic harbour.
Seventh, the radio stations fade in and
High Crash Zone
Read the sign and shudder.
out depending on the hill/mountain that is between you and the nearest city. Try not to be depressed when you discover that the only radio station in the mountains in winter is a Christian spiritual one....and that is not a sign of things to come. No, be strong, keep liberal and loving and trust in Jehovah, Krishna, Allah, Gloosecap and all the rest to keep you safe. Bloody christians think they have the patent on crisis situations. ha ha
Eighth, when your warning light flashes 'empty' you have about 40 kilometres left. This is very necessary if you are in the rural area because petrol stations are far and few between key points. Don't be fooled by the metre that shows you have half a tank. Nope, that is the lull between "oh my god I am nearly empty".
Ninth, when your gas tank light flashes that you are nearly empty, do not turn off at the nearest settlement exit. If the next stop is not the size of a town, do not turn off and drive that 7 kilometres to a historic site because there is NO gas there.
Tenth, never forget that it is a privilege to be
Approaching One Lane
Gear down, slow down and wonder if anything is charging at you from across the river. Oh, and who has right of way?...
so far away from home. Its Monday night here, and I know that Monday is only beginning back in Canada. A full moon lights up the sky and I am getting ready to catch a train and let the world flow by while I sit and snap pictures for you. I wish I could take a photo of the stars outside tonight. For all of you in the northern hemisphere know that the stars here are completely different. They arrange themselves in lines alot, and Venus shines brightly (so I am told). When I look up at night, I cannot locate myself next to you. Liberating, I suppose....finally a place where I am in a new context. All is well.
Tot: 1.511s; Tpl: 0.081s; cc: 12; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0274s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb