I had a wedding to attend in a place I’d never been to – Gisborne. I asked around to see how long it would take, and the responses back to me were anywhere from about 3 hours, to 6 hours. Maybe this was an omen?
So I ventured off and called into family on the way. I set up my iphone to pump out some jiving road trip tunes that I knew I could sing along to. I drove on a summer’s afternoon through farmland, rolling hills and an endless windy gorge. It was pretty, but I knew that it was going to be a bitch to drive the next day with a hangover.
I arrived into a wet Gisborne. So much for being the first place to see the sun aye.
The wedding was a rainy success. That night it poured down, torrentially poured down. Cats and dogs had nothing on this.
My mates had left the next day, before me. I got a text an hour later to say ‘If you’re heading north Opotiki road flooded. Coastal highway no better so if your heading home best bet to go napier taupo!’ The 4 hour drive home had nearly doubled.
I followed my mates armed with copious amounts of sugar, to go via Napier. By the time we passed Wairoa, the roads were a mess. Trees, rocks, slips, and water flooded the roads. The fog kicked in, and the rain came at me horizontally. I was seeing much more of the country than I really wanted to, on less than 5 hours sleep. My singing got worse.
We reached the Napier/Taupo turnoff and pulled over. Wouldn’t ya know it, that road was closed too. Lucky Dad had fallen in love with a woman from Napier, and I could stay there the night.
She cracked a bottle of wine. I grimaced. It was the absolute last thing I was interested in.
I woke up bright and early, ready to hit the road by 8am. I couldn’t. The road was still closed, but my original route had been re-opened. There goes Murphy teasing me with his dumb law.
Hallelujah! The road was about to open. I left at 10:30am, only to sit in a queue for 20 minutes. I chewed on lollies and flicked through a trashy magazine. Finally, we got moving.
I drove singing super loud because let’s face it, what else could I do? I came out over the ranges, to be greeted by warm sunshine. I smiled. This was getting a little bit funny.
Open roads beckoned me as I drove in a convoy of about 40 cars. Leo Sayer told me in lyrics that I made him feel like dancing. I was prepared to dance the night away, or shoulder dance in the car at least.
“What the f**k!” I cursed at some idiot who decided passing several cars at a time on yellow lines was a great idea. I mean, we were all in the same boat…
“F**k you, you prick!” I yelled to myself, as the same idiot passed another car with oncoming traffic. I was not prepared to scrape his body off the tar seal.
I reached Taupo, and stopped for a quick bite. The public holiday meant a 15% surcharge. I had completely forgotten what day it was.
I was very ready for my final leg of the journey. Only 2 hours to go. I waited at the traffic lights with my music on, tapping my fingers, and window down. The green light went on and water squirted my face and the inside of my car. I turned around to see some little pricks with grins on their faces. I furiously raised my middle finger as high as I could out the window and shook my head, cursing. It didn’t quite have the same effect as pinching your younger brother really, really hard to make him cry, when you were a kid. At that point, I wished I was either an undercover cop or a superhero. Why was I being punished for having a 22 year old car that had non-working aircon?
So after a 24 hour detour and putting $130 worth of petrol in my car, I finally made it back in one piece. And like Dorothy said “There’s no place like home.”