After many a layover, hours of sitting, and meeting a wizard in LAX, I am finally back in New Zealand!!
Last time I was in New Zealand a guy named Dave picked me up on my way from Wellington to Palmerston North. I ended up getting sidetracked and finding myself in Taupo with him and this Swedish couple that he had picked up a day or two before. It was a fun little spontaneous adventure (the best kind). Anyway, Dave may no longer work for the NZ Post, but he still knows everyone who does. He made some calls and arranged for me to have a ride almost all the way down to Palmy from Auckland! Dave. is. the best. Hands down.
I had to take the train from the downtown Auckland to Penrose (it was on the way to Papakura. When I saw I had to go that way I shuddered…last time I was in Papakura I was stuck on the side of the road with Erin in the pouring rain for hours because no one would pick us up. We vowed to never return. Needless to say I did not have high hopes for Penrose once I made the association). By the time I actually got to Penrose it was about 10pm. I was the only one to get off the train and I stepped onto a dark, dreary, and empty platform. The guy punching all the tickets looked at me with a hint of concern in his eyes and asked if I was alright. I assured him I was and was left alone in the cold on that desolate platform as the lights of the train twinkled out of sight. Well, now what.
I made my way to Station St and began walking. Steve (the guy who was giving me a lift from Auckland to Taupo) told me to look for Post Haste and just walk into the shipping yard. I wandered down Station St until rain suddenly began pouring down. I ran and stood dismally under a nearby awning as the howling wind threw the pelting rain sideways. You have got to be kidding me. I’m stuck, once again, somewhere near Papakura in the pouring rain. My shoulders slumped as I thought about venturing out into this storm to find a guy I have never seen before in a shipping yard that I have no clue how to get to. Fortunately the rain soon let up and I was able to splash through the puddles until I finally found the place. I wandered in and found myself surrounded by semi trucks and a multitude of forklifts zipping around with pallets of freight teetering precariously on their prongs. I had no idea what Steve looked like, so I just stood to the side and looked confused and hoped that he would find me. Thankfully I wasn’t waiting long before I was found and we were on our way!
It wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning that we finally reached Taupo. At this point Steve’s half of the route was done and Craig was going to take over from there. Since Steve didn’t know when Craig would arrive, he said I could sleep in the cab and when he did show up he would just jump in and go. Fortunately Craig was alerted to the fact that there would be a sleeping girl in the bed (and keep in mind I have never met this man before in my life). I said my goodbyes to Steve and he just dropped the keys in the cab with me and left me to it. It was about 3am and I now found myself in a random Taupo parking lot and alone in one of the NZ Post’s semi trucks, with the keys, tucked into my sleeping bag. Life can be so wonderfully random sometimes.
One particularly bumpy corner roused me from my slumber a couple of hours after drifting off to sleep. For about three seconds I lay in my sleeping bag (my head was covered by it) and tried to figure out exactly where I was. I sat up and had a glance around. Well I sure hope that’s Craig. “You must be Craig” I croaked at the driver, looking my greasy hair and bleary eyed best (I just look amazing in the mornings). It was a bit awkward. Fortunately (and not surprisingly) it was indeed Craig and I had not been abducted by a crazy as I slept. I highly doubt I was what he was expecting when he was told there was a sleeping girl in his truck, seeing as upon waking up I tend to resemble more of an ogre. I tried my hardest to stay awake and be talkative but after only 10 hours of sleep in the past two and a half days it just wasnt happening; I ended up looking like an idiot by repeatedly falling asleep while sitting straight up with my mouth hanging open.
Craig dropped me off in Sanson and wished me luck in the final 20 minute stretch before Palmy. Almost immediately after getting dropped off a trucker from another company picked me up. Lee drove me from Sanson to Palmy, and since he was staying in town for the night and I had to wait for Talya to get off of work, we ended up meeting for coffee in town. Now I can not only get a ride from the NZ Post wherever they travel, I can now see where Lee is (or anyone in the company, seeing as he owns it) and get a free ride from them if they are heading the same way.
At the moment I am back in Palmy and reunited with Talya. Roadie to Welly this weekend and then continuing on with the reunion tour! It feels great to be back on the move and out in the world. Life is good. 🙂