We've arrived at Arthurs Pass! We'll share a rundown of the past couple of weeks in the coming days, but in the meantime, we wanted to share this story - it was presented to us as a handwritten letter in the Murchison food drop. Our supporters are truly amazing people who have gone well out of their way to help us out...even if that means running into a few problems from time to time. For context, Ingrid drove us up to Golden Bay for the beginning of the trip and joined us for the first few days before heading back to the car.
A bedtime story - by Ingrid Hannan
Once upon a time, a young explorer set off on her own. She had just said goodbye to some dear friends, waving and blowing kisses out of the window. Her kind drivers took her about two hours down a long, bumpy road. She silently thanked the heavens she hadn't tried to hitchhike or even bike out of the Cobb - it was that long and far away. Luckily, the sweet and wise Queen Pringle [Karen Pringle who is Alexis and Lydia's first primary school teacher who now lives in Golden Bay] offered her a place to stay the night, seeing as she had no tent and it was well past dark upon arriving into the little hamlet of Takaka. Upon arising after a deep night's beauty rest, our hero enjoyed a great breakfast and was again very kindly offered a ride in the chariot of Queen Pringle to Bainham. It rained and rained. Our hero counted the cars on the road to see if hitching would have been a viable option that Monday morning. Nay. She once again thanked the heavens for the ride. After being dropped near the farm, the explorer thrust those wet boots back on and trudged up the hill to the car. She put the bikes on the back and chucked her sodden gear in the boot, and was ready to hit the road.
But wait! What's this? She could hardly believe it. The car battery was utterly dead. Not a single dashboard light came on. And for those of you, dear readers, who are skeptical - it was not a problem with the immobilizer - our hero checked out multiple potential solutions here. She said, "Damn. F*ck. Well...damn." And she sat and ate a cookie and thought. There was another car at the trail head, but the owners clearly left days ago, She searched for jumper cables anyway. No luck. 'Okay" she sighed, "I guess I can pop her into neutral and roll down the hill to the farmhouse and ask for a jump." So she took off the handbrake and heaved and pushed and strained. That truck did not want to move. So she got out and looked to see if something was blocking the wheels and lo! she couldn't believe her eyes.
A flat tire.
Like, a really flat tire.
The rim was touching the ground.
"F*ck! Oh seriously!? F*ck f*ck f*ck!" A dead battery and a flat tire on a trail head far from town on a rainy Monday morning. Perfect. She did the only reasonable thing she could do: ate another cookie. She then got out her 1990s-era dumb phone and called the AA. She was two menu options into the digital operator when she heard the ominous beep. That's right, dear readers, her phone died too. She had Prince Allan's phone also! Alas, also totally dead. Her path was becoming increasingly narrow. She thrust those wet boots on again, downed some ibuprofen and cookies, and walked back down the hill.
She knocked on the first farmhouse door. No one home. A bull made threatening noises. She walked on. On the drive she had seen some people planting trees! They were gone. She walked on. A knock on another farmhouse door - no one home. On and on she walked. Once again utterly soaked. Finally, she came upon a man digging a hole (he was near the Bainham town hall) and she asked to use a phone. She went into the farmhouse and was finally able to call the AA. " Why don't you have a spare tire?" the woman on the phone asked. Our hero sighed, remembering it being put aside for the bike rack and loads of gear. "You'll have to buy a new tire. There's a mechanic in Nelson..." The young explorer knew there had to be a tire closer than that! "Plus what would you like me to do?" she asked, trying to keep the tone of exasperation out of her voice, "...buy one and walk with it to my car?" Finally it was agreed that a tow truck should be sent. The young explorer waited with the kind home owners (who turned out to be Americans originally, and they all laughed about how unlikely it would be for Trump to become president...but that's another sad, sad story...).
The tow truck driver arrived! Hooray! He drove her to the Benetron-mobile, gave it a jump, and then struggled to get the big tow truck positioned correctly on that narrow dirt road. He backed the trailer up a hill. The angle was a little too steep. It broke one of his tow truck's tail lights! She silently said "f*ck" a few times. But eventually, finally, the car was loaded and they drove to Takaka and laughed about how unlikely it would be for Trump to become president and the tire was patched and our hero finally hit the road at 6.15pm. She blasted some good tunes, smashed a coffee, marvelled at a totally stunning sunset and drove drove drove until she made it back to her castle and lived happily ever after.