Paul's 'Super Baje' Tour - Part II travel blog

Tui 2's penthouse interior

St. Johns Church, site of our convention

Beautiful, wooden alter of the Church

Central Plateau desert( 3,000 feet), before a huge rain storm

Guess whose coming to dinner? Black Swans and baby's at Lake Taupo

HP puts on a little, after dinner, light show, reminding me whose...

Now this is a real motorhome, spotted on the way to Rotorura-Very...


Everything happens for a reason, and certainly this was the case in Wellington. I had now been told R&R was in order by a Dr, several friends, and my own body. Taking all of that into consideration (hahaha), I was delighted to see there happened to be the New Zealand conference for folks who suffered from addictions, similar to myself. Imagine was this a set up, I wondered? After all, a few of you had been conspiring with the best on intentions to slow me down, so my slipped disc had a chance to heal. But like an ox in a china shop, I continued to press on, silly old goat.

The past three days were better than any prescription the Dr, or anyone else could have given me. I was forced to confront a few of my character defects (there are only a few,BTW), and listen to others share their own experience, strength and hopes. I think it's called listening, another thing, I haven't had to do for a while. The absolute humility, friendship offered and hugs so freely given, seemed to work wonders, both on my back and soul. As a result, I now have a whole new group of friends to keep in contact with, or to lend a hand too, while trudging this road of happy destiney. I certainly am a very, lucky man, and I don't ever want to that fact for granted.

I had lots to think about, as I fired up the resting Tui 2. Having spent three nights in Wellington, it was time to top up my water,empty the Grey water waste, and ensure all engine fluid levels were a go. The last thing I wanted at this point, was another engine meltdown. I did a through check,and with all systems go, headed north out of my Wellington parking spot. Funny, last night I slept on the street by choice,I mused, it hasn't been that long ago, when I had no where else to go.

The road out of town is nothing sensational, and I soon realized, the dramatic difference between the wild landscape of the South Island, compared to the seemingly flat, plain like geography of the North Island. Mellow, unrushed pastoral country,dotted with curvaceous, green hills, gently bent roads and magical rivers and gorges, made the drive a real delight. Dark storm clouds followed me, and I found myself wondering if the placid, sheep's wool became heavier during the infrequent deluges. This is surely a sign of serene mind, don't you think? Leaving the Wanganui and Plamerston regions behind, and after doing my required stretching, Tui 2 climbed slowly up onto the Central Plateau of the Taupo area.

The first thing I noticed, was the desert scrub land was posted by the army, as a “live fire and exercise area”. “Stay Out”, the bold, red signs,proclaimed. Well, sounded pretty clear to me, but I found myself wondering how many people ignored these warnings, as they had at the Franz Josef Glaciers. This large chunk of real estate is certainly not boring. A wild wind was blowing, and rain started to pelt the windows. “Beware of Flash Floods” warned the road signs, as I negotiated a series of tight bends through eroded creek beds and hillsides. You could see where the force of water had made new channels in the rock, providing some interesting variations in the rock strata. A sudden break in the clouds gave me a quick view of the snow covered, soaring volcano's-Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. I must admit,quite a spectacle, and I made a little mental note to perhaps, pursue climbing one of these in the future. All too soon, they disappeared under black storm clouds,and it was again time to focus on the twisty, blacktop ahead of me.

I entered the Tongariro area, know as the best Trout fishing in the world. Now in the world of fishing lore, there is on occasion a tendency to embellish, but according to the Tourist Center, and the large Trout monument in Taupo,this is the spot for trout. I drove along the banks of Lake Taupo and found a little park,right next to the lake. Lake Taupo is the largest body of water in New Zealand, and is a water filled crater, a legacy of a volcanic blast, some 26,500 years ago. At this point, the park was empty, so I found a perfect spot, only meters from the waters edge. Much to my surprise and delight, a family of Black Swans,with their young joined me for dinner. It had been a wild day weather wise, and I suddenly noticed a beautiful rainbow over the lake, a perfect ending to a very peaceful, and enjoyable day. I crawled into my bed at about 8pm,and slept soundly until 7am the next morning, awakening gradually, while listening to the sound of waves caress the shoreline



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