Goodbye Pork Pie Fun Run 2009
"I'm taking this bloody car to Invercargill"
Hi folks, this is the long awaited, I hope, update on the Pork Pie run, written from the ferry on a fine and sunny Wellington day one of those things that are a relatively rare occurrence down here. Trip started well with a group of us meeting at the BP service centre at dairy flat. First thing had Simon and Lee head down and bum up under a bonnet of guess what a MINI. Too much oil pressure. There had to be a reason those two came along! Sorted and off to Whangarei. Piddling down on and off all the way. A certain club member now needs some therapy sessions when we return his cars got wet for the first time in 12 months. Such trauma! Stopped in Whangarei for lunch piddling down again. Who was it sitting all rugged, spurred, and booted in one with an open top with an umbrella up!
Shortly after off again to the next stop. Kawakawa the Riviera of the north with the flashest dunnies in the country. Fill up with gas and off again to the next commitment, a link up with Rob and Anne from the wet and supposedly winterless north, for a convoy thru Kerikeri, then on to Mangonui and the world famous in Mangonui fish and chip shop. Guess who all the piggy wiggies were piggy wiggying on fish and chips. Then on to Kaitaia and gather with the rest of the teams. Cannot remember perhaps too many medicines whether there were any other problems on the way. One drinking lots and lots of the oily stuff as I recall.
A briefing, dinner, and an early (yeah right) night for a rising at sparras the next day for an 0800 kick off. Flagged away at about 30 second intervals by the Hon “Honi” Carter. WOW I have now met, spoken to, and shaken the hand of a real live flesh and blood MP. Bliss!
Fairly straight forward run down the Island to the first organised stop at Warkworth where we were met by a bunch of you JAFAs that was great to see and thank you. Us lot are no longer JAFAs now that we have found there is life south of the Bombay Hills. The next stop was Gull at Albany we were told that we were going to be given a free fill of gas courtesy of MINI NZ and more guessing who was it that was so tight arse that they just about had to caost in in the quest to get the best fill possible? But turned out that we were all handed an envelope that contained $60 in petrol vouchers. What a great gift and thank you MINI. Moved off in convoy heading to Newmarket. The next question, who’s kids had the banner on the Sunnynook Rd overbridge and got moved off by the Police cos they were creating a hazard? They also had the two Mothers with them 91 and 87. Those two old girls think they are going to feature on Police Ten 7!
Stopped at Team McMillan for a while and got the passport stamped by Lucy Lawless (be still my beating heart). Forgot to mention that we have been given a passport that has to be stamped at various high points from the movie. A choccy Hot Cross bun, some tinned hyperactivity, and on to Pokeno to have the passport stamped again. Thanks to the person unknown to this correspondent, that turned up with all the food. Then free running to Wairakei for the night.
Next question who is the Mini Mechanic that insists on wearing a long blond curly wig all the time. Rumour has it that it really is ALL the time. Wonder how it will look after a day in the workshop!
Very good accommodation and after another early night it was off to National Park to get another passport stamp, from there down to Horopito and we were treated to a drive thru of the famous wreckers yard. Didn’t notice anyone parking under a Valiant! Perhaps cos its too hard to even get in the back these days! A quick look round and then off to Raetihi for one of the best pies and coffees in NZ. It really is worth a stop off here just for the pies. Clowns Café last shop on the left down the main street.
Next question, who was it that once lived in Raetihi as a teenager in the accommodation attached to what was the BNZ, and had her two babies on the footpath lined up at the front steps of the bank for a photoshoot? Where did the 2 dozen local kids suddenly materialise from?
Off down the Parapara Road to Wanganui. What is a reasonable road in the everyday car, shakes the proverbial out of the little ones. A couple of patches of mud to go thru. More trauma for an unnamed one!
Gathered with the Wanganui club for about half an hour for a show and tell! The welcomes have been amazing and there are some really very good MINIs still alive and well throughout the country. From there it was on to Southward's museum and a link up with the Wellington Club for a convoy in to Te Papa where the participants cars were on display in front of Te Papa for an hour. On to the Hotel, where the parking was a sight to see. 28 MINIs in an 11 park gacility! But they still charged $15 per car for the parking. Another early night and its now all of us on the ferry for the trip to the South Island. Its fine and calm and there's unlikely to be any prized possessions bashing against each other in the bowels of the ship. Police had a breath testing checkpoint in Aotea Quay on the way to check in. All passed and all on the boat. That is what we could expect after all having had really early nights.
Question who is it wearing a fur lined flying cap with his ears covered? Is that cos the car is noisy or for some other reason. External interference perhaps?
Theres been a bit of breakage on the way down a fan belt, but the most amazing was a clutch replacement in the carpark of the Wairakei hotel overnight under lights where is was so cold there were no brass monkeys to be seen. A fuel pump leaking oil onto an exhaust pipe and the resultant smokescreen but all fixed along the way.
Theres a bunch of guys on the trip known as the Westies. They are aamazing play all night, drive all day but with hearts of gold. Support car and mechanic with them, bunch of parts, and assist anyone in trouble. Their restored car is for auction on Trade me with the proceeds to Starship have a look. The Mini is fitted with the largest air horn you have ever seen, so big that when it is blown the reverse thrust causes a 20kmh reduction in forward travel, all run from a 12v compressor and a BBQ gas bottle.
Question which club captain always travels with his favourite pillows and nearly left them in the hotel this morning? And who’s wedding anniversary is it today and how bad would it have been if pillows were left behind on such an auspicious day?
And today is now over, it's late and Moi needs his beauty sleep. Has been a full on day pretty much just travel, off the ferry, down to Chch, over Arthurs Pass to Hokitika. Pretty much solid driving. Off the ferry around 12 and then just on 700km to travel. Most arrived at the Hotel between 2000 and 2030, just on restaurant close but very obliging and stayed open that bit longer. Crossed the pass in dusk that turned to dark as it does and the Southern Alps covered in snow in the half light was a sight never to be forgotten.
Question, who was it that thought she could smell burning rubber descending Arthurs Pass no dear, that is hot brakes!
Where did I leave off last time, I think we had just arrived at, or left, Hokitika. The morning we left Hokitika dawned wet and overcast and the run down the West coast started around 0800. Uneventful apart from the rain too much of it, and road works, and mud, and a water leak we didn’t know existed! Stop for a bite to eat at Haast, then on again over Haast Pass.
Question, who was it that abandoned the cold and wet roadster and the sodden passenger compartment for a warmer car?
That caused the little one to do some work! Top of the pass and it started to clear. Brilliantly fine and sunny for the run past Lake Hawea etc and into Wanaka, then past the Wanaka airport with no time to stop and look at all the interesting stuff! Along the side of lake Dunstan spooky to think that half of Cromwell, a plethora of orchards and all sorts of other stuff are down there under the water. Reminder of the protests that took place years ago when I wasn’t interested and it was all somewhere else that they were protesting about.
On past THE dam at Clyde and in to Alexandra. Another great accommodation, must say that on the trip the accommodation has been really top knotch. Time to do a bit of tinkering here was a big unobstructed wall, lets see what the headlight aim was like cos it wasn’t that flash for seeing what was going on over Arthurs Pass. The new bulbs that had been put in before the trip started hadn’t been adjusted. Right one possum spotting on dip, and more like a WW2 searchlight on full. No wonder it was hard to see! Really must replace the semi sealeds with fully sealed! Arrived in Alexandra in time to see the Westies doing their outlandish stuff again. Dining room at the motel had a wooden deck outside perhaps 750mm off the ground, steps up. Someone decided the car would look good on the deck, next thing 8 burly men are carrying the car up the steps! Morning and time to get it down lets not lift we will build a ramp out of pavers laid on the steps and roll it down worked a treat.
Last day coming up now not such a biggy so a bit of a later start. All we had to do was head to Dunedin, turn up in the Octagon, stay a while, head to Invercargill. Our choice of route to Dunedin. I think without exception we chose to travel thru Central Otago essentially following the Rail Trail. What a magnificent part of the country that is good roads, under utilised, wide open, and fine sunny and a huge blue sky. Comfort stop at Wedderburn, Coffe and Muffin at the Hyde Hotel, and onwards. Stop for gas at Middlemarch, bugga the station is shut and looks like its been like that for a while! Never mind, keep on, theres 10 litres in the boot if we need it. Arrive Mosgiel and head for the nearest petrol station, and after filling another bugga where are all the Minis? We’ve been left behind, time running short, so lets skip Dunedin and head straight to the collection point at Edendale. And in that hour and a bit theres NO Minis to be seen at all. After spending so long wheresaw we at a glance (apologies to Wordsworth) an hour with none to be seen felt like we had been abandoned!
Arrived at the Edendale Vintage Machinery club expecting to see all there, and guess who was in fact first in. Huge southern hospitality and then the cars started arriving. Treated to a greeting from Mayor Tim, but in all the while he talked not a mention of Starship. A bit disappointing I thought. No Westie Car but that has received plenty of publicity so not repeated here. Convoy of Minis the last 30 km in to Invercargill including some local ones down the main street, around the clock tower and back to the hotel. Another amazing sight only one of the original starters that didn’t finish. Celebration dinner, great time, Westies drove in to the dining room after a roadside heart and lung transplant. Trip over, we had all achived! Some great friendships forged, and best of all just short of $130k for Starship. The following day felt a bit hollow, no need for an early start, all doing their own thing and starting the journey back.
Three final questions
Who was it seen at an ATM in central Invercargill, received a text to tell her to get away from there, husband already flown back to Auckland, and spent some seconds pirouetting on the spot trying to see where the text had come from?
Who was it, on the return trip travelling downhill out of Dunedin, heard knocking under the front of the car, and a shake in the steering, stopped, crawled in, under, round, and over, found nothing. Dreamed expense, called the AA in trepidation. Very quick AA service response by the way. Diagnosis left front wheel had worked loose wheel nuts less than finger tight! Once they were tightened no further problem for the rest of the South Island. Best of all the wife still got to Fleurs for the promised lunch. And with apologies to Kenny Rogers it was very nearly a case of “You picked a fine time to leave me Loose Wheel”
Who was it that on the way back just out of Kaikoura forgot the warning given to us all in Wellington that the local constabulary is policing keeping to the left. Ironing out the curves in the hills came round a corner and there was a blue and white Holden hidden away taking photos, two more corners and a Policeman steps out and pulls the car over! Bugga! But officer surely not MOI! Warning only phew. Perhaps the signage helped, who knows?
That’s all folks a thoroughly good adventure with a wonderful result.