Not A Straycation - 10th Aug '20 Work was pushing for us to reduce leave balances. Mrs Box.a.bits originally mooted a trip to Chch, which she subsequently reneged on. I wasn’t going to take a Staycation. So eventually I decided I’d duplicate the first part of the ‘Carvan of Fools Tour’ & see where we went from there. Left on Monday 10th Aug. The weekend weather was supposed to be poor & I thought I’d let that pass – and besides I had other things to take care of before I left. But as it transpired, the weather forecasters got it wrong & it was fine. A missed opportunity. Left Wellington after 9.00. Late as usual. Filled at Rimutex, & thought I'd be good until Napier. Slabbed it to Masterton, then hit the Bideford Rd – the first gravel. That had a grader making a mess at the start of the road... Bartons Rd, where last time I chased some steers for miles.. Then back onto SH 52, & then Pori Rd. Chased a small goat for a good distance thru’ there, & a stoat nearly got a tyre track across it’s back when it left it’s run a little late. I suspect it’d been distracted by the mouse it was holding in it’s jaws. Took the turn to Towai / Rising Sun – was a bit windy up there, & some drizzle. No one visible working at the limeworks. The other side of the hill was finer. Lunch at Waihi Falls. Walked down to the bottom of the falls. Spectacular, but not as much water going over as I thought there might be. And I need to work on fitness. That climb back up... Back out onto SH52, then left onto Tahuokaretu Rd, & Birch Rd East. There is a bit of logging going on up there, so an encouragement to stay left. Winter light (harsh contrasts) and some road damage caused this section to be a little exciting. That included sunken wheel tracks in soft ground, & subsidance that had the sidecar doing motocross jumps. That’s fine as long as both wheels leave the ground at the same time. But when the tug disappears into a unseen drop off, & the sidecar wheel stays high, just a bit puckering. Didn’t stop for the longest place name. Was running behind schedule. Hit the beach at Blackhead exactly at low tide. Good firm sand. But the bypass track at the Aramoana slip is gone. And the beach below that has been scoured out. The bank was about 6 foot up. So had to hot foot it along the rock reef. The sand beach after Aramoana was good. But I hit a rock hidden in seaweed with the sidecar wheel, & that bounced the tub up in the air for a good distance. The tracks told a good story. Fortunately no damage. The head between Aramoana & Pourere beach was also scoured out, & I had to do some more reef riding. This time I got stuck in a crevice between slabs, with both the tug & tub wheels locked in that. I got some assistance to lift it out from some guys just about to go out for some Paua. I probably could have got it out myself (with a lot of effort), but good to accept help when offered. I think they were bemused to see a sidecar doing the run through there – they had come in with a 4WD. They wanted to know where my passenger was... Time was getting on now, so needed to move towards Napier. I decided a cabin rather than camping was the thing. But on arrival at Westshore Affordable Holiday Park at just before 6.00 (just after dark), I discovered a note to say the office shut at 5.00pm, & that it wasn't due to reopen at 10.00am. It suggested that I didn't call the 0800 no provided outside those hours. But the message did offer to let me camp outside the fence line for just $20/night. So I did the right thing, & shifted some of their barriers to allow me & the sidecar to weasel into the camp. I selected a suitable site, set up the tent, & then went hunting for a shower. Bugger – you need to pay for that, & I didn’t have the right change. Good job I had dinner on board. Checked my messages - already got the first 'please call me, urgently' message from work.... More to come.