Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Sometimes, travel is an adventure.

Shannon and I went out to the Coromandel Peninsula last weekend to take in the sights after her conference.

It's a beautiful place, with roads right on the edge of the water, and mountains in the middle. Saturday was some pretty great weather, too, save the warning to stay off the eastern beaches before lunchtime due to the tsunami from Japan. You'll have to excuse the pictures. As a seasoned traveler does, I left my camera at home, so all these are from an iPod.

We had a casual drive around from Auckland all the way to Waikawau Bay (map). Since it was well past lunch time, we hit the beach. As we were putting on sunscreen, we looked up, and saw the ocean rush out about 30 meters in about 30 seconds. Like the other three people on the beach, we retreated. A few minutes later, it eased back in over the span of a few minutes. Very freaky, since the bay is somewhat protected. I wonder what it was like on the open coastline - though obviously not serious by any comparison.

Once it seemed the danger had passed, we, and others, resumed. There was a wonderfully refreshing swim, a walk, a nap, and another splash in the water. Pretty awesome afternoon.

We even got up for most of sunrise and beach tea on Sunday.

We stopped near Tuateawa (map) for the view...

and Shannon made a friend.

We were heading back into Coromandel Town, as we needed to head towards Auckland so Shannon could make her flight, when we stopped at Tokatea Lookout (map).

 Aaaaaaaand, cue the drama.

Are you serious? Key snapped in the ignition like an overbent paperclip. It didn't shear, it fatigued. Previous owner probably bent it and bent it back. Thank goodness we have 1) mobile coverage and 2) roadside towing cover.

Lovely chap brought his truck (and his two buddies, despite me insisting there were two of us) to the pass, and fiddled around a bit (by which I mean removed all the surrounds on the steering column, the wheel lock, and the ignition assembly because he was SURE he could start it with a screwdriver, as it's the most stolen car in NZ). Naturally, we found out the long way that there is an immobilizer chip in the key head. Who knew. Tow it is.

What's that, you say? That photo looks like you took it through a rainy windshield on top of the truck because this dude brought his buddies? Correct. We buckled up. For safety, naturally.

Down in town, the mechanic (right - singular) came in from home on a Sunday to confirm that there was an imobilizer in the key and inquired if we had considered the ferry home, as it was a Sunday. Lesson learned - don't need anything more than milk outside of Auckland (and possibly Welly and CHCH) on a Sunday.
After killing time, the ferry ride actually was quite lovely. It's about two hours from Coromandel Town to Auckland, with a quick stop at Waiheke Island.

Now, as for the car, it's still in Coromandel. The first word was that a new key could be had (from Oz) for about $220, but that the car needed to be taken to a Subaru dealer to get it coded. Naturally, that's Auckland, so about a $400 tow. Latest news is that the mobile locksmith can make a new blade and fit it to the existing head for about $150 but not until Friday. Who knows what it'll cost to get the mechanic (singular) to put everything else back together. In an effort to not take a vacation day over this, I changed an international plane ticket for a bordering on reasonable fee, and in theory, I pick up the car on Saturday, after another ferry ride.

The bookies are taking bets.

Update: Obviously, Shannon didn't make her flight. Emirates was very accommodating for very little money. I got two extra days with her. You'd think it was planned or something.


Dairygal said...

The pictures are awesome. Though that's crazy your key broke I'm glad you two got a few extra days together. Have you gotten your car back yet? Jason would say that's what you get for getting a "hippie-mobile". Wish we were there in the sunshine.

Brendan said...

If my all wheel drive wagon is a hippie mobile, I can only imagine Jason's opinion of your old Neon. Way to help keep those stereotypes alive...