Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A day of sun in amongst the gloomy weather

Autumn colours on Ashburton Domain, 29th April 2007
Had a lovely time on Sunday. We belong to a classic car club and I'd organised a day run on Sunday around and about in Mid-Canterbury. I'd had some help planning the route from my parents which was great. We decided that we would drive the route to check it and I'm glad we did, because at one point we ended up driving down a long, rough shingle road that had road works on it. There would have been a lot of unhappy campers if we'd used that road.

We started at Rakaia with 15 cars (which is an excellent turnout for a day run) and went via Barhill to the Ashburton Domain for lunch. By the time we got there, the day had become very sunny with minimal wind. The Domain was fantastic. It has a lot of well grown trees and the autumn colours were impressive. There's a maple grove that was spectacularly red.

4 cars joined us at lunchtime from a car club in Timaru which was fun. It was interesting though because they had quite a different attitude to the run than we did. They always travelled in convoy and one person expressed concern over the long drive (100km!!). Mind you, another one of them couldn't even find the Domain so it didn't bode well for their day.

We'd put the route around Lake Hood, which is the new man made lake near Ashburton. Most people had never been there although all of them had heard of it. Then out to the lost settlement of Waterton, though Longbeach, back over the river and down to Hakatere (Ashburton River mouth) and a finish with a cup of tea at the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

Hakatere is amazing as the river mouth is quite small but there's a large lagoon and a large population of cormorants. When we checked the route on Saturday they were in two flocks, one each side of the river mouth, and there was a lot of splashing and washing going on in the river and then drying of wings on the beach.

Finishing at the Ashburton Aviation Museum was excellent as it gave a final destination for people. My parents are heavily involved in the museum and had arranged cups of tea and biscuits as a small fundraiser for the museum. I could tell my father had been involved in the purchase of the biscuits because there was a good assortment of chocolate ones - lovely. They had opened the hanger doors to the workshop and put chairs out in the sun but out of the wind. A nice and relaxing way to finish the day for most people.

Unfortunately one participant got blinded by the low sun over some trees (a real hazard at this time of the year) and quietly drove into a ditch. Luckily they were all OK but obviously shaken. The local farmer towed his car out with a tractor and it looked as though it had no panel damage but it wouldn't start. So an unfortunate end to what had been a very cruisy day.



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