New Zealand – February 29, 2016

The Barn at the Wood Pigeon Lodge is a work of fantastic ingenuity. It has been retrofitted with parts of other buildings; appliances, furniture, windows, doors (sliding, French, and otherwise. A note on NZ doors: There’s no code mandating at what height the doorknob should go, so finding the bathroom in the dark of night can be an experience of desperate, noisy groping. It can sleep eleven in comfort and glory, surrounded by the lowing of cattle and sheep. As Joss and I begin to drive away, Ted the wet dog insists on trying to herd the car. Hilarious, sweet, and a little sorrowful.

It is raining in Raurimu as we leave. This is the rain that should have put the kibosh on the Crossing yesterday. Ha! We laugh at you, rain. This is a travel day for Joss and V. Our windshield wipers can now perform their appointed tasks rather than be cursed for not being the turn signal. We meander three hours through the breathtaking Whanganui River valley, stopping for lunch in Whanganui town. At least a half dozen times, the road shrinks to a single lane because the other lane has dropped into the river. We slow to fully experience a striking fence that, like and unlike the bridges over the Seine, is festooned with thousands of pairs of sneakers. In late mid-ish afternoon, we find ourselves in a lovely B&B with crickets and lawnmowers. There’s a rose garden out the window and a silly dog, named Gimme, who just wants to play ‘throw me the monkey’.

We won’t chugging all the way to Wellington, because, well, I anticipated rightly we’d be tired after yesterday’s feat. Oh, ya. Levin (pronounced leVin) is a one-story town, prosperous, unremarkable, and diurnal. We are the last people in the Thai restaurant at 7:30. They probably do take-away until nine, but as we leave the sidewalks are being rolled up.

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