Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

Another transition day so not many pics, but here's a look at...

The sun sets on our first day on the North Island. We...


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tauranga, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do…” - The Animals

DISCLAIMER: You might want to skip this entry; while nothing tragic happens today, it was a much stinkier day than we’ve had before. So it reads like a huge whine-fest which is fine for me because I’ll remember this day for sure but it might not make for the most fun read of the trip. You have been warned…..

Okaaaaay, so not our smoothest day so far……..in fact, might be my least favorite day of the parade so far but I guess every trip has a day like that. I HOPE this is the ONLY day like this and nothing was tragic, just a whole lot of small frustrations that added up by the end of the day….sigh.

Woke up to a sunny day at 8 in Auckland-what a pleasant surprise! We got showers and sadly had just some tea and coffee for breakfast; but what’s this? I had a Lara bar stashed in my bookbag that I forgot about and thus I had something to eat after all. Got everything packed up and were ready at 10:30 for Shelley and Steve to come to the hotel to bring us the next campervan in our adventure. We are renting again through Shareacamper and this one is called Porter’s Camper. They were right on time and pulled up right in front of the room. It’s a much newer vehicle, a 2015 Mercedes diesel automatic. It looks great from the outside but has much fewer windows than Amanda’s. But the inside that was supposed to be so luxe was in reality very nicely trimmed but sadly short on amenities that actually matter. It is much more “crowded” in it’s layout, no hooks to be found, sadly many less cubby bins for storage and just all around less satisfying to us. That said, the finishes are nice and the fabrics are new and nice; it’s just not the vehicle for us. But it is probably useful to actually try one like this if we are thinking of getting one because now we will be certain what NOT to get….LOL.

They showed us the vehicle inside and out but as it turns out, didn’t remember to show or tell us everything we needed to know nor did they give us a manual to answer any questions like we have had in other campers. When she turned the refrigerator on, the panel was blinking and I asked her and she said when you start the engine that will come on properly so I said okay. Turns out, not so much. It never did start working properly despite the fact that it should have run while the engine was running on our drive today. They didn’t show us how to adjust the dining table; they didn’t show us how to turn on the main gas valve they had closed; they didn’t show us how to do the master valves for the hot water, refrigerator to use gas, gas cooktop, etc. You get the idea. We’re no camper novices but every one is different and so you need to either be shown how or have a manual to refer to…..sigh.

We looked at maps after they left trying to decide how to chase the sun. After much debate, we finally were ready to pull out of the parking lot at 11:45. Art turned on the engine and as we sat there letting it warm for a minute as we buckled up, the gosh-awfullest alarm began ringing out….seriously, it was terrible! Imagine being inside a closed up car with a smoke alarm going off - it was piercing! We couldn’t figure out what was going on or where the noise was coming from. It stopped and we went whew….then it went off again….and again….and again! We found the source of the sound coming from a white box behind the drivers seat but still don’t know what it was warning us about or anything. It finally quit; we texted Shelley and she had no idea what it was. So that was helpful. We decided to drive about 20 minutes down the road to a grocery store that had a McDonalds in the parking lot so we could at least get something to eat - I was ready to kill somebody for a hamburger! So we drove and the alarm didn’t go off and we were happy.

McDonald’s was bliss. I had a triple cheeseburger and fries and a coke. It had been 24 hours since I had any real food and I needed to fill up! Art got the BBQ burger and I shared my fries and he got a Fanta frozen passionfruit drink something. Yum...finally a meal! Then we went into the Countdown grocery store and spent about 45 minutes getting a few basics like we always get. I did manage to drop a 4 pack of Coke cans on the floor where 1 promptly split open and began spitting Coke everywhere. Really? Just one more annoyance in an already annoying day. FINALLY we were pulling out and heading south to Tauranga about 3. Of course, as we start her up in the parking lot, the alarm sounds again - aaaaaghhhhhhh! But only one whine and then no more; texted Shelley - still no ideas what it is. So we drive on out, moving like the proverbial herd of turtles today!

Drove on and it was a partly sunny, very pleasant temp day, probably in the low 70s. Shorts and tshirt weather - it was great to be warm. Pretty uneventful drive to Tauranga on the east coast and we arrived about 7. First park where we could possibly freedom camp was pretty full so we moved on about 5 minutes away and found another right on the water with views of Tauranga port and Mt. Manganui and it was nice. Called Kulim Park. Parked facing the water and it was 7:30.

Decided to tackle the refrigerator again. The whole panel was still flashing and it appears to us there is an error code 13 (how ominous is that?) flashing on there too. Art turned the gas on outside and this didn’t change the refrigerator’s situation. Tried lighting the stovetop to see if gas was flowing...nope. Back to the outside situation and he found a valve Steve did not mention and he turned that on. Back inside, tried again...nope. Found a small panel underneath the oven and it had several valves on it, some turned one way and some another. So Art rationalized it out, turned them the correct way and we hear the refrigerator hum. Hurray! Lit the cooktop successfully. Hurray! Uh oh…..fridge panel still flashing with the ominous 13. Not getting cool although the freezer is getting cool but not colder…..there is definitely something wrong with it - I knew it! Sigh...

Made ham and cheese sandwiches so our ham and cheese that is now warm can be used up. Squashed ourselves into the tiny dinette area and commiserated about how it can be that we rent two different campers and at the start of both rentals have something major wrong we have to get fixed. Mostly, we tried to laugh it off but it’s getting harder….LOL. Texted and talked with Shelley all evening off and on; Art did a great job of explaining things to her and getting a plan to maybe get it fixed tomorrow. We are supposed to take it to a shop in Manganui and see what they say. Unbelievably, the final text from her said if they can’t do a quick or cheap job, we’ll have to bring it back to Auckland because it’s under warranty. Or they can come get it but leave us stranded in Tauranga….WTF? Seriously? She’s is REALLY raining on my party parade here but I will try and hold myself together until tomorrow and hope that it will be a short and simple fix like Amanda’s power cord in Wanaka. It will be easy….it will be easy….it will be easy….that’s my mantra!

Caught up on this journal, which has probably been as much a drag to read as it was to actually live it. Looked a little online, read my emails, etc. Then we were just too tired from all the frustrations and headed to bed about 11:45. Oh, yeah, and it started raining again. Sigh…..

Hoping for a better day tomorrow……!



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