We awoke in our motel in Warkworth. When I checked on Becky, she still wasn’t doing well. Not good. We decided to go to a pharmacy to see if we could get her some meds. Fortunately, Warkworth town center was within walking distance. Before walking into town, we discussed our ever-evolving plans. I thought today would be a good idea to hit Piha Beach and possibly some goldmine ruins that have neato hiking trails through old mine car tunnels. I also thought it might be a good idea for me to buy a plane ticket from the south island to the north island. This would buy us tons of time and get me back to Auckland airport without having to worry about driving back…which, we were learning, would have taken FOREVER. When we walked into Warkworth, we not only found a pharmacy, but a travel agency too. Becky got her meds and a huge box of tissues. I got a plane ticket from Christchurch to Auckland for only $150. TOTALLY worth it.
We walked back to the motel, packed up and checked out. Time to continue heading south. Next destination? Piha Beach to the southwest. Getting there ended up being sheer hell though! Becky was driving and I was navigating. We had to make our way through the Auckland suburbs and there was no direct route to get us to the beach. Signage in NZ is not great, so it was easy to get lost…and that we did. Also, once we got out of the suburbs, the roads were even more narrow and twisty! It took seemingly forever, but boy oh boy, look at what we saw when we finally emerged from the mountain-top road:
Piha! Soooo pretty! I love just saying it. Piha Piha Piha!!!! 🙂 We got lunch (me, fish and chips and Becky got a fish burger) and we took it down to the black sand beach and ate whilst watching surfers do their thang (and the seagulls watched us!). I didn’t realize it, but in the short time that I was out there, I got sunburned on my shoulders and nose. Mind you, I had been tanning before going to NZ, but the sun was still REALLY strong. Even though Becky wasn’t feeling good, we had a nice time at the beach.
Now it was time to head off to Karangahake Gorge! This was another place that I learned about from the NZ Frenzy book by Scott Cook. The gorge was in Waihi, to the southeast of Auckland. It was the site of the original goldrush in the mid 1800’s. At the bottom of the gorge is the
Ohinemuri River. It sounded really neat and I was psyched to experience it. Once again, Becky drove and I navigated. The journey was much easier this time too, even though we hit some rain, it cleared up by the time we got to the Gorge. Becky was trying to be a trooper, and I wasn’t trying to hover/be overly concerned. Poor thing…it was like her whole body was draining through her shnoz. Her meds weren’t working. We parked and before starting on the Windows Walk, I took a picture of all the tissues she had used that morning. Yep, this was just from the AM! Even so, we set forth on our hike. It was AMAZING! I had never experienced anything like it. It started off with a suspension bridge with only a 10 person capacity. Note the remnants of the factory all around.
As we continued on, we followed the mine car tracks and here is all the cool stuff we saw/experienced:
It was on this last leg, that Becky collapsed. It was a warm summer day, yet she had her jacket zipped to her neck, she was pale and she was literally DONE. She started crying as she sat in the dirt in the middle of the trail. “This is supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and I am so f’ing sick!” Ohhh man. I felt so bad for her. She had been trying so hard to keep going and see and do as much as possible that her body just basically said, “no more”. She was toast and I felt so bad for her. I tried to cheer her up as best I could, but I had no magic wand to make her instantly well, damn it. I was also concerned, because she was really sick and her fever was worse. I knew that if she didn’t get better soon, I was going to bring her to a doctor or maybe even an emergency room. I didn’t tell her that, but I knew that we needed to get to a more populated place…just in case. In the meantime, I convinced her that we needed to leave. I would drive to Rotorua and find us another hotel. She was to do nothing more today but rest. We got her back to the RV and that’s exactly what she did as I drove. After a few hours, we were in the Rotorua, one of the most popular cities in New Zealand due to it’s geo-thermal activity. I found the Bella Vista Hotel. They had just a handicap room left, and we took it. Even better, they had internet access. I hadn’t been able to reach out to David, mom or dad in a couple days, so it was important that I email them. Even though it was summer, Becky went right to bed and fortunately, there was a heating pad on her bed. She turned it up ALL THE WAY to mega high, can’t go any hotter. She might as well put herself on a fricken rotisserie! Ok, so maybe I need to research doctors/hospitals, ’cause this ain’t good.
She didn’t want any dinner. After all our adventures of the day, I was starving. I ran across the street to a greasy spoon, “Wendy’s Fish ‘n’ Chips and Chinese Takeaways”. I’m not joking! Here’s a pic of it (though closed at the time that I took it). I got curry chicken there and an L&P drink for Becky and myself. As I waited for my food, it must have been pretty obvious that I was a tourist. They asked where I was from, and once again, freaked when they heard I was from Atlanta. Funny, huh?!? Anyway, back on the L&P beverage. I remember David and I had actually tried this stuff at the World of Coca-Cola during our Staycation last year (see my blog from last year for details on that!). In fact, Becky and I had driven through L&P’s birthplace, Paeroa, earlier in the day. We saw the huge bottle shrined in the middle to town. L&P stands for Lemon and Paeroa. Anywho, it was just alright, dog. However, when Becky drank hers a few days later, she liked it! (She’s Mikey – lol!)
Speaking of Becky, she slept while I ate my dinner at the desk in our hotel room. After dinner, I tried to get internet access on my little itouch. I had to go outside and under the staircase to the window closest to the innkeepers living quarters in order to pick up their own personal wifi (thankfully they gave me the password, because the internet they had was the ethernet cable type, which won’t work on my itouch). So there I was, in the dark, and now cold, under the staircase trying to check my emails. It was then that I found out, mostly from only being able to read subject lines (due to internet access being so sketchy), that my marriage was in trouble. I’m not going to go into details, but I made some minor mistakes in the past, and long story short, David found out about them. On top of that, he was mad that he hadn’t heard from me in a few days and thought I was hiding from him. In one of his last emails, he said he was ready to pack up his stuff and leave. So here I was, outside in the cold, with my my whole world crashing in on me, and I was literally a world away and couldn’t do anything about it. This wasn’t vacation anymore, boys and girls. I desperately tried to peck out an email on my itouch back to David in hopes that I could salvage “us”. The very last thing I wanted was to lose him. When I got back to the room, Becky was out cold. I was jealous. Even though I was exhausted, sleep didn’t come easy for me that night in Rotorua.