My day began exactly where it left off with my the quest for a wheel. I got up, made/ate breakfast, checked out and drove back to the garage.  David, the guy I had been working with the day before was out on a call and they said he should be back in 10-15 minutes.  While I waited I received a call from the guy at Nissan.  He told me they could not get the wheel from Auckland before Monday….strike 2….

When David returned he called the distributor in Invercargill while I paced and prayed.  He spoke with him for a minute and said, “ok, let me put you on with the customer”.  He handed me the phone and I said hello to Phil who said……(wait for it :-)….he had found a wheel on the South Island (YAY)! However, he could not get it until tomorrow (Friday) AND I would have to get the car to Invercargill…..120 miles away….ugh!  I had already put over 50 miles on the space saver, there was not much between Te Anau and Invercargill and I had no spare at this point.  So if this tire didn’t make it I would be stuck on the side of the road.

I had an Airbnb room already reserved in Gore which was 80 miles from Te Anau and about 40 miles north of Invercargill.  I had contacted my host in Gore the previous night and made them aware of my situation and told them I didn’t know if I would make it or not and I would contact them today.  So since I couldn’t get the wheel until tomorrow and I couldn’t continue with my original plans for the day to go further south into the Fiordland National Park (WebGoogle, Images). I decided to take a little time and walk around Te Anau and think and pray about what I should do.

Te Anau is actually a pretty cool town (WebGoogleImages).  It’s a busy tourist and backpacking town due to it’s location at the mid point of the Fiordland National Park and it’s proximity to two of New Zealand’s Great Walks….the Milford Track (WebGoogleImages) and the Kepler Track (WebGoogleImages).  Te Anau sits on the East bank Lake Te Anau and it is very pretty…..

After walking around Te Anau for an hour or so and sending a couple of post cards I decided I would try and make it the 80 miles to Gore and, if everything went well, I would drive the remaining 40 miles to Invercargill tomorrow morning.  It was mid-morning and I wanted to leave plenty of time and daylight just in case I did have any problems. So I took off to Gore.

As I did yesterday I took it easy, kept it around 85 kmh (52 mph) and prayed.  About halfway to Gore I passed a backpacker looking for a ride.  I told him I could take him as far as Gore….as long as my tire held out 🙂 and he was happy.  He was a very nice guy from Belgium.  His name was Bernie, he was probably early 20’s and he had been traveling in New Zealand for 4 months.  He reminded me of some of my younger friends in Switzerland.  He told me that he was leaving to go home in a couple of weeks and he had a few more places he wanted to see before he left.  We had a nice conversation for the next 45 minutes or so and it helped to take my mind off of the tire. He told me how he had been robbed a few weeks earlier by a young New Zealander.  The police caught him and Bernie managed to get some of his stuff back but he had lost his laptop that had all of his photographs for the past 4 months.  I really felt for him as I know how many irreplaceable pictures I have taken since I’ve been here.  We talked more and before I knew it we were coming into Gore.  I took Bernie to the other side of town and dropped him off on the main road toward the south.  After getting his gear out of the back and taking a quick picture he was on his way and I turned back to town to find my Airbnb for the evening.

Bernie and me in Gore NZ

After dropping Bernie off I found my room for the evening, dropped off my gear and headed to town to find some dinner.  I had a pretty good meal at the Thai restaurant in town and headed back to my room where I met one of my host James, their black lab named Josh and a black puppy they were fostering.  I’m not intentionally choosing places with dogs but it’s really funny how many of them have had at least one or more.  It’s been great for me because I love dogs and I really miss Jack (my dog) :-(…..

After a good conversation with James and playing with dogs for a while I turned in for the evening.

Where Am I

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