We had a fully relaxed start today after the shock treatment yesterday. Hanging around Waiouru until midday so that we can fully appreciate the history. Half the team toured the Military Museum and the others did “Behind the Scenes” (Vehicles/armoured/artillery).
The convoy rolled out of Waiouru like a geriatric rocket sled on rails. The road before us was empty. The road behind us was well, who can see anything in those tiny mirrors anyway?
There were no problems through Taihape except for an extremely elderly couple crossing the road. After waiting the equivalent distance of 3kms road travel they waved encouragingly to us as we passed.
We headed off on SH1 towards Ohingaiti. We almost claimed our first victim when a small 3 tonne tip truck came down a hill at a great rate of knots. With the distance closing at warp speed the driver eventually realised that we were going slowly so he hit the brakes and must have steered to avoid us. On the wet road this resulted in a spectacular 360+ spin within about a meter of the last Jeep. Pointing sideways, the truck drove back up the hill until he could perform a U Turn then drove back down to the spin site to stop and pick up his stuff off the road.
The Chev Radio Shack had been suffering overheating problems. Now even taking the hills in 1st gear was too much. Chris and Tracy Bass got a spectacular video of steam blasting up from the radiator like Pohutu Geyser. It certainly made a big splash but it wasn’t as big as the devastating disappointment suffered by Chris Flegg after months of work on the restoration. He decided to continue with Nick in the RL Bedford, leaving the Chev behind at a friend’s place.
The lunch break was at Vinegar Hill reserve. The entry is through bush and the site is under the cliffs of the Rangitikei River. A summer long camper told us that the fishing was poor which he put down to river management and flushing from the Moawhango Dam in the Waiouru Defence Area.
Rolling out of Vinegar Hill Reserve (Isn’t that just the best name?) we went past another crash site being cleaned up (driver ok) and pressed on towards Linton Camp. It wasn’t easy keeping the convoy together and managing traffic passing through the column. Plenty of radio traffic!
We were checked off the security list at Linton Camp at the gate and went in to park up in a central area where we were welcomed by Sargent Major Brill who has a disconcerting resemblance to Windsor Davies. Lucky for us no one was an “orrible little man”, rather the opposite. In fact we were all such good chaps and chapesses that we were invited into the Linton Camp Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess. Very salubrious! The experience was enhanced by a shout from Air Force peeps visiting from Ohakea. A shout goes a long way with the cheapest bar prices in NZ. The team had thoughtfully placed a LAV armoured vehicle outside for our enjoyment.
Barracks was 4 beds to a room with differing configurations. They took a good shot at allocation but it was fairly mix and match. The quality of sleep was directly proportional to the number and volume of snorers in your room. Wilson complained. Again. No one cares Wilson. This barracks hadn’t been fully upgraded to the new unisex world so the ladies had to transit past the urinal to reach the stalls.
Dinner was outstanding with 2 roast meats. We dined as a group on our own in a section of the officer’s mess. After dinner socialisation occurred till late back at the WO & Sarge’s Mess.
The day could be summarised as dramatic.