Chasing the Sunset

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, July 16, 2005

...life is peaceful there
...in the open air
...where the skies are blue
...this is what we're gonna do


I said my goodbyes to a happy, smiling Kieran and Flo and left Christchurch, heading inland along the Alpine Pacific Triangle Tourist Route. It wasn't long before the odd mountain started to appear and the scenery bloomed into a fresh, sparkling new world, which kicked my excitement right in to second gear. I felt totally refreshed. I'd forgot how stunning a country this is, a perfect indicator of what caging yourself up in a city can do to your soul. The future was looking as bright as a button and the journey was gorgeous. A new adventure and a new beginning had started and I was absolutely loving it, to the point where I was actually sad enough to put 'Go West' on as I bounded in symphony along the windy roads which led through the scenic Lewis Pass heading for Westport.

Then, in the click of a finger, the tables turned on me. Just like that. I'd ran out of petrol, just short of Springs Junction. I rolled and rolled for ages trying to squeeze out every last metre. Eventually, I came to a long, drawn out halt to the side of the road, groaned a few expletives and just sat there motionless, in one of those 'hard done to' silences of a little kid with a smacked arse. It was as if someone had maliciously pulled a plug on the whole excitement. It felt like you'd feel if you were to sit down with a mound of hot scrambled eggs and a smile, and then slip or bump your arm, tragically dropping the plate face down onto a filthy floor knowing full well that there are no more eggs in the box. It cut deep.

However, turns out I wasn't all that far away. The walk wasn't the end of the world but the stinging cold made it unpleasant. By the time I'd got it all sorted I could only feel a couple of limbs and I was running late - to catch the sunset that is. I had to put my foot down the rest of the way, as I really wanted to catch it dunking in to the horizon. The next three hours saw me snake my way further and further towards the West Coast, sun directly ahead and sinking fast. It was just before 5pm when I got there. I took the extra few kilometres and drove to Cape Foulwind (aptly named by Cap 'n Cook after his ship was rocked by a furious storm) which added to the panic, but I made it - just. I parked up, made a quick cup of hot soup, grabbed a half bag of tortilla chips and started the short walk up past the lighthouse to check out the view. I was joined by 'Florian' - a guy from Austria who had just pulled on to the car park and screeched to a halt beside me. He'd had the same idea. And it was well worth the rush. The coastline was rugged and spectacular, though the sunset was playing hard to get. It was conveniently covered by partial cloud but the sky was illuminated beautifully enough. It was all I needed to welcome me to the West.
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