|Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001|
Sunday, June 3, 2001.
Morning at Kinloch Lodge was one of the earliest, and one of the coldest. It had dipped well below freezing over night. Over breakfast with Graham, we studied the route from Kinloch to Levin. The fastest route was down the east side of Lake Taupo, on the desert highway. Graham had warned us that they close the desert highway when it gets really cold because the road freezes, but open it again once the sun has had a chance to warm it.
We chose to drive the desert highway, leaving around 10am - hopefully enough time to defrost the road.
It was hard to believe in the idea of a desert highway in New Zealand, but we knew it was so when we got there - suddenly the trees were gone, the wind blew constantly and the air was dry. We were on the desert highway. There were some serious winding bits at the beginning that still had ice here and there, but the main part of the desert highway is flat, straight and boring. The scenery, however, is impressive.
And then suddenly, it was over - a short winding bit of road and we were back on the kind of highway we were used to. We drove through a couple of small towns until we reached Levin. A quick stop at a visitors centre to check a map and we found Granny Stanton's house, just a few blocks off the main road.
This was a reunion some thirty years in the making - Granny Stanton had made a trip up to Canada around the time that Richard was five. Poor health and limited funds meant that the next visit had to wait until he got back down there. A knock on the door brought big hugs and a welcome inside.
We had a very pleasant afternoon and evening, having a "classic Stanton dinner" of chicken, stuffing and vegetables and getting acquainted. We spent most of the evening talking about family history and looking at photographs, some of which were captured and added to our digital Family Album.
When it got late, Granny set us up in her spare bedroom with two single beds, electric blankets and lots of warm bedding. Unfortunately, Richard had a cold on the way at this point and so the sleep was pretty restless. The next morning we would have to get heading back toward Auckland, with some stops along the way.