Escape From Christchurch

You come to a river:

Press 1- Be a dag and Pay the ferry to cross safely.

Press 2-To attempt to Ford the river, and maybe lose 10 boxes of clothing along with your oldest daughter.

If you’re from Oregon, or ever had an mid 90’s Macintosh, you are familiar with these choices from the Oregon Trail game. Even at the tender age of 10, there only exists two types of people; the safe and the risk takers. On our trip, there was no ferry, but I sure as hell would have paid the man.

A weekend forecast of 150-250mm of rain is a hard prediction to fathom, especially when many of the storms charge off the Antarctic Ocean only to weakly dissipate into the high country. We figured we’d use the rainy weekend to capitalize on an empty wildlife park.

The ladies at the park where kind enough to drive us around to all the feedings, including feeding lions from the truck. Since the two of us made up half of the parks visitors, we had to pitch in. The lions turned out to be the least scary part of the weekend.

Real fear occurs from behind the drivers wheel of a Honda Getz. For some back ground: the total ground clearance for the Getz is rumored at 170mm (the same length of a pair of “narrow” mt.bike bars) but the exhaust only measures fingers to elbows. I know because I got out and measured at one particularly deep crossing. As we sat in line contemplating the crossing, a bigger car than ours bogged out, the driver having to be rescued by fire truck. I was outside weighing our options when the battered driver offered his advice, “Don’t do it,” he said, peering pathetically at our Getz. Screw him. The Getz can get this.

At that exact moment, a kid in a kayak rowed past on the shoulder of the highway. Linz looked at me, whipped a u-turn away from the line of SUV’s and we got out of there.

What followed was an uncrossable submerged bridge, a dozen more sketchy crossings, and a 3.5 hour detour taking us to the opposite coast, that ended in one of the crappiest towns in NZ outside of Hamilton- Greymouth. But hey, at least they have a new brewery.

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