The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft


New Zealand Fibre Festival – The Journey (day 1)

I thought I would share about Majacraft at the New Zealand Fibre Festival and write about it as a kind of road trip. It is being hosted in Blenheim this year which is probably around 800 kilometres plus a ferry crossing from our workshop in Tauranga. We are quite unaccustomed to the huge road journeys that people can undertake in the likes of Australia, USA and Europe so 800km is quite a big deal for us. This post is going to be a catch up because I realised this could be fun on the second day of travel and it is now 6.00am on the third day.

We have been going as fast as possible leading up to the show developing some new ideas on presenting the Majacraft stand and trying to get a little project together that has been occupying our attention for the last 2 years or so! The responsibilities of attending the stand this year have fallen on Glynis and myself (Andy). Owen and Rob loaded the van on Monday afternoon evening while everybody else completed last minute tasks and construction to get us underway on Tuesday. Everything looked as prepared as possible so after a good night’s sleep on Monday and kissing my family goodbye, I arrived bright and early at 7.15 on Tuesday. A few more additions to the boxes in the van and we were on our way at 8.00am. The weather was brilliantly sunny and both Glynis and I were commenting on the journey down what a beautiful country we were fortunate to live in.

We planned on taking a slightly different route that what we would usually drive so we could make some deliveries. Instead of straight down through the centre of the island, we drove to Taupo then across to Napier so we could visit Kim at Waddle Inn at Otane then on to Crafters Heaven at GreyTown. We would then need to cross back over the Rimutaka Ranges to get back to Wellington for our Wednesday ferry crossing. The trip across the Napier-Taupo road was uneventful and in spite of much studying of the forests and hillsides, I did not see any deer from the side of the road.

Kim was not home so we had dropped the goodies on her doorstep and continued on for a short lunch stop at Owen's relative in Waipawa. Thanks Warren and Sue!

Rita at Crafters Heaven had a lady visiting her that wanted to try two of our wheels so we had a deadline of 5.00pm before she shut up shop for the day. The trip was going nice and smoothly after leaving lunch and the magic GPS was indicating we were expected to arrive at 4.00pm. The van, as you may have picked up already, was *very* full and as I drove past the Tui brewery, I went a little quickly around a corner and it took a bit of care to make it around safely as the van did a strange wallow-y weave which I assumed was due to plenty of weight, too much speed and an unusually shaped corner. The wind had really picked up so we were noticing that the van was getting blown around quite a bit which felt a bit freaky to say the least. Despite assurances that the wind was the cause of the weaving and the tyres were just fine, Glynis was getting quite concerned so I stopped so we could check everything was OK. This was a personal challenge for me because once I am driving, I like to keep driving with no stops for things like hunger or bladders and certainly not looking at tyres - yes, I am aware of my need for personal growth here :-) So, back to the story, I did reluctantly stop and lo and behold, we had a back tyre that was somewhat ... deflated. Pride was swallowed along with a serving of humble pie.

The first challenge arose when all we could collect in the way of tools was the jack. Everything else was buried (we still think, not confirmed as yet) somewhere under the van load of goodies. As we were poking around the edges of the packages, a farmer arrived to collect his children from the school bus, he tentatively asked if we needed any help. "Yes please!" was our enthusiastic response. Off he went on his quad bike with about 6 children to find some tools and a jack. Then we waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and started looking for other houses that might contain helpful occupants ... and waited ... and finally he came back. Apparently the children had been parked in front of the TV with an apple and rugby training had been postponed. We were very grateful. The vans jack was not very useful so we used his and got the flat tyre off fairly quickly. The jack did seem to have some issues as it was a mongrel to pump up and it appeared (when the jack was not high enough to fit the spare tyre) that it was actually going down only slightly slower than I could pump it up! After rapid pumping and desperate pushing and nut tightening we got the spare tyre on. Phew, let the jack down and uh-oh, spare tyre could do with about another 30psi of air. The most excellent farmer suggested that the best bet was a slow trip down to Eketahuna (there is a "Wear the fox hat" joke around that relates to Eketahuna) and visit the tyre shop there.

After a very slow trip for another 10 kilometres we thankfully arrived in Eketahuna and found the Firestone shop. A very helpful man took the tyre off and while he couldn't see anything drastically wrong with it, he recommended against using it again as "they have very thin walls and you can't see what damage has happened on the inside. Did you drive far with it flat?" "Of course not" was my sincere and mostly accurate response. "Oh well, can you put another one on the same please"? He answered that they would have to order one in to get an identical tyre and they actually didn't have anything the same size on the shop as "it was a funny size". We should try down in Masterton another 40 kilometres further on. So back in the van we hopped, leaving the possibly ruined tyre behind. At this time our ETA at Greytown according to Ms Garmin the GPS was 4.50pm. The tension was slowly increasing...

Travelling that 40km was not pleasant. We had no spare and every little gust of wind or bump in the road that caused the van to weave a bit had us fearing that our spare was expiring as well. However, we did make it and we found our way to the Masterton Firestone shop. "No, no tyres like that, it is a funny size" was their greeting. They too would have to order another one in. We were considering our options, trying to find a tyre locally or perhaps take a chance on driving to Blenheim and ordering one down there. The general decision was keep on driving and stop at any tyre shop we could find. It was 4.30 in the afternoon and the following day was a public holiday so solving this was going to be tricky. As we were leaving Masterton, we tried the Goodyear shop and they too informed us "we don't have any of those brand tyres, they are a funny size. We do however have a different brand in the same size." Much deliberation later and we asked him to put on the mismatched tyre. He did it pretty much immediately so there was a great feeling of relief when we set off again. The GPS told us we were going to arrive at 6.00pm and the tension was much higher by this point as to whether Rita's guest would still be in the shop or have given up and gone home.

Quickly on to Greytown (what a very pretty place) and we arrived in the dark at the very cute Crafters Heaven, where Rita made us a welcome coffee. The customer had decided to wait (thank you Vegas Venus - Ravelry :-) ) and patiently watched while we put together a Suzie Pro and an Aura. We spent another very pleasant hour playing with spinning wheels before we set off again for our final destination in Lower Hutt. Owen's sister Rosalie informed us our dinner was getting cold. Greytown is almost at the foot of the Rimutaka Range crossing point and we still had nearly an hour to go. The crossing was much longer than I remember it, the climb up the hill is very long and winding and at this time very, very windy. Finally we were driving down the other side and following the Hutt River down toward Wellington. Our last treat for the journey was the GPS trying to direct us through a closed off public park in the dark but after everything else we had been through in the day, this was brushed off without a blink!

After a quick evening meal and some nice conversation, bed was very well received following 12 hours on the road. Thank you to the very generous people in the Wairarapa who helped us get back on the road and showed much hospitality. It was certainly a ... memorable trip.


Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. After your stressful trip, I was so very grateful for your time, patience, help and expert teaching while I tried out the wheels and fell in love with the Aura. Thanks again.

  2. You are most welcome Kate – we were grateful for the opportunity to take a load off and spend some time with you!

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.