I enjoyed a rather slow start to the day today. As much as I woke up at 650am, I had had a great sleep and was looking forward to a day of just checking out the cars and socializing with friends. I took off from Hawera just after 10am and headed through the small towns that make up the south side of Mt Taranaki (or Mt Egmont as some locals still prefer to call it). A bacon and egg pie and 42kms later I was in Opunake, which was only just starting to show signs of the car cruise arriving from New Plymouth on the north side of town.
Being in my Aussie wagon meant I was unable to park down with all the American cars, but it was only a short walk down to the seaside campgrounds, which were very empty at this stage. But over the next hour or so, cars piled in by the hundreds. I would estimate at least 400 too 500 cars were displayed around the grounds, and there was quite simply, something for everyone. From hot rods to street rods, restored to highly modified, from old to modern, if it was American, there was bound to be something that caught your eye.
The camp grounds came alive with many activities to do other than just look at cars. There were pools for the kids, and boy did the heat warrant a good swim. The beach was just over the dunes for those who could handle the waves. Food stalls had good options and even the local campground shop was open serving ice creams and ice-cold drinks. For the truly adventurous there were helicopter flights that for a mere $40, would fly you over the local area, over the cars and out over the ocean and banked high up in the air and almost onto its side (which I reckon would have scared the shit out of me) and back to terra firma. Some friends who went on it said it was a total blast. I really should have done it, but im on a budget for living at the moment, so maybe next year.
There was a band kicking out all sorts of tunes during the day, and I was impressed with their versatility, as they seemed to tackle most styles without too much effort at all. Im naturally very critical about music, but I was most impressed. I got to catch up with my fellow Mavericks (a loose club of hot rodding friends from all over NZ) who had made the journey, and we sat in the shade and updated each other with the comings and goings of our day-to-day lives.
I had caught up with Cal and Stuart briefly as they jumped left, right and centre filming as many cars and people as possible, but they were on a mission and didn’t really want me around, so I took the hint and racked off. Ha. I took time to take pictures of as many cars as I could, but had to bear in mind there was still another three days to go yet, so no hurry. It was around 3pm when the Mavericks decided to uproot and head to Maverick member, Johnboy and SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) house, about 10 minutes drive from Opunake Township.
Their house is actually a huge barn, but with living quarters built inside. I love places like this, just heaps of room for working on cars really. Inside resides their cool as Nissan powered Morris Minor, their caravan and one mean as fire breathing 429-powered AC Cobra. Some nice toys indeed. A few Woodstock bourbon and cokes, a bbq, some cheap jokes at each other’s expense, a wind down in the lounge and it was time for bed. It was only early (heck, its only 11pm as I write this from my bed), but it had been a long hot day, and tomorrow is set to be even more full on with the Friday night cruise happening in Downtown New Plymouth.
Two more sleeps till my wagon goes to its new owner. Will be a sad day for sure.