The cold inland had been oozing over the mountains and spilling out onto the coast the whole time we were in Granity, so I knew it was going to be icy on the way home. We were on the road by 6am which is like another planet altogether as far as I'm concerned, but we needed to get back before sunset to avoid the frost that would possibly close the hill roads around Dunedin. There wasn't much going on in the thistle-blue and lemon dawn, and this was exactly how it looked out of the side window- smudgy, featureless and uncertain.
Early morning is possibly my favourite time in the mountains. The valleys are all still full of night and lie blinking up at the peaks as they are laved in champagne cocktail colours. This is still the Westland side of the Alps- quiet, except for the low hiss of the rivers and the lonely chug of the occasional freight truck.
We don't eat there if we can help it. Just saying.
^ Frozen pebbles and puddles inland from the Junction.
The car was reading -6ºC outside and that is fucking cold here in New Zealand. As a succulent/tropical plant fancier, and given that it rarely hits zero at home, this kind of visible frigidity is something I rubberneck the way other people stop to savour ten-car pile ups.
involved. And clear skies. Dry air, etc. We were stopped in one of the shitty ex-coal towns by a
crossing signal infamous for randomly malfunctioning; true to form it went on and on, patently trainless,
for about 20 minutes. Then a guy in overalls wandered down and kicked it or something, and everyone
went on their way. New Zealand Rail #stuntin #represent.
open the window, which I am always compelled to do even though it is freezing and my fellow passengers
were ready to shank me for all the stopping and disorganised appreciating.
Then quite suddenly you're out of dripping beech country and into the Canterbury side of things, which is all deforested rain shadow, low intensity grazing and the odd newish vineyard.
I tend to put the camera away from this point in until we've blown through what's left of Chch and got a bit further down the east coast.
Honestly, there's not much to see and I'd rather save the documentation of Christchurch for another day, when I have time to walk around the cool bits and show you properly.
After the city we head south again through the low coastal plains and a bunch of buttfuck country towns like Ashburton and Timaru, which are about as attractive and beguiling as they sound; if you know them, you've seen them already, and if you don't, you're not missing anything. I make no apology for striking them from the visual record.
You can judge a subculture by the fuckability of its adherents. In this case that's a hard no all round, and the prosecution rests.
I brake for the local Denheath custard squares though, which taste like angels gently fucking your mouth but were clearly devised by Satan to bounce reformed fat hos like myself back on the road to sweaty blimpdom. Just ask around; you'll strike the odd person who claims not to know what they are or where to find one, but they're fucking lying. Check their clothes for shredded coconut. We ate ours before I thought to memorialise the occasion, hence the stock pic. 46535374xs better than the photo which looks fucking delicious to me if somewhat overexposed.
Have a look at the river levels when you're tooling across a few bridges. Thanks, big dairy.
Thank you for flying Blackthorn cattle class; please remove your shoes before leaping from the emergency exits.