The Southern Alps

Our second and last morning with our new friends and hosts, Pam and Rod, found us around the table enjoying breakfast together. We found more and more in common the more we yakked. She is big on genealogy so Dian connected her to one of her neices who has studied that at the University level. As all good things come to an end, we had to say goodbye to them and their friendly cat Toby. Turns out they adopted the cat from friends who got divorced and couldn’t figure out who should get custody. Now they come and visit / tend Toby when Pam and Rod are traveling.

We stopped in Christchurch for groceries and gas and then proceeded to drive across what’s known as the Southern Alps, through Arthur’s Pass. It was a lovely drive, easier than I expected from what I remembered about the first time I went across. But then I was a passenger and there had been a lot more rain and hence more green. They’ve lately had fires in the area – not surprising considering how dry it looked. The nice thing was that it seemed like an entirely new experience. The sun was out and warmed us so nicely that we had to keep taking layers off. We had plenty of beautiful vistas along the way, lots of one lane bridges as we’ve experienced all along and some traffic delays for road work, just giving us more time to gawk. We stopped at a recreation area at Lake Bruner to enjoy a picnic lunch while we watched local kids swimming and jumping off a raft. How delightful to hear their laughter and enjoyment. It took us just under four hours, not bad to get all the way from the east coast to the west coast.

It wasn’t far from there to our spot for the night, an old school house in a very tiny town, Taylorville. All of 120 in population. This has to be the most fun, charming, quirky, creative place we’ve stayed. We both loved it the minute we drove up. Then we found a welcoming note on the door and one on the old chalkboard inside. The owner, who lives in the other half of the building soon came home to welcome us and tell us about the history of the place. They’ve owned it for 18 years and raised 8 children here. She said her husband was the creative one and she just helped execute his ideas. Well, if you know me, I love gardening, repurposing things and lately, doing mosaics. This place is replete with them all! The gardens go on forever, with all sorts of special sections, like separate rooms. We found delights around every corner, including a mosaiced pizza oven and a real “hot tub”. Wandering the gardens we got yet another surprise when we ran across a goat. Fortunately he was tethered.

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