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Day 4: Taupo to New Plymouth

 Thursday 1st April

Section 1: Host Manawatu Mustang Owners Club.

The 8.30 briefing was undertaken by Wal and Neville to a rather sleepy lot of late night revellers, but once the stangs were fired up everyone was raring to go.  Many goodbyes were necessary as this was the stopping off point for some of the northern NI contingent as well as the start point for some southern NI cars.

Lynn Morgan, Ray Mischewski and  Trevor Morgan. ( ex Tokoroa Rebels) ready to roll from Taupo.

The day was fine but with high cloud obscuring the sun as the convoy of 30 cars snaked its way onto the picturesque Taupo to Turangi road around the lake. We all waved mad farewells to the northern participants standing by their stangs on the highway to watch the convoy depart. 

Taupo farewells: Pic Sandy Farrell

"Just a note to say it was nice meeting and chatting with you guys during the Great Mustang run. I would also like to say how great the send off was to us, as we left Taupo. Totally unexpected, very pleasant surprise, almost tear jerking, such was the sight of all those Mustangs parked up with you all waving ,it gave us a feeling of sadness we were leaving you folk behind, but also a feeling of assuredness that you were all sending us on the next leg with the best of wishes. It was the talk of the stop at Taumarunui. I'll bet they sounded just great, and I would not mind betting you were a little sad to see us disappear over the hill. Until next time , take care and look after that 'Stallion' until it breaks out again, hopefully soon. Kind Regards Neville & Judy Hutchinson. Taupo".

In what seemed like no time the cars were at Turangi and taking the right turn towards Tokaanu onto SH 41 for the drive to Taumarunui.

The convoy on SH41 near Tokaanu. (Taken by Sandy on Wals camera)

By 10.30 am the cars had completed an uneventful cruise to Taumarunui. A few headers had been ground down some more on the uneven road surface, and a few drivers indulged in a burst of acceleration (to clear the plugs of course!) as they paused at the junction to SH4 ,and made the  right turn toward Taumarunui.  The convoy then drove the short distance to the main street and trickled down through town to the bemusement of the locals.

Taumarunui Main Street

At the far end of the main street of Taumarunui is the new "Flax" cafe, and the convoy proceeded there with enthusiasm to see if the coffee was a good as it was cracked up to be. Parking was tight but eventually all cars found a space, and the little cafe was flooded with hungry and thirsty mustangers, and more than a few desperate to visit the little room! In fact the coffee was great, the muffins and cakes too delish to turn down, and the cafe staff did a magnificent job feeding the throng in just 45 mins.

The cars parked around The Flax Cafe in Taumarunui, plus more than a few interested locals.

The break also provided a relaxing opportunity for a natter, and to say goodbye to a few more Northerners who then headed back home. All to soon it was 11.15 am and past time to depart for Pio Pio and lunch. 

Section 2: Host Taranaki Mustang Owners Club

The drive to Pio Pio was interesting for many who had not passed this way before. The weather was very undecided with light showers alternating with bright sun along the route. By 12.45 pm the cars had arrived at the tiny town of Pio Pio, and parked up for lunch at the Cosmopolitan Club. 

A lunchtime natter as the cars park up at the Pio Pio Cossie club

The locals had organised a BBQ and so we were all very well fed; the steak sandwiches proving a particularly juicy winner. Ron Dewsnap lived in Pio Pio as a boy and I went with him and Sue for a walk up the road to check on the family homestead. Sadly for Ron the house was long gone, but Ron was still able to relate plenty of childhood stories including walking bowls of steaming porridge down the road in winter to the local Minister. It seemed the Minister lived alone and need occasional feeding. He also stammered very badly, but when he got into the pulpit on Sundays, the stammering miraculously disappeared and a strong clear sermon always followed!

At approx 2.00 pm the cars departed for New Plymouth, with Noel King in his big green Mach leading the convoy. On the way we passed a small the local school at Mahoenui where the local kids were out on the roadside waving enthusiastically with banners and flags that they probably made at school just that morning. The participants gave them plenty of well deserved waves and toots as they passed.

Noel pauses the convoy in Mokau while Sandy clambers onto the Mokau Bridge for a great pic.

Over the hill and down to Mokau for a 10 min pause while Sandy our photographer was positioned on the bridge to snap the convoy as it passed through.

Mokau Bridge (Pic Sandy Farrell)

And so onto New Plymouth and wouldn't you know it, the rain began and continued right into town. The Plymouth hotel however was real easy to find, and the covered entrance very welcome.

The evening was planned as a quiet one, with a few drinks in the house bar preceding a set meal in the hotel restaurant. Wal was again the subject of a thank you presentation this time from the Taranaki club, including some very excellent wine. This was followed by a discussion with Noel, Snelly and a reporter from the local paper. This article and picture then appeared in the paper next morning.