5 Mile Bay, Taupo

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It’s important to know some things, and one of them is this. Plans aren’t like the Ten Commandments… plans can change. No stress, no bother, just different.

I checked with Google maps for the best time and route to Mahia, and it said going past Taupo was a full hour quicker than the route I had planned. I had intended to go through Rotorua and do my shopping there, but Taupo was just as good. I know my Pak ‘n’ Save’s… and there’s one in Taupo. I also needed a Dick Smith’s (that’s like Curry’s if you’re in the UK) and there’s one of them there too… so, via Taupo it was.

Dry

The dried landscape as I leave Wind in the Willows

As I pulled away from Wind in the Willows, the ‘Wingers’ (as in; ‘wing’, not ‘winge’… I’ll tell you all about ‘Wingers’ another day) all waved me off; three different groups of them. That was nice. I’ve no doubt I’ll meet some of them again someday somewhere.

I like the Wingers, (I’m one too by the way), they almost always give you a wave as you pass them on the road, and they are almost always thoughtful neighbours on a campsite. Elizabeth knows what ‘Wingers’ are, I introduced her to them while she was over with me.

It needs to be said that very few Wingers are Goons.

Anyway… driving away from Wind in the Willows I really noticed what these last few days of sun had done. The brown hills were browner and drier. True, many an Aussie farmer would be delighted to see the few green tufts among the brown, but this is New Zealand, not Australia, and the farmers around here need some rain, and soon.

Driving back towards habitation, signs began to spring up, like the South Waikato Young Farmers proudly announcing their Christmas parade, Dec 6th, High Street, Putaruru. But quite which Christmas they were referring to wasn’t immediately apparent.

Along the road a little was a sign to a shed selling sheepskins and possum skins, and just beyond that they had them all made up into nice little rugs and booties for the tourists. In front of the Possum skin slipper shop was a row of old soldiers… in their deck chairs, still in their uniforms, enjoying the midday sun. Honest! I had to look twice to realise they were mannequins. Nice one.

Taupo

On the lakeside in Taupo

Coming into Taupo is always a thrill. You come over the brow of a hill and suddenly the lake is right there, directly below and ahead and most of your field of vision. Lake Taupo is the source of the Waikato River, and big; 30km by 35km. As I looked at it I tried to conceive of the single event that formed it.

A huge hole was made by a single explosion about 26,000 years ago. It filled up with water and left behind the big puddle we call Lake Taupo. Now that’s quite a bang.

I like Taupo, it always has a good feel to it… and today it had the things I needed. I knew Pak ‘n’ Save would have everything on my list, and even a few extra’s. Today I treated myself to the ingredient that’s the essential complement to any vegetarian dish… (Christopher knows what’s coming next)… a chicken! That’s got meat sorted for the next 3 days.

At Dick Smith’s I was looking for something simple, but very important to me. For weeks I have battled with sound on my video’s.

When I use my wireless lapel mic’ it delivers a mono signal. That’s OK, I might speak French and German, but I don’t speak in stereo. The issue is that when I review and edit these clips, I also do so in mono, except it’s on the other of the two stereo tracks. I can hear nothing. Also, if I upload this footage as it comes from the camera, then anyone using a mono device, like a smartphone, can’t hear anything either.

To overcome this I’ve been using a tedious process that strip’s off the soundtrack to a separate file. Then I use an audio editor copy the right track onto the left track. Then in a movie editor I add the new sound track back as ‘music’ accompanying the video. It sort of works, but it’s a real pain, and it takes a long time.

I’d had a bright idea. If I worked out which wire coming from the camera was which channel (left and right) then I could drop the silent channel, and connect the wire with the signal to both left AND right channels.

I just needed a couple of audio connectors… and Dick Smith would have something I could use to make this work. They did.

I also needed to renew my reggo’. At the nice little coffee shop I happened to find myself in I inquired where the Post office was. The lady didn’t tell me where it was… she just very patiently pointed out to me that it was Sunday.

I need to be careful where I park for a few days until I get this done.

5 mile bay

Where I am parked at 5 mile bay. Click to open the map

It was 3 o’clock by then, so going on to Mahia wasn’t so smart, and I opted for a local campsite instead.

From Taupo I followed the lake edge round to ‘5 Mile’ beach. Here, there’s a DOC campsite on the lakefront.

A kilometre back down the road, a room with a lake view will cost you $150 per night… mine is free.

So, I had a change of plan, and instead of another 4 hours of driving, I have an evening on the side of Lake Taupo.

I took the opportunity to solder up my new connectors and … whammo! My video’s now record with sound on both channels… so no more editing. What a great result for the day!

Oh… and I also had a magnificent sunset.

Ruapehu

Late evening light on Ruapehu

Raupehu

Sunset across Lake Taupo from the 5 Mile Bay campsite

I noticed that the Six o’clock news was playing as the sun set. Did I miss the clocks going back?

I guess Daylight Savings is for people with watches.

I’ve added a bunch of photo’s to my FB album, April 2014. https://www.facebook.com/dave.horry.5

Mahia tomorrow.

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