nana the valiant.

Nana’s front left tire gets low from time to time. While on a roundabout (New Zealand seems to put roundabouts where stoplights would go in the states; they’re everywhere), a woman got our attention and pointed down and we tried to guess what she meant. My first thought, of course, was Ellen’s standup comedy bit about how we still do the signal to roll your window down as if we still manually roll down our windows. She said that really, our signal should be like we’re opening our electric window. That’s what this lady looked like, just pointing down. We pulled over, saw the tire, and sighed, as we knew it would give us trouble for weeks to come.

Air is free here (which is surprising, since ketchup costs 50 cents). So we tried to remember to check our tire pressure every time we filled up on petrol (2.15ish a litre).

So now here we are, a few weeks later. Kasey got out to fill the tire with the free air, and this time, she saw a nail jammed in it and could hear the air coming out. We were on our way to Hawke’s Bay and we still had to go over a mountain range. It was raining.

We said, “Well, let’s just look for the nearest auto place.” This could’ve been many, many miles away. Sometimes on our drives from town to town, we see only sheep.

We pulled out of the gas station and about 10 seconds down the road, we saw an automotive shop. What relief. I walked up the mechanic wearing glasses like Dr. Craig Goforth and a faded striped polo from the 90s, who was busy at work on an SUV. I said, “Hi there, how are you?”

“Better than you, it seems,” he replied.

I smiled, “Well, no big problem yet, we just found a nail in our tire and it’s quickly going flat…”

He stopped working on the SUV and fixed it right up. $20 divided by three and we were set. In a very sweet fatherly way, he said, “Now, be very, very careful. The roads are greasy. Really, go slow. The roads are wet.”

What fantastic timing.


….And then, we went into town (Taupo, the biggest lake in Australasia and it rests in a volcanic crater), to do some more shopping. Our big hike (to Mt. Doom and Mordor in Lord of the Rings got rained out for today), so we filled it with brunch, shopping, and hot springs. On our way to the river, Nana didn’t start. We were parked in between two cars who could be hiking all the way to Mordor in the rain and might not’ve been back for 8 hours. Kasey said, “I bought Nana a present earlier” and popped the trunk. Jumper cables! Nana and her three girls were thrilled. Conveniently, the guy parked next to us was ready to leave, so we asked if he’d mind to help out. We had recently jumped Winnie’s car, so we felt like pros. But, it didn’t take this time, even after about 10 minutes. Nana made a loud clicking noise.

The kind fellow said there was a “Super Cheap Auto” place right past the supermarket, which we could see. Another fortunate case. We explained our situation to the manager, André. He pointed out this super jump starter charger for over $200. It was beautiful and purple and cost about $200 more than we wanted to spend. He said, “If you promise to bring it back, I’ll let you borrow it.”

If this were a kids book, it’d be a boring one, but we could title it “André André Saves the Day.” The jump start worked within seconds and when we returned it, we debated buying a cheaper version to keep in the trunk, or a new battery altogether. André checked our battery and said it was surprisingly good and strong. We ended up spending a whopping $4 on 3 air fresheners for Nana. What a sport.

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