By now I was thoroughly pleased that I was coming to the end of my road trip round New Zealand; it had been a total success. That is, I felt pleased until I reached a river some 22km north of Whangarei. In a move that didn't prove too popular with the local traffic, the river had decided that the best place to flow was right over the main highway, and I came across a huge queue, waiting to cross this flowing torrent with some help from the local farmers. I got a little nervous and remembered the last time I'd had to brave it and cross deep water; it was at a creek in Australia, somewhere in the Kimberley, where I'd just had to go for it with nobody around to help. If water gets into a petrol engine, it'll stall it, and the water level on the Whangarei highway was well above my headlights, but the best way to get into the sea is to jump, so I jumped.
Before I go on, I should perhaps mention something I did to the car just after I bought him. Zed, bless him, was a bit old, and his seals weren't quite what they used to be, so when it rained, the foot wells tended to get a bit waterlogged. Now I'd got a few things soaked in the storm that had hit Lake Taupo when I first left Auckland, so I'd investigated and found these rubber plugs that I could take out, opening up a hole in each foot well so the water could drain out. After all, water doesn't go uphill, does it, so it couldn't get into the car, could it?
Of course, Zed had no problem with the crossing. Sailing across the river, behind a tractor that was breaking the bow wave for me, he managed the crossing without faltering. There was, however, a rising tide within the car, and as I kept accelerating gently, muddy river water poured into the foot wells, oozing over my ankles and threatening to soak all my possessions. Luckily I'd worn my old tramping boots so I was able to keep a reasonable grip on the pedals, and before long we'd reached the other side and the holes in the car started doing what they were supposed to do: draining, not filling.
When I arrived in Whangarei I noticed a tidemark along the side where the river had washed away four months of accumulated dirt. It guilt-tripped me into cleaning the old bugger, the first time I'd done it manually. Underneath it all, Zed was still a surprisingly white colour... which was handy, as I now had to sell him.