Because of the trouble we had with the van, our plans for Saturday were changed. We packed up and left the campground in Collingwood as early as we could get around, and went over Takaka Hill back to Motueka, hoping to be able to get a used alternator. The used car parts place was closed, however; the information we had been given in Takaka that it would be open on Saturday morning was obviously wrong. We ended up buying a new alternator in Motueka, then going back to a garage in Riwaka that was open seven days a week. Then, we had to decide what to do during the two hours plus that it would take to change alternators. Gayle offered to take us to a beach, but it would have taken a good twenty minutes to get there, then twenty minutes back, and after the job was done he would have to go back out to get us. We opted to just start walking and see what was to be seen around Riwaka. We first went toward Takaka Hill; Mr. Intellectual wanted to find a fruit stand we had seen. After going about half a kilometer, however, I saw that we were nowhere near the fruit stand, so we turned around. As we went back past the garage, Gayle came out and joined us, which was great! Not only was his company welcome, but Mr. Imagination had woke up that morning not able to walk. His foot seemed slightly swollen and maybe bruised, but we have no idea what happened. He simply couldn’t put any weight on it. A three-year-old gets awfully heavy in a hurry when you’re carrying him while walking. We did a lot of trading off! Little Miss seemed quite light, compared to him.
We enjoyed a close-up look at the orchards along the way, and the lemon, orange and grapefruit trees in every other backyard. The first stretch we walked along, at the edge of a busy highway, we were on a narrow shoulder of grass with a deep ditch beside it. We were thankful when we reached a bicycle trail we could walk on, instead! When we reached the outskirts of Riwaka, we stopped to rest for awhile at a tiny playground. After feeding the baby and reading a few chapters of our book (I was glad that I had left my Kindle in my purse!), we went on into Riwaka. Gayle and Mr. Inventor went back soon, to see if the van was done, and the rest of us continued on. We stopped at a few fruit/vege stands. We bought a bag of apples at the first, and had a welcome snack, and then bought some kumara (sweet potatoes) at the next. At the last one, we bought several kilos of golden kiwifruit. We ended up each carrying a load, with two little children and all that fruit! We kept going, though, and were soon out of Riwaka and onto the bridge over the Motueka River. When we got to the other end, I sat down to feed Little Miss again while everyone rested and ate some kiwifruit, and then I stayed there with a few of the boys while Esther, her aunt, and another couple boys went on. We were able to flag Gayle down when he showed up with the van, and then we found the others. We calculated the next day that some of us walked 5.5 kilometers, and the rest about 7! They got a few blocks into Motueka.
Mr. Imagination who couldn’t walk all day. He crawled from the picnic table to this swing!
By this time, it was around 2:00 in the afternoon, and we were famished. We headed out to the waterfront and found a park at which we could eat our sandwiches. There were picnic tables beside an old quay with a wrecked ship beside it, and a flock of screaming seagulls circling overhead, begging for food. One seagull was especially funny. He would open his mouth wide and push his head way forward, and tell the other seagulls off. Apparently, he was the big boss! After lunch we walked around and enjoyed the green grass and beautiful bushes, and walked out the quay. The boys found a trail of stepping stones across the mud flat to the wrecked ship and looked inside it.
We had had a big enough day already, with that long walk, that after doing some necessary grocery shopping in Motueka we went on to the home of the friends we were planning to spend the weekend with. There was enough time before dark to set up a tent and get the camper ready for the night.