223. A Rainy Sunday

I’ve been told it’s time that I wrote another blog (it’s been over one year) so here goes …

We thought we’d give our Nissan Leaf (acquired Dec 2018) another out-of-town run, just to give us some experience charging elsewhere and also evaluate a new app being developed for eV owners. The Weka Pass steam train was scheduled to run so the night before Dave charged up the Leaf to its full capacity, 100% battery power and an estimated 182 km running distance. 

(If anyone wants to know more about the dashboard displays, ask Dave! He has a Japanese translation app on his phone, which works very well with this sort of display. We took Penny the foxie with us rather than leave her at home for most of the day. She is happy waiting for us for hours in the car, snug and warm with her knitted coat.

We thought it would be a quickish run up to Glenmark, considering the weather, but road maintenance meant a loooong queue leading up to the Waimak bridge, under which the water was flowing strongly.

Actually the Leaf didn’t mind, we use up less power going slow than going fast! We headed straight for the railway station at Glenmark to check whether the train was actually running – yes – but dogs allowed? – no  – by which time we had used up 50% battery power and travelled 70.1 km.  

With just over an hour to spare we headed for the Waipara Springs Winery and Cafe, the founding winery and cafe of the Waipara Region. Established in 1981, it’s still an entirely owned and operated family estate. There have been some building alterations since we were last there, the reception area is now closer to the parking area and one does not have to walk through the entire courtyard. Also there is an enlarged inner dining area. 

Fabulous food – I had venison short ribs in a sticky juniper and cranberry sauce, Dave the pork loin roulade. We both finished with completely empty almost-licked-clean plates.  The dessert menu was too good to ignore too especially because it had Dave’s favourite squishy brownie and for me, affogatto.

Thus replete we rushed back to Glenmark and Dave bought the tickets while I gave Penny a quick run on a strip of grass. Into a nice reasonably warm train and we were off!  

The carriages have been lovingly restored since our last run several years ago. All the seats are now newly upholstered and there are little touches like old suitcases in the overhead  luggage racks.  Every second window opens, so we were able to get a couple of shots of the vineyards and countryside. 

At Waikari it was raining but nobody seemed to mind. Everyone disembarked to stretch their legs. Some people opted to walk down to the shops but others stayed behind.

The engine was uncoupled, shunted down a side track then back to the end of the train where it was hard to see what was happening amidst the steam and rain! 

The journey back was uneventful except when we stopped so a gate across the line could be closed; it was almost impossible to see anything through the windows.  

Glenmark itself is a pretty station, well equipped with all the necessary props as well as steam train station essentials.

The train was uncoupled again and sent off to its shed.

The Leaf had JUST enough power to get us home – maybe – so to be on the safe side we headed for Amberley and a charging station.

Amazingly fast – we hardly had time to drink our coffee.

Translation: It was 11 minutes since we had hooked up, walked to the cafe, ordered coffee and it had arrived. We were already 69% charged up in that time and it cost $4.61.  At 80% charge we were off again heading for home.