And so it was that by mid-year I had booked the same model, a Swift Black Bolero, from the same rental company, with plans to take it for six weeks in January and February of 2019. I did specify that I wanted the version with the fixed (hinged) table, not the one with the folding table which lives in a cupboard as we’d found that to be quite annoying.
Once more my delightful English ‘travelling companion, golf partner, navigator, and sous chef’ Joy, volunteered to join my expedition. After the previous year’s trip we were beginning to think we knew a bit about the finer points of RV travel, as well as what to see and where to go. While not wishing anyone to think I am in a bit of a rut, there did have to be some sameness in that I like attending motor racing each weekend, playing on lots of nice golf courses and visiting as many aircraft museums as possible, while also seeing the countryside during the week.
We arrived into Auckland (from London) on January 9, via Air New Zealand of course, after enduring the nightmare in Los Angeles where one has to deplane, go through immigration and customs, and go immediately back to the gate to re-board. Thanks to my excellent travel agent, who fought successfully with Air New Zealand, we were at least (eventually) able to get the desired seats, so – LAX excepted – it was a very comfortable trip. Due to the early arrival we had to sit around, drinking coffee and reading the latest issues of NZTODAY and NZ Classic Driver (which I always buy from the magazine stall upon arrival), until the Iconic depot was open. I then engaged a taxi to take us on the approximately 10-minute drive to the depot, but once he knew how short the journey would be the driver refused to take us. The next taxi back in the rank also refused. I ended up negotiating to share a shuttle, but the fact that taxi drivers can refuse to take a fare I found somewhat surprising. I don’t think they would be allowed to do that in other civilised countries.