Sunday, November 25, 2012

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 24 )


On the  West Coast  at Lake Brenner the damages from the great Quake were minimal, registering a mere 3.3 on the Richer scale. Inside a lake side cabin, Jane and Kelly are simultaneously awakening,  not because they want to, but rather due to a penetrating and powerful early summer sun, beaming  through the large east side window that looks  out on the lake . " Did you feel that movement last night "Kelly ask Jane. " No, what are you talking about, what, movement? Kelly, sweetie, we will get you laid , I promise, just hang in there", Jane says laughing,  laying in her double sized bed, the sheets pushed down to her feet. "Janie, no I'm serious, there was like an earthquake or something, you didn't feel it" ask Kelly as she rises from bed and heads to the coffee maker. Jane, " no, I can safely say that I did not feel a thing until this morning when I noticed how dry my mouth was, and how hot it is in here". Kelly replies,"Well, I'm telling you, the earth moved last night and it had nothing to do with my dreaming about that hunky, blonde, Aussie stud Alex last night. Jane laughs and says, " what ever, it is just a beautiful day, we should pack up and head down to the Milford Track and start our hike".
As Billy drives out of the driveway and on to the main highway towards Christchurch, he is stunned to see the amount of debris on the roadside and the road itself. There are men in blue jump suits and yellow hard hats with chainsaws, cutting trees  to be moved off the tarmac. There are men working about every three Kilometers, cutting and moving branches , and fallen trees, Billy notices that even some stone and brick walls have fallen over from the horrifically strong  Quake. There is destruction everywhere, it is a disaster of the worst kind, and appears to be getting worse as Billy drives south  towards the southern capital, Christchurch.
After a light breakfast, the girls load the land cruiser, and start the drive South to start the two day hike on the Milford Track. Driving through Moana they spot a super market, and decide to buy what they will need for two nights out while camping . As they enter the market there is a newspaper stand , where the two notice  huge letters in the Headline, "CHRISTCHURCH DESTROYED" Quake 7.2, destruction all over the East Coast, 200 plus hospitalized, death count now at 32 and rising. " I told you "says Kelly," it was in the middle of the night, the room was just rolling, of course you were snoring." The photos show buildings  completely destroyed, homes crushed, cracks in the ground, destruction of the worse kind. Jane holding  the news paper firmly on both sides, drops it downward, then looks up at Kelly  and with a look of dis- belief and  shouts , " Billy, shit, he's in Christchurch, I've got to call him". Jane is shaking and having a difficult time dialing, there is no answer, She tries again , no answer, " Shit , shit , shit, I can't believe this", comes from the pacing honey blonde. Jane keeps trying, nothing,  Kelly then says, " Janie, try a text, maybe he is out of range some place, but he might get a text". Jane does send a text, she is waiting , and waiting, nothing,  the two girls decide to shop for food since they were right there. While trying to decide on which cheese would do better for camping, Jane's phone  makes a soft sound of a guitar strum, it's a text, " Janie, I'm fine, spent the night way north of CC in the wine country, hope your OK , my best to Kelly, miss you, Billy". Kelly with raised  eye brows  says, " Wine country, Janie I don't think you even want to know..." Jane with a look of discuss says " Well , at least  the SOB is still alive". The two girls finish shopping, load the bags and start the drive to the Milford track, Jane pulls out the small pipe and the interior of the Land Cruiser fills with the sweet white smoke, it's a beautiful day on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

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