Okay I left Auckland at 7.50am to head to Parachute Music Festival at Mystery Creek Events Centre in Hamilton, 160km away. My GPS was very optimistic in predicting a travel time of only 1 hour 40 minutes, I knew it would take the better part of two hours.
It took me nearly 45 minutes to get across the harbour bridge, whereas in good traffic the run would only take 20 minutes. So in less than an hour I was already the better part of 30 minutes behind my GPS’s predicted time.
Traffic heading south was heavy and to make matters worse I hit fog near Huntly, which was odd given how nice a day it was, and this wasn’t just a little fog, this was down to 100m visibility and lights on drop the speed to 80kmh fog.
Just south of Huntly I have a little shortcut around the west of Hamilton that I normally take to get to Parachute but because of the fog, and my car not running as nicely as I would like it to I decided to play it safe and stay on the state highways.
Another bypass for getting around Hamilton is to take State Highway 1B through Gordonton, I have never taken this road before, but it is the recommended route for Parachute traffic. One Line: Do it once, never do it again. The so called State Highway was country roads worse than those that I would have travelled on going my route, and to make matters worse I was about the 10th car in a queue behind a milk tanker for the entire 40km or so detour, with many more cars behind me by the end of it. Being stuck behind a milk tanker for so long is not fun, and it just slows you down.
In the end I arrived at Mystery Creek at 10.25am, 2 hours 35 minutes driving, so much for that 1 hour 40 that was predicted I was almost a full hour late.
I arrived at Parachute with enough time to still get a good park, grab my tent and head for the queues waiting for entry at 11am when the gates opened. During this time I was desperately trying to get a hold of some of my friends from church who were working as crew to find out where they were tenting. I finally found out 5 minutes before the gates opened.
I ended up with an awesome camping spot, located behind the mainstage, central enough to get to everything easily but not as noisy as our spots other years around the debut stage and the village.
Once I had set up my tent (which took over an hour, the elastic in one of my poles broke on a brand new tent, and I had to restring it in the hot sun, grrr) and made two more trips to my car to haul in food and gear (btw the queues for gate sales were large even at 12pm, when the gate sale tickets didn’t go on sale until 1pm) I went off to the Manna Store to investigate the specials, and ended up standing in a hot queue for over one hour to buy Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel at a great price.
After that I decided to go exploring as this was my first time at Parachute in two years because I missed last year due to work… (next blog post to follow).