Kids who like cars, road trips and empty tank dilemma

NZ Road trip, lake Taupo
View from the car, Lake Taupo

Hi again everyone! I just got back from a delightful morning at Noodle's school for the annual happyokai - the class presentation day? Not sure how to translate this one! Here's what was done: group one demonstrated their skipping speed, ability and endurance; group two acted out a short play about water conservation; group three did a kanji quiz; group four asked the class and parents to calculate the area of some complex diagrams, like a pyramid and a parallelogram (thank God I wasn't called on!). The whole class told a story in parts and sang some songs. It all took forty five minutes. Short and sweet, just the way I like it.

Noodle's group gave a presentation about cars. Noodle's part was to list the names of all the Japanese car manufacturers. He did quite a lot of the speaking (announcements) throughout the morning which of course made me proud. Is he a kid who likes cars? I wouldn't have thought so yet apparently he is. We certainly love road trips and you know how I love to watch programs about car makers on Discovery Channel!

Which reminds me of a funny tale from our most recent road trip, around the central North Island of New Zealand last August. As always we rented a car. Go Rentals are the BEST rent-a-car shop in NZ. They have a great petrol deal whereupon you pre-pay for a full tank of gas at the time if rental. When you return the car there's no need to fill the tank, as is customary with a rental. Not only do you save money but you also save heaps of hassle if you are leaving early in the morning from the airport as I usually am. The thing is, in order to get your money's worth, you should return the car as close to empty as possible.

Can you see where I am going with this? How many times do you think the gas light came on during those last few days? As I tried to eek out as many miles as I could from small $20 top ups? One particular incident was not a pleasant one. The light came on while I was on a country road headed to my sister's place. I wasn't certain how far I'd be able to drive so crossed my fingers and gunned it for one of two petrol stations I knew of in her town. I arrived at the pump no worries only to find that cash wasn't accepted and credit cards needed to be PIN activated which mine was not! To top it off I didn't have a cell phone, so was forced to walk around looking for a phone box to call for help. Phone boxes don't exist anymore, apparently, grr. Fortunately the women at the service counter of a nearby supermarket took pity on me and let me use the phone there. It was terribly embarrassing both explaining my predicament and then groveling to dear sister to come down with her ATM card. (Thanks again Sal!)

This website just might have come in handy: Tank on
I probably would have made it to a proper full-serve gas station!


  1. My new car has a "how many kms left" meter and I decided to test it one day - assuming that it would be a little conservative. I pulled into the petrol station with it telling me I could only drive another 10km before I ran out... the man filled it up and we checked all the information in my manual and guess what.... there was literally about 10km worth of petrol left in the tank. I've decided I will now believe what it is telling me!

  2. That's really cool Jo, what make is it? I need a new car! Mine won't auto lock all the doors and the auto windows only work occasionally.


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