On a Fine Early January Sunday at 9:30am a number of vehicles materialized outside the clubrooms, for the annual Ladies Rally, organized for 2016 by Bob and Carolyn Gibson.

While the outlook at first appeared to be about five vehicles, a fair contingent arrived simultanously at 10am, bringing numbers up to over 20. With instructions soon handed out and a number of vehicles with lady drivers, it was soon time to hit the road south to Makikihi, where we would meet a number of members also coming along from the Waimate Branch.

Though it was the ‘quick way’ down SH1, the Gibsons had cleverly devised a few questions – all answerable by careful ‘eye spy’ of the yellow AA roadsigns at the different intersections on the way.

With Makikihi reached it was to the local establishment, Makikihi Country Hotel, for tea’s and coffee’s, kindly put on by the proprietor, Bruce Milne. A great place it was inside, and outside a number of passers by took an interest in the vehicles – one of note being the SCVCC website’s creator Mark, who found it ‘interesting’ seeing classic cars parked outside a hotel on a Sunday.

With several gallons of tea and coffee soon consumed, a further instruction sheet was given, and this took members around the scenic seaward side of Makikihi, almost in a loop to reach the home of a delicacy of Fish and Chip shops across South Canterbury – Makikihi Fries.

It was an interesting setup inside the Makikihi fries facility, and we were able to see the process – and machinery used – to convert thousands of fresh potatoes into thousands more chips daily. It was a sleeping day for the plant, otherwise if we went through, earmuffs and a loudspeaker would have been the order of the day.

After an insiders view of potato chips, it was soon a trip out west through the back blocks of Hunter, with a number of intrepid entrants travelling at speed on the optional gravel sections – the Roddick’s Singer’s front hubcap becoming part of the scenery for this part of the run.

The lunch stop was at the Otaio Bridge Alpaca Farm, just north of the bridge. The hosts, Ineke and Jacob van Neuren were very accommodating, giving us a talk about the farm and demonstrating the winter clothing items made from the wool – along with providing cups of teas and coffees. A chance was taken up by all to actually meet the Alpacas, and soon many were holding out leafy branches for the friendly alpaca to consume.

Lunch was a glorious, though overcast, affair for a number of our members, with placemats and tables – or even car boots – laid out by the men, a number with cooked meals made for the women.

To judge, Bob and Carolyn enlisted the services of a local ‘Master Chef’, Tony from Makikihi, who took much time taking in a balanced view of the proceedings.

It was not an easy decision, though a winner was soon chosen – Barry Smith, with his dinner setting for Lynette. A prize was also drawn for the quiz questions, I somehow finding myself having answered all signposted questions correctly.

Cheers Bob and Carolyn, for organizing an Interesting Ladies rally.

Shannon Stevenson