There is something about Raglan that keeps drawing us to it. We've been traversing the same latitudinal line for a month now. Raglan to Whangamata, Whangamata to Raglan. West coast to east coast and back again. It's been somewhat of a habit. We do two things when we arrive in Raglan: Check the surf and head to Solscape.
The surf was midget sized so I was excited to surf it; Kyle was psyched to take photos. It's really hard for him to get a photo of me surfing as I'm only vertical on my board for about 5 seconds. I'm proud to say that I made my first turn and had my first battle for a wave. Unfortunately that battle was unwarranted because I actually took off on someone elses wave. For any other newbies out there, that means that I spoke out of turn. Needless to say, the tattooed Maori cut me off and I found myself apologizing my way towards a timeout on the beach. Sorry surfer dude.
Ava loves Solscape. Maybe that's one reason we keep ending up there. It has the feel of a rejuvination center except you have to separate all your own trash. We park our van so we can see the ocean swell, plug in, and chill out. The grounds are full of animals for Ava to chase. I'm only guessing that she is painting her love of chasing chickens or rabbits or perhaps snuggling the kitties that roam the grounds. She first took her shoes off here and hasn't worn them since. That was three weeks ago. She decidedly threw one flip flop behind a washing machine and made it clear she was going shoeless: Kiwi Style. No one here wears shoes. You see entire ball teams running down the sidewalk for their evening warm-up. All barefoot. A beautiful and striking sight.
Solscape is as close as you get to off the grid without actually being off the grid. All the water, including the gray water, is filtered on the property. You separate your trash into about 20 different categories so the only thing you actually throw away is dirty diapers. It's pretty organized.
We decided to ditch our van for a night and head up to the TeePee Sanctuary on the property. You walk past all the tents and cabins, the garden and chicken coup then head into the forest. After crossing the water reclamation area, which poses as a lotus pond, you feel like you really are leaving somewhere and entering nowhere.
Our friends Lindsay and Ben from Whangamata hadn't arrived yet, so we picked flowers and read books until it was time to make dinner. Ava and Ben are best buds so they disappeared into the fray once they arrived.
Kyle and I joined another teepee dweller, Keith, in the kitchen to try out the wood stove. A beautiful structure with shells and stones worked into the molding. That night was full of laughter, wine, candles, UNO, and dueling matches of cowboy-ninja-bear.
The morning sun was warming, the company was gentle, and so was Ben's attempt at the guitar.
We are on our way South finally, done with navigating the same thoroughfare. We are headed to Napier: Art deco capital of the world, and wine region to boot. See you there!