Isaias near hurricane strength as it crawls toward Carolinas

Isaias near hurricane strength as it crawls toward Carolinas

  • Terry Crabtree finishes boarding up the entrance to Downeast Marine in Otway, N.C. as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP) Photo: Julia Wall, AP / © The News & Observer 2020

    Terry Crabtree finishes boarding up the entrance to Downeast Marine in Otway, N.C. as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

    Terry Crabtree finishes boarding up the entrance to Downeast Marine in Otway, N.C. as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

    Photo: Julia Wall, AP

Terry Crabtree finishes boarding up the entrance to Downeast Marine in Otway, N.C. as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

Terry Crabtree finishes boarding up the entrance to Downeast Marine in Otway, N.C. as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

Photo: Julia Wall, AP

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Coastal shops and restaurants closed early, power began to flicker at oceanfront hotels and even the most adventurous of beachgoers abandoned the sand Monday night as newly restrengthened Hurricane Isaias sped toward the Carolinas.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned oceanside home dwellers to brace for storm surge up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) and up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in spots, as Isaias moved up the coast. The Carolinas weren’t the only states at risk.

“All those rains could produce flash flooding across portions of the eastern Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even in the northeast U.S.,” said Daniel Brown, senior hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning extended all the way up to Maine, where flash flooding was possible in some areas on Wednesday.

The center also warned of possible tornadoes in North Carolina on Monday night and early Tuesday, and from eastern Virginia to southern New England later Tuesday.

Isaias (pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs) was upgraded again from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane at 11 p.m. EDT. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles (137 kph) and was centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east northeast of Myrtle Beach. It was moving north northeast at 22 mph (35 kph). The Hurricane Center said it expected the storm to make landfall early Tuesday near southern North Carolina.

Isaias killed two people in the Caribbean and roughed up the Bahamas but remained at sea as it brushed past Florida over the weekend, providing some welcome relief to emergency managers who had to accommodate mask-wearing evacuees in storm shelters. The center of Isaias remained well offshore as it passed Georgia’s coast on Monday.

President Donald Trump on Monday described Isaias as “very serious.”

“Storm surge and inland flooding are possible and everyone needs to remain vigilant until it passes,” Trump said.

Authorities in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, ordered swimmers out of the water to avoid rough surf and strong rip currents. By nightfall, power began to flicker at beachfront hotels as Isaias crossed the last bit of warm water on its path toward the U.S. mainland.

Still, on this part of the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts that has been affected to varying degrees by seven tropical storms or hurricanes since 2014, residents weren’t panicking.

“It’s just going to be a lot of wind and high tide,” said Mike Fuller, who has lived along the coast for more than a decade.

As the storm neared the shore, a gauge on a pier in Myrtle Beach recorded its third highest water level since it was set up in 1976. Only Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 pushed more salt water inland.

Oceanfront streets throughout the area flooded as the sea ended up nearly 10 feet (3 meters) above low tide.

Up the coast in southern North Carolina, high winds from Isaias’ inner core knocked down trees and power lines, blocking roads. No major damage was initially reported.

Shops and restaurants appeared quieter than usual for a summertime Monday in North Myrtle Beach, but locals blamed COVID-19 more than Isaias. No businesses were boarding up their windows, although some moved outside furniture inside.

Wayne Stanley and his family came to the city over the weekend from Julian, North Carolina. He’s never experienced a hurricane, but said he never considered canceling his family’s weeklong vacation either.

“I was pretty scared to start off with,” Stanley said Monday. “Then we thought maybe it’s not going to be that bad.”

Officials in frequently flooded Charleston, South Carolina, handed out sandbags and opened parking garages so residents on the low-lying peninsula could stow their cars above ground. Forecasters had warned earlier of possible major flooding, but the storm passed faster than expected and only about a dozen streets were flooded.

Farther up the coast into North Carolina, the hurricane center predicted storm surges of 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) when Isaias moves onshore.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents on Monday that the storm could be dangerous regardless of its strength. He urged those evacuating to turn to shelters as a last resort, citing coronavirus risks and the need to operate shelters at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

“Whether it’s labeled a tropical storm or a hurricane, you should take this storm seriously, and make sure your family is ready,” Cooper said.

Ferry operators wrapped up evacuations from Ocracoke Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Monday, moving more than 3,500 people and 1,700 vehicles off the island over four days. Island officials were taking no chances after taking a beating less than a year ago from Hurricane Dorian. Evacuation orders also have been issued for Hatteras Island north of Ocracoke.

Morgan Stewart said many evacuating residents had come into the store where she works in the inland community of Kinston to buy tarps, batteries, flashlights and other supplies.

“You can tell they’re worried,” said Stewart, who saw cars parked on higher ground over the weekend as she secured her boat at a marina.

Since forming last week, Isaias has been buffeted by competing forces both trying to kill and strengthen it, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

“Of all the places it could be, it found the warmest water it could,” which fuels storm development, McNoldy said. “And yet it is struggling.”

That’s because dry air kept working its way into the storm at low and mid-levels, which chokes storms.

Isaias’ passage near Florida over the weekend was particularly unwelcome to authorities already dealing with surging coronavirus caseloads. The storm brought heavy rain and flooding to the state, forcing authorities to close outdoor virus testing sights, as well as beaches and parks. Officials lashed signs to palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away.

About 150 people had to keep masks on while sheltering in Palm Beach County, which had a voluntary evacuation order for people living in homes that can’t withstand dangerous winds, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda.


This story has been edited to correct the spelling of Isaias in the third paragraph from the bottom.


Associated Press reporters Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia; Jeffrey Collins and Michelle Liu in Columbia, South Carolina; Sophia Tulp in Atlanta; and AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed to this report.

Hurricane Phoenix is Tampa Bay’s worst-case scenario

Hurricane Phoenix is Tampa Bay’s worst-case scenario

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It is only a simulation. It’s also the worst-case scenario. One day, it could be reality.

“Hurricane Phoenix” is the hypothetical disaster that would change life in the Tampa Bay area forever.

Imagine a Category 5 storm that drowns South Tampa and turns St. Petersburg into an island. The bridges rendered impassable, the airports unusable and the region’s communities left on their own until help arrives. Power loss in some areas could last months. The beaches would be wiped away, as would tourism. Nearly every small business could die. Recovery would take a decade.

That is the vivid and grim picture painted by Hurricane Phoenix 2.0, the doomsday scenario hurricane simulation conducted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

If all that sounds hyperbolic, it’s not. The Tampa Bay area is considered to be one of the most vulnerable population centers to a hurricane strike. The fact that we haven’t been hit by a major hurricane in 99 years is nothing more than luck, experts say.

Phoenix 2.0 is the update to the council’s widely-cited 2009 Phoenix simulation, which first explained how devastating a major hurricane could be. It would create millions of tons of rubble and economic damage equivalent to erasing a small nation.

The report arrives at a particularly salient moment: Climatologists predict 2020 may be one of the most active hurricane seasons on record.

But there is no simulating the human toll of such a storm.

It’s impossible to calculate exactly how likely a hurricane like Phoenix is to strike Florida, much less the bay area. Only four Category 5 storms have hit the U.S. mainland in almost 170 years of recorded history. Yet, the National Hurricane Center estimates that statistically the Tampa Bay area should get hit by a Category 3 or higher storm about every three decades.

“You don’t need a 5 to bring Tampa Bay to its knees,” said Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

One might think the worst-case scenario would have the storm’s eye going right over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and marching into Tampa Bay.

It is not. The worst-case scenario is actually the simulated path of Hurricane Phoenix, approaching from the southwest and making landfall at noon north of Tampa Bay’s mouth.

The planning council’s model targets Indian Rocks Beach — that allows the counterclockwise rotation of the storm to sling Gulf water into the bay, raising the surface waters until they overflow into communities like an unattended bathtub with the faucet left running.

The water would rise so dramatically that most of downtown and South Tampa would be under at least 12 to 15 feet of water, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency software tool used to estimate losses from potential disasters.

The edges of the South Tampa peninsula, all of Davis and Harbour islands, the Channel District and the banks of the Hillsborough River would see water 21 feet or higher.

Westchase and Oldsmar would be entirely underwater, with surge extending all the way inland to Gunn Highway.

One would be able to swim U.S. 41 from the Manatee River to the Ikea store in Ybor City.

The swollen Tampa Bay would meet the Gulf of Mexico in Seminole, swallowing much of mid Pinellas County: The Gateway area, Feather Sound, Pinellas Park, Lealman, Kenneth City and east Largo would all be under water, plus everything south of 22nd Avenue S in St. Petersburg. The intersection of Fifth Avenue N and 34th Street would be the center of St. Pete Island.

The highest surge would hit 42 feet.

The beaches as we know them would be gone.

Hurricane Phoenix would have sustained winds of 160 mph, making it a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. That is strong enough to destroy framed homes, tear roofs apart and decimate trees and power poles.

Wind gusts would reach the 200 mph mark. The takeoff speed of a Boeing 737 is about 150 mph, meaning a Phoenix-like storm could toss passenger jets aside like toys.

The simulated storm retains Category 5 strength as the eye cuts diagonally across the region, moving northeast through mid-Pinellas, the northwest corner of Hillsborough and central Pasco. By the time it reaches eastern Hernando, it would be a Category 4.

From daybreak until 7 p.m., the entire region — Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Manatee counties — would be lashed by hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph.

If what was left of Mexico Beach after a direct hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018 — the last Category 5 storm to make landfall in Florida — serves as a comparison, Phoenix would destroy almost everything in its path.

The simulation, done at the planning council’s behest by disaster planning and preparedness contractor Critical Integrated Solutions, serves dual purposes:

“It’s both a warning about the chilling impacts of a catastrophic storm and a call to action for people to plan and prepare for a severe hurricane today — even if they’ve weathered many hurricane warnings in the past,” said planning council executive director Sean Sullivan in an email to the Times.

Phoenix 2.0 echoes the last major hurricane to make landfall in Tampa Bay: The 1921 Tampa Bay hurricane, which came ashore Oct. 25 in Tarpon Springs, just 20 miles north of Phoenix’s simulated landfall in Indian Rocks Beach.

Also known as the Tarpon Springs hurricane, the Category 3 storm leveled the region with up to 115 mph winds. It’s 11-foot storm surge flooded downtown Tampa and turned St. Petersburg into an island. It killed eight people when the population was just 135,000 or so, and caused $10 million of damage in 1921 dollars.

The region rebuilt, driven by leaders who “sought to cover up the damage caused by the hurricane and rushed to draw attention back to the ‘paradise’ they marketed as Florida,” according to a 2008 article that Nicole Cox wrote for the journal Tampa Bay History.

That notion of paradise persists a century later, strong enough to attract people to the bay area’s endangered beaches, vulnerable coastline and expensive, low-lying neighborhoods, despite the risks.

But risk, said Jeff R. Temple, psychology professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, exists everywhere. Nearly every part of the U.S. faces a worst-case scenario.

“If it’s flooding, mudslides, or earthquakes, or fires, or hurricanes, or tornadoes, it’s really inescapable,” said Temple, whose home, just blocks from the beach, was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

After Ike, he said he wouldn’t rebuild in Galveston. But 12 years later, he still lives there. He’s resigned to another hurricane. If he has to, he’ll rebuild again. Humans are like that. “We have to be resilient,” he said, “we have to have short memories.”

But humans are also more reactive than proactive, Temple said. Maybe Phoenix 2.0 can convince Tampa Bay residents to better prepare for their worst-case scenario:

“By putting this (model) out there, people might take it more seriously.”

Not much has changed since the original Phoenix study. The new simulation predicts 10 percent higher storm surge due to Kelvin waves, large-scale waves that can change ocean height. Sea level rise in the past decade has had a negligible impact.

What has changed is the Tampa Bay area itself.

The estimated 3.1 million residents makes Tampa Bay the 17th largest economy in the U.S. If the bay area were its own country, it would have the 55th largest economy in the world.

There are also more than 400,000 more people living here compared to 2009. Downtown St. Petersburg and Tampa are more built out and at risk of flooding. Density has also increased. There are more businesses and homes in the way of storm surge, more structures with roofs to fly off. Many of those are now 11 years older.

Of the six counties’ more than 1.35 million buildings, the simulation shows more than 103,679 buildings would be severely damaged or destroyed. That is an increase from the 92,827 buildings lost in the old simulation.

The 2009 storm was estimated to cost the area $233 billion in economic losses and create 41 million tons of physical wreckage.

Eleven years later, the same storm would cost the area in excess of $300 billion in losses, and leave behind more than 50 million tons of wreckage.

The damage would be worst in Pinellas County. Not one household or commercial building would have power immediately after the storm. More than 70 percent of businesses would be completely destroyed, and the county’s mobile home parks would cease to exist.

The further from landfall, the better residents may fare. Hillsborough would be mostly without power, and more than 60 percent of businesses would be destroyed. Pasco County would go completely dark, and 50 percent of businesses would be gone.

What is different about Phoenix 2.0 is that it comes with a program to help small businesses prepare for and survive a major storm.

The simulation estimates 40 percent of small businesses wouldn’t reopen following the storm. Within a year, 25 percent more would close.

Two years out, 90 percent of small businesses would fail because of a storm.

“So we have a lot to protect,” Sullivan said.

Death is the biggest concern of Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie Perkins. No amount of messaging to the public or advanced preparations can eliminate the fatalities that will result from the massive evacuation, the storm and its aftermath.

“There will inevitably be loss of life,” she said.

The 2009 Hurricane Phoenix simulation estimated the storm would cause nearly 2,200 deaths; the 2.0 simulation didn’t estimate a death toll or the storm’s effect on poverty.

But Sullivan said the suffering will be worse among underprivileged communities, where people likely live at or below the poverty line and in older structures. They will also be less likely to buy seven days’ worth of food in preparation for a storm. State officials say that’s how long it could take for help to arrive.

The pandemic will also present challenges, Perkins said, for both citizens and planners. Emergency officials have made alterations to their shelter plans to accommodate pandemic risks. Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said each evacuee taking shelter needs 60 square feet of space instead of the old figure of 20 square feet to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But the pandemic has enhanced cooperation between faith groups, feeding organizations, mental health experts and governments to prepare for that aftermath, Perkins said. Those strengthened relationships would become critical if a Phoenix-like storm were to strike.

Still, governments and nonprofits can only do so much. Perkins said residents need to prepare on their own: They’ll need masks and sanitizer to stay safe in shelters and at least seven days of food, water and medicine to live on after a storm.

It will take time for help to reach them, and even more time to stabilize that help for the hard months to come.

“I can’t do it alone,” she said.

Local governments say they’re doing what they can to prepare for the worst-case scenarios outlined in the Phoenix 2.0 simulation.

If a hurricane damages the bay area’s three bridges — which are most vital to Pinellas County — Perkins said they’re ready for that. They’ve already talked with state and federal agencies about using amphibious vehicles to shuttle emergency supplies across waterways.

But a full scale recovery effort would stall if a major storm wipes out the bridges and other critical roadways, said Hillsborough County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization executive director Beth Alden.

For every 2½ weeks a critical road is out of service after a storm, the loss to the regional economy is equivalent to what it would have cost to have built the road to withstand such a storm in the first place.

Mitigation, like preventative health care, is fiscally responsible, said Whit Remer, Tampa’s sustainability and resilience officer.

Every dollar invested in girding infrastructure for a major storm pays for itself four-fold.

“Is it worth it to make these investments now?” Alden asked. “And the answer is, ‘Oh yeah, it’s definitely worth it.’”

Delightful adventures in the Deep South

Delightful adventures in the Deep South

Logan Savory / Stuff

Bike riders took to the streets for the Invercargill Street Race as part of February’s 2020 Burt Munro Challenge.

It is the slice of our country billed as “the New Zealand we all dream of”.

South Otago and Southland, situated at the foot of the South Island, offer dramatic scenery that spans pristine rainforests, fertile farmlands and sweeping coastlines.

As well as natural wonders though, the area is also home to range of experiences and attraction that are rightly world famous in New Zealand.

Destination Clutha / YouTube

Nugget Point is one of the many great places to visit in the South Island’s Clutha District.


* Six epic lighthouse locations to visit in New Zealand

* Recovered locomotive more than just a huge ornament

* Burt Munro collectibles will be racing out the door

Nugget Point's sturdy lighthouse, built in 1869 and still in operation, stands 76 metres above sea level.

Destination Clutha

Nugget Point’s sturdy lighthouse, built in 1869 and still in operation, stands 76 metres above sea level.


It’s perhaps the most-spectacular bit of the least-visited part of New Zealand, at least where Kiwis are concerned.

Come to the Catlins and meet some very smug locals. Their biggest worry is the secret-spoiling frequency with which Nugget Point features on Instagram. This is because it is so strikingly photogenic: a steep headland jutting out into the Southern Ocean – next stop, the Antarctic – topped by a cute lighthouse and surrounded by a cluster of picturesque islets. And, if all that were not enough, there are penguins here too, and seals and seabirds.

The name comes from the shape of the islets which, to an optimistic imagination, look like gold nuggets. Certainly, if you were here for a misty dawn, they would glow appropriately in the sun’s low rays. But at any time of day they are worth seeing, the sea foaming white around their bases.

The sturdy lighthouse, built in 1869 and still in operation, stands 76 metres above sea level and looms over the lookout point with its dramatic views along the coast and out to sea.

The best time to spot hoiho is around dusk.

Destination Clutha

The best time to spot hoiho is around dusk.


Because it’s such a great reward for so little effort. Drive there along the beachy coast from the little settlement of Kaka Point and, then from the carpark, walk along a gentle incline up to the lighthouse, with plenty of excuses to stop along the way for the views.

Once you’re done with the lighthouse and Nuggets, go back and take the path down to Roaring Bay. Here you’ll find a hide for watching the hoiho, yellow-eyed penguins, one of the rarest penguin species in the world. At dawn and dusk, you’ll see them hopping awkwardly, but with great determination, between their nests up on the cliff face and the beach below.


If you visit in summer, you may see elephant seals sunning themselves on the rocks below, as well as the resident New Zealand fur seals. If it’s penguins you’re after, the best time to spot them is around dusk, as they emerge from the sea and spend time preening their feathers. Bring binoculars.

Nugget Point is home to the hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) - one of the rarest penguin species in the world.

Destination Clutha

Nugget Point is home to the hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) – one of the rarest penguin species in the world.


The Catlins are full of gems: pretty waterfalls big and small, bush walks, empty beaches. There’s a fossilised forest at Curio Bay – just 180 million years old – and, next door at Porpoise Bay, in summer and autumn you’ll encounter rare, but friendly Hector’s dolphins.

Don’t miss Cathedral Caves, second only to Nugget Point for dramatic good looks. Call in at The Lost Gypsy Gallery at Papatowai (it is currently closed for the winter, but scheduled to reopen on October 26) for coffee and an entertaining variety of interactive “gadgets and gizmos” and give some time to the quirky little museums at Owaka and Waikawa.


Nugget Point is free.


It depends what you’re after: dramatic waves breaking on the Nuggets, long shadows at either end of the day, penguin action, or blue sky and long views. Just choose your weather and time of day and get out there.

Yes, it's a high street hardware and homeware store – yet E Hayes and Sons is also so much more than that.


Yes, it’s a high street hardware and homeware store – yet E Hayes and Sons is also so much more than that.


It’s a high street hardware and homeware store – yet so much more than that.

Yes, you can buy cake tins and lawnmowers and screws here, and the friendly staff will be happy to advise you on your latest DIY project; but there’s a whole other dimension to this shop in Invercargill’s Dee Street.

Amongst many other useful items, Ernest Hayes invented the fencing wire strainer we’re all familiar with, and his sons inherited his practical skills. The family store was founded in 1932, and it was a natural extension from selling tools and equipment to including displays of vintage machinery, some of it Ernest’s inventions, as well as a variety of vehicles, most notably motorbikes that once belonged to Burt Munro. The undoubted star of the collection is the 1967 World Record-breaking Indian itself.

E Hayes and Sons was founded in 1932.


E Hayes and Sons was founded in 1932.


Because who could resist a selfie sitting in the World’s Fastest Indian? The real, original motorbike is inside a glass case, but there’s a replica of the cowling, a prop used in the movie, that you can wriggle into and imagine you’re roaring across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats at 184mph (a record that still stands today).

There’s plenty of information about all Munro’s achievements, and other items of his on display, including a case full of home-made pistons labelled “Offerings to the God of Speed”.

Scattered around the shop, tucked in between the shelves of saucepans and spanners, tents and t-shirts, gifts and gumboots, are many classic and vintage cars and vans, with their seductive curves and shiny chrome, as well as lots of newer motorbikes and cars, built for racing.

Be sure to give the cases of tools a good look too, especially the specialty hammers: for awkward places, ceilings, round corners, the reversible, and the elegant twin strike hammer. You’ll have some fun too, inspecting the “E Hayes Special Fasteners” designed for “holes drilled crooked” or “pre-drilled holes that still don’t match”.


If it’s a chilly day (because, Southland) you can help yourself to a complimentary hot drink from the refreshment station, where you’ll also find an interesting brochure about the company and its collection.

The star of the collection is the 1967 World Record-breaking Indian itself.


The star of the collection is the 1967 World Record-breaking Indian itself.


If you’ve got the taste for old motorbikes, go visit Motorcycle Mecca in nearby Tay Street: a beautiful Art Deco building with two floors of classic motorbikes, from a 1902 Peugeot motorcycle to a 21st century Simms Corbin Custom. There are three wheelers, Vespas, Harleys and much more including, proudly, a big display of John Britten motorbikes and a priceless motorcycle art collection.

There’s also Bill Richardson Transport World‘s huge museum of cars, trucks, Kombis, domestic machinery and lots more – and if you feel like getting hands-on, they’ll let you drive a giant digger at their Dig This operation. You can even smash up a car!


The E Hayes collection is totally free. No purchase necessary.


Anytime during normal shop hours, seven days a week. See

The Dodge Kingsway deservedly takes pride of place in the cafe.

Pamela Wade

The Dodge Kingsway deservedly takes pride of place in the cafe.


You might have thought you were following State Highway 6 from Invercargill to Queenstown, but when you take a break halfway at this café and bar in Lumsden, you’ll straight away switch to the US-style Route 6 label for the road.

This is because, inside this former bank’s mostly unremarkable brick exterior, you’ll be transported instantly to 1950s America. Even the old Ford Popular cut-out on the frontage won’t prepare you for the riot of sparkling chrome and shiny vinyl and Formica inside with, as a show-stopping centrepiece, a beautifully restored 1955 Dodge Kingsway convertible forming part of the counter.

Even the booths and stools are originals, imported from the States, and they add to the authentic feel of the place. The bar is a vintage Quane surfboard, for an extra novelty, and wherever you look you will find amusing touches added by owners Rob and Jane Scott.

The Route 6 cafe exterior hides a surprising interior.

Pamela Wade

The Route 6 cafe exterior hides a surprising interior.


Because when did you last sit in a Route 66-style diner and tuck into a burger and milkshake on the site of New Zealand’s biggest bank robbery?

On St Patrick’s Day 1983, two men wearing wigs and helmets marched into the bank brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and a pistol, and demanded cash. They roared off with $107,000, most of which was never recovered, although one of the robbers was caught. You can read all about it on the framed front page of The Southland Times hanging on the café wall (which also reports, equally shockingly, the sighting of a snake in Papatoetoe). The café’s kitchen is located in the bank’s safe.


The café is also Lumsden’s Post Shop, if you’re short of a stamp for that postcard. And the car was brought inside in one piece, since you ask.

Lumsden's lively history makes it worth exploring.

Pamela Wade

Lumsden’s lively history makes it worth exploring.


Cute little Lumsden is proud of its history and deserves a bit of your time. Take a wander round and look at the two-cell town jail with the stocks outside, very popular as a photo op. There’s droving and busy railway heritage to explore, including a couple of old engines still on site, and the former railway building doubles now as a museum and craft shop. If you have any stomach room left, Bafe Bakery is famous for its cream doughnuts as well as its quirky décor, which includes a lot of (authorised) local graffiti.

The Around the Mountains cycle trail runs through here. It’s 186km from Kingston to Walter Peak and takes 3-5 days at a reasonably relaxed pace, through peaceful but spectacular scenery. So watch out for cyclists – or have a go yourself. Find out more about it on the free Great Rides app, and prepare to be tempted.


Right now Route 6 has a $6.50 deal that buys you a coffee and a proper Southland cheese roll – but there’s a full range of food and drink to choose from.


When you’re hungry. The café is open Friday to Monday 9am till 7pm and Tuesday to Thursday 9am till 3pm.

Who wouldn't enjoy soaring above the Southland countryside?

Gavin Conroy

Who wouldn’t enjoy soaring above the Southland countryside?


Because who wouldn’t enjoy soaring above the Southland countryside, upside-down?


Just 10 minutes from Gore, it’s an aviation restoration workshop, it’s a museum of vintage aircraft that are nearly all air-worthy and, most excitingly, it’s also a place where you can strap on a leather flying helmet and jacket and take to the air in a Tiger Moth for a gentle sight-seeing flight – or, for the more adventurous, some proper aerobatics seen at their most thrilling from your seat in front of the pilot.


The bragging rights of doing a barrel roll or a loop-the-loop in a bright yellow vintage bi-plane are indisputable. You can bore everyone with this for the rest of your life – or, more likely, make them green with envy. Who wouldn’t enjoy soaring above the Southland countryside, upside-down, the wind whistling through the wires, your teeth dry as a bone because you can’t stop grinning?

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, though, there’s a ton of interesting stuff here: the bare wooden bones of planes being restored, beautiful laminated propellers, an airworthy replica of Bert Pither’s 1910 homemade monoplane on its bicycle wheels, a Dragonfly, more Tiger Moths, and a Percival Proctor, as flown by Jean Batten. There’s even a shop and the Waimea Plains Railway will also operate their 140-year-old Rogers K92 Steam Train one weekend a month from September from the Heritage Centre.

An airworthy replica of Bert Pither's 1910 homemade monoplane on its bicycle wheels, is one of the many treasures on display at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre.


An airworthy replica of Bert Pither’s 1910 homemade monoplane on its bicycle wheels, is one of the many treasures on display at the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre.


There’s no denying that there could be some mid-air stomach trauma resulting from all those g-forces, so maybe forgo that big breakfast and save yourself for a self-congratulatory indulgence afterwards at the Miss Cocoa Cafeé in the nearby Mandeville Railway Hotel.


Close by is Gore, famous for its leaping trout statue and country music . The Public Gardens near the town centre are always lovely, you can fly-fish for brown trout, or line-dance along to some of that country music they’re so fond of here.


Tiger Moth joyrides begin at $150 for 15 minutes, up to $300 for half-an-hour. There’s also a Fox Moth, seating three people in a cabin, and a Dominie Rapide, for up to eight passengers, which are occasionally available. Standard entry to the museum is $12, accompanied children free.

Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre is situated just 10 minutes away from Gore and its famous fishy icon.

Pamela Wade

Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre is situated just 10 minutes away from Gore and its famous fishy icon.


For a sky full of vintage aircraft, go to the Mandeville Fly-In which takes place annually on the eighth weekend of the year. To get hands-on, the museum is currently open 10am to 4pm daily.

See, or phone (03) 208 9755 for flight information.


Train operator blames Covid for restricting WiFi to premium seats

Train operator blames Covid for restricting WiFi to premium seats

by | Aug 31, 2020 | Uncategorized

The wireless internet on Eurostar trains was briefly turned off for passengers unless they were in premium seating, reports the BBC. Challenged by passengers, the company claims this was because of Coronavirus, but turned it back on again.

Mark Jackson, founder of the internet service provider site ISPreview, said … the wi-fi is provided by a track-side network of mobile broadband cells and it was unclear how additional safety measures introduced as a result of coronavirus would impact its delivery to standard seats.

I’m glad this too-obvious attempt to use Covid to push customers to upgrades was brought quickly to a halt, but the fact it happened at all is alarming. This is a bellwether for what happens to the consumer economy under a continuing pandemic: the airlinification of all things. Two levels of service, “expensive” and “exorbitant”, with the former made increasingly uncomfortable and hostile until it serves only captive markets and the first-class service is the only one involving willing users. It’s easy to roll your eyes now; but this is how public transport and education will end up. It’s how access to food ends up. It’s how everything ends up.

6 beautiful homes in Michigan, including a castle

6 beautiful homes in Michigan, including a castle

by | Aug 29, 2020 | Worldwide Beach News & Updates

Iron Mountain. Set beside Lake Antoine on the Upper Peninsula, this four-bedroom home comes with 515 feet of waterfront access. Crafted of polished hardwoods, brick, and stone throughout, the interior features vaulted ceilings, a split-face-granite fireplace, custom ­cabinetry, and an Italian marble ­mosaic shower in the master suite.

The 3.4-acre wooded property has a pond, firepit, beach bath sauna at the lakefront, and four-car garage with in-law suite. $1,800,000. Barb Shepherd, Harbor ­Sotheby’s International ­Realty, (231) 526-9889.

Grand Rapids. This six-bedroom Tudor in Plymouth Heights was built in 1930. An extensive restoration preserved the leaded windows, wainscoting, hand-carved woodwork, inlaid wood and marble floors, and ornate moldings, while adding a chef’s kitchen; a Swarovski dining room chandelier; and a granite wet bar and wood-­burning fireplace in the basement.

On the freshly landscaped lot are lawns, trees, a bluestone patio, and a large brick circular front walkway. $1,125,000. Andrew Grashuis, Greenridge Realty, (616) 458-3655.

Ann Arbor. Perched on a hilltop lot in Ann Arbor Hills, this four-bedroom home offers a woodland setting minutes from downtown and the university. The updated 1951 house includes a two-story foyer with floor-to-ceiling windows, primary suite with balcony and spa bathroom, gourmet kitchen, three-season room, mudroom, and wine cellar.

Outside are a wraparound deck, lawn and gardens, and access to nature trails. $1,095,000. Megan Mazurek and Avery Evenson, Reinhart Realtors, (734) 971-6070.

Traverse City. The Wellington Inn, built in 1905 by a lumber baron, stands a few blocks from the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay. The fully restored neoclassical mansion, furnished throughout with period antiques, has nine bedrooms, a dining room, a library, and a ballroom and can serve as residence or inn.

In back is a separate carriage house with a pair of two-bedroom apartments and an event space. $3,100,000. Kellie Sergent, Century 21 Northland, (231) 499-1814.

Jackson. Violinist Max Helmer modeled his 1927 home on a 5th-century German castle he saw while on tour. More than 500 tons of rocks and 300 barrels of cement were used to construct it; a 1942 three-story addition included a great room and master suite.

The five-bedroom home also has a dungeon, a 60-foot tower with lookout, and a lighted basketball court. The landscaped grounds on the 20-acre wooded property feature three patios and multilevel gardens. $529,000. Carey and Ilze Chesney, Keller Williams Ann Arbor, (734) 478-3540.

Rochester. The local architect of this 1972 three-­bedroom home was influenced by Eichler and worked with Minoru Yamasaki. The updated house has a new roof and paint, tiger-wood floors, a 16-foot-high great room, a living room with bar, a master suite with spa bathroom, and a basement potting room with garden windows.

The lot includes a fenced backyard with lawn, garden beds, and deck. $520,000. ­Dianne Gouin, HomePointe Realty LLC, (248) 420-0604.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.