Saturday, 14 December 2013

Oxford to Queenstown

Fueled up with splendid bacon and eggs at Seagars and Trish's smile we ride south.
Through the Springfield area where  Hubbard and Jebson relatives farmed in the 1800's
Over the Rakaia Gorge bridge
To the McKenzie Basin where what was once barren land has been transformed by irrigation  into green, lush dairy-farming country. Haymakers are busy today.
To Tarras for a cuppa.
Merino wool used to make Icebreaker  clothes is produced from sheep raised here on Bendigo Station. Our Icebreaker tee shirts and long sleeve tops and leggings have kept us warm in the cold places and the tee shirts kept us cool in the tropics. After 8 months of daily wear on our motorcycle journeys the icebreaker clothing is in excellent condition.

Lupins mark our path through the Cardrona Valley and fill the air with a delicate perfume.

We are home in Queenstown again.
Over 75,000km later Mella has returned to where we started in April 2012.
Where to next???

Friday, 13 December 2013

Picton to Oxford via Outward Bound School Anakiwa

We farewelled my sister Yvonne and Ken in Waikawa and headed via the Queen Charlotte Drive from Picton toward our first stop, Anakiwa.
We passed Nick on his bicycle. It is a cool morning and there is little traffic so he has a good ride ahead and so do we…

The morning highlight is meeting several Watches of young people at the Outward Bound School.

I love our visits to the NZ Outward Bound School and I especially enjoy listening to students as they recount their experiences and reveal what they have discovered about themselves and as they talk of their hopes for the future.

It gives me great hope.

Baker Watch are ready to do their service activity.
Gloves, spades, pruning shears, grubbers...

Shackleton and Hillary Watches  are preparing to set off on the cutters. Sailing and rowing lie ahead.
This brings back memories of my experience in Cobham Watch in 2004.

Meanwhile Baker Watch have begun their service activity and quickly have the gardens trimmed.
Sea kayaks await as the skies clear over the tranquil Grove Arm.

We have seen many dairy herds over the last few days in the north Island but this is the first large jersey herd we have spotted.
When I was a child 'Bluey' the house cow kept us supplied with thick creamy jersey milk. Sometimes we skimmed the cream off the top and churned it into butter.
I was raised on this farm over the hills from Anakiwa near Havelock.
We stop for lunch at the Slip Inn. 

We check  the weather forecast and decide to ride south along SH1 on the East Coast through Seddon where there have been recent earthquakes. The landslip damage to the roadsides and the recent repairs are evident.
The Pacific is turquoise today.
We spot seals basking on the rocks and penguins strutting on the beaches.
The scene from The Store at Kekerengu.

We ride on through Kaikoura, Cheviot, Waipara and decide to take the inland scenic route from Amberley.
When I am on the bike I become very aware of driver behavior.
On this trip drivers seem to be keeping close to the summertime 4km threshold over the 100km speed limit  on the open road. Dick certainly is.
Yes, we see the mystery behavior of slow drivers on winding roads like the Hundalees who speed up on the overtaking lanes and then slow down again. That is probably the cause of the frustration for a driver who overtakes five cars and a logging truck with a trailer near Cheviot.

In the late afternoon we begin to look for a place to stay.
Today we are lucky.

A group of women sitting in the late afternoon sun outside Seagars at Oxford  give us a friendly wave.
Jo Seagar and her team had just finished a Cook School Christmas class for the day.
They gave us a wonderful welcome - and had a room available for the night. Just marvellous.

Dinner at the local Oxford Working Men's Club came with a warm welcome from John, the local panel beater and vintage motorcycle owner who had just been to the Burt Munro Challenge 2013 weekend in Invercargill.

We feel as if we are in heartland New Zealand.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Martinborough to Wellington and a fantastic Blue Bridge ferry trip to Picton

We are on our way to meet some special people before we board the Blue Bridge Straitsman ferry.
We avoid tangling with some agricultural machinery on the way.

First an early morning coffee stop with Brian and Jo near Martinborough.
We met Brian and Jo in Fairbanks last year when we were all  riding north to Prudhoe Bay.
They later rode the lower 48 states of the USA while we were riding to Patagonia.
Next stop is a catch up with our fellow Team Kiwi member, Ken and a quick stop to see Frank. Hi Shirley, we were sorry to miss you.
We wait while the Straitsman ferry is loaded.
The blue-shrouded Beehive parliament building is across the road from the terminal.

Serious peddlers are waiting to board the ferry, too.
I get chat with some of them.  Werner from Munich and Nick a kiwi recently returned and getting to know his homeland by cycling from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
I'm happy that we have a motor between our wheels.
We enjoy a smooth trip across the Cook Strait and on entry to Tory Channel.

Queen Charlotte Sound is stunning today.

Mella has been keeping company with stock trucks and other vehicles. She is the only motorcycle on board today.
We disembark and head to Waikawa to stay with Yvonne and Ken.
Radioman is on our minds and in our conversations today.
Hi from New Zealand, Mark. You left wonderful memories here.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Gisborne to Martinborough

It was 22 degC at 8.00am as we set off from Gisborne.
A warm and wonderful day ahead for us to  explore back roads and rural roads  through lush pastureland where sheep mustering and sheep shearing are in full swing. 
Road cones warn us of men and dogs droving mobs of sheep along the roads.

The delicate perfume of wild roses and flowering broom fill the air.

Sometimes I listen to music while we ride along. In the morning  I listen to Renee Maurice StarJam  tutor and winner of NZ Got Talent. We have been fans of hers for years throughout her time at StarJam. Each time I listen a still small voice speaks to me. Today the voice spoke of Mercy from Renee's Quintessential Melody album.
Each grievance forgot,
Each grudge forgiven
Each mind made up
That life’s for livin'
We know our luck
For we’ve been given….

Riding on the back of the bike is a good place for grievances to be dealt with and dropped off as we ride along - a wonderful process of renewing my mind. 

Today is one of those special days on the road - life is for living.

 Main street Gisborne

 Lush farmland near Wairoa

 Wild roses and flowering broom - reminiscent of our time in Southern Patagonia this time last year.

This is my first photograph taken with my iPhone from a moving motorcycle.
I discovered that the phone screen responds to the soft leather fingertips of my motorcycle gloves
(My Olympus Tough2 is away at the camera hospital)

As we ride I capture the sheep being mustered on the hill side... 
 and driven along the road...
into the shearing shed pens.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

On the road again...

It is twelve months since we rode into Ushuaia with Ken and Mark.
What a day of hallelujahs that was.

Since then we have travelled to far flung places  - Australia(motorcycle circumnavigation), Botswana. Croatia..

We have loved being with family and friends and meeting people along the way.

We are on the road from Auckland to Queenstown. We began the big Americas bike ride in Queenstown in May 2012.
This trip is going to be a leisurely ride almost the length if New Zealand.
There is something special afoot.
Being on a motorcycle journey ensures that.

First stop  on this journey was at Putaruru with friends from when we lived in Niue, Brian and Shirley.  Memories of life on an isolated atoll came flooding back as we talked.
Charlie Clown, my first born, put in an appearance. He is 42 this year.
Shirley with Charlie

During the next hour or two on the bike my mind was filled with  images prompted by Shirley's amazing photo journal.

The day's ride ended at Ohope beach  and a lovely welcome of freshly hot smoked trout and sharing of tales childhood, hiking and travel with cousin Brian and Donna.

Fresh smoked trout and the hands that prepared it.

It is wonderful to be on the road again.

Pohutukawa on the East Coast

Pohutukawa decorated our ride from Ohope Beach around the East Coast to Gisborne. 
It is a glorious day for a bike ride.

 Te Kaha Church

Tolaga Bay Wharf