Saturday, 16 April 2016

Day 3: Wellington to Auckland. SH1 and SH27 648km

Another gorgeous day for a ride. 
March/April is always a good time to be on the road in New Zealand.

As we ride around every corner a new vista opens up.
We are constantly reminded of how beautiful our countryside is.

 The sun catching the waves as we ride north from Wellington. 
Looking west to Kapiti Island
 The Mangaweka cafe beside the DC3.  We are halfway to Auckland.
 Typical rolling central North Island sheep country near Taihape.
There is a good cafe at the National Army Museum at Waiouru.  
Its a good museum for folk who like military history.  
Yes, we do have some sandy desert-like areas in New Zealand.  
The Rangipo Desert does get rain but the soils are poor, winds and snow mean that not much grows. It is a tiny desert compared with places like the Atacama and most of the south western states of the USA and central Australia. 
It is a military playground just like in desert regions in other countries.
 Mt Ruapehu , one of New Zealand's active volcanoes looms large.
We love the wide open spaces
We  have a few interruptions with road works.
This is the season for resealing highways in New Zealand.
Along the shores of Lake Taupo...
Photo:Dave Browning.
... to Taupo for a break.
Judy and me. Friends since forever.

 The last fill-up before Orlanda flies away to London.
 We ride through the Hauraki Plains. Mt Te Aroha and the Kaimai ranges to the east. Dick's childhood territory.
The setting sun...
on the landmark TipTop corner on the Auckland motorway tells us that we are nearly there... time for the sunset at our apartment in Auckland.

11 hours on the road.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Day 2: St Arnaud to Picton on SH63then to Wellington by ferry 230km

It is so good to be on the road again. 

Apart from the minor issues with the panniers yesterday our gear 'works. 
If' you are wondering about how we managed our panniers yesterday. Let me tell you zip ties have magical powers. More magical powers than CRC or Duct tape when it comes to holding our panniers onto the bike.

After all the work I have done in limbering up to be sure I can get on - and off - the bike with ease I have discovered a minor issue.  Unlike me...  my motorbike pants have minimal flex because of the kevlar armour protecting knees and hips. I'll be looking for a fix for this. 

Marlborough clouds presage...
...Marlborough vineyards that stretch from one side of the Wairau valley across to the Wairau river
Our first stop is at VB Cafe in Blenheim for breakfast with Pat and Mike
Across the Wairau River to Picton.
Photo: Ken Rigby

...where we  have a leisurely lunch with my sister Yvonne and Ken in Picton.

..before we board the Ferry to Wellington. 30 other motorcyclists come on board. Mostly Ulysses club members.
The ferry trip is a stunner. Picturesque Picton
Sheep on this truck are missing out on the views of Queens Charlotte Sound.
Through the Tory Channel to Cook Strait. Look now calm it is.  I am a very happy sailor today.

We disembark and head off up the hill to a warm welcome from Ken and Shirley. A Team Kiwi reunion and some reminiscing about our from Alaska to Patagonia ensued. Ken has been in hospital so it was good to catch up. Ebony was in the garage to welcome Orlanda.

We headed down the road to the Museum Hotel where Orlanda had a grand chandeliered shed for the night. 
She didn't mind for a moment sharing this splendid smokers' space

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Day 1: Queenstown to St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes 744km

This is the first riding day of our next adventure.
We have agreed on a journey that will begin in late May in London.

Dick has been doing lots of preparation. Researching, planning, getting gear sorted, making bookings. I have my pearls and my bag is packed.

To begin...
We are riding Orlanda to Auckland via SH6 the West Coast of New Zealand.
We are aiming to arrive at St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes before nightfall.
Tomorrow we will ride to Picton, board the ferry and sail to Wellington where we will catch up with Team Kiwi, Ken and Shirley.

We have a perfect day to begin.

Folks who have been following my blog will know that most of the photos I post have been taken while I am riding pillion on a moving motorcycle. 
I now have  motorcycle gloves with screen sensitive finger tips that work a treat with my iPhone. That's great for when I need the phone as a backup camera - when the camera battery is flat - or I leave the SD card behind.
For this trip I am using an Olympus Tough camera.
I try acknowledge people who contribute images.

An early start.
Sunrise over the Remarkable Mountain range. 
Looking south over Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown.

This is a 'shakedown' ride.  
We are less that 5km from home when the left pannier decides to jump off the bike.  Better now than in the wilderness.  After it is reattached we head off over the Crown Range to Wanaka. 
The morning light on the ranges in the Cardrona Valley.

Oops, the other pannier takes a leap as we ride along the shores of Lake Wanaka. 

Through the Haast pass where the mist creates an eerie light on the mossy banks.

Into the sunshine and looking up the Haast river... we wait at a passing bay on the Haast river bridge. There are many one lane bridges on SH 6 (State Highway6)  on the West Coast. 
Each time we ride the West Coast road we stop at the Salmon Farm cafe for a break.
Today a couple of other  interesting vehicles are here including a three wheeled Carver car and two very small collapsible touring bicycles.

This camouflage building Shhhh gives my imagination a workout for a while.
 At Franz Joseph we ride passed the hotel that had been badly damaged by flooding when the Waiho river found a new route the previous week.

Through  dairy country  in the Reefton district.
To our home for the night Alpine Lodge at St Arnaud.
A warm welcome, a good meal and bed after a long enjoyable 11 hour day on the road.
We stayed here on my first day on the bike in 2011.
It always feels good to return here.