Sunday, December 30, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018
After putting almost 1,000 miles on the BMW, I gotta say it may be good for some, but not me. The riding position & footpegs/controls is profoundly uncomfortable for more than a couple hours so I am glad I don't have to do much of that here. I also really dislike what holidays does to decent traveling - screws it up good. I thought to stay in Piha, on the west coast adjecant to Auckland City, but this huge campground was quite full. The "no vacancy" sign specifically said "no, there is no room for your 'little' tent! So, after checking another I am now back in the city at Avondale Park, where I spent my first week while buying the bike. It doesn't matter much, the city is required riding for getting south anyway.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Back to Uretiti beach on the way around Northland - it's real nice here but much more crowded than last week. The campground, run by the dept. of conservation, is just up the hill to the right. I find myself swimming in the Pacific across from Costa Rica.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Rain is done for now and Christmas with Alan & Jannete was marvelous! (not to mention the food...) Instead of being alone on the road, I was a special guest of this wonderful family who owns the "Cowshed" camping ground. This is the great joy of traveling - meeting awesome people. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand, it's a must-stay. I took off & then rode through the Waipoua Forest, a rain forest on the west-central coast of Northland. The tiny road in the picture is of one of the many one-lane sections along the way, but indicative of most of the ride through that forest. Elevation is about 800 feet, just off the coast and windy today; I found myself thinking it's a bit cold but then remembered that 68F° is pretty good for the day after Christmas - just a bit cool for around here.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Merry Christmas to everyone visiting my blog, especially my sad family stuck in winter (I escaped!). It is raining today but I found this cool little campground with everything I need near Kaikohe called the "The Cowshed". Yes, there are cows here and elsewhere in New Zealand, along with the 40 million sheep. If it stays dry for an hour tomorrow I might go a couple kms into town for that New Zealand delicacy 'fish & chips'. I will pick up the trip again after Christmas when hopefully the sun will be back!
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Well, I made it to the "top of New Zealand", but didn't stop at the beach campground I wanted. I assumed that since the BMW weighs much less than the others, it would do dirt roads better. That may be true under normal circumstances but in this situation I have a couple hundred pounds of stuff tied to the bike right behind me. As a result, the front wheel is "traction challenged" and just kinda slides around on the gravel, which is what the side roads are around here. Not impossible, but certainly not ideal since I have typical road "tyres". So I will stick to pavement, where this is not a problem, except for short bits. Oh, & I figured out the BMW gets 54 MPG but premium (12:1 compassion ratio) cost around US $5.65 a gallon! (NZ $2.16 per/L) So I estimate this trip will cost me ~US $750 in gas. Imagine touring this place in a big RV, though diesel is cheaper, about 20%.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I have been in the Northland area for the last 4 days, so I thought I would illustrate these regions. I believe they are called "provinces" & I am pretty sure to hit all of them, since there are none that are solely in the high regions in central South Island - high and cold snow peaks. That little island on the south end? Stewart Island & I don't think that's on the agenda though there does appear to be a ferry for the 381 people that live there.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Saturday, December 15, 2018
There it is - the BMW all loaded down for traveling. I would have preferred a bigger windshield & cruise but overall it's a good bike. I went to a famous beach today but found it almost deserted; I guess it's a little early for the crowds.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
What a releif! All my stuff actually fits on this smaller bike, which I wasn't sure of since the bags are so small. I have two plastic clothing bags which I strap to the top of each one to compensate & that works pretty well. Today, my first riding day, I managed to get lost several times and turned a 58-mile ride into a 75-mile one. Getting out of town is more difficult without taking highways but still, I thought I knew where I was going. Once, I went the wrong way for a while because I failed to realize the blue dot was supposed to be on the OTHER side of the road on the tablet screen. But I managed to stay on my (wrong) side of the road the entire time on the road if not on the map. Yeah, I know a GPS would be helpful but no, I'm not going there, it's more fun without.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
OK, here I go!! My 2007 trip here was in a car, where we traveled 3,600 miles and went everywhere on both islands, so 17 weeks of riding with a projected total of 7,000 miles means an average of 60 miles per day - I gotta learn to take it easy! Easiest process of buying a bike worldwide I have encountered so far - the folks at Experience Motocycles made it simple for me. It'll take me a bit to get used to the BMW; it's different. Kinda spotty rain around but not bad since it's mostly sunny otherwise, season I guess. On another note, one crazy benefit (among many) of government healthcare here is the price of vehicle insurance. That's because New Zealand also has national accident, of any kind, medical coverage (hey, no lawyers!) which also includes visitors (good for me...). As a result, no medical costs are included in motorcycle insurance & my total cost for full coverage including road service is a whopping US$26.22 per month.
Friday, December 7, 2018
Another awesome reason for being here, especially on a motorcycle!
Well, here it is, the NZ bike! 2009 BMW ST800. A little smaller, but that will make it easier to do some of those tiny roads I saw here in 2007. Motel last night, but I was a bit groggy from the 3 flights - 3 1/2 hours, 17 hours & 3 hours and managed to lock myself out of my room. No attendant so I slept on the floor until the guy showed up in the morning. But since it went so well today, no complaints. They need to get it ready so I don't pick it up until Wednesday. Found a cool little RV park in town to set up my tent, so I can use the rental car & take a look around for a few days - but hey, it's a city, never the most interesting of places.