Thursday, April 11, 2019

Got up early  Wednesday, (4:45 AM) and am now waiting to board the plane. I am so looking forward to 25 hours on airplanes!


OK, so now I am home! Missed Michigan winter again! So sad about that, right?

Monday, April 8, 2019

 Well, things have turned around a bit since I last looked at the discrepancy between the daylight hours of Michigan and New Zealand! That's right, it is now flipped around with Michigan getting growing days & New Zealand's days are shrinking. Yesterday, we "fell back" an hour as winter is coming and of course it was a couple weeks ago that daylight savings started in Michigan. I do like that custom - allows for more riding time in the afternoon, since I am never riding at 6:00 AM. And Wednesday, the plane!

Ann Arbor,Michigan

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It rained in Katikati last two days and this horrible monstrosity  (Web picture, didn't have my camera handy) crawled out from under the tarp this morning. Normally I wouldn't hesitate stepping on something that ugly and frightening-looking, but I just let it meander on its way since it wasn't bothering me & was less annoying than that bee that wouldn't go away. Good thing, too, since the giant Weta is protected in New Zealand! Well, I was less patient with the bee, alas not protected.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Just checking in...

I have been making my way slowly (& uneventfully) up the east coast of the North Island and now find myself only about 3 hours from Auckland. I could ride up to the Coromandel peninsula but at this point I am quite uninterested in doing any more riding on this awkward and uncomfortable BMW. So I am just hanging around until I head back in a couple weeks. Nice place here in Katikati, but last couple days it has been raining. It is raining now, even though the forecast for this morning has a zero % probability - the usual. So rain is normal for fall but I am now looking forward to spring in Michigan - a wonderful time to be there and the forecast looks good for April, in contrast to last year. Oh, another forecast! Well see...

P.S.; as an afterthought, it occurred to me to find a picture of someone riding one of these things. There is no other place for my hands or my feet. Huh...

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hi, just got settled into a free city parking lot camping (with grassy areas & toilets) when I punched in the US news and was amazed to find New Zealand in the headlines! But as always, they only cover disasters and the mosque shootings are certainly that. No, I an nowhere near there now - I was there last month a couple times but as you may imagine, nowhere near a mosque.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Encountering this sign is not the best way to begin a day's ride, but I imagined it was aimed at the thrill seekers. This seemed to be the case as I had no trouble with the road itself, only a few impatient drivers which I mostly was able to ignore; they weren't as bad as some others I've seen.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Ready to do more travelling and looking at the area I will be headed toward. So I see a couple of unusually named places there. There have been many strange names for towns during this trip, mostly original Maori. However, sometimes this can lead to a bit of awkwardness...
Can't make this stuff up.

Then, the longest name for a place anywhere in the world - 85 letters! I discovered it's not a town, but the name of a hill & is said to translates roughly as "The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his kōauau (flute) to his loved one". Now normally anything over 1,000 ft is a mountain (this 1,001 ft) but here it's just a hill.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

On the ferry back to the North Island. Not riding as much as I thought, but am definitely enjoying the warm weather and relaxation here. What I am NOT enjoying is the wind! I guess we are in the middle of the ocean on a sliver of land, where the wind can just breeze on through. Unless, of course, when it gets amplified by the mountains and propelled with even more ferocity along the roads between them - they call this the "wind tunnel" here. So whenever I have to endure wind, I think rain is better - when it's rain, I am quite sure high winds are preferable.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Kaikoura, on the north-east coast of the South Island has 3,552 people & there's nothing else around here. That's probably fewer humans than on that cruise ship anchored off-shore there. Not quite sure what it's doing there, but I am getting a free night of camping here on the rocks, courtesy of the local town council. Pretty windy but I have huge rocks anchoring the tent down since there's no putting in stakes here (picture from inside the tent). The only amenities are porta-loos - that's not bad for free...

P.S.; OK, I looked it up. I guess it's a regular stop for many cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess, etc. I hear a helicopter or two hovering and I guess there is whale-watching in the area, which had the big 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nov. 2016 that left 2 dead and 57 injured in Kaikuora alone. Christchurch got it bad, too. A few campgrounds I saw were still closed.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

After getting back to the west coast, I remembered why this place is so beautiful. The weather west of the mountains is colder/wetter than the east, but I managed to be there when it was good. Then the forecast called for more rain (you will notice how very green it all is) so back to Christchurch!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I doubt I could cram any more on this thing. A woman at the store where I got the food suggested a "wee trailer" - I insist my bike have fewer wheels than my car. The extension cord is a must for "caravan park" power outlets, which are unique & it can't be used elsewhere. The heater is new, gets down in the low 40's in the south. The awning is a must - the sun is "hotter" here than anywhere I've been, UV is higher.

I am probably the only bike heading north away from Invercargill this week. Campgrounds are full of bikers heading to the rally - with a surprising number of Indians among them.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The actual Burt Monro Bike! Yes, it's at a hardware store, not a museum. This hardware store is huge & a tinker's dream - I was awed by all the real stuff I always needed but could never find! This looks like what would happen if you told the WORKERS at Stadium Hardware they could buy two million dollars worth of stuff and put it all in the old K-Mart building! Too bad I didn't need anything just then...

"The store’s late owner, Irving Hayes, bought his old friend’s bike after Munro passed away and put it in his shop – E. Hayes & Sons Ltd. His grandson now continues that tradition.

Then, I was wandering around and a frame from the movie jumped out at me...
It's sitting in the hall between store sections, unannounced.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

                  The Burt Monro monument - unveiled on Nov. 11, 2011

That's quite a face there. His children helped create it, so I guess he looked like that when he raced. No goggles or faceplate reminds me; no seatbelts in cars back then, either. I got here just in time - next week is the rally here. I'll be good & gone by then! Tomorrow I'll look up the actual bike & get out of here before the gaggel gets here, although there are a few bikes here already. If you are not familiar with Burt, I suggest you to see "The World's Fastest Idian", a great story indeed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

There are some strange-sounding birds here & I have no clue what these are...

But one thing I know is I finally left that damned owl behind that was following me all around North America.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Quite a contrast, with 6 inches of snow Monday... I escaped!

Monday, January 21, 2019

I like where they put "caravan parks" here - quite convenient at times. I am on the east coast just north of Christchurch, south island's biggest city at 375,000 (about 1/3 of the population of the entire island!) I was headed to the west coast but changed my mind when I saw cold & wet for the entire coming week; I'll come back to that later. As always, you never get rid of your problems, just trade them for others - winds in the mountains on the way here were up to 35mph (difficult for both riding and tenting!) OK now, though.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

First thing about the South Island, it's mountainous. I took off down this road (Queen Charlotte Drive) which looks out over a bay where the ferry came thru. Now I don't have an airplane, so this is a Web pic - nice road! So the little bike does have its advantages.. & yes, it's much warmer now. Another public campsite right on the beach; albeit a rocky one, this time.
After takin' it easy for a week (not bad, that place had a hot tub!) I made it to the South Island today. It's been cooler last few days, accompanied by some rain at night - but I guess I shouldn't complain about low 60's - still not bad! Supposed to warm up a bit now that the sun is back. Ferry had a couple Harleys, made me wish I had mine here...

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Now near Wellington, where I am scheduled to take the ferry down to the south island on Wednesday. The mid-day run is popular and that's the first available for now, so that's when I start that part of the trip. It's rain again, anyway... Someone told me there are 4.8 million in NZ, only 17% of which live on the south island. For me, that means fewer cars & better riding!

Monday, January 7, 2019

I camped here last night, at the Cape Egmont Boat Club with a view of Mt. Taranaki on the west coast. Nice place (camping to the right of the building behind the ramp) but no drinking water or shower. The Wikicamp NZ app is awesome in finding these places & also letting me know to bring water! A bit of rain in the morning but it cleared up - followed by lots of sun and even more wind. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

On my way again, now that I'm done with those pesky holidays. Not to mention getting out of town... Shouldn't be too harsh on the BMW, it's a good bike. The only problem is lack of options for seating positions - I am used to a backrest where I can set my feet in several positions when one gets weary. This bike has lean forward, no other choice. I rode it without the gear yesterday & it really felt like a bicycle! I am glad for all the extra weight - pretty windy around here.

OK, not on the road again... I wrote that a few hour ago when I planned on packing up after a while. Well, that ain't happening - I have been gounded by rain & holidays, but today 20 mph winds gusting to twice that. Tomorrow should be better. Hey, it ain't snowing.