Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coming up the final stretch....

So, I've been packing, packing and packing and I'm coming up the home stretch. I have filled my storage unit up to absolute capacity and my x other half will take a couple of boxes for me, work suits to my folks place and car covered and parked in the garage.

Now all that's left to do are a few odds and ends out of the kitchen and I plan to be out by the end of Sunday, commercial cleaners in on Monday then my property manager can show people whenever he wants and get it rented for me. The sooner the better.

Drinks on tuesday night, 2nd rabies shot on Wednesday morning, then on the bike on Wednesday afternoon heading south at my leisure for the next three weeks - yay! Then back to Auckland in 3 weeks for my final rabies shot then on the plane to Aussie and Bali.

Being a bloke, I struggle to multitask and have been all consumed by getting my apartment sorted. Now it's time to look forward and think about the travel. I have been madly changing addresses for my correspondence and been getting ideas of costs to take big Bertha with me.

It seems to me the biggest issue with taking her with me is the "bond" basically you have to provide a bond that is held - this is essentially the value of the bike, so if something happens to the bike and you can't get it back to new Zealand, the aa has the cash to pay the duty, etc for the bike. The other issue is that Australia is a little difficult so what I was looking at doing was sticking Bertha on a boat and sending her to kuala lumper - this would take about three weeks and while she is in transit to stop off in Aussie to see friends then go to Bali for my r and r then fly to KL and ride through Malaysia and Thailand that way. This is my first choice as I really would love to take her with me, however, it just may not be practical so the other choice is to hire bikes while I am in whatever country I am in and just take my bacpac and go. The advantage of this obviously is that it means the local company has some responsibility with the bike, however, this is not an overly cheap option either.

So, I've decided that I will talk to the bloke at aa on Monday about the carnet I need for the bike (basically like a passport for the bike) and on Monday if I decide this is the way to go then I will get the ball rolling before I head down south. I have also spoken to the bike shop who can provide a crate for Bertha for the journey and I have spoken with my business contact who does shipping of luxury vehicles for people who is getting a quote for me.

What I am thinking that I will probably do is do my trip around nz, zip across to the gold coast for a few days then to Bali and after Bali fly to Bangkok and rent a bike in Bangkok .... So many decisions.... I will keep you posted as the plans like me are rather fluid and change often! Once I get on berth at on Wednesday and head south it will start to come clear. All my best decisions are made while contemplating zooming down a country road.

Thanks to Kathy for this photo at the top of Lottin Point.

Saw this on one of the blogs i follow - thanks to the owner - im sorry, i cant remember which blog it was. If it is you please let me know so i can acknowledge you.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Equipment Review

I wanted to use the 5 day trip around the cape as bit of a test to see what equipment is working well and which areas I need to pull my socks up. So below is a snapshot of my thoughts -

1. Big Bertha - she performed admirably - she is now due for her 18000km service which I need to book her in for ASAP before I head off next week. 10/10

2. Technology
The iPad worked really well and I was able to upload photos to my blog with ease. The only downside is the fact that if I have to use the 3G network the cost is ridiculous so best to take the time and find spots where there is wireless Internet - the problem with this of course is that in provincial New Zealand let alone in other countries these can be few and far between. 8/10
The new cheap digital camera worked really well and is easy to use - the quality of the videoing bit of it is not brilliant but as I plan to use it predominantly for my video blog it is more than adequate and the photos are good quality 8/10
Uploading photos to iPad - this is awesome as it only takes a few seconds and can be done while sitting at a cafe and doesn't need Internet access. 10/10

3. Clothing - the weather was pretty rough in parts and for extended periods so it was a good test case.
Davos Boots - my boots are very old but very comfortable - in extreme rain my feet do get wet. 6/10
Socks - i need new socks - I was wearing normal socks but I am going to buy some nice thick woolen ones as the further south I go the colder it will get as happened last time. 2/10
Kbc Bike pants - these are very old but perform really well. They have lots of padding and although they are a pain to get on and off and if I do lots of walking in them I get hot and bothered I kind of feel naked on the bike if I'm not wearing them. I do need to wash the inner lining regularly. 7/10
Revitt Leather jacket - I love my jacket - it's comfortable and works well. 8/10
Wet weather gear - my technics jacket must be 20 years old and is a treat. It is not very sexy looking but works well. It does sweat though 7/10
Alpine stars Gloves - i bought new gloves last time i went down to the south island - they work well, however, I will buy some polyprop gloves to put on underneath I think. 7/10
Helmet - this is an area I am in a quandary about. I have a hjc helmet which is on the cheaper side, However, I am a creature of habit and It fits very well (with my hand made sponges for extra padding in the roof liner) but I would really like a flip top helmet and one where I can comfortably set up Bluetooth for some music sometimes. One of the guys had a Nolan flip top which I am going to investigate further. Last time I looked though it seems I have an odd shaped nose that got in the way of the sun visor in the flip top helmet. :) 7/10
Polartec tube - this is great and just gives me a little extra protection around the neck from the wind 8/10

4. Bike luggage
Rjays luggage bag - this performed well again. Although one of the cheapest bags on the market it fits well on the bike and is easy to get to and seems pretty good waterproof wise. (I do still put a rubbish bag liner in it for one more layer of protection from the wet) 8/10
Kurakyn roll bag - I love this - I bought online a couple of years ago and it fits on the front of my bag. It makes getting my important bits like my wallet easy to do and gives me just a little extra protection from the wind around my chest area but does not make me feel closed in like a windscreen does.
Panniers - these are practical - large and can be locked on the bike or easily taken on and off, although I prefer the look of the bike without them and in extremely heavy rain the insides do get wet so more plastic bags needed here 6/10

First Aid Kit - I need One of those.

So, off to the bike apparel store to look at helmets and get some polypropylene undergarments and a call to Suzuki to book Bertha in for a well earned service.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 5 - Anzac Day

Napier to Auckland - 420km's

We decided to leave early and get to Taupo for brunch. Overnight there had been lots of rain so I fully kitted up which proved to be the right decision as it basically poured with rain from first thing to when I pulled up back home in Auckland this afternoon.

By the time we rolled in to Taupo I was hungry as and enjoyed a really nice brunch.

We managed to arrive just as the town was having it's Anzac day parade - for those out of NZ this is our day where we commemorate all those soldiers who have died in service to our wonderful little country. My own father in fact was a navigator with the New Zealand Royal Air Force in the Sunderland flying boats during World War Two. They flew across the Pacific protecting the boats providing supplies to the soldiers. Dawn ceremonies took place across the country with all shops closed.

Anyway, back to the ride - we carried on and turned at Kinloch and headed to Te Awamutu with a quick fuel stop then on to Bombay just before the motorway in to Auckland where Kevin, Kathy and I stopped for a shandy and a farewell. One of the couples stayed in Napier because of work commitments, another couple left us at Taupo to go and see family and Rick and Julie said farewell at TeAwamutu and headed home.

Taupo - wet wet wet!

Huge thanks also to JULIE for the extra photos below of the trip and for the panadol and cough lozenges to help the sore throat that has returned and the half tooth :)

An awesome pre journey journey and now it's a mad rush to get everything sorted before heading off on the larger New Zealand leg of my journey next week.

Andrew and Alex on their new Triumph

Lottin Point - middle of nowhere - brilliant!

Kevin and Kathy on the blue M109

The Sexiest Bike - Maroon C109 - aka Big Bertha

Julie and Rick - White M109

Me and Julie

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 4 - truly magical.

Gisborne to Napier

What a magnificent day on the bike. It started out interesting when I managed to break off half a tooth at breakfast, however, the day has just been awesome!!

Sublime scenery, great company, lots of stops along the way and awesome weather. I am going to let the photos do the talking today. I haven't worked out how to put captions with the photos yet - I'm sure there's a way. :)

Thats me on the left. A very "thinning photo" :)

YouTube Video

Not so flattering but you get the picture :)

..we had just come up this hill

Now "running a spa bath" in the slightly fancy motel in Napier to have a soak before heading out to dinner...its all good :)

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pre journey journey Day 2 and 3

Day 2 - Tauranga to Lottin Point - 300 plus km's

Day 2 dawned in Tauranga very very wet. The motel was tidy and I managed to have a restful sleep but was wide awake by 6.00am. I managed to fill in the time before breakfast while waiting for The rest of the crew.

We left Tauranga In The rain which pretty much stayed with us until Ohope. We took a little detour and went around the lakes near rotorua. From Ohope just out of whakatane the weather progressively improved so by the time we shot through opotiki with a fuel stop the east cape yet again did not disappoint. The weather improved, the scenery just simply beautiful and the road just brilliant for the bikes. Big Bertha was in her element and as per usual my smile just got wider as the afternoon progressed. I stopped regularly for photos and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the group.

We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at the pub at Waihau Bay. If you haven't ridden the east cape in new zealand, it is a must. It is quite unique in terms of the scenery and the area. Well known for levels of poverty and marijuana growing it is also an area of history and a very strong community of Tangata Whenua. Currently there is much discussion in the area about potential oil drilling out from the coast and the potential Damage this may cause. It also of course has the potential to provide jobs in the area.

YouTube Video

We pulled up to our accommodation at lottin point just before the sun fell behind the horizon. This is truly in the middle of nowhere a good 10 kms off the main road which is already away from the beaten track. You ride through the middle of a farm and then over a steep ridge and then down to the motel. No cell phone coverage, no Internet and no tv. A magical spot in one of the most eastern parts of nz. We proceeded to drink too much at the onsite bar and generally tell tall stories late into the evening.

Day 3 - Lottin point to Gisborne - about 280 kms

The morning began cold but clear and we set off early to find a spot for breakfast. Just out of te arAroa we found a honey shop with cafe where we enjoyed some good coffee and a bite to eat, then refueling at te araroa before setting off again. The rounds became magical with some fairly brisk riding along the way but with plenty of stops for pics. The last time I did the cape it was the middle of summer, stinking hot and very dry. It has been nice to see the area a little greener along the way. We also tok a small detour to check out ruatoria and a shandy at tokomaru bay with a bit of food.

We arrived in gisborne at about 4.30 this evening. Lots of fun indeed!

Thanks for taking time out of your day to follow my blog. Cheers, Nick.Taurang

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