Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sudden end to tramping on Cape Brett

Under the temporary cast I now have bolts and pins on the outer ankle and bolts and wire on the inner ankle. I hope to be discharged tomorrow, and find a way to bumble through a few days at the Auckland YHA, then assistance from shuttle drivers and airport staff.

Not sure how I'll get my bike on the plane home, but fingers crossed.

It's one week exactly since I injured myself.

No riding or walking for at least 6 weeks.

Gosh, what a week it's been. My accident even got a mention in the local newspaper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cape Brett Lighthouse

An early morning view of the lighthouse, take from the doorstep of the lighthouse keeper's cottage, now tramping hut.

I spent 2 days here, reading and looking at the ocean, a 23 bed hut to myself.

This will be the last post for a while, as I had an accident on the hike out. I am in Whangarei Hospital with a badly broken left ankle. I still can't quite believe today's events, which included a helicopter evacuation off the trail.

I won't be doing much riding for a while but I am safe and looking forward to having my ankle pinned tomorrow.

I am immensely grateful to my rescuers. New Zealand really is amazing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Preparing for Departure from Auckland

Had a moment of panic this morning when I tried and failed to get the pedals off.my bike.

The storage room at Auckland International YHA is crammed full of bikes, such a change from when I was first here in early January, so it's a challenge to disassemble and box up anything in here, let alone deal with a mini crisis. Even my fellow cyclist buddy, Les, who happens to be staying here as well, after we rode off in opposite directions from National Park 2 weeks ago, couldn't loosen the devils.

Lucky for me that Mike at the Giant bike store here could torque them loose with his much better allen wrench.

Phew! Was having nightmares of not being able to box up. Guess the road is so rough it dried up all the grease I'd rubbed into the pedal sockets before installing the pedals themselves.

I thought I'd only finger tightened them. Hmm. Note to self: practice more.

Les is off to.catch a.plane home to Vancouver tomorrow.

He's already planning his next bike tour.

I know exactly why. Me too!

NZ has been an experience. But now time for somewhere else.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tanning without effort

The sun here is brutal, even on overcast days. Here's what my legs with a daily application of sunblock with 25 upf rating look like. My right hand has worn fingerless gloves for 6+ weeks,and the dark band on my wrist is where my uv blocking arm sleeves ride up over my watch, giving me up to 8hrs of burning sun each ride day.

Everyone comments on the sun's intensity.

If you ride in the southern hemisphere, take note.

Tetsu from Kyoto

Tetsu's been in NZ for 9 days, for a trip of 3 months.

Way to go!

One of the other travelling cyclist rigs seen

If you sit outside an I-site in a major tourist crossroads town, you get to meet the other cyclists out traveling.

A Japanese guy, notable

Typical scenery in "King Country"

It's not clear how the rural boundaries are arranged hereabouts, but it's been a beautiful rural ride for 2 days. Warm then hot weather, rolling pastureland, shearing sheds dotted here and there. It's so quiet you can hear the cows "comment" on the approach of the lone cyclist. Sometimes bellows, sometimes a gallop away from the fence, usually just the silent stares from a dozen or so animals.

The creeks are lined with treeferns and manuka, and here the trills and songs of the native birds are at their best.

Very pretty, lots of rollers, an occasional climb to walk up,then long thrilling (sometimes too thrilling) descents.

Really nice to have some summer weather again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3pm at Tokaanu Thermal Hot Pools

6km out from Turangi, I rewarded myself with 20 minutes in the private hot springs. It's s hot day, and I've just ridden a screaming descent on 41, rough rural grade surface, along the West side of Lake Taupo. Taumarunui is 60km back up a steep and winding highway ride. Views of Tongariro National Park were great, but I'm beat.

Hot springs were great. Now I have to ride the last 6km into Turangi, and find my backpacker, buy groceries, and finish my day. A lot to do.

Tomorrow my plan is Intercity to Rotorua via Taupo. No way in hell do.I feel like riding back 20km the way I just came, and riding along the lake back north. Don't feel up to all the hills and no facilities until about 90km in. There is very little this side of Taupo but farms and forest.

I've got plans to head to Bay of Islands to finish my visit with some tramping.

Monday, February 6, 2012

View from the terrace of my backpacker in National Park

When the mountains are out, it's hard to beat a view like this. Restaurant and self catering options here are limited and overpriced, especially for people getting around by bike. Not easy to just drive somewhere. It's a roundtrip of 20km to Chateau Tongariro from here, and uphill, as I've ridden it.

But having a front row seat on 3 volcanoes must be worth something.

Smash Palace

Also known as the Horopito Vintage Vehicles and Museum, this car graveyard is full of cars  Model T on, so if you need a part for your restored vehicle, this is the wrecking yard for you.

Given a break in the weather, I've returned to National Park from Ohakune via Raetihi, which seems like a new ride, as this time the mountains are visible. I don't trust the weather hereabouts, and I suspect rain is coming back, so I'm turning North, riding back to Rotorua, via Taumarunui and perhaps Te Kuiti.

It doesn't help to be too rigid when bike adventuring, because you miss a lot that way. It's not about the destination, it's the journey that is key.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Ohakune Old Coach Road

Under the mud lie the setts (cobblestones) made of local volcanic rock and laid as a road in 1908.

This is another piece of the New Zealand Cycleways in the Ruhapehu region.

Somewhat easier than Bridge to Nowhere, but definitely not an "easy" trail.

Fun, though.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Here comes the Jet Boat

Quite the way to end a good day riding in the wilderness. You need to tramp to get scenery this good.

Not sure I'd want to canoe the Whanganui River, which, funnily enough, is a "Great Walk" in DOC terms. On the 30 min ride out, passed several canoe parties enjoying a green, cool, damp and muddy trip. These kiwi locals are a hardy lot.

Here comes the Jet Boat

Quite the way to end a good day riding in the wilderness. You need to tramp to get scenery this good.

Okahune Sleepy Sunday

The weather can't make its mind, neither can I.

Woke to another day of drizzle  5th day in a row. Lucky for me I'd planned only to do laundry (wash the papa aka mudstone splatters off my knee warmers, and buy groceries at the New World supermarket. Later, a cappuccino and chat with Jo, owner of the Station Cafe, at the Okahune railway station, where I watched the 2pm Tranz Scenic stop for a few Wellington bound passengers

Given the crappy weather I'm planning one more day,to ride the Old Coach Road on another rental, then back on the road. If weather cooperates, I'll head to Wanganui, then swing back north via New Plymouth. If not, I may go to W'ton, catch the InterIslander and ride top of South Island, which has been sunny.

I'm running out of reasons to tolerate soaked booties and a bike caked in loose wet tar and gravel.

It's been an exceptionally.wet summer in the North Island, according to the NZ newspapers.

Yes, I know.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bridge to Nowhere

Built 1935, abandoned almost immediately because of the futility of homesteading in this remote place. I wonder what the returned soldiers from the "Great War" would make of a mountain bike pleasure route running through a place of bitter disappointment.

Bridge to Nowhere piece of the Ruapehu-Whanganui Trails Nga Ara Tuhono cycleway

35km of remote dirt road, from pastoral jeep.track to grassy single track, with clay cliffs for good measure. I am a novice mountain biker, and this track had me way outside my comfort zone.

But I made it, across swing tramper bridges, rutted track, drop offs into the Mangapurua Stream, way below, and lots of mud.

This trail is really something, and comes with a jetboat trip out

Sweet as, as  they say hereabouts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sheep auction in Raetihi Saleyards

Today's forecasted "drizzle" was wrong, so I did a drenching 35km from National Park, sharing the road with a large number of double livestock trucks, packed standing room only with sheep.

When I pulled into this once major country town, with a main street lined with once grand early C20th buildings, I found the annual sheep auction in full swing. Pens filled with skittish woolies selling for $100 to $250 a head.

What a treat. I hope this bodes well for clearing weather and a chance to mountain bike ride to Bridge to Nowhere, on the Whanganui River this coming weekend.

Road-rage driver pleads guilty to punching cyclist

Today's New Zealand Herald includes a short APNZ report following up the assault on cyclists Russ Roca and Laura Crawford.

"Pene, representing himself, made menacing faces at a photographer, while the court was told of events of January 10."

Looking at the photo of Jamie Curtis Pene, you can just imagine what the Wellington District Court hearing was like yesterday.

Good to see he's been remanded. Let's hope he isn't back on the road anytime soon to beat up anymore touring cyclists. We have plenty of other NZ road hazards to avoid.