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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

On the bike, on the bike, on the bike

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 2 March 2020 | Views [219]

I have had a most awesome summer this year, the weather has been the best (Invercargill excluded) and I've been on my motorbike lots and lots and lots lol.  After christmas a friend visited from USA and a group of women riders joined together to ride with and show Sarah the top part of the North Island of NZ making the best use of the short time she had here. We picked her up from the airport and took her to AMPS (Auckland Harley dealership) to pick up her Street Glide rental then it was ON THE ROAD!!! Amazing really as Sarah had just gotten off a long haul flight but she was up for it and more. We rode out east of Auckland and down the west coast of the Firth of Thames stopping at Clevedon and Kaiaua and riding on to stay at the home of another woman rider in Coromandel on the opposite coast. Such a beautiful ride and what a winding introduction for Sarah to our roads.

From Coromandel we rode to Rotorua and then out around the most awesome East Cape staying the night at Waihau Bay on the way around. Kent also rode with us on this part of the ride (honorary woman lol). At Gisborne we parted ways with Sarah who continued to Napier while we headed home. We met Sarah again in Rotorua after she did the Gentle Annie and rode Highway 1 over the Desert Road and around Lake Taupo with our friend Jo. I joined back in and went north with Sarah, Jo and another friend right up to the top of the island and back to Rotorua. It was the most fun trip with LOTS of laughing and good riding.

I headed off to Oz and looked after my cutey pie Georgia for a couple of weeks, that was really nice as we got to do a lot of fun things together. But as soon as I got back to NZ it was offski again this time down to the South Island for 2 motorbike rallies. The first being the Burt Munro in Invercargill (the very bottom of the South Island) then The Gathering held in Nelson (my old home town at the top of the South Island).  Kent and I loaded up our bikes including a tent and airbed etc and off to Wellington to catch the ferry. We rode down to Dunedin in hot hot weather and here it degenerated. It was raining lightly as we left Dunedin but there had been heavy rainfall on the alps in the south and before Gore we encountered 4 lots of water flowing across state highway 1. Each ford was about 20 - 30 meters wide and up to knee deep. On each one one or other of our bikes stopped mid ford because our pipes were under water and the engine was unable to breathe. Down with the feet and push the bike forward and restart. Waterproof boots are great but when you put your feet down in deep water the water flows into them then can't flow out because, well, they're waterproof! Filled up at Gore and then struck the last and worst lot of water yet. I pulled up behind Kent and yelled out 'No No NO!!!' I thought I just don't want to do this any more, especially this one as it was flowing and deep. Kent with his helmet on and car noise around heard 'Go Go GO!!!' so off he went lol. Once across I had to follow and did make it but was very glad to discover this was the last one. The roads were closed later and riders comng to the Burt Munro were unable to get through for another day.

The weather in Invercargill was THE WORST...  YUK... HORRIBLE...  SHITTY...  We arrived sodden and had to peal off our gear outside a restaurant, take off our boots and pour out the water. Had a hot drink and meal, the owner was very helpful and kind. We had originally planned to tent the rally but a couple of weeks before leaving Kent saw an advert for a room in an AirBnB where someone had bailed and grabbed it. SO LUCKY!!  We headed there to find one of the others had arrived and warmed the house up and lit the fire, YAY!!!  We unloaded and put our gear on a drying rack. Imagine trying to dry out in a tent...

From Wednesday until Sunday when we left the weather was awful but we did have fun thanks to the other housemates. They had a car and included us in all that they did, which means we got to go out with good company and got to some tho not all of the events. Sunday we left in grey dismal cold drizzle and rode towards Queenstown, just under an hour up the road we were in beautiful warm sunshine and it continued for the rest of our trip (through all this time while we were in Invercargill the weather was beautiful in the rest of NZ) .

We had a wonderful ride up the West Coast staying at Wanaka where we tented just so we actually used the things we brought lol, then in Ross and on to Maruia Springs. Finally arrived in Nelson where we stayed with my cousin within crawling distance of late night fun at The Gathering.  This event was mostly held in the back part of a local hotel and we had fun there, got to know the bands and took one of the singers for a ride one day, won 3 raffles haha, and met a new friend Nick (maybe), ate good food and drank a little.... lot.  Other than this there wasn't much else to the rally, no organised ride which was a bit weird and one event of parking bikes at first the local HD dealership then the Wakefield School, a lot more could have been done to make more of this rally but apparently it's the last one anyway.  The ride we took ourselves and Linda, the singer, on was awesome. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the rally and with my cousins.

Back on the ferry to Wellington and headed up Highway 2, stopped at the Copthorne Hotel in Masterton for the night and Kent picked up food poisoning or something from there and rode the rest of the journey feeling awful. We went to Napier to visit his parents then rode on home. Kent was supposed to work the next day but spent the day in bed still crook.

After posting a pic of the route we had taken down south a friend said to me that I had now completed riding NZ from top to bottom and she's right! Wow! In 2 months I rode the length of our country.  It's been AWESOME


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