Queenstown by Bike

img_5641Well it rained all day, continuously for the first hour then on and off and on for the rest of the day. Doreen was keen to take me back on the wild road to Waikanae but I declined,. She still got her own back taking me on a devilish back way.

The road back through Wanganui and National Park would have been much more enjoyable in the dry but that's motorcycling. Well done Dri Rider for making and over suit that actally is water proof! Add a comment

img_5629Well wet was right. It's rained all night and is still heavy now. Luckily the Dri-Rider plastic bag is up for it, at least for a few kilometers.

The Omaka Aviation heritage museum (http://www.omaka.org.nz/) is everything you could imagine in a museum and as a bonus is warm and dry inside. This is a great place to spend a couple of hours. The displays are so lifelike and of simply astounding quality. The sound of the rain on the roof was something of an unpleasnt reminder though.

The drive to Picton was predictably ugly but there was time for a sandwich in Picton, an important consideration as meals on the ferry seem to be best avoided.

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Read more: Friday 20 Feb 09

img_5618Bit of a late start after meeting up with friends for coffee in the morning.

You quickly run out of superlatives to describe the drive. I passed on travelling on highway one up the coast and went back the way, I came though the centre (Springs Junction and Murcheson), where the roads are quiet and mostly fast. There's no getting stuck behind stuff as there are lots of overtaking opportunities at least for a bike. Just fantastic.

Finally the weather has become warm, requiring the removal of several thermals around lunchtime, this is more what I had expected. The high cloud built up through the afternoon but seemed to get warmer.

It has to be said that the bakery in Culverdon does do spectacular pies, it's a a somewhat rural town (OK village) with little else to obviously commend it.

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Read more: Thursday 19 Feb 09

img_5599It's always sad to leave but the way home is north from here. I've got my new thermal on, thank goodness, as there is a low overcast and it's not too warm. The climb to the top of the Crown range takes me into the cloud, with very little visibility and once again I'm glad not to be flying but it breaks out into clear sky and sunshine at the summit.

From here the way is dry and clear and hugely fun on the bike, back the way I came through the Lewis Pass, Lake Tekapo and Burkes Pass. I'd recommend the lunch stop at Fairly rather than Tekapo, in fact anywhere the Kiwi Experience bus doesn't stop is probably good.

The sights of the McKenzie are spectacular, Mount Cook, mustering, all sorts! It really is a must see.
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Read more: Wednesday 18 Feb 09

img_5526Still overcast and cold this morning. Bruce's thermometer suggests 18 degrees but that is very hard to believe. A little drizzle falls on the way into Christchurch and that is enough to convince me that additional purchases are in order.

Manchester Street is the place with at least four motorcycle outlets. For no particular reason I pick the Suzuki dealer and a young lad there sells me some winter weight gloves and a full body bag with arms and legs that I feel sure makes me look like the Michelin man but in black.

The gloves are completely adequate but only with the heated grips on full, and they do get hot, Mr BMW has that well worked out. The body bag also does the business but is overly warm when stationary, by which I mean sweaty.

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Read more: Saturday 14 Feb 09

img_5513Still raining this morning, not hard but not nice. A wander into town for breakfast and to read the paper is called for. By 9:30 the morning is not so bad and I head off just before 10.

The weather seems to be worse along the coast so a spur of the moment decision takes me on the inland route through Murcheson and Hamner Springs. This works out pretty well as it's mostly dry and in parts sunny, albeit a little cool until I get to Hamner Junction, a cafe/gas station just before the Lewis Pass where the cloud clags in and it's drizzling and has been for two days.

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Read more: Friday 13 Feb 09

img_5504The predicted rain fills the Hutt Valley. This morning rush hour is the pits in the rain although it's still quite light. I arrive at the office somewhat damp and with too many cloths on for inside. Luckily I am able to find 20 minutes to nip out and buy a new pair of shoes.

Todays ferry is the Interislander, who say you must be there at least one hour before sailing. I am there a bit before that and as far as I can see the one hour requirement seems to be for no purpose other than their convenience, There's not even a ferry there. The worst part is there is absolutly no shelter for motorcyclists except for a tiny shed filled with trash. Not bloody good enough.

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Read more: Thursday 12 Feb 09

This is the first serious outing on the bike for months. The plan is to drive to Queenstown to visitĀ  our daughter for a few days and make a number of calls along the way. Weather is the key planning issue as the run of endless warm sunny days looks set to come to an end. After some agonisingĀ  I make a decide to take 4 days to get to Queenstown to allow for forecast heavy rain on Thursday

I follow the road to Tokoroa, arouned the western side of Lake Taupo and then down the Desert Road to Waiouru. Pleasingly there is no traffic to speak of although there is some intermittent drizzle/low cloud until south of Taupo. I've begun to regret only bringing the Joe Rocket lightweight gear, well it was hot at home!

Great roads with views of the lake and strange stone formations. Lots of bugs.
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Read more: Wednesday 11 Feb 09