Tour Aotearoa 2016

Tour Aotearoa, to ride the length of our country, 3000km, between 10 and 30 days.  Self supported.

12 months of discussion, working out what kit and bike set up would work.  12 months of body and mind preparation.  The last month till the 21st of February dragged.2016-02-21 11.28.01Sunday the 21st of February, midday, finally arrived.2016-02-21 16.31.46And quite possibly the hardest day of the tour, Day 1, lovely sunny day, lots of happy albeit nervous like minded people about to set out on an adventure.  One long flat beach, with a constant side-head wind.  Brett’s back locked up at some point on the beach, an old back injury.  He waved down a car, thank-fully they didn’t have room to take him, and then the voltaren kicked in, and we were back on it.2016-02-21 18.51.58Almost at Ahipara, the wind was now head on, but dropping.  A welcome site, the fish n chippy was still open and doing a roaring trade to wary 90 mile beach survivors.2016-02-22 08.27.41Beautiful Far North

2016-02-22 10.53.53Watering and feedhole, Broadwood.  A bit early in the game to stomach an entire pie.

2016-02-22 14.11.22Some easy kms on the Rawene ferry with Jonathan Kennett and Gordie Mains

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2016-02-22 19.38.39Hanging with Tane Mahuta, Waipoua Forest, Stunning, literally

After visiting with Tane, the descent through the forest southbound, in the waning light amongst Tane’s descendants, just as imposingly jinormous as Tane, was woooooowwww.

2016-02-23 12.28.46-2Imagine that, come all the way north and my cuz Matiu takes time out from his busy day to come and give me a hug, awwww.  Dargaville

Riding down to Pouto Point, gravel grinding the hills in the northland heat, the logging trucks were knocking off after a busy day.  Thought we’d missed that evenings’ ferry, from the point to Helensville, so decided to back off the pace.  Brett received a message from Luke – the ferry is delayed, you’ve 23km, and a cold coke waiting.  Made the ferry as it was approaching the sand to load us, wahoo what a ride!  I see from photos that it looks like a great place to hang and swim for a few hours – next time.2016-02-23 17.28.52More easy miles on the chartered fishing boat ‘ferry’ Pouto point to Helensville end of day 3.  The fish n chippie was taking orders from the boat, ready for pick up when we got off.  That night we slept on the floor of the Helensville Cruising Club after a hot shower.2016-02-24 06.57.16Helensville to Auckland, kinda early morning2016-02-24 08.15.01

2016-02-24 08.49.33#toddlerslaundry

G3 743Mt Eden photo control point

G3 745Yep we’re still in NZ, Auckland watermelon stop

G3 753Nice to be joined for breaky that morning at the Rhubarb cafe in Arapuni by cousin Gillian, and Phillip who joined us for a few kms.

Waikato River Trails

2016-02-26 11.31.24You sure you don’t have a beer truck instead?

G3 756Brett was lucky to find a trail angel who cleaned his chain, just out of Mangakino.  Amazing generosity of kiwis as we passed through their territory.

G3 757Awww, so cool seeing cuz Penny, and her wee sproggs, Maria and Campbell, Mangakino Bus Stop Cafe, even if it was only for an hour, thanks for tracking us down finally Pen xx

2016-02-26 17.22.23 - CopyWhat a bridge! Old skool tramping bridge.  Every step I took I felt the bridge was going to rotate 180 degrees, and I’d be stream side.  The back of beyond on the way to the middle of the North Island.

G3 762Well whattaya know, the centre of the North Island right there in concrete!

The Timber Trail was a treasure, go and check it out!  Massive bridges over deep gorges.  Coming off the Timber Trail, the rain started to fall.  Taumarunui wasn’t too far off, the roads lovely and winding.  It was Saturday night, the motels full.  Mum’s cousin and wife, 7km out of town, had left a message inviting us to stay.  Was lovely to catch up with you Harold and Sarah, thank-you. 2016-02-28 10.00.33

The roads the next morning from Taumarunui continued to wind, but the riding was pleasant.  As we crested one hill, Brett recognised his friend from a past decade, Paul Chaplow, on his bike to meet us.

At the odd times we came across long skids from previous riders.  Some gave us a giggle to think of the speeds they must have been carrying, and the corners they missed. 2016-02-28 15.31.44It bought the boy out in this fella!

2016-02-28 15.32.142016-02-28 15.53.46That evening we rode through to The Blue Duck Cafe at Whakahoro.  This place felt like a staging post in the middle of nowhere, on the way to the Bridge to Nowhere.  It was great!  Then a load of 20 somethings got off the Stray bus, and had their lecture on possum trapping.  I hope they weren’t feeling too seedy from the previous night.

Yay, Whanganui National Park goodness.

2016-02-28 19.29.07The awesome wee shelter about 80 minutes on from the Blue Duck Cafe.  Running water, a toilet and a shelter, heaven!  Wendy and Ian stopped in briefly, they weren’t enjoying the trail – too bad!  That night we were joined by Brendon from Napier, and another chap later on, who knows what time.  The rain came in during the night as forecast, along with the clouds shrouding the bush.2016-02-29 11.01.58Do you think we were feeling pretty happy with ourselves…maybe.  Having fun anyway.  And pretty stoked when Ian and Kirst turned up and handed me my shorts that had been drying on the outside of my rear bag – cheers!!

Bridge to Nowhere was just that.  Great to visit after hearing all the stories over the years.  At the landing on the Whanganui River, we had a wait of a few hours for a jet boat.  Booked on the opposite company, so watched as a crew of 11 riders went on their way as we waited. Had a nice interlude with these guys, of which a lasting memory of Dr Richard on the uke in a rendition of ‘Cows with Guns’.  The boat trips could make for a pretty disjointed day, just when you had the roll on.  Moving had become the norm.

2016-03-01 10.56.53Riding through the tunnel to the lift in Wanganui – saved us a 300 odd metre climb – nice!  The lift rattled and shook.2016-03-01 14.56.20Oh what a spread left for us by trail angels just out of Hunterville – two types of scone and elderflower cordial, complete with a bucket of soapy water and tea towel for dishes.  The road then took us through to the Rangitikei, and then the dog leg along all the back roads possible north of Ashhurst.  This could be where I think I decided I actually enjoyed riding gravel, kinda meditative.2016-03-01 16.33.202016-03-01 11.15.13And the views of the Rangitikei, with the evening sun on the hills, while reminiscing of jet boating trips as a little girl with the family to Vinegar Hill, made for a pleasant evening.  That evening we stopped in at a farm house to fill our water bottles, not sure where we’d sleep that night.  The farmer and his wife had seen riders going by during the days previous, but were intrigued to hear what we were all really up to.  That night we camped at Rangiwahia, behind the community hall.  Surprisingly a warm toilet block, so I managed to dry out our shorts.

G3 777It don’t look like much, but sometimes in life you really don’t need much.  Running water, a toilet and baby wipes…oh the simple things in life.

G3 778Between days 3 and 9 my face was swollen, as were my legs, with a good ole cold sore to boot.  After day 9 the swelling had gone down and I was feeling great.

Nice ride through from Rangiwahia to Ashhurst, where old friends of Brett’s, Mel Grant and her parents stalked us on the side of the road and joined us for lunch.  Then along the Manawatu river trail to Palmy, and up n over the Pahiatua track.  Not sure if Jonathan was having a bad day, but the gravel road to Pahiatua felt pretty direct, not his usual johnra!  Mum joined us for lamb shanks and scallops at the Post Office Hotel in Pahiatua, great to finally catch up with her.2016-03-02 19.28.29Now thats called a decent feed!  I recommend the Post Office Hotel in Pahiatua, very accommodating, and the bed was comfy too!2016-03-03 07.28.41Dawn of a new day, Pahiatua to Eketahuna2016-03-03 09.15.16My dear Mum, still riding her bike in her young 70’s.

What a beaut day, misty sunny morning out of Pahiatua.  The sun stayed with us all the way down the Wairarapa.  Eke we coffeed with Mum.  A quick stop in at the Cemetary to be with Dad on his birthday, then a tail wind picked us up and blew us on down the country.  Brett popped another drive side spoke, just north of Masterton, a quick pit stop there saw him with a new rear wheel.

The wind did an about face near Featherston, but it wasn’t deterring us.  Up over the Rimutaka Incline trail, and down the other side.  Pushing on to Upper Hutt, we had our second biggest day on 191km, feeling great!  And great to catch up with bro, sis-in-law, and neice.

Another disjointed day waiting for the ferry, but lovely all the same to be able to catch up with yet more family, cheers Pete.2016-03-05 07.44.14Ahhh finally the south island.  We’re finally getting somewhere.

Hit the Maungatapu with quiet determination.  Knew this section, getting into second home territory, and tried riding it clean, but alas those loose peebles got the better of me again.  Still managed to knock 20 minutes off our previous time, while giving the guys around us a run for their money…sorry!  I paid for it later, nothing left in the tank, hitting the wall at Wakefield, called it a day over a beer and fish n chips.

Day of head wind to follow.  Riding with fellow riders makes for an easier day for sure.  Aero bars would have been welcomed. 2016-03-06 16.15.53-1Posing with Dirk, Tamsin and Brett, Lake Rotoroa.2016-03-07 11.15.49A much more pleasant day from Murchison, over the saddle to Reid’s Store, and the delights awaiting there.  By now the rain had started to descend, but thats life in the saddle some days.  Still enjoyed riding Rahu Saddle, and down the other side to be greeted by the smell of the coal fires of Murchison.  There was more rain due that night.

And boy did it rain.  It was constant through the night.  I woke feeling ampted to ride Big River Waiuta.  Brett was of the opposite mind set.  He knew and had spent a lot of time in that region, and felt it completely unwise to even contemplate riding in.  Riding in a pair, listening to the others wishes is part of the partnership.2016-03-08 12.21.02Bit of rain overnight, Grey River.2016-03-08 15.56.05Start of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

2016-03-10 10.03.12It sure knows how to rain on the West Coast!2016-03-10 19.12.47Franz Joseph where the Garlic Breads are a whole loaf.  What are you eating Brett?

2016-03-11 12.47.32Beautiful Bruce Bay, man we have a beautiful country!

Brett’s not a fan of salmon.  No there isn’t a cafe at Lake Peringa.  Lunch was 5.30pm that day at the Hard Antler, Haast.  Brett, you’ll keep!

Early morning, heading toward Haast Pass.  Another feed the night before of Lamb Shanks  at the Hard Antler, proving a good big-day-pre-feed.

Yay, the Haast Saddle, and the middle of the Main Divide.

2016-03-12 13.25.32Cuz Damien, son Liam, and my sis MJ stalked us.  Side of Lake Hawea, where Damien joined us for some kms.  Possibly not the best day, we, or I, was quietly hell bent on cracking 200km.2016-03-12 15.53.16The Wanaka AMP show was in full swing.

The day started in Haast before sun up, and as the sun set and we switched our lights on on the descent down the Crown Range to Arrowtown.  208km.  Sure happy to achieve that goal.  It had been a good day, and thank-fully some tail wind too.G3 940G3 943Good to see you sis x

Walter Peak Station

One district to go, and nearly the end of my story2016-03-13 15.52.442016-03-13 17.57.352016-03-13 18.36.04Round the Mountain Cycle Trail, almost Mossburn2016-03-14 06.56.32Early morning sorta.  Last day of the tour…2016-03-14 07.56.162016-03-14 08.25.48Just when we think we’re on the home straight we encounter some bulls on the loose that just don’t want to pull over.  Brett you can go first2016-03-14 08.31.242016-03-14 13.36.53It was always going to come at some point. 2016-03-14 13.46.30What an adventure!  Thanks Brett, and to all those we hung with along the route…nice to have shared some time with you.  And to the Kennett Brothers, what a work of art putting this together.  Long may others enjoy the adventure just as much as we did.

22 days, an hour and 41 minutes.  An average of 136km a day.  My steed a Salsa Fargo.

One journey, a lifetime of memories.  I do miss the days on the bike, the freedom and being able to eat heaps!  There will be another adventure….

 

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Pre-Tour Aotearoa Ramblings

I’ve 1 shift to go, 1 flight, and 3 more sleeps till Tour Aotearoa (TA) 1st wave gets the horn at midday sunday 21st February from Cape Reinga.

After a wee flea got in my ear, I put in my leave application 12 months and 2 weeks ago…and the wait is about to come to an end.  This ride will run the length of NZ, about 3400km worth of NZ cycle trails and roads, and is in the style of a Brevet, self supported, no back up crew.  We carry as much or as little gear as we want, and a spot tracker which is on 24/7 on the link touraotearoa2016.maprogress.com

I’m not exactly sure how much my total gear n bike weighs, and I don’t really want to know.  But its somewhere around 25kgs.  Containing all the usual and half a tent.  Brett will have the other half and the tracker.

This type of adventure, multi day rides have been around for a while, in many different forms, but have been gaining momentum since 2008? when the American ‘Tour Divide’ kicked off.  The riders rode for days on end and through the night, crossing the Main Divide multiple times, eating and sleeping on the trail to complete the 4000km event.  Simon Kennett introduced the Brevet to NZ after riding the TD and it has gone from strength to strength here.  And a big thanks to the Kennett brothers for organising TA, volunteerily, not an overnight undertaking.

So right now, I’m quietly patiently waiting out the minutes and hours till the start…I guess its rather like Christmas eve for a 5 year old!  We’re hoping to ride the length in around 20 days, enough time to take in a little of the scenery around us as we go, and to enjoy a good yarn over a pint or two with locals and other riders.  We’ll mix up sleeping rough/campground/motel I guess.  But its all speculation till it really happens…I do love a good adventure.  The motto is Eat Sleep Ride…heaven!

 

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And this! New Zealand is a great country #getoutsidestayoutside

 

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Wonderings in Aotearoa

So my touring has taken a bit of a radical twist.  Instead of taking Shirl off road with on road tyres, I’ve let her to pasture for a little while, and have taken on a 29″ wheeled bike, oh and less storage capacity on the bike.

My new ride in St Arnaud, loaded and ready to roll.

My new ride in St Arnaud, loaded and ready to roll.

I’ve been back working in my home country for 15 months.  Have settled in Nelson, top of the South Island, where the sun shines 360 days of the year (don’t quote me), and its NZ’s capital of the outdoors (don’t quote me on that either, but its got a great ring).  Have been riding my moutain bike on the Gold world standard Mountain bike trails (you can quote me on that!) and loving it!!  I’ve arrived in heaven!

I’m working in theatres, work is ok, the crew better.  But I guess its a means to an end when the outdoors in my nirvana.  I’m looking for land to build on, and I’m getting closer to finding it.  The house plans are great.

Last summer, whilest riding, I had a little flea in my ear telling me of a ride, which would take a few weeks, here in our own country.  I tried to ignore it.  But ignore it I couldn’t when I came across some Brevette riders on the Kiwi Brevet in February this year.  I’d stopped in Springs Junction enroute home from riding the Wharfadale with friends, and got chatting to a couple of the guys.  Their parting words, you should do Tour Aotearoa, you’ll regret it if you don’t.  I then became a blue spot junky as the Brevet riders completed their course…and got my leave request in for the following february, 12 months notice should do it.

Dad had been very ill for months, and was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  It had been many trips back and forth home to spend precious time with him and Mum, and my bro and sis, sis n law and neice.  Not to mention the great extended family we have.  Through this time of love and sadness, when Dad finally found peace, did i find solace in the bike.  When I returned to Nelson after the funeral, my new bike, my Salsa Fargo 2, in Gun metal grey, with lime green decals, had arrived, and was quickly assembled.  And to this on the gravel tracks and roads did I turn, feeling the fresh wind on my cheeks, as the bike wound up and down over forestry roads.  It is a truely lovely bike to ride.  It just goes and goes and goes, infact it purrs the longer it is going.

Through winter my riding, with mountain or touring, was kept to the warmer middle of the day hours, some fun miles clocked up in the hills round Nelson.  With the change of the seasons, the lengthing and warming of the days, I finally headed out fully loaded for a three day bike packing ride.  I started on the last friday in September in St Arnaud.  Taking in the beautiful Rainbow valley, the riding was meditative for the first 50kms.  It was tarseal up to the Rainbow Ski field turn off, and with the sun and a wee tail wind on my back, and a tuck n dive Maggie to keep me company for a little way, i was soon clocking the miles.  I felt in no hurry, how could you when the conditions were idealic, and it was the first day off after a manic period at work.  The main valley is intercepted by little side valleys, snow still covering the tops, spotting potential ski touring for future months ahead.  The valley finally narrowing to a gorge, and reopening again to yet more amazing scenery.  Reminds me how lucky I am to be a citizen of such a wonderful country.  At the bottom of Island saddle the wind direction gently changed, to a southerly direction, which grew in intensity once i crest the top.  With more great views to the south, and a quick refuel and to add more layers, I dive down into the St James side.  By this time I am feeling the need to keep moving, to get to my evening destination.  With the head wind, I get down as low as I can on my Jones Bars, and keep the cranks going.  Again its meditative, maybe a little too, as I finally decide to stop and put more layers on, wobbling round a little from the cold, fingers stiff and becoming unresponsive.  I pass the Lake Tennyson road turn off, and circle round and head down it for a 100 or so metres, just to get a better look at the snow capped moutains off in the distance…breathtaking!  Back on track, head down, grinding out the miles I finally pass the St James Homestead, continuing on, a smile finally cracks my face as I’ve arrived at the Hanmer turn off.  I recognise this, and even better its now only 8km to dinner.  Its a little before 6pm, and only a short climb to Jack’s Pass, and a cold but fun dive down to Hanmer.  The Stonegrill Steak and beer were the bomb, followed closely by the unlimited supply of hot water at the campground shower.  Happiness is simple really.  Bit of rain overnight, testing the MSR Hubba, worked very well.  Another good feed the next morning, nothing like a cooked breaky and coffee in the belly to start a day in the saddle.  Lunch from the bakery, and I was off.  The morning was drizzly, low cloud through the Lewis to the other side, where surprise the sun was shining!  But non the less the scenery was beautiful, and the miles ticked by, alot easier on the tarseal.  First day of school holidays, but the traffic was not a problem.  Once up and over Lewis Pass I had a beaut tail wind down the other side all the way to Springs Junction, and lovely clear blue skies.

The beautiful Rainbow

The beautiful Rainbow

My orginal plan was to do this trip in four days, staying in Springs this night.  But it was only 3pm and what was I to do for the rest of the day?  Might as well ride.  So after a cafe stop, tea and bacon and egg pie, I carried on up the West Bank road, cool little deviation from the main drag.  Once at Reid’s store, checking out the motel which was closed for the night, I chatted to the lovely couple who own the cafe, and will be watching out for us on Tour Aotearoa, we discussed camping options on the other side of Maruia saddle.  So with another hour and half of day light, I set off, dinner packed.  Not long up the road, I turned right and up the gravel road to the saddle.  Now something was different to the day previous.  My legs were still going round, and happily so.  But they felt like they had many more hours in them.  Cresting Maruia saddle was a breeze, albeit only 3km from the bottom, and on down to the other side.  A good friend had told me of a wee camping spot, so down by the Glen Roy I spent that night, under an almost full moon.  It had been a cold night, with all my layers on and three bag layers, I couldnt wait to get moving the next morning.  I knew it had been day light savings change during the night, but with no reception in the valley, I was sure i was on old time.  Anyway packed up, with digits fairly unresponsive, and all layers on, I got the cranks circling once again, still a good hour or so till the sun would touch my skin.  Its such a lovely valley up behind Murchison, and with flowy up and downs, I was soon in the outskirts of Murch, and in next to the fire of Rivers.  I defrosted while filling my belly with yet another hearty ‘is that the biggest breaky you serve?’ and coffee.  I wasn’t really in any hurry to move, but after an hour and a half, off I did, the morning all that more warm, with blue skies and sun.  Off up the mangles valley, with memories from days gone by paddling the rivers round here, and over to the Braeburn track.  Another stunning beech tree lined NZ road.  Up and over to Lake Rotoroa, and more wow views, only to be chased off by the mossies.  A lovely chat with a nelson local, before pushing off to push up the Porika track.  Its only 2km to the top, I was told by my friend.  Well that got me started, its was only another 2km after that to the real top!  Down the otherside to the Howard Valley, and out to the road.  Sifting down the road, back in meditative mode, watching the GPS, was this road flat or slowly climbing…GPS’s are handy sometimes to pass the flat-ish miles.  Passing Lakeside aerodrome, spotting the gliders lined up, then a silent whoosh as all i saw was the underside of one pointing to the stars.  I’d seen the fourwheel drive going at breakneck speed earlier, but hadn’t twigged it had the tow line beind.  Pretty cool!  Another few miles more, as I slowly got closer to St Arnaud and my finish point.

Not a bad start to a new season.  I was very happy with everything.  Bike, body, gear and head space!  The km’s I did, 117, 141 and 95kms over three days.  So I’ve lined up, in indelible ink, Tour Aotearoa which kicks off on the 21st February 2016.  Its a wee 3000km jaunt, from Cape Reinga to Bluff, a self supported ride, read no support crews.  Carry as much or as little as you want, but there is only one route and we ride it all.  For more info Google Tour Aotearoa.  So there will be a few more rides out into the whops, solo and with friends, but I’m doing the big one with a good friend.  And you’ll be able to track my progress as we ride!

So for more indepth details –

my bike, a Salsa Fargo 2.  Handlebars Jones H Bars (they’re supper choice!).  Brooks B17S saddle and rain cover. GPS Etrex 30.  Lezyne light. Tyres Schwalbe Racing Ralph at the moment, tubeless. Revelate handle bar Sweetroll and large pocket, Pika seat bag, Ranger frame bag, Mountain feedbag and Jerrycan.  MSR Hubba tent. EXPED SIM hyperlite mat.  Fairydown Supernova bag, silkliner, thermalite Reactor +.  Marmot jacket with hood.  Kathmandu waterproof trou.  Innov8 thermal layer.  Couple of merino tops.  x2 cycle shorts.  Zoic MTB shorts. Compression tights.  soxs x2, one to sleep in.  MTB shoes.  MTB gloves and winter gloves.  Merino hat (will replace with buff).  Mountain dinner x1, spare porridge. Spork. 2 water bottles. First aid kit with survival bag.  PLB. Phone and charger. Credit card and spare card.  Drivers licence as ID for buying alcohol. Food for the next meal generally.  x2 spare inner tubes.  Alien tool.  x2 powerlinks.  Lube and rag.  Some toiletries, antichaf cream.  Chux (great towel and general wiperra).  Need to add spokes, and about 6 chain lengths, mosi repellant, sunscreen, a head light, cach battery possibly, and I’m sure there is more…

Towards the end of Day Three

Towards the end of Day Three

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Still going

The last month has been interspersed with seeing yet more family, going for runs with my 71 yr young Aunt, staying with a girlfriends’ parents on their farm, learning all about their off the grid existence. 
Meeting up with mum n dad after 9 months, in New Plymouth, was lovely.  Going on to spend a week road tripping with them back up to Auckland, taking in scenic Raglan enroute.
Checking out to take in the experience of a 10 day meditation retreat, set in beautiful NZ native bush.
Hanging out at beautiful Whangamata beach with Mum, walks and swims.
Spending time with long time friend Theresa and family, before hopping back on Shirl to ride the coastal road from Hawke’s Bay to Eketahuna.
A couple of nights with brother Tom, partner Paula and family, I say farewell to the North island leg, as the ferries’ engines rumble, and we leave Wellington behind, destined for the South Island.  I wonder what truely awaits me there.

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I’ve been following a few guys solo cycle touring, in their own parts of the globe, by blog.  Then Dad hands me a book about two guys who rode through Mongolia.  I’m fighting the urge to keep going, to set sail with Shirl to foreign lands.  A part of me would like to tackle my latest dream, to live off the grid, and to learn to build my own place.  I don’t think I’m done with touring, such a free and easy existence, encumbered by only the restraints I place on myself.

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Beautiful Aotearoa

My home country has been turning it on since I’ve been back.  Have been enjoying the warm temperatures even though it is too dry.  Having great times back coasting the hills on Shirl as I make my way round various family members, precious times all round.
Have taken in the coast line from Warkworth to Waipu, then south to Whenuapai.  Now in the Waikato enroute to the Taranaki, before heading to a meditation retreat north of Auckland for 10 days.

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Lovely Vancouver

8 days, it has just flashed past! 3 days of snow, and more of sun. I’ve enjoyed visiting Capilano Suspension bridge and surrounds covered in snow; a real live ice hockey game, the Canuck v’s St Louis; runs around the foreshore of Stanley park; the Otters and Beluga whales at the Aquarium, and return helicopter flights and a night in Victoria, Vancouver Island with a lovely friend Amber.  Being back in this part of the world reminded me of the 3 day boat ride I took from Bellingham (near Seattle) to Skagway, Alaska, back in 1998 – What a beautiful part of  the world. I wonder if Mum would let me live here…

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Tonight I board the plane back to NZ, Auckland, where I’ll spend some time with my lovely family, and some cycling in the north island.

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UK

A busy few days in the UK packing Shirl for the big trip home, catching up with friend Andy from Yorkshire, a nice day bouldering at Stanage, I think I quite like Gritstone! And a day wandering the streets in central London, trip down memory lane.

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