It's a dangerous thing to step out your door.... Step 1 New Zealand
The problem is that this story is starting out half way through, It is now Christmas Day and we have been in New Zealand for a week but I suppose that's OK as beginnings are always a bit tedious and as I'm no writer the beginning might be best left till last. So that's how we'll do it eh..... well sort of... I need to tell you a bit of what we are about.
Last Easter, Good Friday to be exact we took delivery of two F650GS twins, having spent the previous six months trying to figure out which bike would best suit our purpose of being a reasonably capable dirt travel bike while still having good road going capabilities, we'll leave the details for the beginning at the end shall we.
So after spending six months turning them into travel machines with a list of mods that is to say the least quite extensive in Late November we put them on a ship bound for Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand for our 1st taste of bike travel.
We chose New Zealand because for a couple of Aussies with no experience of travel by any means NZ is a "soft target". We were told nearly everyone would understand us and that they would all take our money, so we would feel right at home.
Anyway enough of the intro that isn't an intro let's get to the pics.
We picked up the bikes, and after a bit of work rode them out to VTNZ to get them registered with a temporary registration.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289373013/" title="The Race Mechanic prepping the bikes for delivery. by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5287/5289373013_57e6ae869e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="The Race Mechanic prepping the bikes for delivery." /></a>
And after a bit of mucking around
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289360185/" title="1st Blood - Mike's bike having a snooze by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5290/5289360185_6bd5094c69.jpg" width="500" height="472" alt="1st Blood - Mike's bike having a snooze" /></a>
Rode through some nice scenery out to Akaroa for the day.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289374465/" title="Sally just looked on and laughed! by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5250/5289374465_d919aaf1a9.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Sally just looked on and laughed!" /></a>
And then after some more mucking around.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289376293/" title="Well what more can we say....... one all me thinks! by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5002/5289376293_1914c8dbc3.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Well what more can we say....... one all me thinks!" /></a>
We headed for Mount Sunday AKA "Edoras" from Lord of The Rings, home of King Theodan of Rohan.
First sight of Mountains... not bad.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289371429/" title="Untitled by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5246/5289371429_2334468f3d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="" /></a>
After a while they became a bit common (mountains that is)
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289982646/" title="Untitled by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5167/5289982646_2c56ff5336.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="" /></a>
Until we came round a bend and there it was.. Mount Sunday in the middle of the valley.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289380219/" title="Untitled by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5046/5289380219_74e23fe6b4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="" /></a>
The road was river gravel that gave some greif for two dirt nOObs but I am happy to report that neither of us had an off.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5289430391/" title="Untitled by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5283/5289430391_6b76fdd0c3.jpg" width="500" height="385" alt="" /></a>
Looking forward to more! Bikes do look like you have spent a bit of time prepping them.....spoked wheels?
Great report. Looking forward to more.
This should be good, don't stop now :ddog
Looking good so far guys .... keep it up please as im thinking of doing the same thing so cant wait for the end bit :evil
Shit man you just sucked me right in thinking how good it would be to do the same when the kids are bigger and then nothing :ddog
Come on get a move on :lol3
Great scenery and roads.:D:lurk
So far so good. I rented a KLR 650 last year in NZ and rode several days around the South Island. My sister lives in Christchurch.
Gorgeous country, can't wait to go back and ride more of it.
Keep the story rollin', I'm just getting into it! :rofl
evenin, well the weather has turned against us big time.
If you are planning to come to NZ in summer, you definitely need to be prepared for variable conditions. The winds on the ride from Mt Somers to Lake Tekapo were gusting (so we found out later) to 110km/hr. It was a bit of an ordeal, worst part was riding behind a hedge in relative calm for a while and then popping out from behind it to be blasted, the bike was tossed across the road much like passing a road train.
Bloody hell it's cold. Coming from Brisbane we are not accustomed to clod weather in the middle of summer.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57523448@N08/5292245613/" title="But the weather turned crap, rain and COLD.... how can it be sooooooo cold in summer. No more pics it was all gear on and 3 hours of shivering and hard riding to Wanaka. by cuthbertmike, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5286/5292245613_ae305351a8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="But the weather turned crap, rain and COLD.... how can it be sooooooo cold in summer. No more pics it was all gear on and 3 hours of shivering and hard riding to Wanaka." /></a>
Wilmo - yep wire wheels, but we had a problem. Woody had a problem with the mob that do his custom hub machining they sent over two rear hubs that had manufacturing defects... basically they had machined the bore in the hub with a taper in it and the bearings wouldn't press in properly. So the bikes have a spoked front and the OEM cast rear until I can get it sorted out, just didn't get time to sort it out before we left with all the planned jobs that inevitably have been left to the last minute. Woody reckons they will fix em no worries, but for now I am sure the cast wheels will be fine... might be a different story when we get to Africa though, but that's for a later story.
With the weather turned against us we have been holed up in Wanaka for a few days doing tourist stuff, but tomorrow we are on the bikes to Glenorchy. We have a tip that it's a fantastic road from a local bloke who rides a Harley, apparently there is some dirt and with the forecast of very heavy rain we have been warned to expect problems getting through, should be fun.
Yeah the weather sure looks interesting :eek1
The Borland Track
G'Day Woody, don't panic we still have the wheels, ran out of time before we left. Africa is next mate you weren't mistaken, NZ is a suck it and see for the gear. Anyway this is a ride report so let's get on with it.
The weather was such crap that we holed up for a while and acted the tourist, but the weather cleared enough for a Borland Track outing.
Let's start with some unadulterated bike porn.
The road to the start of the Borland is a nice ride in itself.
The Borland is a service road for an electricity supply line built in the 60's which happens to be a great ride and goes to the south arm of Lake Manapouri.
Up over the Borland Saddle the view is fantastic and some interesting geological stuff.. worlds largest documented land slip, millions of tons of mountain just fell into the valley the noise must have been deafening, glad it was thousands of years ago.
The road up to the saddle is easy going, after that it gets a bit more interesting.
Nice country down the other side.
Via a spot that looks down into the Grebe valley - amazing!
Until the road literally pops out onto a beach at the South Arm of Lake Manapouri.
So after a bit of bike arranging.
We were ready for the "we made it" poic.
The ride out was a corker as well, up hill is so much more fun.
And to finish off there is always time for some more bike porn....
The Nevis is next.
Well the weather closed in again, I am not so sure about "land of the long white cloud" more like "land of the gale force wind with torrential rain", but it's all part of travel so we took a bus :eek1 out to Milford sound and went on a five star boat trip while we waited for another window of weather for a trip back up to Cromwell via The Nevis road.
What a trip it tuned out to be. I was very worried about the 27 stream crossings given the biblical rain that had been dumped on the ranges ovdr the last 5 days, spoke to a couple of locals and got some info and decided what the heck nothing ventured nothing gained. Sal was nervous never having ridden over a river before.
In the end it was a great if long day and one we will remember for a long long time, ADVriding at it's best. BUt enough of that let's get on with it.
We rode the Nevis South to North, and got to the turn off at Garston at about 3:15pm
About 1km in is a histroric ski hut.
The road follows the Nevis Valley thourgh some nice open rolling hills.
Past some rock formations that looked like the remains of a Tolkein ruin.
Then the fun starts, and we get to the first of the river crossings.
The first few proved to be easy.
With some nice bits in between.
But then they started to get deeper and more intimidating to a couple of dirt Noobs. Especially as we are travellers and a long way from help if we were to drown one of the bikes. Caution was the order of the as Todd from ADV riding school on the sunshine coast taught us we did "the $10,000 walk" at each crossing before committing.
Some of them had multiple paths through which only became clear when inspected for the easiest one.
The weather looked ominous and time was slipping by rapidly.
We both had a couple of offs, mostly because of a tricky approach or exit. Nothing major buit a lot of fun :lol3
Some were quite long and flowing fast after the huge rains.
Some steep exits needed a gut full of throttle to climb out of the creek, not easy after carefully negotiating the big rocks in the river bed. I dropped my bike on this one.
Sal was starting to get teh hang of it and confidence was good.
Some deep ones.
What a legend she is!
THe climb out of the valley is nice.
But then it descends down again, to more crossings.
And still more, will they never end?
BUt at 8:15pm we came round a bend and there was the gate, we made it.
It really was the best day's riding we have ever had and although some of the crossings were a bit hairy with the amount of rain over the previous few days, none were beyond the capability of the bikes if some care was taken.
Next we are off up the west coast to see what other ADV rides we can find, Hopefully to end up with a trip down through Molesworth. Depends on the weather, till next time..... Seeeya
WOW,,,,the confidence a days work of river crossings brings to the fore....
[QUOTE=Mike.C;14830297]G'Day Woody, don't panic we still have the wheels, ran out of time before we left. Africa is next mate you weren't mistaken, NZ is a suck it and see for the gear. Anyway this is a ride report so let's get on with it.
thanks for the 'heads up' mike,,,i nuked that post,,,you do know i won't let you all down....
so now ,,what i REALLY want to say is WOW,,,what a trooper you have at your side,,,i could feel how your confidence was building after each successful traverse....
but jimminy crickets when i saw this pic i could tell your sense of 'can do!!!' had reached astronomic proportions.....
i think i can,,,i think i can,,,
great job and great pics n reprting,,,i feel i'm there with ya
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