You might have wondered where the "magnificent flying machines" bit comes from in the heading. I'm about to get to that but first a problem.
RTW Doug loses his charging system in the back blocks of Ziggastan, Simon and Lisa Thomas get blown shocks and engine trouble, Colebatch gets cold feet in an icey river on the BAM road .. the Peril suffers from non-idling going across the city. We all have our 'adventure' crosses to bear.
(If you think riding a 125 across Auckland isn't an adventure, either try it some time or have a look at this country's road accident statistics...)
By now it seemed like The Peril had an automatic red traffic signal activator. They go red every time the bike is near a traffic light and the bike had decided that idling was for dweebs. He’s cool, see? The traffic control authorities are rationing the colour green, so the default setting for traffic lights here is red ... with the occasional flash to green. Makes for painfully slow progress.
So I lurched my way from red light to red light until eventually, I found myself at the War Memorial Museum. It’s a striking building way up above Auckland with a row of commanding white granite Roman columns across the front and granite steps leading down to the Cenotaph.
Locking the Peril after a brief chat with a Honda 400TT rider I went inside and photographed the Spitfire display, the Mitsubishi Zero display and the V1 rocket display. I used to work not far from here in a job designed to make eternal buggery in the fires of hell seem like fun. (Thanks a lot Greg Scott, try looking up the word "karma" some time.)
When things got too much I’d slide on up to the museum and look at the planes which for some reason I found therapeutic. Nothing like studying the complexity of a Rolls Royce V12, or the utter perfection of the Spitty’s elliptical wingtip, to take your mind off a missed deadline.
The rare Mitsubishi Zero. Very capable aircraft in the early part of the war.
Everyone knows what a Spitty looks like, but I find this aircraft so mesmerisingly beautiful that I never get enough of staring at it.
Merlin cutaway, astonishing engineering.
The V1 Bomb, disappointingly displayed. However, look at that pulsejet engine. Look familiar? Would it surprise you to know that the man who invented the two stroke expansion chamber, Walter Kaaden, worked on the V1s at Peenemunde and developed his theories on two stroke power then.
It is unfortunate that the V1 has been relocated into an alcove with poor viewing and it is not possible to photograph the whole thing in one go. Definitely a retrograde step.
Around the front I took the Peril to one of the two huge guns mounted in front of the Museum and overlooking Auckland Harbour.
The guns were part of the armament from HMS New Zealand, which was a gift to Britain from the Dominion of New Zealand. The ungrateful buggers only kept her for 10 years and decommissioned the ship 10 years before our country had even paid for the thing. We got to keep the 4-inch guns, which we repatriated to NZ and used as saluting batteries, some on North Head (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=662678
) . Two are now part of the extensive war memorial and hallowed ground area in front of the museum.
One more port of call before heading home, this time to photograph The Peril under a big and shapely lump of carbon fibre. The story behind this started with a tilt at the America's Cup in 1987.
New Zealand sailors, for the first time, became involved with the America’s Cup yachting regatta when it was held in Perth. This was after the Aussies had finally managed to relieve the New York Yacht Club of their precious Auld Mug, thus ending the longest unbeaten run in sporting history. The sailing world gathered in Perth to try their hand at winning the thing.
For New Zealand, the frustration of coming close in Perth (beaten in the finals of the chellenger elimination series by Dennis Conner), led to one of the most bizarre events in the Cup’s history when our challenger – 90ft on the waterline (120ft overall) as specified in the Cup’s Deed of Gift, was soundly defeated by the US in a 60ft wing masted catamaran.
For some reason this piece of folly is immortalised on our waterfront. Yes, this giant yacht sits in a cradle so everyone can look at its bottom.
There was great national fervour for the contest back then with everyone getting hot and bothered about every detail of this venerable sporting institution. Now we can't even spell Dennis Conner's name right - and no one cares.
That's it for now thrillseekers, hope you've enjoyed a busy day aboard The Yello Peril. The idling problem was gunk in a worn out carb. I hope I've sorted it.