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Old 02-12-2013, 01:45 AM   #1
Bass OP
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Down South

This is my first attempt at embedding photo links so bear with me please, it might take alittle while to get it right

It’s been several years since I last contributed to these pages - one of them bringing no income at all, saw to that.
It’s good to be back.

The last time I contributed anything was here:-

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=340074&page=5

and I suspect that this new report may be my final chapter. I very much hope I am wrong and on that basis Jamie (Ducatijim) and I are planning a return to Australia next year. However, my accumulation of years is starting to get in the way - specifically arthritis is threatening my clutch hand. Jamie too, has similar issues and so we are working on making the most of the time we have left.
In my case, learning to manage with minimum clutch use and keeping anti-inflammatories close to hand, is working for now. Jamie has his own methods and so we are not done yet.

Jamie has regularly spent time in the South Island seeking out the interesting bits but I had only ever taken my road bike down there, even though it’s where I was born. Consequently, it is very likely that I have seen more of Australia’s back country than my own. This has always seemed incongruous to me and so when Jamie suggested that we organize 2 weeks down there, I was enthusiastic from the start. So Jamie did his thing with organizing some of the best stuff that he had done and then adding to it some routes he had not done but which appealed to his inclination to nudge the limits a little. He has proved very skilled in the organizing stuff in the past and so it proved again.

I still have the DR that I took to Oz while Jamie has bought another one to which he has fitted some of the farkle bits that he had on the old one. To that he has added some fresh farkles but with mixed results. He is not entirely satisfied with the outcome, particularly as regards the front suspension.

Nevertheless, the die was cast and so on Saturday January 26th, I found myself heading to Jamie’s place with plenty of time (Reporoa, it’s about 250km), in no particular hurry and so via a somewhat circuitous route. It was my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better present that to be setting out again on what was sure to be a really good ride. (It was also Australia day. I like Oz and the Ozzies but I’ve always had mixed feelings about sharing my birthday with a whole country.)

I had a fresh set of tyres on and so was inclined to poke my nose down any little side track that I saw - hence my rediscovery of the world famous Lake Waikare Yacht Club. It’s world famous because it’s been in these pages before, although some years ago.

One of the buildings is obviously much younger than the other although incomplete. So someone has apparently attempted to resurrect the activity at some time but with questionable success.
I wonder what happened.




Bass screwed with this post 02-12-2013 at 02:24 AM
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:50 AM   #2
trustme
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Incoming , waiting for the next bit :

Oh , Hi Neil .
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:56 AM   #3
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I'll be with you shortly - just getting the hang of this
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:02 AM   #4
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I made Jamie’s place in the late afternoon. I had packed a bottle of medium-good red wine and I don’t remember much about the evening, which means that it was probably normal for him and me when we haven’t seen each other for a while. I do remember however, that his farm was exceptionally dry and he was faced with implementing what can only be called survival measures. He was keen to get away on our trip however, as there was simply nothing that he could do in the short term and watching it all wither away was not something he had any desire to do.
That has to be hard for anyone but especially so when it’s your life’s work.

His wife Julie had left for parts south earlier in the week in their camper. She is a show-dog enthusiast and was to attend some shows in the South Island but Jamie had worked our program around hers so that we could rendezvous some days later in Central Otago. To the same end, my wife Nicky flew out of Auckland about the same time that I arrived in Reporoa, southward bound, again to meet up with the rest of us a few days later.

Sunday January 27th

Jamie and I were on the road at 0830 the following morning with a 410 km trip to reach the ferry and we rolled into the terminal about 1315 for the 1430 sailing – timed to a nicety. There were a couple of bikes already parked at the biker’s shelter and a 5th joined us shortly afterward.



It was a hot day with a gentle crossing with the usual great views of the Marlborough Sounds. We rolled into Spring Creek on the outskirts of Blenheim late afternoon and one of the first tasks I had was to fit a smaller front sprocket – less than 10 minutes work.



We then got changed and adjourned to the bar of the nearby hotel where we initially were the only clients. Consequently, we got talking to the robust and pleasant, middle aged lady behind the bar who appeared to be running the place. The topics of conversation wandered around the usual ones initially, like where we had come from, were going and when. They then started to range a little and she told us about a local couple who it seems had grown thoroughly tired of one another. However, neither of them would move out, nor buy the other one out either. So they were both living in opposite ends of the same house and going their separate ways.
Now it seems that the lady of this pair had found herself a new fella and one evening she brought him home to spend the night. Husband was not well pleased, but in view of their being effectively separated, was somewhat limited in his options. He used his imagination however and solved his problem by doing the vacuuming in the middle of the night while dressed in absolutely nothing whatsoever.
New fella was never seen again. Now however, wifie was not well pleased – a potentially dangerous situation.
In due course hubby found himself a new girlfriend and bearing in mind the events mentioned above, arranged to meet her at the hotel where this tale was being told. Now it seems that wifie decided she wanted to meet new girlfriend and so joined the new couple at the aforementioned bar. Everyone expected loud noise and violence to the extent that selling tickets to the passing public was a definite option. Wifie however was the very soul of pleasantry – butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth as it is said – a pose that she maintained for some considerable time. Finally as expected, new girlfriend had taken enough and exploded. Wifie was read her history in no uncertain terms. She was a prize @#$%**% who wouldn’t go, who still had the business and still had the **&$$#@ man as well. Whereupon new girlfriend stormed out, moved out and went home to mother.
Now nobody was well pleased including mother.
If ever Outrageous Fortune or Peyton Place are re-launched but set in Northern Marlborough, then the script will have been written by the lady behind the bar at the Spring Creek pub.

We had a meal, bought a bottle of red (good quality and surprisingly cheap) and adjourned back to our motel.

Monday January 28th




About 0900 we had refueled, bought a couple of 6”s each from Subway (one for then and one for Ron – later on) and were headed up Taylor’s Pass. A pleasant few K’s of gravel to get us warmed up and then out on to the Awatere Valley road and right toward Molesworth – time to adjust the tyre pressures.

Vineyards everywhere to begin with and then up into the hills.





It’s typical New Zealand high country – young and fragile. The scree slopes moving down into the valleys really quickly in geological terms.





The power pylons are impossible to ignore but are the reason for the road’s existence. I am an engineer and so I don’t mind looking at engineering accomplishments, even the everyday ones.

It’s attractive country but a bit bland if we compared it to what we saw later on. This guy was impossible to ignore however, for obvious reasons. He only just fitted on the bridge; actually overhung one side in fact.




A pleasant and enjoyable ride was had since it was my first time through Molesworth.

Enough for now - more tomorrow night

Bass screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 12:11 AM
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:57 PM   #5
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We turned off onto the Jollies Pass road and dropped down into Hanmer Springs. This was a bit more interesting because the road was quite steep and rough.



We turned east toward Christchurch from there but just as we passed the 50 kph sign on the way into Culverden, Jamie swung left. Following our nose took us up into another little winding pass that no-one seems able to tell us the name of. You can just make out the track on the right hand hillside.



This brought us back onto some well frequented gravel roads on the other side of the hills and to an intersection well signposted for Cheviot which was where we planned to spend the night. However, Jamie ignored all that and plunged straight ahead to stop about 2 km further on at a gateway with an old overgrown, mossy sign nearby that read “Random Spur Road”. Through the gate and up the hill we went. I struggled to believe this was a public thoroughfare as it was just a collection of farm tracks. On and on we went, through numerous gates until the GPS told us we were lost. We had not seen a single dwelling of any sort in some time and so I figured that if we were truly lost, they might find us during the muster of 2015. However, it was all easily solved really – we had just been on the wrong side of the fence for a while and the GPS couldn’t tell until the tracks separated. I was actually a bit disappointed. It would have been fun to be lost up there.
Oh well, back track to the correct gate and on we went.





Eventually the track developed into something a bit better defined but we were still surprised to find an aerial topdressing loader fighting its way up hill. A bit further on we found a young farmer running a mob of young bulls down the hill and shortly after that, we were just round the corner from Cheviot. The GPS however insisted we use the gravel and so actually getting to Cheviot took about 3 times longer than it needed to. However, get there we did and checked into the Cheviot Trust Hotel where we were well accommodated, fed and watered.




Tuesday January 29th
The following morning, I was up before Jamie as usual because my kit is less efficient than his and so it takes me longer to get organized. I had taken all my kit out to the bikes and checked the outside door which was self closing, because we were the only people in the building and I didn’t want to lock myself out. Now the previous afternoon, this door did not have enough force to engage the lock and so we had just gone in and out without hindrance. This morning however, it determinedly closed and locked itself and so when I went back inside I warned Jamie of this. Being Jamie however, when he took his first load out to his bike, he put faith in his previous day’s experience and not in me. So the loud click when we were both outside came as a bit of a surprise to him. We were locked out!

This was a bit of a quandary. It didn’t matter to me as I had all my gear but half of Jamie’s stuff was still inside. As I said, we were the only people there and it might be 11 am before the staff arrived to open the pub. James was most embarrassed!

We wandered around the building and verified that yes, there was there was no-one inside. However, we found a window open on one of the rooms around the back. Needs must and so I gave him a leg up and head first through the window. Now if I have a failing on these trips it is that I still haven’t learned to reach first for the camera before trying to rectify anything. Worse, I actually had it in my pocket, but I still failed to take a photo of Jamie disappearing through that window in the act of breaking into the Trust Hotel in Cheviot. It would have been first class blackmail material.

We hit the road south, took a right at Amberley and headed for the Okuku Pass, Lees Valley and the Ashley Gorge.



Top of the Okuku Pass





Another view.



Into the Ashley Gorge



Through the gorge








Out the other end – the Okuku River I think. On to Oxford, then Sheffield for one of the famous pies and down IL72 to Geraldine. There were two guys in Sheffield at the pie shop on a pair of pristine Laverda 1000’s – nice.

Stopped in Geraldine for a coffee and when we came out there was a little pool of oil on the road under my bike. This was new and not good. We looked carefully and it appeared that the alternator cover gasket had failed – a problem we had seen before on a DR. Despite what Google said, we discovered that there was no longer a bike shop in Geraldine and so I bought a liter of oil at the servo and we pressed on. It was only a small leak after all.

Over Mount Gay via a winding stretch of good gravel and down into Fairlie for the night. The pub was a reasonable standard with some very good and cheap roast meals.

Since the alternator was on the downhill side of the bike when on the sidestand, I borrowed an old plastic container to catch the drips so that I didn’t leave an unwelcome calling card but also so that I could collect the oil and see how bad the leak had become. It didn’t look like anything that had to have attention immediately and the oil level had not changed visibly.

We were going to be in Alexandra 2 days hence and stationed there for 3 days. So I contacted Jantar via KB to see if he might help. He was on nightshift at the time and so it all seemed a bit awkward, but when he found out we were going to be there for 3 days after his shift had finished, he made it clear that we were welcome to use whatever facilities that he could provide – many thanks Malcolm.

Bass screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 10:56 AM
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:41 AM   #6
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Nice. good pics & report
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:11 AM   #7
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*looks at map book* would the road with no name be St Leonards rd. which turns into Kaiwara rd. ? It's been years since I did Random Spur rd. I must fix that, Maybe do Kaiwara rd while I'm down there
Nice RR too, keep it coming
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:21 AM   #8
innathyzit
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Cheers, lotsa places i have never heard of yet.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:06 AM   #9
Mark_S
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kewl another great RR to follow

you old crippled bastards should stop in here on the way back and try my rekluse equipped klr. feather light clutch and you can ignore it in slow going and let it do all the work
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padmei View Post
Nice. good pics & report
Go on, tell the truth - it's actually pretty mundane so far but it gets better.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
Bass OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_S View Post
you old crippled bastards should stop in here on the way back and try my rekluse equipped klr. feather light clutch and you can ignore it in slow going and let it do all the work
I would certainly be interested Mark but Jamie's issue is with his right hand
Also, it's a bit late this trip - we've been home since last Sunday

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Old 02-13-2013, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ztaj View Post
*looks at map book* would the road with no name be St Leonards rd. which turns into Kaiwara rd. ? It's been years since I did Random Spur rd. I must fix that, Maybe do Kaiwara rd while I'm down there
I believe you are exactly right
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:48 PM   #13
clintnz
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Good stuff mate! Keep it coming.

Cheers
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Sitting at home with a busted back, so any ride report from down south is a good ride report. Thanks for taking the time. Looking forward to the next instalment
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:04 PM   #15
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lol, I did exactly the same thing last time I was up Random Spur, missed a gate and ended up on the wrong side of the fence for a bit until the GPS started arguing we were going off track.
Navigating the opposite direction up there is easier.
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