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TOTO and Gremlin invade The South - Day 2

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Picton to Christchurch – Thursday 23.02.12.

Breakfast was being served from 8-9am and we wanted to catch that so a quick shower at 8am and to the food we went. Three scones and a tea later hunger is satisfied while th tall guy has had a scone and a bowl full of cereal.

Today we had to decide on what route to use to get to Christchurch. Do we use the straight down boring route or do we get more adventurous, brave the rain and do something fun? Bugger the rain – we like a bit of fun. So the route goes like this – Picton > Queen Charlotte Drive > Nelson > Murchison > Springs Junction > Luis’ Pass > Chch. I really wanted to avoid doing SH63 which has the longest straight road in the world, or so it feels.

We pack and leave the motel and without chain lube covering their car port like last year. Quick stop for gas and chain lube on my bike. Alan is happy to help with the lubing action and kindly spin the wheel for me.
“You should move”– he says a minute later as I’m getting ready.
“This is a crown limousine” – pointing to the BMW car next to us.
“Why ?” says I.
“Well…it’s a Crown limousine!”
I get a blank look accompanied with high eye brows. Just because someone drives a car belonging to the government doesn't mean that I have to get on my knees for them. In reflection to that I think he was only trying to look after his fellow BMW driver. People with BMWs have to look after each other – and they better – because those BMW things brake all the time. Next thing I hear is “F@#k it ! Urrr? F#^K !”. I turn around to see Gremlin pounding into the GPS with index finger and cursing it. Apparently the little thing is not doing what it's supposed to. This guy better lay of the coffees or the work – way to nervous for someone on holiday. GPS problem fixed, normal service can resume.

Queen Charlotte Drive was the first gorgeous road we are riding that day. Beautiful scenic views and greenery everywhere. The road surface is in good condition, so plenty of fun is had by all. Left, right, left, right – the ride just flows. Passed a few cars and that's about it – traffic was minimal. Terrific ride all the way to Nelson where I took on some fuel. Alan had almost collected a few roundabouts getting to the gassy. A result of high roundabouts and low extremely low lean angles of the BMW. Maybe BMW can come up with pannier sliders of some sort?

We reach Murchison about 1pm. Lunch took the shape of a chicken burger for both of us. Tasty chicken burgers. While we were enjoying the food a whole bus of tourists rocks up full of scarcely clad women and guys. Must have been the naked bus company or something like that. I counted 37 girls and only 10 guys. I think Gremlin noted the name of the company – well worth it if you are a single male. We left Murchison before it got too crowded, plus we don’t particularly like too many women in bikini around us. We are both Honda riders after all.

I got volunteered to lead now as I was in charge of the picture taking. Later on I taught I had found a nice place for photos, but it resulted in two unnecessary U-turns, a BMW almost sinking into a foot of gravel and a not impressed Gremlin. Oh well – one can only try. We ended up taking some nice shots later on overlooking the river through Lewis’ pass. Gremlin not impressed again -
“we have to overtake all those cars again” …
”SO?!” – says I.

Lewis pass is worth the trip on a bike. A little damp if the weather is murky (which it was), but ridden with caution, still a hell of a nice ride. There are sections that overlook the whole valley and you can see for miles, as well as sections with trees completely enclosing the road, creating a green tunnel. Magic.

Arriving into Christchurch. I started finding more reasons why it scores high points on the TSL scale (my “Town Shit List”) . We see a sign that say “MOTORWAY BEGINS” ….when?! - The road stays single lane for more than a few kilometers after the sign. When it eventually became two lanes guess what – road works and the limit is down to 50km/h. On the motorway – wow that's one hell of a motorway. GRRRRRR.

We get to the accommodation for the next two nights and discover we are staying at a 5 star hotel. NOT. Credit where credit is due – Gremlin has done all the research for the trip and made the best decision based on the information he has. The place is close to the gas station, close to food, close to Hampton Honda (where the TT2000 Starts) and we don't pay crazy rates. And it also makes us laugh. Gremlins’ shed is made out of tin foil, the door locks with a pad lock, the inside walls of his room is constructed out of old wardrobe parts and the door is half the width of a normal door. There is a door on the ceiling that does not lead to anywhere, and the whole ceiling is crooked – probably from all the shakes. See the pictures. My room is not as bad, but similar. Every room is rationed with one toilet paper on the fridge – just in case you need to replace the one in the toilet. There is only two showers in the facility and one of them is broken. Its OK though as they have put up a sign asking people to take only 5 minute showers. That's much easier than fixing the shower. The place does have free wifi Internet which is a bonus.

At 8pm EJK shows up with a huge grin on his face. We make it to the corner fish and chip shop, for some errr fish and chips which we take back to the motel. Nice to catch up with the old jafa who now calls Christchurch home. He admires Gremlins’ BMW and asks all the standard questions that people ask when first see the rhino (BMW) – what is it like, why do you have so many lights…..We also remember the good old days when EJK used to be a never ending traveler and in fact one of the first people that gave me the idea of long distance riding. Shame he is bike-less at the moment but time will come when we will be crossing the country together once again. A few hours EJ is off and we catch up on some e-mails and well deserved sleep.
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  1. gijoe1313's Avatar
    Always good to reacquaint yourself with your nemesis! I think you two have travelled so long with each other now, you're suffering from automatic cabin fever ...

    Wish I was there doing my facepalm reactions at your antics!
  2. Sharry's Avatar
    Fun, fun, fun :-))
    Great to have caught up with EJ... he would have so loved seeing some of the old crew
    I'm coming back as a boy in my next life
  3. Gremlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe1313
    Always good to reacquaint yourself with your nemesis! I think you two have travelled so long with each other now, you're suffering from automatic cabin fever ...
    I reckon we actually travel really well together, having similar attitudes re food, sleep, riding, etc. Always makes a trip easier when you want to do the same thing...

    Enjoyed the read