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Thread: Fifty shades of grey (or One wet week around the South Island)

  1. #1
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    Fifty shades of grey (or One wet week around the South Island)

    ...............
    Last edited by Frodo; 30th December 2015 at 08:48. Reason: Tried to delete thread because couldn't get photos to load.

  2. #2
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    What?

    Been a week of sun in CHCH

  3. #3
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    27th December 2006 - 07:46
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    Right, I'll give it another shot.

    Its ironic that when I finally get round to post a ride report the weather is hot, the garden needs watering and Marlborough is heading into a drought. Well this certainly wasn't the situation a couple of weeks before Christmas.

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    Day 1: Wellington to St Arnaud

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    The rain started the moment I saddled up my bike with the camping gear that would sustain me over the next week. And it stopped shortly after the ferry left Wellington harbour. Blue skies and wind-swept seas as the promised gale arrives.

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    Tying down the bike on the ferry next to a tricked out Yam XT660X.

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    Coming into Picton.

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    Turning west from Blenheim into a strong headwind.

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    Enjoyment of the ride up the Wairau Valley was moderated by a strong headwind and later the fun of the curves was dampened by the rain. And the rain required me to focus on the road rather than enjoy the ride. The bike powered on through the rain without a hiccup.

  4. #4
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    27th December 2006 - 07:46
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    Can someone smarter than me tell me how I can get full size photos rather than piddly little thumbnails?
    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
    Can someone smarter than me tell me how I can get full size photos rather than piddly little thumbnails?
    Thanks
    Right at the bottom of the "Manage attachments" box, click on the "insert inline".
    Go soothingly on the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean1 View Post
    Right at the bottom of the "Manage attachments" box, click on the "insert inline".
    Thanks Ocean, but I did that and just tried again and the pictures (which are the regulation 1024 pixels along the long edge) still come out as thumbnails.

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    Here's a photo of a wet bike at Lake Rotoiti, with fresh snow on the hills.

  7. #7
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    Unfortunate timing for you. Well they needed rain in Marlborough when we did the South Island in the first week of December.

    How far did you cover? We went same way as you, inland from Blenheim-Murch-Westport-Hoki day 1. Then over Arthurs Pass to Twizel- weird place for a stopover to be honest. Then over the glorious Lindis Pass and Haast. Then upward to Takaha.
    Only rain we got was 30 minutes through Otira.

    What did piss us off was tourist drivers crossing the centreline. The media hype is all true.
    Pics
    -Trying to cool down at the Murchison Hotel/Cafe- it's always stinking hot in Murchison
    -The beautiful Fox river mouth
    -Punakaiki pub for the night. Bit expensive but well worth a stay
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    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  8. #8
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    Hi MD
    Yes, I rode about 2300km of which over half was in the rain, as will be revealed! I stopped at Murchison for a coffee and saw a V-strom and a Triumph, the last bikes until I got to Kingston on the way north.
    Anyway...

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    Day 2: St Arnaud to Franz Josef

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    The day started off with the promise of blue sky, but the reality of a 5 degree departure from St Arnaud in rain. And then the wind picked up – head wind of course. Stunning roads, but cold tyres and saturated surface meant discretion rather than valour in the many, many sweeping corners. Delightful riding country, shame about the weather.

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    The weather cleared briefly as I entered the Buller Gorge. The Buller River dirty brown following the rain during the previous day.

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    The Coast road started off pleasantly dry.
    The bike is facing the other way as riding south puts you on the inside of the road away from the coast.


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  9. #9
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    Just north of Punakaiki, the sky turned black and soon after it started hailing.

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    Looking back at the storm clouds I'd just ridden through.
    Not large hail, about pea sized, but enough to sting and then the intensity grew such that the road was half an inch deep in the stuff, forcing me to slow down.
    Notice the small pile of hail still sitting on the seat against my crotch!


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    The rain resumed and I continued to Greymouth.
    The bummer about rain with motorcycling is that you must be extra cautious in the corners and the coastline is obscured. And photography is difficult and so I took fewer photos. I discovered that my flip-front helmet (Shoei Neotec) collects some water in channels in the chin-piece, that can pour out on my camera. My camera showed signs of condensation, but survived the trip.

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    Near Harihari - with fresh snow on the hills.

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    Lake Mapourika

  10. #10
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    I was very cold when I arrived in Franz Josef - Aprilia "Shiver" was an appropriate description. But all’s well that ends well. The day ended up with thawing out in a hot spa with views of the mountains, fresh popcorn and great hot soup provided free by Glow Worm Backpackers in Franz Josef.


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    The Franz Josef river

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    Where will the road take me tomorrow? And will the weather improve?

  11. #11
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    Day 3: Franz Josef to Glenorchy

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    Day 3 started off dry but rather grey. I rode up a short side road to the Franz Josef glacier. Thanks to a changing climate the glacier is retreating and not the easy walk that I had back in 1981.

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    But it then rained heavy all the way further south (hence no photos along this stunning coast).
    I sloshed into the petrol station in Haast, as much for the shelter as for the fuel.

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    The sun came out 40km beyond Haast. I remember that distance as it was so great to see the sun! My bike pleaded for some throttle and so I obliged in the sweeping curves along the Haast River.


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    The Gates of Haast, just west of the Haast Pass.

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    A Japanese tourist carrying a large Nikon obliged when I asked him to take a photo of me.

  12. #12
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    A great road through here so I was thankful the road was dry.

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    Warm sunshine at the top of Lake Wanaka.

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    More sun as I approached Lake Hawea.

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    The glorious roads of the Crown Range and the old pub at Cardona.

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    Crown Range Road with Lake Wakatipu in the distance.

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    Portrait of my bike in touring mode. Superb, reliable bike for New Zealand roads.

  13. #13
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    Tourists thronged Queenstown in skimpy shorts and T-shirts, and I sweltered in multiple layers of clothing as I searched for a small bicycle pump to top up my front tyre (garage air hoses can’t clear the brakes on my front wheel - I'll fit a right-angle valve when I replace the tyre). The road from Queenstown to Glenorchy is glorious and the mountains beckoned in the distance. I looked forward to finally camping at the head of the lake.

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    The idyllic setting of the campsite at Lake Sylvan conflicted with three dozen or so army cadets from Invercargill, dressed in army camou clothing camping here. A kea flew screeching overhead, a falcon wept past in a hunt for finches for dinner and some kakarikis chuckled in the forest nearby.

  14. #14
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    Day 4: Glenorchy to Manapouri

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    The day began with a chorus of bellbirds and the clouds cleared as I was eating breakfast.
    I packed up the campsite, noting that I was out of practice and often had to pack stuff more than once - l’d love this to be second nature. A young engineer camping nearby asked my plans. No plans, I said, but some ideas. Like putting the bike on the Earnslaw steamship across to the other side of Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown and take the back road to Te Anau, perhaps camping at the Mavora Lakes. I’d ridden that road through wide open country some years ago and wanted to repeat the experience.
    The lenticular clouds in the sky warned of wind later that day.

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    Heading south on the gravel road towards Glenorchy.

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    Crossing the Dart River.

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    Looking up the Dart River.

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    Back on the seal, I noticed the bike felt sloppy so I stopped and saw that the rear tyre was flat. I couldn’t see any nail - perhaps it just needs pumping up. Great that I bought that pump yesterday, but the little pump made no headway. Great that its not raining, but civilisation feels a long way off. I could see a farm house in the distance and slowly rode my bike there, thinking I’d have to take the wheel off and hitch into Queenstown.
    A friendly teenager extracted himself from the internet and offered me a larger pump. But again it could not sustain more than a few psi in the tyre. I did, however, hear the hissing of escaping air and found a large hole in the tread groove in the middle of the tyre, probably from a sharp stone. (Looking at the photo of the bike on the Dart bridge shows that the tyre was fine after leaving the gravel). I plugged the hole with a tyre repair kit I carried with me and rode slowly to Glenorchy.

  15. #15
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    The café at Glenorchy provided good, but very slow coffee, but the tyre held the pressure.
    A careful ride to Queenstown took me to the local Yamaha shop where the friendly staff not only had the right size tyre (Metzeler Z8), but would fit it for me in spite of a fully booked afternoon, and I had delicious coffee and lunch in their café while I waited.
    The sun was still shining when I left the shop and I thought Ha! My luck has changed. The Earnslaw had long departed, so in 20 degrees and sunny skies I headed south.

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    Lake Wakatipu takes a dogleg to the south and when I could see down the lake, there was a black wall of rain. The temperature plummeted to 8 degrees and the old familiar feeling of rain was back. This glorious road along the lake was not only tempered by the weather, but by road works. So I diligently slowed to 50 km/h in the 30 km/h section, when around the corner comes a mufti police car, sees me, flashes his red and blue lights. Shit! I don’t need this! I stop in the rain waiting for the cop car who doesn’t appear. Perhaps it was too difficult to U-turn on the narrow road.

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    The rain persisted until about 20km from Manapouri (ironic as this is one of the wettest parts of New Zealand).

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