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Old 03-30-2012, 10:47 PM   #16
Lovin' it Strom OP
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Day 3 - Nelson to Kaikoura and a flying bike

Well rested, we packed the bags and headed to Kaikoura. There was a friendly looking little coffee shop we decided to stop at for Latte and famous NZ meat pies!

We entered the tiny restaurant and I ordered a "Vanilla Latte with Hazelnut." The woman at the register just looked at me with a brief blank stare as the woman in the back immediately stopped what she was doing and turned to look at me.
"What do you think this is...STARBUCKS?"
"Umm, well. I'll take a regular latte"
"Yes you will."

The woman then noticed I was a Yankee and felt somehow endangered by our universally known political correctness and longing for suing anything that moved across our path.
"I'm so sorry, didn't mean to offend."
I explained to her that I wasn't one of the standard whiny pansyasses from the states and was not offended. She smiled and warmed our pies. Apparently Americans have a reputation.






My "real man" latte.


We left Nelson with our tanks topped off and headed for the east coast.



We stopped at a little park area just opposite one of those one lane bridges and were greeted by some seriously clear, yet green colored water.




And a sign on the bridge with wise advise...and I thought only Americans pointed out the obvious with stupid warnings, like, "This plastic bag is not a toy" or "Don't use this hair drier while showering."



By the way, Skittles says, "Howdy."

(inside joke)
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:08 PM   #17
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Still on day three

We stopped in Havelock for the world famous Mussel pot. We wanted to drop by here since Skittles spotted it on a food network show or something.


I just figured out why they are called "Green Lipped muscles."


The muscles were awesome! We later discovered that the shells of these guys are desired for their high content of glucosamine chondroitin.

On toward Picton via a recommended "Queen Charlotte Drive." Many parts of the latter half of this road weren't unlike a technical motorcycle skills coarse. I spend a few turns repeating in my head to feather the throttle and rear break.







Sorry we didn't get many pictures of the road, it was early in our trip and the corners were sharp enough that Skittles was keeping her arms in and staying still.


We rode through Picton and toward Blenheim, which was a very uneventful looking town. It wasn't long out of Blenheim that we experienced something the locals called a Storm Bomb!

The wind was outlandish. We later learned there were 120 knot winds clocked in that area and I felt all of it. Keeping the bike upright was a real struggle. At one point, while leaning into the wind, it felt like it was scooting the bottom of the bike out from under me. The bike straightened up and I again tried to get it into a lean into the wind when I realized, for what was probably a nanosecond - but felt like 3 hours - there was NO resistance on the front wheel when I tried to counter steer. A quick tap on the rear break to put weight on the front wheel grounded me...and the crap in my pants warmed me.

We made the first stop so I could reconsider my spirituality and resumed riding.





We found the first hotel as we entered town and got a room. After taking a hot shower, we went into town to find food...and another sign with wise advise



Calamari

Crayfish (aka Spiny rock lobster)

Venison

Desert!


We finished dinner and went back to the hotel for bed time.
Sorry there weren't too many pictures, Skittles was little uncomfortable on this day between the challenging roads and that crazy storm.
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Lovin' it Strom screwed with this post 05-23-2012 at 10:32 AM
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovin' it Strom View Post
Well rested, we packed the bags and headed to Kaikoura. There was a friendly looking little coffee shop we decided to stop at for Latte and famous NZ meat pies!

We entered the tiny restaurant and I ordered a "Vanilla Latte with Hazelnut." The woman at the register just looked at me with a brief blank stare as the woman in the back immediately stopped what she was doing and turned to look at me.
"What do you think this is...STARBUCKS?"
"Umm, well. I'll take a regular latte"
"Yes you will."

The woman then noticed I was a Yankee and felt somehow endangered by our universally known political correctness and longing for suing anything that moved across our path.
"I'm so sorry, didn't mean to offend."
I explained to her that I wasn't one of the standard whiny pansyasses from the states and was not offended. She smiled and warmed our pies. Apparently Americans have a reputation.




(inside joke)

Yes they do. I have been traveling to NZ since 1986 and saw attitudes, in general, change a lot over that time. Satellite
TV, internet and excessive tourism were the driving factors, I believe.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:05 PM   #19
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I'm not a whiner!!!

I'm not! I'm not! I'm not!
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #20
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Day 4 - Kaikoura to Maruia Springs

We woke to a pleasant morning, still slightly over cast but the wind was gone! Very light rain. We enjoyed our breakfast delivered to our room.

Check it out...Skittles got Spaghetti on toast....who'd have thought of that?


And the MILK!


We got packed up, geared up and headed to down town to browse the area. We met a nice guy, hard to understand with some accent I couldn't discern - some kind of mix of Kiwi, Aussie, Welsh, and crackhead. He was a friendly chap and enjoyed talking to us. I heard him say something about Billy Connolly touring the US on Route 66. We basically just smiled and shook our heads up and down as he carried the conversation. Sorry, no pics of him.

After doing extensive t-shirt shopping, we went to the Kaikoura Whale Watch - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!




What is that? Out there by the other boat?




SCHWEEEEET! A Sperm Whale.





Yarrrrr...I'm a Pirate! Now where's my Harley.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:40 PM   #21
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Day 4 continued

Another whale tail!


With the goodbye wave from our friendly Sperm Whale, we left Kaikoura for our massage appointments at Maruia Hot Springs.

We took the inland route, which was great. I think we saw three other cars on the road.

We had our first, and only, water crossing. Not bad though, only a couple inches deep on our side of the road.








We made it just in time for our massages.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:51 PM   #22
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Maruia Springs

We experienced a half hour Oriental Massage, which was much needed and part of the "Indulgence Package." We recommend anyone visiting the island who enjoys natural hot springs to splurge on this place.

Nice bed


Nice view


Nice wife


Nice dinner










After dinner we had a pleasant soak in the natural hot pools. The night was wonderful and it sounded like someone in the distant valley was chanting and drumming. I actually thought the sandflies weren't too bad...until I noticed the little bites starting to swell on the backs of my hands. Even that was unable to bring negativity to our trip. We were quickly adopting the national mantra, "No worries."
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:08 PM   #23
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Day 5 - Maruia Springs to Franz Josef..via Westport?

We got up very refreshed and spent another couple hours in the natural pools, then our hour in the private bath.
Due to liability issues, there will be no pics of me in a swimsuit....I can't afford to replace your eyes.



Doesn't Skittles look refreshed?


The tubs




The private bath


After our soaking, it was time to pack up, gear up and go. We wanted to go back by Punakaiki to get pics of the pancake rocks since we missed them when we last went through. It was going to be a long day, but NZ is worth the nerve damage in the tail bone.

What a great lawn mower!



Speaking of great things...NZ has the best toilets! I mean they are deep! The water level is around 8 inches below the rim of the bowl! When we build our house I am importing toilets from NZ. (guys will understand this rant more than the girls)



Back to our regularly scheduled program

We love how this section of road is just carved into the cliff face






And the famous pancake rocks.




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Old 03-31-2012, 07:20 PM   #24
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Speaking of great things...NZ has the best toilets! I mean they are deep! The water level is around 8 inches below the rim of the bowl! When we build our house I am importing toilets from NZ. (guys will understand this rant more than the girls) :happay
[/url]
these are made for the kiwi male. still find the water is quite cold
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:36 PM   #25
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Great ride report!! I just returned from a 18 day trip around the south island in a rental cage. Without a doubt the best twisties in the world.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:41 PM   #26
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Day 5 - continued

We continued pushing south from Punakaiki toward our goal of Fanz Josef. As we approached Hakitika we discovered the "Wild Foods Festival" was happening on the next day. When we pulled into town, most of down town was blocked off in preparation. We heard that this was the place to experiment with such things as Chocolate covered mice, sugar glazed scorpions and cow patty pie. We also heard that cow pattie pie may actually be just that.



We saw the funky car used as the "General Lee" knockoff in Eurotrip


The teens were getting rowdy in town and we opted not to attempt to camp there over night so we pressed on.



It was pretty long going with straight roads that appeared well patrolled by revenue collectors. We were already injecting the NZ economy with some cash, we decided to keep it slow just so we knew we could afford to leave.



As we approached the Franz Josef area, the southern alps really began to rise up before us. The vegetation changed very suddenly and we dropped off the face of the Earth and into a whole other realm. It was easy to see why they would want to film blockbuster scenic films like LOTR here.



Sorry, I was getting so tired I managed to blow right past Pukekura, where I intended to eat dinner at the Road Kill Cafe where, "you kill it, we grill it." If anyone gets a chance to check that place out, I'd love to see the inside and the menu.

Instead we ate in Franz Josef and had a really good meal.


Skittles saw a cool older hotel with cobblestone facia on our way into town


Ummmmmm, riiiight


The hotel was definitely in need of an update. It wasn't all bad though, the bartender introduced us to this;


***Shameless promotion*** the helicopter was run by a small family outfit called Glacier Heliventures. They were priced well below what we were planning on paying for the same length of flight in a fixed wing. ADV Approved and recommended! Tell them you're from ADV and, well, they won't know what you're talking about.


Skittle's first ride in a whirly bird!

Sorry about the light pic...remember it's called "porcelain" skin...


How about some Southern Alps




and some glacier








Did I mention the additional benefits of a helicopter is you get to land on the mountains?
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:17 PM   #27
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The hotel really wasn't that bad. What he neglected to tell you was about the shower. There was green and black mildew in and on the shower curtain, plus the shower head was so low I had to bend on my knees to wash my hair. They failed to tell us that the prior occupants of this room were scientists experimenting with micro cultures in the bathroom and the shower was designed for hobbits.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:17 PM   #28
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More southern Alps















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Old 03-31-2012, 08:23 PM   #29
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Beautiful scenery. This is one of those reports I call my wife over to look at the pictures (not of the food). I told her it reminded me of Hawaii without the hordes of tourists. I would imagine the locals would prefer to keep it that way, but unfortunately that's what you get when you live in paradise. That's what we find here in the swamps of home. Thanks for the post.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:31 PM   #30
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Day 6 - Franz Josef to Queenstown

We landed back at the family heli-pad and almost forgot to pay them. I think getting used to people around here offering services prior to full payment is actually a harder concept to grasp than the whole "keep leeft" thing. In the good ol' USA nearly everything is pre pay.

Back to our room to pack up, gear up, and get out.


We rode into town and ate a nice breakfast




Now on to our next destination - Jurassic Park!






A last glimpse of the Fox Glacier


And on our way to becoming Velociraptor bait




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Lovin' it Strom screwed with this post 03-31-2012 at 08:39 PM
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