Slartidbartfast does the South Island (New Zealand)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. cockneykestrel

    cockneykestrel n00b

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    :freaky Now Slartidbartfast is not a great watcher of feathered birds so come on you nature-loving bikers how about correcting my naming of his wild life pictures :clap A little encouragement for a great report and pictures.

    Two loving pigeons; White-winged chough; a mystery; Blackbird; Pied Oystercatcher; ? Fritillary butterfly; ? Lark/Pipit; ? Chaffinch; Meadow with Rumex and pink Silene; Swamp Hen :D :D :wink:
  2. Mileater

    Mileater Been here awhile

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    I'm not much of a Birdwatcher myself but the second one looks like a Tui (stretching its neck to see something, by the look of it), The "Swamp Hen" is a Pukeko (strange bird, that one!). Dunno about the others.

    Best I can do for now :D

    Cheers :freaky
    Allan

    Edit: Bird pic #1 is Native Pigeon (x2) - Kereru, Bird pic #2 is a Tui, Bird pic #3 is ?? No idea :shrug, Bird pic #4 is a Blackbird (male apparently), Bird pic #5 is an Oyster Catcher, either the South Island variety (probably) or the "Variable" :shrug Torea is Maori name. Bird pic #6 is hard to pick, but my guess is a Long-tailed Cuckoo (not sure of native name), Bird pic #7 is another hard-to-pick unit by my guess is a Chaffinch. Not native and Bird pic # 8 is the afore-mentioned Pukeko.

    As for the flora pics - next!

    Allan
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    A nice selection behind the bar - I mean the beers :evil
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    Warewolf and his orange beast (one of only three 640 adventures in the country)
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  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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  5. Mezo

    Mezo Banned

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    Jeez, see where he got the name :huh

    Just need a set of them plastics fangs :deal

    Mezo.
  6. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

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    Great to meet up and hear of your adventures - above and below ground :freaky


    Ummm, that's more like 15 in the country. Only 2x '05s though.
  7. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Her's a pic before red-eye removal
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    Super nice guy with some exciting stories of his own to tell. :thumb
  8. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I covered the shortest distance yet today (less than 100 miles) but had some truly outstanding riding in a very pretty setting.

    Heading East from Nelson, the road follows the bay for a little bit, then quickly winds its way over two ranges of hills and follows the Rai Valley Southward then Eastward to Havelock. This small town is on the coast but deep in an extended series of sounds (flooded valleys.) Just past the town, the road climbs to lookout point with a good view both ways down the sound and where I spotted and listened to another species of bird. What it lacked in size and colourful plumage was more than made up by a clear and piercing song.
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    There was a trailer selling whitebait fritters and coffee but as it was getting quite warm I had a sudden hankering for ice-cream, which was not available. The road after Havelock was the worst I have encountered so far, with bare tar, loose gravel, bad patches, bumps and subsidence, worst on the sharpest blind corners of course. Apart from working the weestrom's suspension a bit more, it just added to the challenge of finding the best line through each corner.
  9. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    My destination of Anakiwa was only a few km down the road so I took an interesting-looking side street and headed off along a ragged spur of land between the sounds. The road is quite the twistiest I have ever come across, more so even than Takaka Hill. It also offered occasional glimpses of the beautiful blue water in the bays along the way. I went about 20km (by road) to the village of Portage. Looking on a map, this is only a fraction of the way into this peninsula of hills, bays and inlets, all surrounded by water and with just one thin strip connecting it to the mainland.
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    In Portage, I got my ice cream and chatted with a British couple who had just arrived in New Zealand and were touring on a VFR800. The fella was wearing a Dakar hat and I figured him for an ADV rider but he said not - he'd bought the hat in Lisbon. From Portage I counted 494 bends over the 20km back to the main road and barely got over 50kph most of the way.
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    The Anakiwa hostel is tiny, quite the opposite of the big, busy, city hostel in Nelson. After dinner I walked the few metres to the bay where I was able to photograph yet another bird species.
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  10. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I can't believe it's nearly over :cry

    You'd have to see this on a much larger scale to see the incredibly convoluted roads, like a diagram of intestines.
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  11. cockneykestrel

    cockneykestrel n00b

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    :clap Superb shot of of what I think is the Eastern form of a Masked Lapwing as found on the East side of Australia. And how many bends? I suggest you go back and count again !!!:freaky
  12. PaulGir

    PaulGir Adventurer

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    It's good to see the weather has improved for you :clap
  13. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    It was a bit cool the first day or so but I haven't had to get my winter gloves out since then (although this afternoon got a bit chilly on the coast.)

    Great day today and loads to report but it's late so I'll post what I can once I've downloaded all photos, etc.
  14. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Ran out of steam big time last night. Couldn't keep my eyes open. Eager to get on my way today but here's some of yesterday's fun:
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Up early and on the road by 07:30. The sound looks very different at this time of day. I went as far as Picton via the (famous) Queen Charlotte drive - yet another winding, twisty, fun piece of asphalt.
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    In picton, I showed up at Marlborough Divers and signed up for a couple of dives in the Sound. It turned out that the divemaster and a couple of the other divers were also bikers so we had a lot to chat about between dives. The underwater life was impressive and I saw lots of wildlife including several creatures I have never seen before including huge horse mussells, a couple of Marlborough Nudibranchs and a local bottom-dweller known as a "star gazer." I saw the "Painted Dunny", which I thought must be a kind of fish when told about it - but it turns out it's a decorated porcelain toilet on the wreck. :lol3 Some of the other divers collected scallops which the dive operator's kids helped to size, throwing back those which were too small.
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  16. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Leaving Picton, on Highway 1, I raced a train up into the hills (easy win for me). The next 150 Km or so, was a dream, working its way over several ranges of hills, then down the coast, along the beaches and over numerous headlands. I encountered quite a few other bikers along the way.
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    On the coast, I encountered several long stretches of road being resurfaced. One had so much loose gravel that, despite sticking to below the speed limit, when I stopped later I found bits of gravel in my lap and in the cuffs of my jacket.
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    The cool water produced the expected cooler air and coastal foggy haze, spoiling the distant views, but there were several oportunities to view more wildlife close up. At one point I spotted a group of black and white birds standing on the beach in the distance and thought I had finally found penguins. Nope! - Shags I think.

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  17. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I'll explain my unplanned fording of a river, and will also be the first to blink and mention sheep in association with New Zealand - and explain that....

    ....Later
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I'm back in the same place I was 14 days ago - The Christchurch library, using the free internet. Upset that it's over but had an absolute blast. Could turn around and do it all over again.

    Anyhow, back to yesterday...
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Maybe I changed a setting on my GPS! I'm not sure but it decided to route me onto a minor road to cut from the main East coast Highway 1 onto the scenic Inland Road toward Hanmer Spings. In fairness, on the map, it looks like a pretty good short-cut - Down Mill Road, onto Kowhai Ford Road then meeting Inland Road - only about 5Km total.

    The road was obviously not a major route but seemed to be OK. With only about 1Km to go, I came over a small rise to find the sealed road suddenly turned to gravel. This was a bit unexpected and I had it impressed on me when I hired the bike that the insurance was not valid on gravel (although given the state of some of the sealed roads, I sort of wonder about the logic but anyway...) However, the surface was well compacted and easy to ride so I pressed on carefully. Taking a sudden jog to the right, I rounded a corner to find myself facing a river bed.
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    Bugger! I was on a fully-loaded bike with street tyres at street pressures, looking at possibly crossing a fast-flowing stream with a gravel bottom. :eek1 It was only about 5 or 10m across and looked like it would probably be fairly easy as there was a well-compacted track to the water's edge and out again on the other side. Still, I'm not a very experienced dirt rider and did NOT want to round-out my trip with a rental bike laying on its side in a river. 10m across or 10Km around... a tempting short-cut. I thought about parking the bike and wading across to check it out but a little voice inside said "You're an ADVENTURE rider on a dualsport bike - Don't be such a wuss - Just GO for it!"

    I picked what looked like a good line across, snicked the Weestrom into gear, stood on the pegs and focussed on the spot I hoped to come out on the other side. Twist the throttle, let out the clutch and "Yeeeee Haaaaah!"
  20. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
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    The bike surged forward and as the front wheel entered the stream I quickly realized two things:
    1) It was deeper than it looked - Not very deep but still more than I was expecting; and
    2) The gravel on the bottom was not well compacted, it was deep and loose and the front wheel was digging in

    but by the time all the above registered, I was half-way across and fully committed so I kept the power on, kept focusing on the line I hoped to take on the far side and kept moving.

    Just as I thought I had made it, the front wheel twitched and began to plough sideways. My mind said I was going down and I hoped I would not cause too much damage, but before I had time to react, the front end bounced up the bank, straightened out and I was back in control. With the back tire spinning, the weestrom rode out of the stream, upright and fully composed, which is more than you could say for the rider. That was NOT as easy as I was expecting and in fact I was thinking I had been lucky to make it at all. Call me a pessimist or just a useless rider but as a neophyte at pebbly-stream crossing on a street bike and with a lot to lose ($$$$-wise anyway) I was feeling a bit stressed. I had also been diving for several hours and was quite tired which probably didn't help.

    I soon realized the extent of my problem, as the bike and I were now on a narrow gravel bank in-between the two branches of the stream. I was going to have to do it again, regardless of whether I went forward or backward. Also, the gravel bank was looser than it had looked, which would make it tricky to turn around, AND the stream ahead looked both deeper and rougher than the bit I had just crossed. The split-second, gung-ho, too-late-to-stop-now option would have been to have kept moving in the first place but now I had stopped to think about it that action was lost to me. I shut off the engine to consider my options.