To Infinity & Beyond

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,378
    Location:
    Nelson-ish New Zealand
    I'm mildly surprised Mr Molloy is still upright, he was pretty ancient last time I saw him, or appeared to be.

    Keep up the good work BB
    #21
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  2. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Tuesday 3rd Nov:
    The original plan was to ride into Big River Monday night, & stay in the DoC hut there. However research Sunday night showed that after the beginning of Nov it was:
    1. More expensive, as a ‘serviced’ hut - $15 rather than the standard $5;
    2. By booking only;
    3. If you just showed up, then this increased by a further $10.
    By staying there, we would have been well set up for the New Creek to Denniston track the next day. However, the rain, the cost & a certain level of fatigue made us reconsider our plans & decide the Reefton Domain Motor Camp was a better bet (& cheaper). The level of rain also meant the chance of being able to cross the Mackley was slim to none. But we might still have been able to ride the Mt Rochfort track & part of the Denniston end of the track. Hence the decision to base ourselves out of Reefton for two nights.

    Strangely enough, it was a gloomy morning as we rode out to Soldiers Road. The drizzle (& the fact that I was somewhat over dressed) made vision an issue, as we weren’t going fast enough to disburse the steam I was generating on my glasses & visor.

    The sidecar's first obstacles after roads-end were some stepped ruts carved into clay by 4WDs that’d used the track previously. Unfortunately Gus slipped into one of those. I had to recover Gus by pulling him backwards out of that. Got past that one on the 2nd attempt.

    The next major obstacle was the first stream crossing, with exposed, tilted, & stepped rock slabs under fast flowing water. Unfortunately I didn't have quite enough momentum to climb out of a hole, & needed an assist from Bassman1 for that. That left us both with wet boots.

    [​IMG]

    I had a major strip off after that, as energy levels were being quickly depleted by being consistently over heated. I was wearing merinos, which I have found as being excellent at keeping core temps good, even if you are wet, as long as you keep the wind off, ie you have a good jacket. But just too many layers.

    From there, we had no major issues, albeit I kept the pace moderate. One thing I did notice was that I was missing the ballast that the luggage had provided. Occasionally the camber of the track was such that the tub was higher than the tug, & if you bounced over an obstacle, the tub would lift unexpectedly. Running through the bush was fairly pleasant, if a bit wet.

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    Gus decided collecting camo along the way would be a good idea..

    There are a few instances where you come out into more open sections, where the track becomes a corduroy road (punga & manuka laid across the road to provide a track bed). That surface becomes a bit of a chore in time, just from a bouncing 'pick-a-path' perspective.

    There was one climb near the end where there was some rocky steps & outcrops that required a bit of commitment, & I thought I’d need assistance. But once we’d plotted a line, I made it across with limited issues.

    And then there were the final two stream crossings. I’d wondered about those two, as I remembered Josh Martin, Jatz & co struggling to walk their bikes through there when the streams flooded. I stopped before the final descent to have a look, as getting Gus turned around once I committed might have been difficult. As it happens, whilst they were up, they were still at manageable fording height.

    [​IMG]

    There were two exits for the 2nd stream crossing. I chose the left exit – the 4WDs had made a rutty mess of the right (main exit).

    We made our way to the ‘carpark’ for the DoC hut with an intention of looking in on that. The track up to the hut has been blocked for 4WD traffic, as it's started to erode. Bassman1 chose to walk up the steeper ‘short cut’ track, which I struggled with, as my boots have no grip, and it was pretty slippery. I may have fallen into the mud a couple of times on my way up, there may have been a fitness issue, and rude words may have been spoken...

    [​IMG]

    It turns out there was an older couple who’d overnighted in the hut, but no one else was there. They were from the North Island, and had done a few hikes through the South Island since their retirement. Interesting to talk to.

    For a serviced hut, it seemed to me that there wasn’t any more facilities provided than a standard hut. There was coal, but no kindling to start the fire. It wouldn’t have been a good choice for us for the prior night, given the challenges to get in, & that final steep walk up from the bikes.

    We took a reasonable break there, to dry out, warm up, down a few muesli bars, & generally to allow me to recover.

    We (Bassman1) decided we needed to get to the winding house to complete the track. I remember (from prior trips) that the final portion of track was challenging on a solo, because of ruts, but agreed to give it a go.

    There was an initial 3rd stream crossing (no issue), climb out, & then a stretch thru to the turn off to Tin Town, the old settlement that supported the mine. All that is left up there now is a couple of chimneys. Bassman1 went up there later, & reported it was a mud-fest. A little further on I got to a pinch point caused by a rut, a big rock, & (on the side of the track) a pump that was sucking out water from further up the hill. Apparently someone is surveying the mine, I assume with a view towards reopening it? Certainly, there was a 4WD ute at the winding house & at least 3 guys working around there.

    Anyways, back to the rock. I bellied on that going in & coming back out. That pump was a major PITA as it precluded any other line for me.

    [​IMG]
    A ute parked at destination end doesn't help the photo story feel hardcore at all... :2cry

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    The mine history is interesting. It closed just post war, not because it wasn’t viable, but because operating the winding machinary was a specialised job. There were 2 operators– the 1st got injured & then retired, the 2nd had a confrontation with the mine manager, & was sacked. Of course he quickly found work elsewhere, but the mine had to close as the owner found it impossible to replace him.

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    Going out was quicker than coming in, as is often the case. But that isn’t always good, & on one section, a rock kicked the tub into the air, & I made a sudden right turn into a bank. That wiped out my mirror, put a load of dirt into the fins of the RHS cylinder, & swivelled the RHS bark buster down a bit.

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    Spot the crash marks in the Bank.

    On the way up the corduroy road, near where Woodman split his KLR tank, I ducked across the road to try to take a better line. A larger sapling made a grab for the sidecar mudguard, & wiped out the sidecar taillight (which is in a cage, so I’m a little perplexed as to how that got taken out). Fortunately Bassman1 picked up the lens. I didnt even realise what'd happened. But we were later able to duct tape it back into position to keep things looking legal. Vibration & the rough nature of the track also killed both bulbs, so it was really only a non operational shell anyways.

    Of course sometimes you just don’t learn from your mistakes, & a bit further on the sidecar flipped up off a rock, while the tug dipped into a hollow, but this time the RHS bank was missing, & we all but rode into a gully. Fortunately I was able to react in time, but Gus still bellied out on the lip of the drop. Getting him off there was a major challenge for both of us, that took considerable time & muscling. Whilst I had ropes & pulleys on board, the bank behind us (LHS) was a bit too tall to make using a tree as an anchor point viable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    After pulling Gus back out. Bassman1 looking rested & fresh as a daisy from his exertions.

    By the time we made our way out of there, I didn't really have the energy to consider doing anything else, & the rain was becoming annoying, so we motored back to camp, and called it a day.

    And the Future Dough Cafe closed early (3.00pm), so I missed out on the pie 'reward' I was anticipating:becca

    Wilsons Pub for dinner
    #22
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  3. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Wed 4th Nov:
    Looks like the balance of the crew got rain on the Molesworth Tuesday. Other than the photos, I haven’t had any other reports from that ride...

    [​IMG]
    Perhaps Ken could explain what is happening here?

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    Andy's photos from the Molesworth

    The rain was forecast to continue in Reefton & the West Coast, but we could see sunshine forecast over at Hanmer. Hard options to decide between. We eventually decided the 1 & ½ hr ride across to Denniston (before we even hit the tracks) didn't seem appealing. The chances of a good view from Mt Rochfort seemed bleak. And frankly I wasn’t feeling the best & was very tired of being wet.

    [​IMG]
    Comfy cabins at Reefton

    An alternate suggestion was we ride to Hanmer, ditch the gear & do Edwards & Mailing Pass tracks over on the Molesworth. These are fairly scenic (& simple) in & out tracks. But on investigation, the DoC website told us Edwards Pass was closed due to damage from 4WD hoons, so that limited things.

    Anyways, Hanmer still seemed like the best option.

    Breakfast at the Future Dough Company cafe, then on the road.

    But wait. I wasn’t feeling the best. I aimed to make Springs Junction, but missed by a few kms, & had to urgently stop. Bassman1 got to Springs Junction, but became concerned when I didn’t show up, so came back, which was good of him. Just as I was tidying up & getting ready to hit the road again.

    It was a very measured ride over Lewis Pass from there. Sometime after the summit, the rain went away, & then eventually I stopped to strip off wet weather gear, to cool down, & allow my riding gear to dry off.

    At the Alpine Adventure Holiday Park we got offered a great deal on another cabin, which we were pretty happy about. The sunshine made it very pleasant, & it was still pretty early in the day. I decided I was going to stay put in the camp, recover, & to dry out my gear. By the time I spread stuff all around the sidecar it must have looked like a chinese laundry.

    [​IMG]

    Bassman1 eventually decided that he’d try Mailings Pass. I understand it tried to snow on him, so I am pretty comfortable with my decision to stay put, read a book in the sun, & do little else.

    But while I was waiting for Bassman1’s return, later in the afternoon, I decided to walk down to the Hammer Hardware. You pass this on the way in to camp. I managed to grab some more duct tape (you can never have enough duct tape), & a tail light bulb. Unfortunately they didn’t have an indicator bulb.

    While walking past the business next door, I noticed one of the guys recoiling climbing rope that they use within their business. On the off chance I asked if they had any climbing rope that was past it’s 'use by' date. I explained what I was looking to use it for. He reached into a bag in his van & offered me an 11mm climbing rope from there. Perfect! And even better, he wanted nothing for it. He was going to dump it anyways, as he couldn’t use it now. Rapped. Beats the unrated Mitre 10 rope I'd bought pre trip.

    Did some running repairs back at base.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Hanmer Cabins. Made up beds were very nice

    Uncle Bens rice & a tin of chopped chicken for dinner.
    #23
  4. Bassman1

    Bassman1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
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    New Zealand
    maling pass1.JPG maling2.JPG malings3.JPG
    #24
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  5. Bassman1

    Bassman1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    New Zealand
    Hers a few shots up Maling pass .What was it in Hanmer 28 deg c and it was sleet and staring to snow up the pass awesome
    #25
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  6. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Thurs 5th Nov:
    Last day of the trip. I’d planned to ride thru Molesworth, and maybe around Port Underwood dependent on time.

    Bassman1 had originally planned to head south, but he had had a change of heart, & was going to accompany me thru at least ½ of the Molesworth. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as the day before. There were clouds on the hills & a good chance of showers later in the day.

    Bassman1 decided to ride up thru Jollies Pass this time. That was pretty rough, as always, with a fine selection of potholes on every line, & the inevitable corrugations. There is one stream crossing on that, towards the end of the pass.

    Given the amount of time we had until the Ferry sailing, & not feeling too focussed, I was happy just to noodle along at a very moderate pace. Not much traffic. We saw a Molesworth Delica 4WD van just before Acheron, & some people at Acheron, & that was about it.

    We stopped at the Acheron Homestead. It’s good to see that repaired after the Kaikoura earthquake, albeit it’s now missing all it’s chimneys.

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    Bassman1 was waiting for me part way along the road before you hit the river overlook, but we were happy to just ride at our own pace, & he quickly disappeared into middle distance again. I stopped at the River overlook for a couple of photos & to use the loo. The 4WD Delica that had passed us as we were stopped back at Acheron was there briefly while I was. But left before I did. I could see shower cloud on Wards Pass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The last photo of an undamaged (well, mostly undamaged) Gus.

    Coming down Isolated Flat I could see contractors working in the power pylons.

    IF YOU ARE SQEAMISH ABOUT ACCIDENTS, THIS IS THE END OF THE RIDE REPORT. I’m looking at you Old Beer...
    #26
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  7. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
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    THE CRASH
    Isolated flat is a long straight piece of road below Wards Pass. It has some corrugations. I was continuing with the theme of just cruising along. However suddenly Gus pulled heavily & sharply to the left. I tried to correct that, & that’s all I recall for a few moments.

    I came to on the road, partially on my back. I could breath out, but not in, & thought that might be an issue. I eventually discovered I could shallow breathe. Little short pants. My back hurt in a similar way to when I broke my back, so I wasn’t at all keen to move.

    Obviously I wasn’t fully aware of everything that happened. I was in my own little world of pain, & some (or all) of the following may be incorrect, or skewed by my drug enhanced interpretation. Some things I could see, but much of what occurred was out of my vision – and I certainly wasn’t getting up to check things out. Some of this I heard, was later told, or surmissed from damage to Gus.

    Don’t know who removed my helmet, or when it was taken off.

    The Transpower guys that I’d been riding towards were with me pretty quickly. They were great, calling emergency services from their satellite phone. I also got them to retreive & activate my PLB out of the top of my Camelbak, & also to turn off the fuel taps on Gus.

    One of the Transpower guys had been watching me come down the road. I gather from him the crash was ‘Epic’. He saw the sidecar roll, & me being ragdolled high into the air.

    From the damage on the sidecar, it seems the sidecar axle broke, the sidecar hit the road & bit in (hence the sharp left turn), then Gus barrel rolled, with me underneath him (it’s obviously ingrained deeply in me to protect Gus at all costs), hence the crush injures on my right side. I was flicked off on the first roll. The barrel roll is apparent in the damage on the sidecar step, & the amount of road gravel ingrained between the RHS barrel & ‘hard heads’ rocker box cover. At some stage he’s pirouretted, & come down on his tail (a load of road gravel was driven up his tailpipe (which must have smarted a bit) – which I assume stalled the motor. That also destroyed the mudguard, taillight & indicator units. Then he has come to rest, back on his wheels, facing the road (RHS) 10 meters away from me. At some stage in all those shenanigans there has been a frontal impact into the Baja Designs light cage & vapor speedo unit, which has destroyed those. The forks have twisted, & there is a tyre mark on the front engine cover.

    [​IMG]

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    The next vehicle on the scene was an off duty policeman & his partner. They were in the process of relocating to Rangiora, but weren’t under any time constraints, & had decided to drive through the Molesworth as part of that journey. He was really good.

    Because of where we were, there was a choice of three rescue choppers. Nelson was clagged in because of the weather. Christchurch was further away. Wellington also had weather issues, & of course the ditch was an issue but seemed the best bet. But still an hr & a half away.

    The policeman’s vehicle was moved close to me, in part to protect me from the weather, which came in as fine misty showers (but never really came to anything). Someone also retreived my tent from Gus’s boot, to act as shelter if the rain became an issue. I assume I told whoever where to find that.

    It was fairly uncomfortable lying there, because obviously a gravel road verge isn’t set up with comfort in mind. Why is that do you suppose? I discovered I could move my legs a bit to try to achieve a more comfortable position.

    The chopper finally came in over Wards Pass. Talking to the pilot later, he could see us all below, but he wasn’t sure it was the accident site, as everything looked normal. He’d got direction from the PLB, which has 2 channels, one to provide the alert and coordinates, & another shorter range one that provides a homing beacon to within a metre as the rescuer gets closer to the PLB. He circled twice & once satisfied he was in the right place, set down a wee way from the crash site.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The two paramedics were over quickly. She talked to me and made an initial assessment. Once they had an idea of what they were dealing with, the male (I didn’t remember their names - how rude!) cut my jacket off me, in part so they could get access to my arm to put in an IV line to deal to pain.

    I was loaded onto a plate to keep my spine straight, & then onto a gurney to allow me to be loaded into the arse of the chopper.

    So where was Bassman1 in all of this? He’d got through the Molesworth before he realised I was missing. He didn’t have enough gas to get back to me, so needed to get into Blenhiem to get this sorted. But he was back before the chopper made it.

    I was warned the chopper ride was likely to be bumpy. I had a punctured lung, so they couldn’t get any altitude, as this could lead to a lung collapse, but they still needed to get over Wards Pass. This was my first chopper ride. But the view from the gurney was pretty restrictive. The wide sweeping turns I suggested as part of the scenic flight tour weren’t really something that they decided they could accommodate. It didn’t seem long until we made Wellington. But they were right. It was a bumpy flight.

    One of the great things about coming to hospital in the back of an ambulance or chopper is you go straight to the trauma centre. Lots of focus on whether I’d spent any time unconscious (brain trauma), & whether I had issues with neck or spine injuries. Fortunately neither of those applied. I did have 6 rib fractures on ribs 6 to 9 on the RHS, & I’ve broken my scapula (shoulder blade). None of the fractures were treated (aside from pain relief). The scapula is basically where it needed to be, & is surrounded by muscle, so usually doesn’t need intervention. They did put a canula in there so they could give appropriate localised pain relief, 4 hrly.

    The lung was still doing it’s thing, & I wasn’t bleeding excessively there. And the abdominal bleeding was also acceptable, so no quick trips to the operating theatre.

    One of the ED nurses called Mrs Box’a’bits to tell her I was in ED, but made such a good job of minimising my injuries, she just thought I’d just broken ribs (which I may have done before), so she was in no particular hurry to come see me. It was only after Bassman1 called (once he had cellphone coverage) that she realised this might have been serious.

    The illness I’d suffered on Wednesday meant I was treated as a COVID patient. Everyone around me suddenly started wearing PPE, & when I was eventually sent to a ward, I was put into an isolation room. Fortunately common sense triumphed, & after a day they decided I was ok, & I avoided being swabbed.

    BTW, all of the photo credits above to Bassman1.
    #27
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  8. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Structural Failure

    Joined:
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    great...the bit we've all been waiting for the and pictures don't show!
    #28
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  9. Bassman1

    Bassman1 Adventurer

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    23
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    The paramedics name was Dana shes a friend and co worker of my daughter.Wouldnt it have been a chuckle if my daughter was on shift and she showed up, Id never hear the end of it.The off duty cop was Karl and his partner Teresa they were relocating from Cambridge to Timaru.Yes when I rand Mrs Bof B I was really surprised how casual she was about the whole deal.To be fair I wasn't going to add to her worries by suggesting it was worse than what the nurse had sad.How could I possibly need permission to share my own photos:hmmmmmDangerous thing those side cars you'd never see the rear wheel collapse on my old tiger oh wait maybe ya would .Get a bush Pig tiger lying down.jpg
    #29
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  10. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    Ok, hopefully resolved :-)
    #30
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  11. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
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    Apparently the Transpower guys had to write a 'near miss' report for health & safety reasons, as the sidecar wheel wandered through their worksite. :rofl I've heard about it from two friends of mine. One has asked to see if that is available. It'd be an interesting read...
    #31
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  12. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Structural Failure

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    Glad you're still with us Steve
    #32
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  13. wairau

    wairau get in behind!

    Joined:
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    I can think of easier ways to get a good looking nurse to talk to you Steve. Kudos for putting up pics which I would regard as quite private.

    All the best with your journey back to full health and thanks for taking the time to post up yet another great RR.
    #33
  14. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
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    I think you tried harder to knock on heaven's door, but it may have been a lot closer than either of us would feel comfortable with. But it's not a competition, m'kay?

    I'll do one further leg on the aftermath in the next couple of days. Plenty of time. Left handed typing still (I'm getting better at it), & I'm off work until 20th Dec, & then a gradual reintroduction over a few months.
    What's a bit of pain between friends lol. Appreciate the comments
    #34
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  15. EVLED

    EVLED Bike riding nutter!

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    As others have said - glad you're ok. Definitely a bit of an adventure and not really one worth repeating.

    Think I'll be sticking to two wheels :)
    #35
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  16. Manakau.KTM

    Manakau.KTM Been here awhile

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    Good to see more frequent posts Steve. A sign of recovery even if it is left handed. A top ride report as usual though the ending could've been better.

    Had a look at the photos of all the action on isolated flat and couldn't see any of those white gentians up and about. I'd better get down there soon and see what's up.

    Get well soon Steve. We need a bit of detail in our ride reports. The rest of us just add the briefest of captions to our photos.
    #36
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  17. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

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    Nice work BaB.
    Glad you're still able to continue with your high standard of RR.

    P.S. why don't they have a special viewing window for patients in those helicopters ?

    P.P.S. Why do cut the jacket off ? Don't they know how much they cost ?
    #37
  18. Oaters

    Oaters Old - not bold - moto riding addict

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    As others have said Steve - ‘glad you’ve survived’ - what appears to have been an epic crash. Pleased for you that everything came together on the day in terms of your transfer from an isolated location to medical care.
    Great report- sharing your misfortune with humility is courageous in my book.

    Best wishes for your ongoing recovery and the rehabilitation of your much loved Gus and the chair.

    Again, a top RR - you’re really gifted - a transferable skill to another vocation in the future perhaps

    Cheers Oaters
    #38
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  19. aGremlin

    aGremlin Been here awhile

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    955
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    New Zealand!
    After dealing with plenty of racers falling off, and wanting to save the gear, as we start trying to move them out of the gear, it's amazing how quickly they change their stance.

    Blardy hell, great ride report, but bugger about the end. Have you considered staying on two wheels? Although losing another might still be a tricky outcome...
    #39
  20. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Long timer Super Supporter

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    Finally came back to this write up.

    Dang, that was scary shit right there. Glad you are on the mend. It's put me off buying that lovely red and white Guzzi side car :yikes

    Hope the mending rate picks up. Get well soon. Cheers...
    #40
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