Thursday, January 12, 2017

Doc camp site to backpackers

Doc camp site to backpackers....
It's a hot day so I plan to sleep though the hoters part of the day before having made look at the bike when it cools down in the afternoon - I don't do very well in the heat

As I'm laying there in my tent 1/2 a sleep around midday i hear some people asking me?  About a car that's parked up?  After explaining it not mine and about the bike issues/needing a lift out to napier /hastings I get asked if I can be ready to leave in 20 minutes?

Yep no problem as I start packing up - as it turns out I was very lucky to get a lift as there is just about no one else staying at the camp ground - after packing up I help tie the trike on to the top of the box trailer towed behind a car and the bike trailer on to the front of the box trailer  (where there's a will there's a way : ) before I get into the car with a nice woman who not only gives me a lift to hastings but spends time driving around town stoping at at different places including a few bike shops

 - the first 2 bike shows I try they workshops are book up for over a week ahead and not sure if they can get the bit out -  the 3th bike shop we try (the hub in hastings) after a look at it says it will be a big job then  after some talk including asking me what exactly it the bit of metal stuck in there made of and if it harden steel (what it is...  )
they have a go at puching it out with a hammer and some steel punchs - a few minutes later with the help of the Hamer and punchs the broken part comes out of the hub  - I still need to check everything over before it gets put back together also I need to go finding some more nuts and bolts to have as spares - I have a few spares ones but most likely will need a few more - after the last visit to the bike shop the nice woman that giving me the lift from the middle of nowhere drops me off at a backpackers that a friend of mine knows the people there for the night...

Some where to doc camp site

Some where to doc camp ground...

Spending the morning reading as I only have 36 km to ride (even if it's over a number of steep hills) today - was I was packing up my camp a few of the people in the passing traffic that stopped to look at the old bridge /take a break  stop for a chat - with one even remembering me from the attude TV documentary the year before last  - can be funny just how many people remember me from that show and where they see me -  yep even in the middle of nowhere I can't hide : )

The days riding starts with a climb - funny just how offen that seems to happen to me : )   it's a long slow climb up out of the river valley - at a few times I pull over to let passing trucks by - each time they give me lots of room : )  as I'm climbing there a few steep hill signs - the ones showing a car going up or down a steep angle with the words saying trucks use low gear - at the top climb out of the valley the road rolls up and down a bit before dropping steeply in to a another river valley before climbing back out  on the other side  then it's just one more steep climb to go before I get to the doc camp  - there's a steep grade sign that I stop to get a photo of - as I'm standing next to the bike a passing car stops - winds down the window And asks me if I want a beer what I replied no to ( I don't drink beer or other alcohol - as my body can't handle It for some reason ) then the driver asks me if I want wisket?   I also say no to it  - then the driver says "you got nice tits"  before saying"have a great after life "  before driving off   - as I'm thinking - there's some very odd /creepy People around the place at times and being happy that they drove off - in the opposite way that I'm going)

As I go to start riding up the last hill of the day the peadels spin yet the bike don't move - has the chain come off?   Nope the chain is still on so what's going on?  After checking a few things I see that the nut and bot that holds the drive side hub to the drive axle has broken and a bit of it is stuck in the hub /Axle  - ok what now I do have a replacement bot and nut for it but with the bit stuck in there I can't put it in to get back moving - and I'm in the middle of nowhere with only a few passing cars/moter homes /trucks per day on this road   as I'm having a go at getting the broken bit out a house bus stops with the driver asking me if I'm OK -

after explaining the issue the driver of the house bus parks up off the road before coming back with some tools as we try to get the broken bit out - we get it a bit out  but no more than that - it needs to be drill out or done with a hammer and punch so after some thought the driver waves down a mate of his (they heading for the doc?  lodge near the doc camp ground)  and load up the trike and trailer into the back of the  4wd and drive me over the hill to the doc camp ground where after setting up my camp I get some water from the river (with my folding kitchen sink) and run it through my water filter - doing around 5-6 L of drinking water  - now my main issue beside some how getting a lift out of here if I can't get that bit of broken off bolt out myself is food  (I got between 2-6 days of food left if I'm careful) and maybe a way to pass on a message so people don't panic when they don't hear from me in about 2 days time if I'm still at the doc camp ground then...
Doing a bit of reading before heading off to sleep for the night

Taihape to some where

Taihape to some where...

After a nice night at the backpackers I pack up and get on the road - first stop is McDonald's for a frozen drink then the supermarket for food for the next 4 days or so  - out side the super market is 2 touring cyclists - yep must be bike touring time of the year  : )  after getting the food (leaving me with just about no money in my bank account for the next few days (I get money each week) - luckily there's no where for me to spend any money in the next few days or so  : ) I spent a bit of time chatting with the two other touring riders (I all most need a FAQ  t-shirt or sign on the bike at times with the number of same questions I get asked in my travels  : ) then its time to head out of town over the hills towards napier /hastings  - it's a road that I been meaning to do for a number of years (it's about one of the very last main roads that I have not yet done on the bike in the north Island : )

A few km out of town a passing farmer on a 4wd farm ( motor) bike passes me and offers me lunch - so after a bit of quick thinking I say yes to that and follow the farmer back to his place just down the road.  It turns out that the farmer has done a number of bike touring trips around the world in different places so we spend time chatting about bike touring also farm/horse events suff - turns out we know of some of the same people - yep the horse world can be a small place  - I can seem to go any where in nz  and not run into people that know my friends or know me /of me   : )

After the nice chat and lunch it's time for me to get back on the road game not to worry about the time as I only have about 40 km to go or so unto i get to a camp site I know of next to a old bridge - even if a good number of those km is up hill and up steep hills at that - as I'm climbing up one of the hills I'm thinking this is harder then it should be...  I wonder if I am in fact in low gear - a quick look at the rear gearing tells me I'm about midway in my gears so after tighten the gear cable a bit I can now use all my gears again - that makes climbing that much more easier - if climbing up steep hills can ever be easier?

 Some times I'm down to 3 km/h climbing up the steeper bits - at less with the trike I don't have to worry about it falling over at slow speeds like I do with my bike Friday or my mt bike - passing a number of remote sheep stations before dropping steeply in to the valley of the rangitiket River down to the  old wooden springvale suspension bridge  (named after the near by sheep station)  built in 1925 - the newer steel bridge in use today  next to the old bridge was  built in 1970

After going for a walk across to old and the new bridges its time to set up camp for the night - doing a bit of reading before heading off to bed for the night

Some where to taihape

Some where to taihape

After packing up camp it's time to get back on the road - as I'm riding along I noticed that the chain some times drops off the end of the cassette when I'm in low gear...  After the 3th time I start going over the bike to see whats going on - after finding the most likely cause - a bent derailleur hanger (the part of the bike frame that the rear derailleur is attached to and a bit of thought I pull out a few tools including a adjustable spanner I carefully bend it straight - good thing the bike is has a  steel frame /derailleur hanger - can't do this with a aluminum or carbon fiber frame - most of then have a replaced part-only thing is that you have to have it with you   And there's over 400+ designs for them between the different bikes and some can be very hard to find -

after get it straight I put the rear derailleur back on before getting back on the main road - a few km latter stoping for a photo of the bike by the summit sign of the desert road -at 1074m  I think it's one of the highest main roads in the north Island - up until the crown road (down the south Island) was tarseal a few years ago I think it was the highest tarseal highway in nz?   From there it's mostly down hill (with the odd passing shower - what happened to the sunny weather from the day before?) to the town of  Waiouru  - mostly the town is  a army base with a great museum to do with the army - it does have a subway (the fast food place - not a underground railway : ) where I stop for some lunch before getting some pictures of the trike and trailer next to some of the tanks out side the museum  : )

  then it's time to get back on the road - the road tends down hill towards taihape with one down hill being steep enough for me to get up to 71 km/h - a new top speed with the trike (I did lose one of the hi-vise flags off the trailer - will have to find/make a new one up in the next few days - getting into the town of taihape I stop in at the info center - there's no camping ground in taihape from what I can find out - though I was told of a place where people sometimes set up tents for the night - in the end I decided to stay at a backpackers ($25 per person per night in a 8 bed dorm) - the backpackers is called rusty nail and is very nice - as I get up there - it's up a hill  with great views towards the Mountains - there's a man with a bike also doing a bike tour also staying the night so we have a bit of a chat about touring - though they English is not great  (and I don't speek German (or just about any other language besides my vision of English - what even many English speaking people have trouble understanding  : )

After doing my washing -I  was running low on clean cycling gear  I do some reading before heading off to bed for the night - odd to be sleeping inside a building as its been a few months since the last time I slept indoors  : )

Turangi to some where

Turangi to some where

A late start to the days riding as I chat to a few people including 2 traveling cyclists and the person at the front (only?) desk as I drop off the keys to the bathroom /kitchen after unplugging the phone that's been charging up - ever since I forgot my tablet at a Campground in taumarunui about a year or so ago and had to do a 60 km round trip by thumb to get the tablet back I tend to check that I have not forgotten any of my e-suff then it's time for a bit of shopping before getting on the road around lunch time.

Heading out of Turangi on S. H. 1  I pass the weight bridge (where trucks are checked for weight so they not over loaded /over the weight rules /check other things) where i had some fun with the people who was at the weight bridge about the size of my bike Friday and bike trailer with a touring load on it a few years ago now  - nice to see even people at a weight bridge having some  fun  : ) 

Keeping a eye on the mirror to see what the  traffic behind me is doing - besides a very few people the traffic has been good giving me room or waiting until it's safe to pass with the white line shoulder on the side of the road being anything from very wide to no shoulder (ofen with no warning)  - lots of friendy waves and nice  toots of the horn from passing cars - I'm wearing high-vise gear including a helmet cover (yep I still wear a helmet on  the trike - keep in mind that this is a girl  who is known to have gotten her trike on 2 wheels more than a few times and has come off it a few times : ) and at least one high - vise cover on the front panniers and a number of flags  (including 2 nz flags on the trailer - that for some odd reason people think are Australian flags? ...)  

Passing over over one of the many conules?  That take water between lakes and rivers to Lake taupo by 2 power stations - including one that the power house is around 80?  m under ground (there used to be tours of the 2 power stations years ago - I did the tour of the power station near Turangi at least once over the years with my family over the years - as well as visiting more then a few other power stations in my travels around nz ) I stop to get a few photos - Looks very different after the logging of the pine forest (I'm so use to seeing it with all the trees around it)

Then it's back to riding - in places the road drops down to cross a steam before climbing back up - at one point I see a sign for one end of the Mt bike ride to tree trunk gouge?  So I decided to go for a little 10-15 minute walk along the trail for a break from the riding. Then it's time to get back on the bike as time is moving on...

From memory there is a side road that leads up to a winter ski field - it's a gravel road that turns into a 4wd track as it climbs up the side of the mountain - after this road on both sides of the main road is army land - no public access for the next 30? Km or so - after some thought I head up the ski field road until I find a safe place to spend the night - passing at one point a ute that's stuck in a bit of water - lots of 4wd tracks heading off the gravel road (there's a more then a few signs saying no vehicles off the gravel road beside the road - its a national park and on one side of the road is army  training land - yep looks like more than a few people can't read....)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Notes from My 2016 tour aotearoa ride

Some Story's/notes from my ta ride earlier this year  - or what 3 hours typing away on my tablet looks like.....    -  enjoy

Taumarunui to mosely campsites

Leaving taumarunui  I head along back roads towards whakahoro  on a mix of gravel and tarseal roads – whakahoro is one of the places where the boats leave for a jet boat or where people can padded a canoe/kayak down the river to bridge to nowhere and on to pipiriki  (next road access to the river – from whakahoro I head around the kaiwhakauka track  pass the blue duck Cafe. As I’m heading along the track I play tag with a few off road bikes  (4wd farm bikes)  with backpackers before I stop at a water fall next to the site of a old bridge dating from the 1920?s  (the old wooden bridge collapse a few years ago taking a newer bridge that was on top of it with it – the bridge has been replaced with a newer one with the remains of the old bridge next to the track near the new bridge  -

 past the bridge the track goes from a 4wd track to a single track at the site of a Depot for the farmers trying to clear farms out of the bush – from here the track gets a lot harder with a long drop to the steam next to the track  - I end up walking parts of the track as its safer then trying to ride parts  – the area is very remote and hard land – this road?  Was put though in the 1920s for access to the valleys for the return soldiers to clear the land for farms –because of work involved with trying to clear and farm the bush

 - the  people had all left the valley by 1942 – all what’s left is old house sites and the big concrete arch bridge (called bridge to nowhere as it’s deep in the bush) build 1935-1936  - by the time the bridge was finished many of the family’s had left the valley – along the track is little signs with the names of the people who had tried to farm here... 

It’s a mix of riding and pushing the bike along the track crossing foot bridges across side streams  until I get to mosely campsite (cooking shelter, rain water tank and toilet)  where I set up camp for the night – there is a tramper also staying the night who is planning on taking a different route out then what I’m doing.  After a bit of a chat I head off to bed for the night

Mosely campsite to near bridge to nowhere

After packing up camp and getting water – some times getting water can be a bit of a issue on this track as it can be a steep drop down to the steam (water course’s in mudstone County cut deep) I get back to riding the track – well at least trying to as between the conditions of the track and a bit of a issue with bike drive chain what I  end up fixing by relubing the drive chain and a few others bits adjusted I end up still walking parts of the track until I get to a clearing where there appears to be land still being farmed?

  From there the track is a lot more easier to ride as it’s now a 4wd track /gravel road as it climbs out of the valley to fork in the track with the left side going to a different 4wd track out of the bush. Turning right on to a gravel road /4wd track (mangapurua  track) I do a bit more climbing before getting to a high point at mangapurua trig – from there its a long and fun down hill as I drop into the valley where the bridge to nowhere is passing a few campsites – hunters use this track for access into deeper parts to the bush. 
In places there are ford’s with the remains of old wooden bridges next to them – at some point the 4wd track ends at a foot bridge across a steam that’s to deep for a Ford crossing  - at the bridge is a 4wd bike parked up (hunters) from here onward to the bridge to nowhere the track crosses steams on narrow foot bridges that mean I need to take the panniers off the bike to fit it across the  bridge (there’s around 6? Of them)

  in places the track is being worked on by doc (slips are a common issue on the track in places) at times there’s places where there’s signs saying to walk the bike as the track is to narrow /slippery to ride safely with a very long drop to the steam /River  - at one place called battleship bluff (because of the shape of the landscape) the people who built the road /track spent years slowly blasting a track (starting from the top and cutting they way down  to where the track is now) 

- looking at the time I’m happy that I allow extra time to get to the river near bridge to nowhere for the lift to pipiriki  by jet boat  that I booked when I was in taumarunui (pretty much no cell phone reception from taumarunui until top of gentle Annie Hill  (17 km?  Out of Whanganui) apparently there is  a phone at Blue duck cafe?) so boats need to be pre-booked to get a lift from mangapurua landing  (where the bridge to nowhere track comes out – I keep riding until I get to near the bridge to nowhere where I set up camp for the night  - good thing I allowed extra time to get to mangapurua landing as I would of missed the boat by 45 mins   so there’s no rush to make it to the landing that day

Near the bridge to nowhere to some where on the river road
After a bit of a sleep in I head along the track over the bridge to nowhere (stoping for photos)  before heading down to mangapurua landing to wait for the jet boat – spending the time chatting with some of the visitors that came by boat from both up and down river  - then it’s time to get on the jet boat for the trip down river as for what the boat trip was like I would say it’s much better/ nicer going by canoe /kayak down the river having gone from whakahoro all the way to Whanganui  by kayak when I was walking the te araoa trail a few years ago from cape reinga to Wellington 

Once the boat got to pipiriki it was time to get back to riding on the road – in places the road was under repair because of some big floods some months ago. Riding along the Whanganui River Rd I stop at the old convent at Jerusalem  (one of the small villages along the road)  before getting back on the road riding until I to a free doc camp site on the river Rd that I have stayed at before where I set up camp for the night

Some where on the river road to top 10 camp ground at Whanganui 
After getting back on the road I keep riding along the river road until I get to the top of gentle Annie Hill  (cell phone reception?)  getting nice views/photos from the lookout before a fun Down hill  ride to a T-intersection with S. H. 4 where it’s a flat ride along the highway into the city of Whanganui  (stopping for a ice-cream along the way : ) .  After spending a bit of time looking around town I head out to the top 10 camp ground  (around 10? Km from the centre of town) setting up camp for the night before spending time charging up my phone and other things that needed charging up then heading to bed for the night

Whanganui top 10 to hunterville
Getting in a bit of shopping including a mp3 player/fm radio  that was on sale – the shop people tryed to tell me that the mp3 player would not work with my phone (my phone can use USB drives) and I needed a different mp3 player like a apple one (what I knew would not work for me as  Apple mp3 players need iTunes on a computer to put songs on them) - yep it worked fine as the mp3 player was just a USB drive to the phone – don’t you hate it when sales people give out wrong information to try to sell you a different thing then you want /need (for a much higher price  as well or they act like you can’t possibly know what you talking about...     Anyhow I also picked up the latest version of the Kennett book on nz cycle trails as it had more up to date info in it then the one I had been using  before stocking up on food as next supermarket for me  is  not until to palmerston North  - there is a few small shops like in Hunterville  but no supermarkets on the ta route
Then it was time to leave town for hunterville  by back roads  - but first up was I ride down a tunnel and into a elevator – might sound odd for a bike ride but this is the durie Hill elevator  ($2) open hours ( in 2016) are Monday to Friday 7:30 am-6 pm  Saturday 9am-6 pm  Sunday 10am - 5pm

At the top is a tower with views over the city   - after getting photos of the durie Hill elevator and from the tower it was time for me to leave the city. riding  on back roads  past a few villages  and over a few hills until I get to hunterville where there is free camping (though they sometimes lock the public toilet at night?) in the park (can be noisily  with the traffic on S. H. 1)  after looking around town for a bit (it’s a small place : )  I set up camp in the park before heading off to sleep for the night


More notes from my 2016 tour aotearoa ride

More notes from my tour aotearoa ride...   (hopefully I will finish typing up my notes from my 2016 ta ride before I start a 2017 ride along the ta route...  : )

Hunterville to ashhurst

Leaving hunterville the route of the tour aotearoa takes me along sh1 for about 5 km before turning off on to sh54 - passing the vinegar hill camping site (free camping?) where I have stayed at a few times over the years  - no stopping for me this time  as I turn off sh54 on to back roads (a fun mix of gravel and tarseal roads) that led me to rangiwahia where I stop for a break

after looking around the domain to decide if to stop for the day there or to keep going (there are camping sites at the domain ) in the end I decided  to keep going and see where I will end up -  the ta route takes me along back roads towards Palmerston North  passing through the village of apiti  (a place I ended up riding though on a few other rides over the years - mostly on day rides out of Palmerston North)

  on one of the gravel roads its deep sand/ gravel what makes it hard going - at one point I saw a person on a (road) motorcycle decide to turn around as it was to hard for then to ride in it - getting to totara reserve (one of the photo control points as part of the ta route /ride) just on dark I decided to put the lights on and keep riding though to ashhurst  where I set up camp at the ashhurst domain  (a place I have stay at more than a few times over the years)  -

Ashhurst to eketahuna

After packing up camp I first head into Palmerston North for a bit of shopping before  taking the pahiatua track  (a tarseal road over the hill to pahiatua - it's a road that gets used most when the main road though the gorge is closed - most of the time it has only a few?  Cars and the odd truck using it - I know it well as I used to use it for training back when I stay for a bit in Palmerston North as well as using it to get between Palmerston North and South  to eketahuna /Wellington or North to hastings instead of riding though the gorge) 

after riding over the hill I head on to a rough gravel road for a few km before getting back to tarseal roads  to the town of pahiatua  - it's a small town with a very wide main St  as when the town was first planned /layed out the railway was to run down the middle of the main St of the town - as it happens that never happened so it's now has a park /green space in the middle on the main St  - for many years Palmerston North had the rail line run though the middle of town with  the the rail yards/train station being first where the square is now before moving south a bit (where the railway resuve is now) 

After pahiatua I head along back roads towards eketahuna getting there just on dark  (remembering to get a photo of the big kiwi (another of the photo control points with the ta route /ride) before heading to the camp ground at the domain for the night