|New Rubber, New Roads 15th – 17th March Blog 153
When we get back to Simon’s we have a bit of a catchup as he is happy to have us there for a few days. I begin the process of backing up some of my pictures to DVD so I can post them home and clear the cards as my last memory card is full. This is fairly scary considering that one is 4gb and the other two are 16gb. We also pick our favourites to upload to Flickr which is another way of backing them up and allows everyone else to see them too but this is all really time consuming and it takes a couple of days to do.
In between uploads I also go back to Bullion motorcycles and drop out the wheels one at a time while Clive fits and balances them for me. He is a good guy to deal with and the job is soon done. Tyres are expensive here, roughly twice the price they are at home. Fortunately we have only had to change them once in NZ, we are now on our 3rd set barring the secondhand front we bought in Kazakhstan. It feels good to be back on fresh rubber again but for now I have to finish on the computer while I have the opportunity.
Next day we say thank you to Simon and Sam for their hospitality it’s been a fun and productive few days but it’s time to move on. The weather forecast is good for the next few days so we must make the most of it.
We head out through town just as we are about to get going I spot a rubber shop (no not that sort of rubber shop) they do all sorts of useful things like o rings, gaskets and rubber sheet I stop for a look around much to Karen’s frustration as it hasn’t been an early off anyway.
I find I can buy rubber sheet in various thickness off the roll so I buy 250mm off the 1 metre wide roll. I want to make some spray flaps to fill the gap beween the front box and the top of the engine and some side extensions for the front mudguard as we get some spray up from here on very wet roads. I am well chuffed as I have been trying to find something for this for weeks to no avail and the price was good too.
Just as I come back out of the shop a Police car rolls up next to us in the car park. For a moment I get that nervous feeling when you think what’s going to happen next ? even though we are not doing anything wrong.
The two officers get out and walk over to us so we say hello, it turns out one of them (also a Kevin) is a Guzzi rider and enthusiast phew !
He is a really nice guy and we have a good chat, his wife is also a Police Officer and a Guzzi rider.
Establishing we are from the UK he asks if we know Paul and Serena from the Moto Guzzi club GB
Sure do we reply, tell them I said hi he says, it turns out they met at a Guzzi rally in Poland a few years ago. Small world the world.
The guys need to get going but we swap cards before they leave, it is at this point that Karen announces that she cannot find her diary as she was going to write in it while waiting for me.
She has already pulled everything off and hunted everywhere on the bike it could be so there is nothing for it but to head back to Simons where it’s sitting on the table where she left it. We both breathe a sigh of relief without this we would be lost, all the blogs are written from it and it’s the only reference we have.
Doubling back again we make a very, very late exit from Nelson toward St Arnaud, on the way we pass very close to the junction with the end of the Rainbow station track. Karen suggests a short detour back to the six mile creek river crossing, the first serious obstacle going this way to see if our winch strop and rope is still there. I am convinced it won’t be but as we are so close it seems crazy not to look. The ride is fairly easy this way through a few big fords but they are dry at present, it’s seems much further than I remembered though and as we go on and on I am more and more convinced that this is going to be a waste of time Karen however has convinced herself it will still be there. Eventually we get to the ski field turn off and park there to walk down to the river as it’s hard to turn around down there.
When we get to the bottom there is our rope coiled up tied to the strop and looped over the steel just as we left it nearly 3 weeks ago. I can’t believe it but I am well chuffed, just as we are detatching it we hear a bike coming down the track the other side of the river. We watch as he skillfully picks his way across although he has a ‘moment’ in one deeper section. Emerging the other side he stops and we say hello, he is curious what we are doing here in bike gear but with no bike in the middle of nowhere.
We start to explain that we rode this route a few weeks ago and got stuck in this river and had to winch ourselves out. At this he says “Ah I know exactly who you are now, you are the crazy poms doing the round the world trip on the Guzzi”
Turns out he was at Pukekohe races and saw it on the IMOC stand and took lots of pictures. The Italian Motorcycle Owners Club guy said it was by far the most photographed bike of the weekend despite the fact that it was surrounded by gorgeous Ducati’s, Guzzi’s and Laverda’s.
Our new friend is called Gary and is riding a Yamaha TDM 850 a big bike to be doing some fairly serious off roading on by most peoples standards (except ours of course). He tells us that he said to his mate at Puke he would love to meet the guy that built this as he either has to be a complete eccentric nutcase or someone who had spent a long time working out what might be required to cover every eventuality. He got his wish and conceded that I was ‘fairly normal’ ish.
We have a good chat for probably an hour or more and pick up some good tyre recomendations but time is pressing on so we say our farewells and start the ride out to the main road again.
We get into St Arnaud before dusk but there is drizzle in the air and clouds brewing, we make contact with some Velocette owners that Karen’s mum and dad got in touch with inspired by the amount of nice people we have met on this leg of the trip, we arrange to meet in the morning for coffee and we head just out of town to a newly constructed DOC camp the other side of the lake.
It’s virtually dark by the time the tent is up but this site has a communal cooking room lit by leds and solar panels which makes life much easier in the dark. We meet a young Swedish couple in there and get chatting during and after dinner so aren’t in bed untill 11.30pm.