Two most unusal stories today during my two day ride from Waiouru to Taupo over the Desert Road. A fatal head on smash completely closed the Desert Road on the afternoon of 27 / 12, and when I approached the crash scene, authorities kindly let me pass, having sympathy that I had just completed pushing up a long and arduous hill. What this meant, was that on one of the roads busiest days of the year, I had the entire road to myself for around four hours. Twists, up hill, down hill, I really relished the opportunity to cover as many kilometres as I could. Coming onto night fall, and still some way from getting off the mountain, I decided to set up camp. And here the second interesting story begins. I pushed about a quarter of a kilometer up a disused bush track on the side of the Kaimanawa Range in Tongariro National Park, and pitched the hammock across the legs of an electricity pylon. I had checked about the safety of this before doing so, and was advised they are safe, but not be climbed. It was bitterly cold and I climbed into my sleeping bad in full riding kit with a a pair of long johns over my sox for good measure. Then a balaclava insde the bag’s hood. Warm as toast, and feeling relatively safe as there was long grass on the track signalling no traffic for some weeks. Then at 3.17am, a diesel motor approached my camp site. Who could it be. My mind checked off the possibilities, thieves, drug dealers, electricity linesmen? The vehicle did not stop for some distance, but I could still hear faint voices. Should I get out of my warmth and investigate, or stay put. So I stayed put, awakening round 6.00 from a light sleep. Breaking camp for an early start, and the motor reappears. I was now completely ready for what ever – and, it was three bee-keepers in their truck, unloading hives of bees. After being advised this was the best time for such an activity, new friendships were made, and headed for Taupo. A steady slight head wind and more hill, arriving into Taupo at 6.15pm amidst a large round of applause and cheers from over 100 holiday makers sitting at lakeside cafes. Quite humbling. Was shouted an evening meal and refreshments after countless photos. ENDS. Photos – Stroung head wind on Desert Road / Summit / Campsite – shaving Regards DW
The seat bracket broke again and required further welding repairs in
Hunterville,and is holding well now. The Makohine Viaduct is a most
impressive structure on the main Trunk railway line built between 1896 –
1902.The old Mangaweka main street is like stepping back into early colonial
days. Still intact with it’s vernadahs and old signage, many artisans now
use the buildings. The town also boasts a DC3, ZK-APK, perched on the side
of the main road, and is being restored to reflect it’s three key era’s of
service, namely the Air Force, NAC as a Skyliner, and a Crop Duster.
Good progress had me in Waiouru on Christmas eve, where I parked up for
Christmas & Boxing day, and now am headed to Turangi then Taupo. Most kind
and generous hospitality found in Waiouru.ENDs
Makohine Viaduct / Old Mangaweka main Street / Mangaweka DC3 / DC3 Cockpit /
3rd Repair to Seat
Oamaru penny farthing wheelman David Wilson stayed overnight in Hunterville
as a guest of the Station Hotel management on 22nd Dec. David left Stewart
Island on 14th November and is planning to arrive at Cape Reinga early in
January. He is doing the ride to promote his hometown of Oamaru, as well
identifying a route for a group of international wheelmen touring the
country in 2014. As well, he will become the first to ride such a bike the
length of the country.
For over 26 years Mr Wilson has worked with historic towns, helping them
establish new enterprises and marketing strategies based around their
history. He has worked with over 700 communities across NZ, Australia, South
Africa, Somalia and Malaysia.
“I am extremely impressed with Hunterville, the cleanliness of the town,
it’s welcoming feel, the kindness of it’s citizens and the way many of the
historic buildings are being maintained – this is a real credit to all
“Knowing and understanding our past and conserving our historic and cultural
heritage is an important part of establishing a strong sense of community
and local identity’ he said.
(posted by Mike Harris)
Riding conditions along the Kapiti Coast have been outstanding. No wind, no
rain, warm but not hot. Traffic is noticeably heavier, with the
courteousness experienced on south island roads still continuing. From the
time I mount the wheel till dismounting, a constant horn tooting persists.
The expedition has had high media exposure in the southern north island, and
this is apparent. Two highlights of this leg of the journey have been riding
on a pre World War 1 tram at the the Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway Museum,
and viewing the replica facades of a grouping of huts at the monument of
Camp Russell, where the 1st & 2nd Divisions of the USA Marines Corps camped
from June 1942 to October 1943. The Divisions casaulties during the Pacific
Campaign were 2,795 killed, and 9,600 injured.
The day concluded in real style for me being hosted at the former Scouts
Training Centre at Tatum park, now a function and accommodation centre. A
fine meal and fresh clean sheets yet again! A great comfort for a weary
– Arriving into Paekakariki on dusk,
– 1942 Camp Russell
– Old Tram
– two Trams
Go well DW
Analysing the South Island expedition data revealed that 19 days were actually spent in the saddle pedaling. Many were over twelve hour days. Then a further ten days were required for rest and repairs.
Wellington proved to be a busy time with television, radio and media interviews. One extremely humorous event occurred during the National Radio interview with Simon Morton in Wellington central, when a large low flying sea gull left a significant deposit spread evenly over both of us.We simultaneously erupted in laughter and the moment was captured on film by a technician.
The last school to be visited for the year was the Saints Peter & Paul School in Lower Hutt where over a hundred pupils were amazed by the history of the bike and what Oamaru is doing with it’s built and cultural heritage. An invitation was accepted to visit the Dowse Art Museum, also in Lower Hutt, where Dunedin artist Scott Eady has restored a collection of 50 children’s discarded and thrown away bikes, trikes and scooters. The exhibition is interactive and allows children to ride through the gallery. All staff received Victorian penny farthing riding and bicycle etiquette instruction from the Oamaru Club Captian.
The proposed route through the North Island will take in Kapiti Coast/ Horowhenua, then the Rangitikei area through to the Desert Road on the Volcanic Plateau, then through Taupo, the Southern Waikato, to Auckland.
2. The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, collection of 50 childrens bikes.
3. Saints Peter & Paul School, Lower Hutt. The last school to be addressed prior to the school holidays.
The South Island leg of the expedition was completed upon arrival into Picton on Sunday afternoon 4.00. As I crossed over to Wellington that night contemplating the North island roads, i reflected on my travels since leaving Stewart Island on the 14th November.
There have been so many highlights; riding with the penny farthings and antique cycle riders from across NZ through Southland and the Catlins area leading up to the oamaru Victorian heritage celebrations, riding with 82 year George Crack of Ashburton who rode Cape Reinga to Stewart Island on his Healing 20 in 1971, being part of the magnificent Victorian Fete, riding with the junior Tinwald Cyclists coming into Ashburton, the immense kindness along the way, offers of food, accommodation, the continual horn tooting, waves, long twelve hour days in the saddle, reaching Picton.
With a days rest in Wellington following a steady time of media interviews about the ride and the Oamaru Victorian Precinct, it will be back in the saddle on Thursday. People are constantly stopping me in the streets and are most interested to learn about Oamaru. we certainly have a fine town with it’s rich built heritage, and to date, nothing i have ridden through comes close to it’s beauty and significance to the country.
Ends. regards DW