New Zealand 2014

Day 03

March 17

  Since our bodies are slowly figuring out just what time zone it is, we don't have much planned for today. Once we get the bikes, we'll sort out our packing, GPS mounts, and our communication gear/tank bags. John is coming to pick us up so we can collect the bikes in advance of leaving out tomorrow. We wander across the parking lot for a bit of breakfast. Alain wisely chooses the 'help yourself option' and I chose an omelet - one of my favorite breakfast options. But this one is burnt around the edges and not very tasty. All I get is the burnt omelet, a sprig of parsley and a glass of water - $18. I figure it must be the parsley that drives the price up ...  

John shows up exactly when he says he will and we make the short ride over the Te Waipounamu Auckland facility. Since I can't pronounce their name (and still can't), I ask John -

"What does the name mean?"

"Oh, means the South Island" he says which is where their main office is located.

It is the official Maori name for the south island. 'Te Wai Pounamu' actually means "the water(s) of greenstone" since one of the major tribes used the very hard greenstone (jade) to make adzes and other implements, as well as ornaments.


Out back sit the two ST1300s that will carry Alain and me on our journey. I notice on one of the bikes in the shop, there is a GPS cradle from a Rage. I ask John about it, and he says -

"Yes, we use the Peaklifes and the Rages as our rental GPS systems. They work quite well for us."

"Well, that's what I brought with me" I tell him. "Good units at a good price".

  They are both red, so I pick one and name her 'Ruby Red'. She's a lovely lady and we strike it off quite well right from the get go. But then, two of my 'girls' back home are red so I guess I have a fondness for that color already.  
  She has 83,575 clicks to start with, which is 51,931 miles for those who would like to know.  
  We finish up the paperwork and soon we are out on the proper side of the road back toward our hotel. I miss the turn off, but we recover pretty easily and arrive with no more drama.  
  Now it's time to figure out how to mount our tank bags, which carry the J&M Integratr IV comm systems and FRS radios I brought with me. That's a bit of a chore running the straps, but Alain is pretty resourceful so between us we get it sorted out. We both bought brake reservoir Ram mounts for the GPSs, so that's an easy one. With that behind us, I figure out what I will put in the ST luggage and what I will carry in a river bag. On most trips now, the stuff I will constantly haul back and forth to the motel rooms I put in a river bag and strap it to the back seat. That way, 'unpacking/packing' is just unstrapping/strapping the bag and I'm good to go. It also helps keep the luggage from being overloaded in case I need to get something while on the road.  

We decide on an early supper and early bedtime so we can hit the road before most of the traffic in the morning. Since at this point we have no clue as to what travel times will be like, we'll give ourselves plenty of time to get to our next point. After two days on airplanes, a walk into downtown Parnell for supper sounds like a winner. We take a survey down through the area and run into a gentleman standing in the doorway of a shop. I ask him,

"Anywhere around here you'd recommend to eat"?

"Yes, just up the street two blocks" he says, so off we head with a destination in mind. When we see this sign, it looks pretty good inside so we give it a whirl.

  I'm not much of a seafood person but when I see calamari on the menu, I figure it should be worth a try. I have to say it is probably the best and freshest calamari I've had in quite a while.  
  On our waddle back to the hotel room, I spy this old roadster back behind some gates and have to get a shot.  
  Alain and I passed by a little market on the way down and decide to stop by and pick up a few things for the road tomorrow.  
  For it's size, it is pretty well stocked and we are able to find what we need.  
  It's a fairly long walk back the hotel, but after that supper it's a good thing for me. It sort of jiggles all that stuff down to a more comfortable spot in the innards.  
  With things all ready to go for tomorrow, I sit out on the balcony and enjoy watching the sun slowly go down over the city of Auckland.  
  I get my first glimpse of some strange looking trees in the distance that I will see time and time again in our travels.  
  Still dealing with a little bit of jet lag, it does not take me very long to collapse into a comatose heap beneath the covers.