New Zealand 2014

Day 24

April 7

  Today is 'travel day' that will begin the long journey for both of us back to our homes. As I walk into the hotel restaurant for breakfast, I know how this feller must feel losing his head and all. I imagine by the time I spend 20+ hours of the next 48 in airplanes and airports I'll feel about the same way..  
  I round another corner and see his two brothers. I guess this headless business must just run in their family.  
  Breakfast is delightful buffet which suits me just fine. It has plenty of pig meat, hen fruit and taters, not to mention wonderful fresh croissants.  
  And it seems the oceanic evaporative effect is still going even this morning.  
  After that breakfast, even Alain is ready to pull Excalibur out of the stone.  
  With all our belongings packed and waiting for the shuttle, I take a walk around.  
  The hotel is 'Tudor' styled and they have each building named after one of Henry VIII's six wives. Catherine Of Aragon was married to him for 24 years and got off luckier than some. He simply divorced her instead of having her executed.  
  I cant' find the building for Anne Boleyn who was next and Henry executed after a short period of time. His third wife was Lady Jane Seymour who died shortly after giving birth to a son for Henry.  
  His next was Anne Of Cleves, but their marriage was short-lived as Henry had it annulled. She also came out lucky that she escaped the executioner's ax.  
  Katherine Howard, wife number 5, was not so fortunate. She apparently was unfaithful to Henry who terminated her and the marriage with the executioner's ax.  
  The last was Katherine Parr, who fortunately for her, outlived Henry VIII.  
  It's really a very pretty hotel with lots of lovely flowers and such, in addition to the history it provides.  
  The cleaning ladies come over so Alain and I clear out of our room so they can get an early start on their daily.  
  The shuttles over here have this neat luggage trailer that flips open so you can easily deposit your bags, instead of cramming them up in the back of the van. Our driver this morning is a former local motorcycle racer who has a love affair with Yamahas. We swap tall tales on the way to the airport then wish him well.  
  Check-in goes really quick so we are at the gate in plenty of time. I'm just not one that likes to tear through the airport and dive into the plane at the last minute. The flight over to Auckland, which Te Waipounamu has arranged for us, is a short one. We get to see from the air many of the places that we got to see up close and personal on two wheels.  
  I can see the North Island clearly as we approach the Auckland airport.  
  Our next shuttle takes us back the hotel where our adventure began in Parnell.  
  Since the hotel restaurant was so good when we were here before, it is right across the parking lot, and our shuttle will be here at 4 AM in the morning, it becomes the 'smart' choice for supper.  
  We have some time before supper, so I try to contact Allan Bool, a rider I've known from a MC board for years, who is on the North Island working. After a little discussion, we decide that to get here from where he is would be a long journey through nasty traffic which does not make a lot of sense. I wish him well and a good-bye, then start working through my 'packing' sequence to have as much stuff put away as possible. I have a theory about packing - the longer you are on the road, the more air your stuff absorbs, making it near impossible to pack it the way you had it in the beginning of the trip.  
  Since this will be my last 'supper' in New Zealand, I go for the fresh fish - hapuka - another type that I have never had before. It is pretty tasty I must say and it sure fills the empty spot.  
  The hotel has some pretty lights in the trees in the courtyard that seem to be motioning us to go to bed, or at least that's what I think.  
  Tomorrow is the second day of the trip that I dreaded, the first day being the first one. I don't do well in the cramped confines of an airplane seat for they were not designed for someone of my physical size. But that's the only game in town so I'll just deal with it as usual. Maybe I'll be fortunate and not get a 'throw the seat all the way back' person in front of me like I did on the way down. At any rate, I'm off to the last night I will spend on New Zealand for the foreseeable future.