Monday, January 11, 2016

Pre Christmas Tiki Tour

Having not been out in the bus since 25th Oct, Labour weekend and been putting some time in at the Mens shed running a workshop for the guys on Box making, we managed to squeeze in a pre Christmas trip to test our recent improvements with the new hinging bike rack, and the continued sorting out of the inside.
In my pre trip check I got help to check the tyre pressures (it's a bit tricky with double back tyres) needing a specially long and bent air hose fitting, this proved difficult even for the experts, but when they got to the front tyres...both were showing the steel, highly dangerous and needing urgent attention. All this was 2 days before the Christmas brakeup, my luck held, and I managed on the same day, to find and get two tyres fitted....wheew what a relief!

This was trip #20 leaving the Lane about 1.30pm after loading up for a 6 day jaunt down the Coast (West that is) We never know where we're going till the weather man tell us where the sun is shining.

We called into KMart and got two 26inch tennis rackets for $13 each and three tennis balls, total of $29, topped up with deisel at Brightwater (NPD...Gold Card discount...choice) and on through Murchison and Reefton where we stopped for a hit of tennis, sort of OK though the forehand is very rough on high shots. Plus my footwork is very slow too! Still is was a good test. Christine was not liking the heat of Reefton
We drove onto Slab Hut Creek doc camp managing to get the same spot we had last time.  We had a couple of scottish cyclists over for tea and christmas cake, so nice to get back in touch with the guid scottish brogue!.
While the Doc men were cleaning the Slab Hut Creek camp we headed out to Reefton, used the free wifi outside of the Inagahua Library. After coffee we headed out to Gannons Road and found a likely spot to camp, I biked the 7klms to the Clematis Swing bridge, the track rocky and bouldery in places with some steep bits but I took it carefull

The sandflies were queuing up in style...bloodthirsty little blighters.

We briefly called in for a gander to Blackball, well worth a look, with all the tourist info about......I loved the sign below on Main street Backball. 

Next overnight stay was on the banks of the Grey river, where the Council has set up a great free spot overlooking the harbour, the waves and the hardy West Coast surfers.

The South Bank of the Grey
And the North Bank of the Grey
Room with a view, sea, sand and complaints
View from the bedroom window.......crashing waves,
..... harder to hear the snoring.

 I cycled from Greymouth on the Wild West Coast Trail to Kumara, the brochure said 3 hours, but I cycled it in just over 2 hours....wind assisted......two types of wind!
Along by the seaside, what a doddle!
The Kumara Gorge
And it's new cycle way bridge

After a shopping spree in Hokitika we went onto Lake Kaniere.
We met some Americans with a hire Motorhome who live in Manilla, a young solo male German traveller touring for 5 months sleeping in his car, and Nora a young American cycle tourer who lives in Vietnam. Christine armed with christmas cake, took the initiative and invited them for tea and we had nice social times.
The next morning after breakie we took the bikes up to Dorothy Falls, a nice little ride.

Next stop was the Treewalk at Mahinapua, discounted cost from $38 to $30 for OAP's. The tree walk was quite good although not many people around, spending at least an hour there.

The first thing I noticed at Treetops, while leaving the entrance to walk to the bush treetops walk, was this wonderfull Gorse seedling growing out of a Punga.

Very safe with high guardrails/handrails

 All in all, quite feat of engineering, not to mention planning permission and getting all the materials in situ without disturbing the bush too much, must have knocked a hole in somebody's wallet thou!
After that my photography habit kicked in.....
I loose myself, just by taking photos
Tree...mendous wot nature can do..IMHO!
Back at the Doc camp at Lake Mahinapua we met Phil and Lisa, fellow NZMCA'rs  (they are full timers, bus name "Shutter Bugs" they came and introduced themselves, nice chat about all sorts of things, they are very keen photographers who advised me exactly what camera to get as I was keen to leave iphone photography and return to a Digital SLR. (More about this later in the next blog)

 Ahhhh...Christmas day at lake Mahinapua was sweet as!
A late lazy breakfast then more lazing and stooging around the bush walkways with Christine, taking lots of photos. After Christine cooked Christmas dinner, having Christmas dinner, and a few beers, what else but..... falling asleep in the chair the middle of the afternoon....oh how terrible of me.... with no wind and one of those blue sky, not a cloud in the sky, west coast days, I then took the mountain bike up State Highway 6 and did part of the Mahinapua Walkway.
"out on the boardwalk...we were having fun"

Rushing past these beauties.

Early model chain saw bar...without chain...
very unique for the coast..... rust patina!

 This went through the Mananui sawmill site and biked the old railway line this was superb though I only went part way. The track still has buried sleepers, making very effective "Judderbars". 
This is why they invented suspension on Mountain bikes.

This tree sort of suggests where the prevailing wind comes from.

Came back and saw an Israeli guy doing a sort of juggling with Dupa (or dopa) a new for me kind of juggling prop. I went over with my juggling balls and hat and joined in.

Tried his dopa, spinning cloth discs, (invented in Spain apparently!) quite difficult especially with my shoulder. Then we had kids from various countries, trying juggling and allot of other people about, then the guitars came out, so I went and got my saxes, and the whole camp came over for singing etc we played on into the dark till the Mossies called halt around 10.40pm.
Ending a great Christmas on the road as a couple of "Grey Nomads"

Boxing day we packed up and left Mahinapua around 10am. Then through to Reefton, where we parked outside the Library to get internet (again) played some more tennis (again) though it was hot and couldn’t get a proper hit yet due to still being rusty, not getting many hits over the net. Onward through Murchison and home by 3.45pm. Just in time to pick up our cat Bella from the cattery...all in all a purrfect trip.

All the photos in this blog were taken by cell phone, this is about to change....see you at the next Blog, which is going to be called "Post Christmas and New Year's Fun"

Till then stay safe and B creative.