Friday, 29 June 2012

and then there were two......

Yep, for some reason Biddy wants to join me on my next little trip. Check out how we get on.....

Saturday, 3 December 2011

So where are the pickies Mike?

Sorry that it's taken so long to meet the oft-heard request to post some pictures. It wasn't easy in the States to find a town....which had a library....which was open......which allowed me more that 30 minutes on a computer.

Luxuriating in the sophistication of staying in Perth I offer you here some of the pictures of the trip.

Follow the link on the right hand side of this page to my Skydrive folder


Friday, 11 November 2011

Bloody oaf

Biddy and I looked at each other as he said this. We thought we were having a lovely conversation with this guy from Wellington as we cooked together at the Castlepoint campsite and then he comes out with this "Bloody Oaf". Had we inadvertently offended him?

Seeing our awkward glances he realised we were foreigners (there's a lot of them here in NZ. So much so that one of the normal greetings from anyone here seems to be "Which country are you from?"). Anyway, his wife translated for us. "Oh, bloody oaf just means, 'yep, sure, definitely'. It's obvious isn't it.

Actually we've been more struck by another totally foreign language the Kiwis speak. It's a little like American, though stronger. The best way of describing it is "positive". Everything is positive and the sun is shining (even when it isn't....and it definitely wasn't as we waded through a tidal estuary on the Abel Tasmin 'tramp' (i.e. walk...) at 6am this morning in the Abel Tasmin national park. Ass an example....Biddy was corrected at lunchtime today by the kayak instructor. "No, the weather's not's just raining". See what I mean. Let's hope I can take just a little bit of this new language , "positinglish" back to the UK when I return to counter the cycnicism and negativity that I realise is so prevalent.

So...what have we been doing, I hear some of you mutter. Well a bit of kayaking and walking in the Abel Tasmin nathional park in the north end of South Island. We drifted into a huge flock of shearwater (look that one up in Wikipedia if you've no idea what I am talking about) , paused in the two day kayak trip to watch New Zealand fur seals frolicking in the surf and marvelled at the Australasian gannet diving for fish yards from the kayak.

We stayed in lovely bunk house huts along the way, visited empty beaches with no road or track to them.

Oh....and to my great delight because it's on a 'list' of things I must see before I die, we spied sperm whales off Kiakoura earlier this week.

Am I enhoying myself? Is this good. Yep, or "sweet as" as they say in New Zealand.

No worries mate.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

you must be French....

that's what the lady in the rzther rougn bar said as she came up to us. The place was full of tattoed and rather drunk mostly Maori jumping up and down cheering.

Usually I'd might take offence at being labelled as a member of that nation we Brits like to taunt but I could understand why the lady hzd made the remark. Seconds earlier the All Blacks had, just, beaten the French ag the World Cup final and tne fact that se were European and not dancing around meant we were surely crestfallen Gallic visitors. Seeing the final on a big screen amongstthe Kiwis was a specialevent. Needless to saythe overdue win has meant an AWFUL lot to the nation.

Thankfully I've not ceased cycling altogether. Biddy abd I did a 50km mountain bike ride through the remote bush in Tongoriro natiinal park - where those three volcanoes appear in Lord of the Rings. It really was remote. We saw no-one else in six hours of riding exceot a couple if hunters on quad bikes. we realised that it might be a little remote when the hirer gave us an emergency satelite beacin to use if we got into trouble. The best bit of tge 'ride' was having to wade waist deep across rivers with the bikes on our shoulders.

The Kiwi people really are lovely. There's a positiveness like I found in the US, but a warmth and deeper interest in you. It's vert attractive.

The notices pinned up tell a lot about the place, just as they did in the US. The Americans would put up signs saying 'do not litter - violators will be persecuted under state law 352 and summararily shot' - I made up that last bit. In New Zealand the notices szy 'please don't litter - thankyou'.

I know which notice I'm likely to take more notice if.

We managed the magnuficent Tongorira Crossing this week. Much of it was in snow as we wandered up over the volcanoes with great clefts in the crater belching sulpherous gases. "awesome" as they'd say in America.

Last night was rather wet. So much rain fell that we awoke to find tge tent sitting in about three centimetres of water and Biddy's crocks floating in the tent foyer. So....we treated ourself to a hostel this evening in Napier.....only to discover that there's kareoke going in in tge bar below our window. Tomorrow perhaps we'll head back to the quiet......and rain...of the mountains?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


What would you say if I confessed that I've turned my back on my constant partner, day and night, for the last two months? More than that, I've taken her apart and, with a guilty pang, unceremoniously, stuffed her into a box and left her.

Without wishing to be melodramatic I feel a slight sense if loss being without my bike.

I walked, yes, it did feel odd, down to Venice beach, Los Angeles thus morning. Nice.....but not a patch on our West Country beaches.

It's overcast this morning and i'm even wearing a fleece. Time for a change if hemisphere perhaps? I am deeply thankful for this chance to swan around the world. The dream will end eventually, I know.Till then I'm gunna enjoy it and give thanks.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Of snorkling, sea lions and surf.....

Nope, it's not exactly cycling, I know, but this morning saw me togged up in a wet suit bobbing up and down in the Pacific Ocean snorkling. It was, unusually, a bit of a misty morning and the visibility in the water wasn't geat but I rejoiced in seeing pelican flying overhead and sea lion (or were they seal....I need to check this out) basking on the rocks. As Steve and I dried off we saw a small pod of dophin cruise by. Idyllic eh?

I've been warmly welcomed into Steve and Marie's lovely home and am again enjoying wonderful Californian hospitality. San Diego reminds me of Perth: everyone up early in the morning running, cycling or swimming. Wide empty roads, clean and prosperous. I can see why people live in San Diego.

We've a party here tonight! Then it's back on the road for the last hundre miles or so into Irvine to meet Ella and box the bike.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

"Be prepared to stop"

I've been seeing it since I first started the ride back in Washington in mid August.

Every few miles there are these big orange roadsigns that they erect before every bit of roadworks. I'd thought that they were something to do with the roadworks or something but now, I realise, they've been put up just for me! And, to my shame, I've not been taking any notice of them until today when I realise that I should have been paying attention and, yes, preparing myself to stop.

I reached a scadgy, dusty little town this morning. There was a little roadside cafe, lots of border guards and a slight edginess to the place. It was Tacate. The town I've been heading for for the last 4000 km. I got there this morning at 10:30am 'pacific west' time (that's 81:30hrs UK time and 06:40hrs the next day (Thursday) NZ time.

I realised that I hadn't 'prepared myself to stop' andnow feel all rather empty and pointless! I cycled back up the hill to Protrero and treated myself to a grilled chicken sandwich and pepsi and the waitress was good enough to sound impressed at my achievement. She even took a photo of me.

I'm still suffering a little from whatever ailed me at Oak grove t'other day. I think I've still got a bit of a temperature. Still, it's off to the campsite now for a shower and rest and a 60km ride into San Diego tomorrow to stay, I hpe, at Steve's house. Steve and I rode together into Kings Canyon Park earlier on the ride.

My thanks to you for following me and encourgaing me along the way. Your little words of encouragement have meant the world to me.

San Diego and then Irvine to meet Ella beckon.....