THinnC

Terry Hainsworth's internet Nationwide  Communications

Motorcycle & Motorhome Travels


        Back Home


Terry's Traumatic Tours TT14 UK to NZ -  2005

Terry's Tales in Chronological Order

Click here for a photo album

           
It was quite a rush to get ready to leave as usual but I sold my 1963 Royal
Enfield on the night I left and managed a night out in down town Bingley
with my daughter and son in law Chris and his brother and sister. Then an
old pal phoned and came too - he used to ride speedway and now looks like
becoming a main sponsor....

Any way I landed in Mexico City and took a local (risky!) taxi to my hotel -
he went via back streets with HUGE sleeping policemen (road bumps called
Topes in Mexico). The beaten up old VW Beetle scraped its underside over the
worst ones but got me to the hotel in short time and got a generous 100
Pesos (8 quid). I risked a walk in the balmy air and found a dance hall with
only a small cover charge but opted for being sensible with a beer and bed
after some 22 hours travel from home.

Aero Mexico got me to Guadalajara and my friends Jerry and Sharon were there
to drive me back to Lake Chapala where they live for some 8 months of the
year, their other home being in Texas. I was immediately into the ritzy life
by having lunch overlooking the Lake in the rich gringo town of Ajijic. It
got even better when their lovely house overlooking the Lake had Speed TV
and I saw the MGP and also the WSB (thats motorcycle racing). I was
intoduced to my motorcycle kindly loaned to me for the trip. A Kawasaki
KL650 with a high saddle and suspension ready for riding rough tracks as
well as roads.

A great barbie and some beer and I was sleepy as well as excited. Around
2,000 miles planned in 8 days and altitudes from over 8,000 feet down to
1,800 in the deep canyons - yes SEVEN of them all bigger than the Grand
Canyon........

Terry, Creel, Mexico.




 
It was no problem to get out of bed whilst the stars were still twinkling
out of the inky sky over massive Lake Chapala. With the pair of KLR 650's
packed we left Jerry's house (Jerry had lifted a picture hiding his wall
safe to pack his pesos for the trip!) - his noisy exhaust making my bike
seem silent in the early dawn. Brisk riding took us N towards the sprawling
and fast growing major city of Guadalajara, it already has a population of
some 7 million. The first rays of the sun caught the scratched visor of my
open face Arai helmet which reminded me that it needs replacing. In tight
convoy we continued N. We were almost 2 hours into the ride when we entered
the mountains and great riding. I was feeling good on the KLR which runs
70mph nicely at 4,500rpm.

The first breakfast of Huevos a la Mexicana - scrambled eggs with ham,
peppers and of course refried beans with hand made tortillas was a nice
reward for the first 100 miles. We refuelled at 250 miles and after a hard
on the bum (butt) 10 hours we were in Sombrerete N of Fresnillo. This old
town has connections from the early 1500s and with silver mining.
Interesting and friendly and with our bikes safely in a garage we ate
dinner, drank some Tekate beer strolled around then slept.

The next day was the same - up before dawn and more interesting roads N tp
Parral. Menu del dia at 65 pesos ($6US). Another stroll before an ice cream
which made me feel that I was on holiday - it felt good.

We passed through several military checkpoints where the army checked us for
dope and turned W towards the Copper Canyon wilderness area. At one
checkpoint I heard a swarm of bees and Jerry quickly made sure they were
Mexican and not the nasty African bees that are here also. Around 600 miles
covered and the riding was truly fantastic - quiet roads, quite good
surfaces made to feel smooth by the KLR's long movement suspension - its 34
inch seat height makes getting your leg over a pilates excercise.

Jerry hails from Corsicana Texas where he was a doctor and like me loves
motorcycles and travel. One of his amusing comments is that OZ is like Texas
- but with kangaroos.

Now we were headed offroad some 65km down into one of the canyons, we were
at over 8,000 feet and would drop to 1,800 feet. As I led the way down my
jaw dropped when I first glimpsed the canyon. It was amazing. I could
scarcely beleive that it was me that was doing this. I concentrated on the
rocky path with its drop offs thousands of feet down - ready to prove the
gravity of any error.......

Terry - Melbourne (for Philip Island) OZ.


 
I lead the way down into the canyon and saw a few brighly dressed indians
walking up and down. The ladies wear multiple skirts for warmth and storage.
The scenery was so compelling to look at but yet I needed my full
concentration for where to put the front wheel. When the Spanish invaded the
indians took to the hills for safety and have learned how to subsist in
these scarcely fertile lands.
My shoulders ached with steering and whilst 2nd gear was OK in many parts
bottom gear early was needed on the steepest rough tracks. The rear wheel
locked easily on the loose rocks and of course using the front was a no no.
There was the occasional 4 wheel drive to avoid too. Eventually  I  crossed
a rotted wooden bridge over the fast flowing river that showed we were near
the bottom. I stopped and removed a few layers of clothing as now down
around 1,800 feet the temperature was up from the 50,s to almost 90F.

People walk this route and some cycle down - the heroes cycle up, so we came
upon a small shop alongside the river. A gas fridge provided a cold
expensive drink and we continued. A grader had just been over this section
and tiredness, heat and the unpacked dirt made the riding very tricky.

Batopilas village was primitive but it was great to arrive. We rode into the
hotel -YES! - through the foyer, round the corner and down two lots of steps
onto the secure patio overlooking the river.
Jerry went for an instant beer - I felt the need of a shower to wash the
dust and sweat away - then I went looking for him. I missed him and finished
up seeing a squabble between a dog and a pig that lives in the dirty
streets. I retraced my steps and a wizened old Mexican shouted 'companero'
and I found Jerry having a Tecate overlooking the fast flowing river
puzzling why a good looking blonde was there with a greasy looking Mexican
in 24" bottoms. The things we guys talk about. The local children were
playing in the river and played the game of floating down the rapids. Jerry
had been here before and took us to look for a restaurant. My nose picked
one and he confirmed that this was OK. It mentioned that it was by the
swinging bridge - not any more since it got washed away in a flash flood.

The next dawn, before we checked out we rode the few km alongside the river
to the end of the path. Some years before a mysterious and forgotten
impressive church was found and whilst Roman Catholic the Vatican did not
know about it. It is now known as the "Lost Cathedral". It is one of the
most striking buildings I have ever seen due to the unique and isolated
setting. In fact it gave me a feeling of similarity with Machu Piccu in the
Andes. When I catch up with putting the photos on my website
www.THinnc.co.uk you will see what I mean. Electricity will shortly reach
this lost canyon and will change it forever.

I felt excited to start the 65km ride up and out of the canyon. Being
refreshed, cooler and going upwards made it all seem so much easier. We
stopped again at the little shop for bolony sandwiches and a veggie drink
like V8. Somehow this combination tasted especially delicious. As a pal
tells me - the best condiment is HUNGER. I sped ahead stopping to get photos
of Jerry noisily powering upwards. I sped on and met another vehicle coming
down - I was lucky to have a berm (pile of dirt) to keep me on the track -
just. The 65km out were ridden quickly and I felt disappointed that this
fantastic section was over. I should not have been because some exhilarating
bend swinging was about to start.....

Terry - Melbourne,OZ.



 
The motorcycles were very dusty from the 130km of trail riding but we were
now on quiet well surfaced bendy roads. Some of the dust blew off as Jerry
let me be lead rider. I was swinging the bends confidently, amazed at the
level of grip that the dual purpose tyres had as I revved through the scenic
canyons. The whole area is very John Wayne - in fact he made many movies
located in this region of Mexico.

We approached the small town of Creel and turned on a side road that took us
to a splendid hotel overlooking another massive canyon. Perched right over
the canyon we enjoyed a leisurely light lunch. We were now seeing more
gringos since the railroad calls here. In fact Di and I were here some 15
years ago on a wagon train of RV's. After lunch and into Creel it was time
to give our trusty steeds a bit of TLC. A car wash allowed Jerry to blast
the chains (and me!) with the powerful jet. The KLR's needed a pint of
Mobil1 and after the chains dried a squirt of PJ1 chain lubricant.

Jerry checked the tyres and showed me that my "chicken strips" were bigger
than his. These are the bits of tread on the tyre edges that are not ridden
on if you don't ride to the limit of lean on the tyres. I had swung the
bends enthusiastically and CERTAINLY I had had a great days riding both on
and off road.

Another two guys on KLR's turned up for a couple of weeks adventure riding
(see www.klr650.com) and they turned out to be homicide cops from Houston.
We went for a beer and dinner with them enjoying some good conversation.

Creel is at an altitude of over 7,000 feet and was COLD pre dawn. We decided
to breakfast at the hotel to allow the sun to warm things a little. A good
decision since the ice was melting from the roofs. Today was going to be an
easy day - a mere 6 hours in the saddle to Mexico's highest waterfall with a
name something like Basseichi. I put on ALL the clothes I had and even my
waterproof coat to stop the icy wind blast and two pairs of gloves (why is
it I always want to pee when I have done this?). The pee stop confirmed that
my hands were STILL cold...........

I was glad that Jerry was lead riding with his greater experience of the
damp and icy bits in the shaded areas. A very ancient log cabin cafe run by
two old indian ladies provided some hot coffee. A tour bus came in and I got
into conversation - mainly due to this Mexicans English rather than my lousy
Spanish. His 70 year old sprightly pal was boastful of his fitness and when
I asked if it was the ladies that kept him young he proudly showed a VIAGRA
tablet ............

Terry - Melbourne, OZ.

 
The canyon with the 2,000 feet high waterfall was yet another highlight of
the superb trip.We had the viewpoint from the National Parl completely to
ourselves. In fact no other humans were in view - and we could see for miles
and miles. I did take a photograph but realised it could only be a small
reminder of the splendour of this massive lump of nature. We then spotted
two other humans as they walked into view looking like insects above the
free dropping waterfall which was breaking into a rainbow mist and falling
into a green blue pond. We walked back to the bikes and fed a starving dog
with beef jerky and a muffin (all we had). It would help her and her new
litter of pups that were just a week or so old.

We were now starting our journey back. It all looked so different the other
way around but we swung the bends even more enthusiastically - then a
thundershower and we had our waterproofs on, riding the now foamy roads.
Creel for another nights stay and then Jerry spotted a new hotel in
Colotolan - the satellite dish drew him in and we caught some American
Football which I now understand a little better (its a whole new language).
We found some excellent food before we rode into the old town. Like Spain
they were promenading on the Sunday evening. Friendly people, a band tuning
up in the square went on tuning up for a while before we realised that that
was as good as they got! Still the chicas were very pretty and I liked the
cheap internet.

Guadalajara seemed easier now that I had nearly 2,000 miles experience under
my bum. I had asked Jerry about the 'different' looking hotels. These are
the whore houses or "hot sheets' set ups. Apparently good value too when you
can stay for a peaceful sleep on a quiet night.

Back at Jerry's I helped with chain washing whilst Jerry washed the dusty
air filters. What a fantastic 8 day motorcycle experience with a well
prepared bike and an experienced leader. The only bit I remained cautious
about was the Topes at 70kph when there were people and vehicles expecting
you to crawl over them. My "chicken strips" were down to about an eighth of
and inch - pretty good.

My final day in Lake Chapala was a visit to Jerry's golf club. I putted on
the immaculate practice green making patterns in the dawn dew. Jerry's pals
arrived to make a four ball and I enjoyed the walk and chat on this lovely
course with its many colourful tropic trees.

Lunch at Moms in Ajijic before airport - Mexico City - Los Angeles (UGH!) -
Sydney - onto Melbourne - back to Sydney - got a plane with engines that
worked! - again to Melbourne - Hertz rental - find Hotel Mercure in centre -
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...................

Terry - Cowes, Philip Island, OZ.



 
When I plan my Round The World ticket I look to have great 'stopovers'.
Mexico was great and my next is based in Melbourne so that I can visit
Philip Island for the penultimate round of the Moto GP. I used the City link
(toll road) which quickly had me on the M1/M420 freeways to the bridge
across to Philip Island. As I arrived at the circuit's ticket booth it was
raining, hailing, howling and bloody cold. It relented so I put on my boots
and paddled into the office to collect my tickets bought on the internet.
This circuit is a natural one spectacularly located alongside the ocean and
well favoured by the riders. I saw practice start on very wet roads and as
always marveled at what these guys can do. It dried and I heard again the
magical sounds of the big bikes screaming around. I munched my sardine
sandwiches and then walked around the entire circuit. The miserable buggers
had staff controlling access to the grandstands even on this practice day
meaning they were only a quarter full (yes I had bought only the cheapest 3
day ticket for about 45 pounds). All the major manufactures had displays too
so it was a good day out.

Back in Melbourne for the night showed me a bustling city with a big
Chinatown and a BIG traffic problem. My central hotel had valet parking and
it was nice to walk around having dumped the car. Next morning I found one
of the reasons it was so busy was that it was the Caulfield Cup weekend.
This is similar to England's Ascot - all dressing up, boozing and having a
flutter on the horses. A horse called Elvis was favourite and 'won for the
money'. I walked to Flinders railway station to see the punters in creative
head wear, impractical strappy high heel shoes and showing flesh. I got into
the spirit of it all by having a half of "Beez Neez" opposite the station
before using a Chinese owned efficient internet.

I watched GP qualifying on the TV and also Shane Warne become the biggest
world wide taker of wickets EVER! Australia was right to be proud. I checked
out (how is it when they make a mistake on the bill it's always in THEIR
favour?) and headed for the City Link - it was closed for road works -
bugger - but I found my way by following the just rising sun. It was much
quieter than I expected to get into the circuit again on this perfect day.
The racing in the MGP was really thrilling and  the 25 year old Valentino
Rossi won and became 2004 World Champion. Di will be thrilled - she wears
his T shirt when she watches on TV!! I felt lucky to witness it live.

You can imagine 42,000 people now leaving an island with one bridge. I
doubled back, visited Rhyll and went to a still packed Cowes looking for a
bed. After quite a bit of searching I found an inscrutable old Chinese guy
renting a garage like apartment with painted concrete floors. He spoke a
little English - 'pay now , cash'. Cowes main street has many restaurants,
fish shops and ice cream parlours with other shops that have been taken over
for selling biker gear. There was one busy boozer overlooking the bay. The
police presence seemed over the top with mounted police too and it all
seemed a bit restrained. I suppose that's because I've been to many wild
European rounds so it was bound to feel a bit muted by comparison.

I slept well and the TV and shower worked and I was quickly into the still
busy main street. The Church was still doing hot $8A breakfasts and as I was
one of the last I got to sit with the 'workers' who told me that 30 of them
had volunteered and had used 90 dozen eggs, 90 kilos of sausages with 100
loaves to feed the bikers. Uma remembered the race circuit when she was a
girl back in the 1930's. Another lady told me that the bikers were a laugh -
she had seen one stark naked who had climbed a concrete lighting pole - he
lost control on coming down - OUCH.....

Leaving the busy main street I walked several miles of golden, quiet beach
meeting just a few people, a few dolphins, but millions of  small crabs.
With more time I could have seen the penguins and the cuddly koalas. That
earned me a cappuccino in the lovely sunshine before I headed for Melbourne
Airport and my first experience of a Formule 1 Hotel (cheap) at just $59A
and could have slept 3 - I knew that Chinese guy had stiffed me.

Terry - 'The Cut' Nelson, NZ.

 
There scarcely seemed time to drink my tea in the three and a half hour
flight from Melbourne to Auckland after the much longer legs I had flown. I
had booked my ticket on the internet to get to Nelson and I just put the
credit card I used to book with into the reader which then issued my
boarding pass - very efficient.

My pal Malcolm was waiting at the airport even though I got in a bit early
-just  10 minutes later we were in the 'Lawyer' having a Boddingtons. It was
dark when he dropped me at my house but it felt fantastic - even the pool
felt warm considering that it is just Spring here. The joy of seeing
blossoms and tropic trees next morning was wonderful. My theory of a trickle
charger on a battery for a month at a time had not worked on my vehicles and
my house sitter had brought his charger to boost them. The bottom line was a
couple of new batteries and a volt meter that was accurate. Now Bonnie (the
Triumph Bonneville) the Saab convertible and my trusty Beemer (the 1978 BMW
800/7 are all running. I even have plans to be a bit more legal by getting
NZ plates for the old Beemer - I will tell you how that goes but it all
starts with de registering it in England and having a Bill of Lading......

I finished reading "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, he along with Lee Child
had been excellent travel companions. Everyone said it had been a wet winter
here and certainly the countryside looks lush. I brought the sun for a few
days and then sod's law brought the rain back for the holiday weekend. I
took my newly bought (in OZ Duty Free) Driza-Bone coat for a three hour walk
in the rain up the Maitai River and the oilskin did its stuff. In the 1890's
a Scottish sailer by the name of Edward Le Roy discovered that the torn
sails could be plied with oils and made effective coats.

I needed to change my address here at the Westpac Bank - I meet different
ladies who make differing recommendations for the type of account I should
be using. It seems to make little difference but this morning I got an
appointment to see the advisors on the floor above. There seems to be better
'crumpet' (totty-sheilas-skirt) - you know I write to several countries - up
here, so it was a pleasant visit. There even seems to be a chance of a FREE
account if it is pension money feeding it - now THAT would impress me......


Terry - Nelson, South Island, NZ.

 

I have had several phone calls to my house to arrange 'Tango lessons' (Chris
- my house sitter - gives dance lessons) - it suddenly struck me that it was
ladies that were ringing - perhaps it's a 'code' for a rather more intimate
service? My dream world is quite a pleasant place, so when I was driving
through the Lewis Pass on my way to see my pal in Ashburton I found that
each time I put the top down on my car it rained. After three times of
achieving rain I think I should now be able to add "Rainmaker" to my very
extensive CV.

My pal Andy had been displaying huge combined harvesters at the Ashburton
agricultural show and left early Sunday morning to arrange their return to
his companies HQ. Would I like a ride? - YOU BETCHA. So there I was sitting
in the instructional seat alongside Tony the engineer in the Case 8510 - a
mere half a million dollar machine with 440hp and a giant 30 foot cut. The
space age cab is like an upmarket car with panoramic vision, air con and
good hifi. You can have Satellite Navigation accurate to a few inches
feeding a computer that gives yields so you can fine tune irrigation also to
inches - mind boggling - I shall think about it every time I eat my
Weetabix.

We headed to the road with Tony at the wheel and joystick. My seat was fixed
and Tony had hydraulic cushioning. The effect was him going up and down
about 18 inches as if on a pogo stick whilst we chatted. I asked how long
the course was to learn to operate the harvester and his laconic reply was
'a lot of drinking'. He told me the maximum speed was 32.4kph and we were
quickly doing this speed with him blasting the horn in town to get his pal
out of bed (perhaps he said off the nest).
We returned for a 'small' harvester, the front wheel just reaches to my
head. He had 'hot wired' this for more speed and at 2450rpm it bowled us
back at 38kph with its 290hp diesel. How could I ever be satisfied with a
mere motorcycle?

The answer is I got my leg over Roddy and went with Andy and Jenny on their
unique Excelsior-Henderson and headed for the snow capped mountains. We had
an excellent outdoor lunch at Methven which is a ski resort in winter. What
a most wonderful day out - I even cleaned Roddy to welcome him to New
Zealand....


Terry - "The Cut" Tahunanui, Nelson, NZ.

 


 

I had loaned Bonnie to my pal Malcolm. At around 70 years of age he is
becoming a 'born again biker'. It's 28 years since he was riding a Moto
Guzzi. He covered some 24 miles practicing (wisely!) on the Monaco Peninsula
which is about half a mile long. He is just completing a superb renovation
of his bach (cottage) which has taken some four years - like me he lives in
NZ for 6 months.

He was ready for the inaugural ride of the Funny Old Farts Chapter. My plan
is to have a leisurely daytime mid week ride for mature bikers that fits the
Ulysses Clubs motto of 'Grow Old Disgracefully'.

I had an aging biker chick with me on Beemer and the three of us rode to the
Riverside Cafe. Each time I stopped to check that Malcolm was OK on Bonnie
he had even more flies stuck to his teeth! This cafe near Motueka is run by
a commune that has lived here for over 60 years. They serve excellent
organic food in a beautiful garden. On the way back we had a coffee
overlooking the sea at Port Mapua and then home with about 70 miles on the
clock. Malcolm rang me that evening totally elated with getting his leg over
again after all these years. He has subsequently ordered a new Triumph
Bonneville with chrome goodies that is due to arrive this weekend.

I have done a day trip on my bike to the Abel Tasman and taken a water taxi
into this scenic National Park. If you have seen the film 'Castaway' this
gives you a good idea of the place. It was a perfect day - sunny, warm and
calm - just ideal for tramping (hiking). Another NZ friend called Rae called
to welcome us back - she used to bee in the honey business - with a great
EMail address of runny.honey. Expecting Di to have arrived she brought some
peonies. I EMailed them to Di, they have been so exceptional I have attached
the photo and also of our orchids and roses. One of Nz's great joys is the
diversity and just how well things grow here.

Beemer (1978) now has NZ plates,Warranty of Fitness and a 6 months rego at a
total cost of $290. I needed a Bill of Lading and a De-registration
certificate from the UK to achieve this. Newer vehicles pose more problems
to import.

My pool is up to temperature and I have now added swimming to tramping and
gardening to my recreational activities - and Di is due on Monday.....

Terry - "The Cut", Tahunanui, Nelson, NZ.
Photos

 

My one and only (ex) Mother in Law has recently died at an amazing 98 years
of age. She was a wonderful lady and always very good to me, she was
extremely amusing right to the end - I shall miss her. I must be trying to
live longer too as I'm eating De Winkels Acidophilus Yoghurt on fruit and
starting the day with half a glass of Spirulina. This super food is a bit
like gooey silage and niffs of linseed oil so it must be doing me good.

I really enjoyed a Ulysses Motorcycle Club ride called a continuous lunch.
We rode an hour had morning coffee on one members farm - rode another hour
then barbied in anothers orchard - then another hour and ate fruit and
icecream at anothers house - what a super day out for the princely expense
of $10NZ (three and a half quid).

I returned to my pal Andy's in Ashburton for the weekend of the Jokers
Motorcycle Club Show - what a superb event with a great collection of bikes
on display - I even displayed Roddy and won a cap as a consolation prize.
The evening was a great friendly booze up with a good band. There was a
tattoo competition with the ladies with large butts having the unfair
advantage of a larger 'canvas' on which to display their
'*artwork'..........

Di arrived in Christchurch on time via Singapore and we drove via Hanmer in
the mountains. There is a pub close to there which was in danger of closing
down. The locals felt so strongly that a consortium of what turned out to be
77 took it over in 1982. It is now a commercial concern again that is
prospering as a historic hostelry (recommended). As we travelled over the
higher parts of the mountains it rained and was only 3C. Just 600 feet
higher this was falling as snow but adding to the picture postcard views.
Bravely we drove onwards with the seat warmers in the car switched ON.
Nelson lived up to its sunny reputation and Di was so excited to see 'her'
roses etc. I had almost completed my garden project and with her taking over
the domestic duties I have now completed a new patio area overlooking the
Bay. The native plants are already growing strongly as I learn more about
gardening here.

Friends from San Diego called and overnighted and my pal David from my
teenage years has stayed for the last week giving us a good excuse to play
at tourists. Its all been highlights in the now almost summery weather, but
best of all was our 3rd ride of the Funny Old Farts Chapter. This included
Ken who rides a BMW R1150, Malcolm running in his new Triumph Bonneville,
David on his rented Suzuki V-STROM (an excellent 650cc bike and ideal for NZ
riding) with me riding my trusty 1978 BMW 800/7 in the best motorcycle
territory in the world. Andy and his family are expected this weekend for
Xmas and what with Rae's hen and stag night and wedding at the weekend its
some social whirl.........wonderful

Terry - "The Cut", Tahunanui, Nelson, NZ.
 
Like you all, I have been utterly devastated to see the horrifying images
following the Boxing Day tragedy. It was seeing yesterdays amazing World
Cricket Tsunami Appeal match played in Melbourne that has helped me get back
into writing mood. The speed and excellence of this whole event that raised
over 15 million dollars was a tribute to everyone involved and backs up the
support given by the various governments and charities to the disaster
areas. Many more people events will show what this planets population can do
for the benefit of others. Our donation was efficiently taken on
www.worldvision.com.au. I have mentioned before that the charities that I
normally support are Riders for Health which helps Africa give rudimentary
healthcare and the Childrens Society in England.

Many other parts of the planet have had their own smaller disasters - West
Coast America with mud slides and even Carlisle in the UK cut off with
floods - now bush fires in OZ. At least India is now talking seriously of
having a warning system to protect their populations and tourists in that
area of the planet.

So what's happening in NZ? - well we have had rain rain rain with some sunny
spells but cooler than usual. Apparently even the sea temperature is some 2C
below average - a huge difference and even icebergs within 600km South of
the southernmost tip.

We had a barbie for Xmas Day and our Boxing Day Open day was blessed with
good weather - in fact four of us had a swim. New Year was celebrated under
the stars with friends and best of all it was a wonderful day for the Port
Nelson Road Races. I was a flag marshall for the Ulysses Club who were
staffing the event. Only one over enthusiastic Harley rider dumped it on my
corner and left impressive gouges in nthe road but happily no injuries other
than to his pride. Then a night at the speedway - solos - sidecars and lots
of different type cars - a great night out for $5. It has been the Nelson
Jazz Festval also with lots of music around the bars and coffee shops.

By amazing coincidence our present B&B guests are from Burley in Wharfedale
just 5 miles from Di's house in the UK. My pal Skip's widow arrives on
Saturday with her niece so the social activities will crank up again......

Terry - "The Cut", Tahunanui, Nelson, NZ.

 
Summer came to Nelson since my last TT, happily in time for my pal Skip's widow Louise visiting. Since it was her first time out of the States (Hawaii doesn't count) EVERTHING about NZ was new and exciting. Meeting people, seeing things, doing things, tasting different things. Having fish and chips in paper whilst watching the yachts race in the Bay was a BIG hit. It was a delight for us all. The temperature has been as high as 36C (in the nineties) and I have even run our aircon a couple of evenings - very unusual. Louise went back to the States looking like a Maori (very tanned). I haven't written more TTs because I have done very little travelling.

Louise brought me new software for my computer from the States and I have occupied my brain (Yes! - until it hurt at times) in learning this. I can now produce very sophisticated CDs and DVDs of my home movies and still pictures that can be used around the world. I now occasionally also write more technical newsletters

   1. Techies - more detail about computers/software/video/TV/hifi etc.

   2. Bikers - more detail about motorcycles and motorcycling.

   If you do not get one of these in the next week please EMail me and I will add you to the list  of recipients.

About mid January I started with contractors on re-landscaping the rear garden rear drive area of "The Cut". This has involved excavation of some very heavy clay soil (the reason there are many potters in the area) laying drainage into the storm water drain system. Post hole boring, supporting garden walls, new back patio (with hammock), pergola with grape vine. Electrical for garden lighting, water feature and irrigation. It's about half completed and I'm getting fitter. I had already completed alone another area of the garden that is now growing really well. NZ is such an encouraging place to grow things.

In between all of this there has been time to walk, swim and read. My present book is "Kiwis Might Fly" by Polly Evans, a very amusing, intelligent and 'ballsy' young lady. Amazingly I know the new owner of the same bike that she rode around NZ.

Since today is Valentines Day I decided not to work in the garden - it rained overnight - and I am taking Di to lunch and the cinema. Who says the age of romance is passed?

Have a fun V Day. - oh yes Erica is Louise's niece - and Jonny is the Kiwi bloke she pulled......

Terry - now also on Skype and Messenger for Webcam link  :

"The Cut", Tahunanui, Nelson, NZ.
 

As I write this the season is drifting steadily from late summer into autumn. The evenings are drawing in and mornings are cooler, but the sun is still powerful and the garden is taking plenty of watering. I have just a month left on this trip - the time is really flying.

My Valentines present to myself arrived as a red Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle so I can ride off road. NZ has lots of gravel roads and tracks to explore. Being new and watercooled and with the weather still hot my second ride had me taking too much notice of the temperature guage than the speedo - OUCH! - a $170 speeding fine and a comment from the cop that the bike goes well - its ZERO tolerance here. I normally stay in 3rd for 50kph zones and 4th for 70/80kph zones. My third ride was more planned, I bought a large scale map similar to the UK's Ordanace Survey and planned a short gravel ride starting up the Maitai River Valley. I used a track marked for 4 wheel drive which became more difficult as it went through fords - it then climbed higher - not as I thought the map showed. The first sign of life for quite a distance was when I saw a Jeep coming down towards me but I was trying so hard to keep going up the tricky rocky climb that I dare not stop. Reaching the top eventually I could see for miles - not a house or road in sight in the evening sun. I wondered whether to ride on and risk the unknown - yes - so I rode carefully onwards. Meeting another 4 wheel drive I shouted "does it come out" the youngsters shouted a smiling "Yes" and passed me. It did, eventually, lead out into the main road at a place I recognised called Pelorus Bridge. I was some 80km from home and the sun was setting. I rode steadily conserving fuel - then bugger - the only petrol station was closed. The bike started the dreaded stuttering and I switched to reserve, it picked up and since its always uncertain how far it will go I just willed it to get me over the Whangamoa hills and home. It got me back to Nelson with 2 litres to spare - what a bike - and what an idiot to have found the wellknown Mangatapu track this way - but it was worth it. 

My pal Des Molloy (Desmo) had invited me on his "Consenting Adults Peregrination" ride. I was ready for a break from all the many hours of hard work I have spent on the back garden so my napsac and I boarded the new bike with 380km on the clock, the 23 litre tank well filled  and headed for Picton. This is the lovely port where the ferry connects South Island with the more populated North island. Hot and sunny it was a joy to reach Havelock and take the twindy coast road with staggering views of the Marlboro Sounds, pristine islands in azure blue green inlets with mussel beds. A cuppa and a pie at Waikawa Bay and I was ready for the dirt riding to Port Underwood. It was a hilly coastal road with sharp bends with views that distracted me dangerously from watching the bull dust and the hard driven occasional logging truck.

A burger, a pint, and a bed in Blenheim - I felt fantastic and well pleased with "Kwacker Snr". I have a 250cc Kawasaki on my motorhome in the UK which will be "Kwacker Jnr.....more soon......

Terry -  Nelson, NZ.
 

 

Blenheim is the centre of NZ's wine region and I headed S through winery after winery with names my taste buds were familiar with. The dark green vines contrasted with the sun scorched hills. 'Kwacker Snr' needed fuel and I stopped in a small town called Ward. I got talking to an Australian couple on a well kitted orange KTM 640 motorcycle. He was a writer/traveller/photographer - they were loving NZ and may call later to our B&B. Like me he had hoped to ride the Molesworth track, this is a dirt road that passes through a huge sheep farming wilderness en route to Hanmer Springs but it was closed due to dryness and fire risk - maybe next year. I heard the distinctive throb of two old British single motorbikes passing and was sure it was my pal heading S to meet up. I finished talking and fuelling and headed on spotting the bikes at a cafe with an awesome view from the coast. The heavenly smell had me ordering a long black from the blackboard full of different coffees and I kept my greedy eyes off the carrot cake/muffins/scones and pies on this occasion. I looked for my pal Des who turned up just then - he introduced me to the other two couples. I had only mixed up Velocettes with his Panther - sacrilege! We had to drag ourselves away from the chatter and coffee - their bikes kicked into action and I hit my button and we were riding convoy S down the coast passing signs for Crayfish that live in profusion here that you could eat, and seal colonies that you could not. The seaweed beds were moving with the waves and seals were playing - paradise.

Waiting at the Pier Hotel at Kaikora (famous for whale watching) was Dick and his wife on his old Norton motorcycle and Eric on another Velocette. The Peregrination tour group was complete now with four couples, two guys and six bikes. The conversation was wide ranging as we sat outside this fine hostelry and I took the opportunity to talk to Dick who I had so wished to meet.

You have probably heard of Ewan McGregor (actor/film star of "Trainspotting", "Brassed Off" and the voice in "Robots") and Charley Boorman (son of John Boorman film producer). These two have just done the " Long Way Round" trip of 12 countries including Mongolia - a seven part TV series and DVD full of bullshit, pretence and BIG BUCKS - and a pseudo adventure.

Des and Dick plan a similar trip starting in May with their old bikes, much less money and advancing years - and YES - I chickened out..........


 

Terry -  Nelson, NZ.


 


 

The convoy headed S from Kaikora before turning E onto the inland route. NZ is a motorcycling Mecca with all the varied scenery and quiet roads too. A roadside stop for a cuppa meant  literally that, with a small stove boiling the water from a crystal mountain stream. One of the wives is a water colour artist and soon had a lovely momento of this view in the mountains near the Lewis Pass.

We overnighted in the motel beside the stream at Springs Junction before another sunny ride to the West coast and a wonderful trip through Westport, to a dead end at Karamea for a white bait pattie - a local delicacy. Des had planned our overnight stay at "The Old Slaughterhouse" backpackers at Hector (voted NZ's best). We had it to ourselves. Dave, the owner, had been a sheep shearer in his previous life before building this most wonderful Alpine feeling chalet overlooking the wild West coast. He took the luggage up the steep rocky path on his 4WD quad. Guests have to climb to arrive panting at his paradise, which he has completed with a MUCH younger German sourced female partner who takes second place to his two dogs - GOOD ON YER.......

Communal dining in this cliff top heaven fealt especially 'special' and my contribution was in eating the tasty dinner - oh - and helping with the washing up. I have to award a TT 5* to this inexpensive experience - even though I got a deserved Dave 'bollocking' for not removing my boots.

Des had planned a hike to a remote lake near Murchison with his many cousins. Picture the convoy of five old bikes and mine arriving to about 30 people clapping our arrival! - they even wore name badges to help with the conversation. The party then started to leave in 4WD vehicles and Des suggested that he and I could ride our bikes across the farm to start the hike. Now this different convoy is bumping and slithering on the track alongside a river. Des slid off the old Panther  - I asked if he was OK - he was, so I filmed him!! The track ended and everyone scrambled down the bank to the river. Two of the Kiwis in front took off their boots - so I did the same - BIG MISTAKE. My soft feet were in agony on the sharp slippy rocks in the deep surging river. Kiwis often go without footware from first walking - in fact the Maoris wear flip flops (jandals) for everything - the Kiwis call them Maori safety boots.

Thats how I came to dip my camera into the river with disastrous consequences........

HAPPY EASTER _ Terry - Nelson, NZ.
 

 

The hike to the lake continued after the river crossing - we put our boots back on and fed the sand flies. We even climbed a waterfall as part of the trail. When I got my camera out to take a photo/film it was all steamed up. So was I.

After a sandwich, the group photo was taken by the lake on each of the 15 or so cameras. Des thought it was was probably the most people at any one time seen to visit this remote lake. Since there was no cable car in sight we all hiked back. Re-crossing the fateful river with my boots ON and with a staff I gave a good impression of Friar Tuck.

Back at the homestead a fatted pig had been killed and was cooking on a spit. The generous hosts encouraged going to look at it - but even hearing that its black hairs had caught fire was too much information for me. The beer keg and ingenious home made chilling system of a cool box jammed with ice around the pipes was much more my idea of COOL. The party went with a real swing with lots of interesting people to drink with and motorcycles to be ogled at. I slept well in the attic. The three couples camped and so it rained. Yesterday's dusty gravel was todays splashy mucky lubricant for the six exposed chains on the bikes. NZ is still beautiful when it rains and it was warm as we headed back towards Nelson via Motueka and the Hippy Communes wonderful Riverside Cafe. The rain quit so we could eat lunch al fresco, I even got to take my wet boots off as I sat beside the colourful frogs happily living in the pond as I munched my organic jungle in ciabatta bread. The entertaining trip had ended and the group split up - but Di and I are promised an invite next year.........Dick and Des returned to Wellington which is on the S coast of North Island via the Picton Ferry and are satisfied with the preparation of the Panther and Norton ready for their Silk Road trip.

Kwacker Snr had servrd me well in his first 1600km on dirt, dust, gravelly tarmac, heat and rain. I must tell you that I have now watched all seven episodes of "The Long Way Round" and got to like Ewan and especially Charlie. They completed their adventure - even with the cosseting and a bit of cheating they still DID the 20,000 miles. Shame they didn't give Claudio the Cameraman more credit for not wetting himself and his camera - since he rode it all too - and did a good job filming.

Terry - Nelson, NZ (for another week)

PS - I still have to get the tape removed from my camera - and even the memory card with my still photos has corrupted.
 

 
This week the weather snapped with a low bringing in lots of heavy rain after weeks of fantastic weather. It fell as a bit of snow on the mountain tops and I had to switch our heat on - the first time for months. A good thing we had seeded the new rear landscaping, the rain has helped and quickly brought a covering of green shoots despite the birds having feasted on the lawn seed.

Our friends Jerry and Sharon from Texas and Mexico came and rented motorcycles on North Island. Jerry had an accident on only the third day but gamely completed the tour on crutches and with Sharon driving the rental car. Their week with us became one of recuperation for Jerry with his broken heel/cracked tailbone/broken ribs before the long flight back to Mexico. They are safely back home and EMailed to say how impressed with the Kiwi hospitality they were - yes and the Ulysses members.

Our new Yorkshire flag is now flying from our flagpole - very appropriate since a couple from Yorkshire are renting the house for the winter here when Di leaves.

I enjoyed another more planned ride both ways on the now wetter Mangatapu Track which used to be the main route to Picton. Another new Ulysses pal Henry rode with me and I got the story of a desperate gang that robbed and killed another traveller on this route in 1866. The plaque reads 'Murderers Rock' - its a reminder that history here only goes back to around this time as far as Europeans are concerned.

I find it hard to believe that I have lived here in Nelson for nearly 6 months and Di almost 5 months - we have really enjoyed living amidst such beauty. Our circle of friends is ever widening and I really look forward to coming back in November (Spring). We shall soon have a web site to promote 'The Cut' as a B&B now that work is almost completed. I hear that NZ is a top choice for the Brits as a holiday destination - deservedly so.

My Kiwi pals Des, his son Steve (cameraman) and Dick were interviewed on national radio. Their Silk Road trip starts May 1st - a BIG DAY for them - and for me - its my birthday.

Everyone is asking where I go next, well Nelson/Auckland/Bangkok/Chaingmai and the Tao Garden Health Resort for lettuce leaves and meditation - but not for long. Then its to the UK for my grandsons 7th birthday - how time flies. I look forward to catching up with family and friends.

The if Mercie the Motorhome starts up OK its another Terry's Travels to Europe in May and maybe a meet up with another pal from my teen years who now lives in the Dordogne region of France - convenient for another Moto GP race - hmmmm................


 

Terry - Nelson, NZ.
 

A massage therapist in Bingley had told me about a place where she had some of her training. I checked it on the internet and thats how I come to be here at the Tao Gardens Spa and Health Resort. This is a whole (body) new experience. The resort nestles way off the highway in a green zone near the mountains to the N of Chaingmai in THAILAND. It has many acres of jungle, streams, lagoons with meditation halls with exotic tropical plants, butterfies, frogs and the background noise of jungle everywhere.

The brainchild of Taoist writer Master Mantak Chia. I so agree with the basic philosophy of clean air, pure water and good food. Taoism has a neutral stance on vegetarianism and welcomes all races and religions. My accomodation is way better than I expected, its a lovely house that I have to myself and I opted for just a paddle fan to cool my room. Its hot and steamy during the day but cools for sleeping at night.

I had a consultation with Walter the Resort's manager and after a discussion and a bit of "theatre" which showed parasites in my blood and too much clustering of my blood cells - I booked a 3 day de-tox programme. Before that started I walked the grounds and went to dinner. A proliferation of wonderful organic foods to try with salads, steamed veggies and maybe a little seafood or chicken for non veggies. Ginger ginseng tea I knew but Amalfi juice was new to me as was Tamarind juice. Tofu yoghurt I liked and the tropical fruits - yummy. So good so far - I even went to the Yoga evening session and felt quite comfortable amongst the other bodies of GREATLY varying proportions.

The day started with Tai Chi (Chi Kung) morning excercise lead by a slim guy from Portsmouth originally, who is a student of Master Chia. It had me smiling at my Tan Chien and becoming overheated and dizzy just by breathing. I was VERY impressed. You get a little book called your Longevity Passport and I felt that I was accompanying my body as you journeyed to the appropriate place for treatment. Before the first treatment called Ozone I dribbled in a container - all in balance. You then step into this box that steams you with ozone enriched air. Its like a cooking pot. The 'nurse' soothingly massages your temples and cools your head just before you pass out. She also gives you water from a straw. I'm sure I didn't keep up as sweat streamed from me.

The next is called Lim/Rife and you and your towel have another nurse applying electrical contacts to your body. It has a vibrating pulsing effect as it zaps the parasites. The nurse gives you a gentle massage from below your navel to your collarbones - very nice.

Chi Nei Sung was next. This was an abdominal massage given by one of the few men in a seperate small building. He applies great pressure to your lower gut that builds up to give you feelings of pain similar to that that warns of a diarreoah attack. I came through that unscathed but didn't fancy much lunch.

Banana leaf was next, but all you do is lie in the sun with leaves covering you. The green light is good for you and especially your sexual organs. I steamed again. By now I'm drinking lots of water but peeing little. Into a herbal steam sauna  - drink water - in again - it's like I'm melting. Afternoon fruit was by the pool and was jack fruit and longons freshly picked - delicious

Terry - www.THinnc.co.uk
 

I arrived at the medical centre early for my appointment with Dr Wang, a Chinese doctor. Walter saw me waiting and brought a device that went under my scrotum - minutes later it was toasting my prostate! So me and my toasted prostate went to be examined by Dr Wang, very youthful looking despite his great experience in S China. He carefully checked my blood pressure in both arms - I am on medication for this but was surprised to see such a low (for me) reading. He took quite a time to feel the pulse in both arms and gazed at my tongue - I also got the strong feeling at just how keenly he was observing me. I mentioned shoulder pain and had acupuncture. Its a strange feeling and especially when he comes back and diddles the needles - the feeling goes right along your arms like a bit of electric. A heat lamp was also used. Then he prescribed Chinese pills - I think to help circulation but also sleeping. It was a shock when I saw they were like smaller aniseed balls and I had to take 12 t0 18 three times daily with warm water.

After dinner I felt tired , read a little and slept well.

Day 2 had some repetition but then a Colonic. This had TWO nurses attacking me with the prettier one getting her finger up my bum! - that was nothing - the greased pole came next. This admits the water until you raise your arm in submission to get a blissful release which is the prompt for the other nurse to attack your lower body pumelling the large intestine. She obviously found it amongst the fat and seemed quite pleased as my waste flowed out through a clear pipe. Repeated 8 or 9 times when you are sent to the toilet to expel the water. Back on the table for some different cleansing fluid - lay on one side 5 mins then the other and go to the toilet again. Dressed and outside there were strange concoctions to eat and drink. Weak soup and some fizzy vinegar. I was almost getting a post coital feeling when another nurse came  to give me a foot de-tox, foot vibrator that really tingled and quite a fierce foot massage and reflexology. I felt very good but was now unsure just what had made me feel good.

By Day 3 I was really into it all - my second colonic was a breeze with different nurses - I even noticed a smell of rotting vegetation when I finally expelled. I was feeling what the Chi Kung excercises were doing - and not getting dizzy. Weight was coming off, blood pressure was going down - even though I had reduced my usual medication. I was going for a Ayuverdic Abhyanga. In a quiet room in a building built over water TWO 'nurses' greeted me smilingly and took my towel. Laid me on my back on a table and warm oil was applied ALL OVER - bliss. But then the massage started. It felt like dozens of arms working in unison. It was heaven. I had to be really careful turning over - the sesame and other oils were so slippery. The excess oil was scraped off with a coconut leaf and I was rubbed everywhere. I floated off back to the pool almost forgetting to put my towel around me............

And I haven't yet told you about KARSAI .........

Terry - Chaingmai, THAILAND
 


 

 
<< Back