Page 5 of Clare and Vernon Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hamilton January 27th 2006

Heading to Raglan 19-22/01/06 So we finally set off south, the weather is abysmal, we decide to stop at Papatoetoe to sit out the worst of the rain in a cafe; after 50mins we have another coffee each because we've made the first ones last so long they're cold! The rain continues to pour down, there are rivers running down the paths as well as the roads, the drains are full and outside the cafe is a water feature Charlie Dimmock would be proud to say she'd made. We continue drinking coffee and decide the ride's going to be a short one today. Finally the rain abates and we get togged up in the waterproofs and set off, we occasionally stop to check our route, each time we do somebody comes up to us and offers ... read more
It's...Bicycle Repair Man
The Shekinah Cute Kittens
The view from Shekinah Hostel

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Northland January 18th 2006

Homeward bound 8-10/01/06 We finally decided to get back on our bikes and head off; the object of the journey, meeting our niece, has been accomplished and so it's time to go home, very slowly. Incredibly I was the first person awake and managed to get a cup of tea and toast in complete peace before anybody else got up. We loaded up the bikes and set off towards Russell amid photos, loads of shouts of "Bye", "See you in Britain", "Don't fall off, again" and two rather confused toddlers who hadn't fully realised that Uncle Vernon, the "Muppint (muffin) Man", wasn't coming back. The road into Russell was much easier on the way back and we only had to get off and push once (near the Transfer Station for those who know the area). At ... read more
Spirit of New Zealand
Kerikeri Basin
Chester the miniature Kunekune

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Northland January 7th 2006

Hot springs and hills 4-5/12/05 We rode away from the hostel and headed for the ferry back to the mainland, the hills didn't seem as bad on the way back and the mile downhill to the port was great. We rolled the bikes onto the ferry, expecting the same comedy routine (carrying them fully laden down four steps and over two door sills) as we'd had on the way to Waiheke. Amazingly we were loaded straight onto the back of the boat and only had our fellow passengers to negotiate. The ride out of Auckland took ages, the place goes on for miles and miles, but eventually we left the buildings behind and pedalled out into the countryside. Just after Point Chevalier we met a guy pushing a 36" unicycle down a steep slope, he was ... read more
Roughing it in Parakai
Quick Gromitt, stop the car!
Waipoua Forest

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland December 4th 2005

13th November 2005 Didn't exist! Don't you love the International Dateline? Auckland and beyond 14-26/11/05 So, we made it to New Zealand by 6.30 am on the 14th, only one hour late but a number of passengers had to make internal connections and were panicking over the delay, we sat back and let them all flap about, then wandered off the plane and into passport control where everybody got to queue for about 45 minutes anyway. By the time we got through our bags were happily going round and round on the carousel so we grabbed them and made our way over to the "stupidly big and just plain weird" baggage area where we found three baby buggies, two removals boxes, one bag of golf clubs, a shoe and a bloke waiting for his guitar. After ... read more
Bike building at Auckland Airport
What's brown and sticky?
Oneroa Bay, Waiheke

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Long Beach November 12th 2005

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway 7-8/11/05 We drove to Monterey and spent the afternoon prodding fishes at the aquarium. They had a decorator crab which was decorated with Hallowe'en coloured wool (orange and black, supplied by the aquarium staff). In a couple of weeks, they said they were going to change the wool to red and green for Christmas. Penguins! Sea Otters! The aquarium had them all, some on an exchange visit from New Orleans while their home is being rebuilt. There was also a deep sea display with enormous Tuna and Sunfish (which look plain weird, they seem to only have a front half). We tried to get a sandwich at a cafe, but the very aged dahhhling who served us had no veggie sandwiches, so I had a bottle of OJ and Vernon's crisps. ... read more
Can you tell where we are yet?
Sea Jellies at Monterey Aquarium
Characters outside the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood

North America » United States » California » San Francisco November 6th 2005

Hallowe'en in Castro After we got to San Francisco we parked the car and went into a cafe for liquid refreshment and to get our bearings before looking for a place to sleep. As we were drinking our coffees the other customer in the cafe suddenly asked "Where are you guys from?" "Britain" we told her, thinking we would then get something along the lines of "Oh, England, I went there, whereabouts are you from?" Instead she carried on with "Are you looking for somewhere to go this evening? Somewhere exotic, fun, whacky, stupendous, erotic, exciting, unusual and completely unique?" We both decided this was the start of a sales patter and said "whaaaaat?" in that slow, 'don't try and flog me anything lady' way. She told us to go to the Halloween celebrations in Castro, ... read more
San Francisco, Lombard Street
The Golden Gate Bridge
Pelicans at Limantour Beach

North America » United States » California October 30th 2005

Death Valley 28/10/05 We headed back into California via Las Vegas (managed to drive straight past it this time!) and drove into Death Valley. The temperature was 82F (and no, I don't know what that is in real money) and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We saw loads of cyclists, it's like they were there to taunt us. Apparently there is a ride tomorrow, out of Death Valley into Nevada and back via the northern end of the valley - grrrrr, not fair, wanna get back on my bike, sob. We heard a very interesting talk on weather conditions in the valley at the visitor centre, apparently there was a huge rain storm this spring and they got enough water to kayak in. This occurs about once in every 100 years and gave rise ... read more
Mono Lake
When toilets go bad...
How Low?

North America » United States » Utah October 27th 2005

Into Utah 24-25/10/05 We drove into Utah, heading towards Bryce Canyon. I don't know what I was expecting, but everybody is exceedingly friendly and children are incredibly quiet (is it Mogadon?). We ate in a pizzeria in Logan which was full of kids from the very small (a few weeks old) to late teenage and all that we could hear was quiet conversation - WIERD! Even the stroppy teenagers smile at strangers. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park 26-27/10/05 The story is that Ebenezer Bryce looked into the canyon and said "That's one hell of a place to lose a cow" and it is! The canyon is full of spires of rock called Hoodoos, left after water erosion washed away the surrounding rock. It's best if you look at the photos, I can't explain it very ... read more
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon - Natural Bridge
Bryce Canyon

Lake Tahoe 17-18/10/05 We drove as far as Tahoe City on Lake Tahoe and stopped overnight. The next morning we hiked up Eagle Rock to take in the views and try out the new lens. There was a fire over the other side of the lake which had been burning for a couple of days, and you could see a thin layer of smoke spreading out across the lake. We chatted for a while to a couple called Tammy and Terry (encouraging them to take the trip to the Amazon that they had always dreamed about) before heading back down into town and replacing our Petzl head torches which had been destroyed in the bike crash. We then drove on to Elko, home of the Cowboy Poetry Festival (of which we have no examples) and had ... read more
Old Faithful doing its thing
Rush hour in Yellowstone
Great Fountain Geyser

North America » United States » California October 17th 2005

14-17/10/05 Mountain View, CA We travelled over the Sierra Nevada to Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay area to visit Tom and Julia. Vernon and Tom were flatmates when both were doing PhDs at Bangor University, but as with so many friendships we haven't seen each other for years. On Friday we went to Amici's for a pizza and were treated to free entertainment when a customer collapsed on the floor, he seemed to recover, stood up, left the building and promptly collapsed again. The staff called 911 and two fire tenders turned up with a paramedic on board. We spent Saturday searching for new bike helmets as ours, whilst they could be used as strange and interesting hanging baskets, are useless for head protection since the crash. The search took longer than expected as ... read more
San Francisco Bay
Castle Rock

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