Garth & Pam Pickup


Garth & Pam Pickup

Adventures on two wheels

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 12th 2018

Well, it's time to wrap the account of this bike trip. It’s now two weeks since it ended, and we're about to head back to the UK after visiting our Australian friends. I wrote this entry whilst sat outside at a street-side café in Mosman, a cute suburb of Sydney, waiting for Pam and Helen to re-appear from a beauty parlour where unmentionable atrocities are being performed by undercover Vietnamese shock troops armed with wax and cuticle knives. Let me explain how I got here from the Green Dragon. We left Hobbiton (which is near Matamata incidentally) bound for Whitianga. We initially had trouble identifying this place on the map following a verbal briefing from John, since “wh” is approximately pronounced as “f” in the Maori language. It’s a seaside resort on Mercury Bay, halfway up ... read more
Time for a pint
In The Green Dragon
The Road To Whitianga

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua March 10th 2018

The Indian meal was bloody good – if you’re in Napier, go eat there. But I wouldn’t bother going to Napier just for the curry. Consistent with most of the places we have visited so far on the trip, the natural setting is lovely; the place a bit, well, tired? Maybe that’s being unkind, there is nothing really to fault but it could be that I am ready for a little more sophistication after almost three weeks motorcycle touring in New Zealand. For breakfast in The County Hotel I restricted myself to toast and honey - Crystal Meth Girl seemingly had a day off which was a good start. The skies were heavily overcast though, and the three-and-a-half-hour trip that we had in front of us to Rotorua promised to be, like Marge Simpson’s bowling shoes, ... read more
Huka Falls
Silver Fern at Te Puia
Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Napier March 7th 2018

As everyone knows, riding pillion is an acquired and rare skill. It’s about combining your weight with that of the bike in such a way that the rider simply moves the bike and the pillion makes no difference at all. Pam is a particularly good pillion. Never flaps, weight always neutral, relaxed and confident (rightly or wrongly) in my ability to negotiate whatever the road throws at us. Up to now, the greatest accolade that I would have said that you can give a pillion rider is to say that you don’t even notice they are there. Yet something happened the other day that I believe warrants an even greater complement. After writing the last blog, Pam and I had decided to take a late afternoon ride along the crest of the hills around the Banks ... read more
Picton Ferry
Weta Workshops

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Banks Peninsula March 3rd 2018

As always happens, the trip gets in the way of writing up the account. So almost a week has passed in blog time and I realise I have no chance in catching up. In an effort to ensure the blog is complete before I tell everyone about the trip in person, here is a synopsis of the past few days. I am now sat in our bedroom in the Oinako B&B in Akaroa on the Banks peninsula, just SE of Christchurch. It’s a glorious day and Pam and I took a boat trip to spot the rare Hector’s Dolphin (the world’s smallest and rarest ocean mammal), little blue penguins (also the smallest) and fur seals earlier today. I think she is now somewhere in the village eating mussels and sipping Rosé. To look at, as we ... read more
Lake Tekapo from Astro Cafe
Milford Sound

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Cadrona February 24th 2018

One of the things to do at Fox Glacier is to have a closer look at it. The village is pretty much dedicated to walking to and looking at the glaciers and Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. There is another way, however, and I am not happy about it. Those that know me are probably aware of my increasing unease at flying. Its not something I let get in the way of a good time, you understand; if I need to fly somewhere to have a holiday, go to a party or attend a sporting event, its just something that needs to be endured and so I get on with it. Sometimes I’m fine, others in a bit of a funk – no real pattern. The concept of doing it for its own sake, however, ... read more
Fox Glacier
The Tasman Coast

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Fox Glacier February 23rd 2018

We had a good day yesterday, weather-wise. It was therefore reasonable to assume, we concluded, that the New Zealand summer would get itself back on track, now that the cyclonic disturbances of the past week were history. You can imagine our surprise, then , at the immediate resumption of rain the moment we started our engines. Once again hoping that it would be a localised shower, we pressed on with the planned detour off the direct route, which was a side trip to Arthur’s Pass. And on this occasion it worked out – a nice ride into the mountains, broken cloud, twisty roads and some great scenery. Hanging a left at Greymouth, we went through the town of Moana, for those of you with small children and / or Disney movie addictions, on to Arthur’s Pass, ... read more
Gollum's Gaff
Pam, Gandalf & Smaug

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs February 22nd 2018

Tom was the only one who joined Pam and me in the hot springs. Clearly, the town of Hamner Springs thrives on them. The water is so hot, apparently, that it needs to be cooled before putting in the pools, which are at various temperatures. The sulphurous smells in the pools, however, are not a patch on those in the master bedroom at Elm Cottage at midnight on any given Friday after a visit to the Hook Tandoori. Tom is a sound fellow. Mid-sixties, tall and rangy, far away look in his eyes. He says he does “accounting” in Seattle, but he seems to have got a significant number of motorcycle trip under his belt, so I remain convinced he is a high-powered recluse of some monster .com unicorn. Keeps himself to himself, but just when ... read more
Cape Foulwind
Panakaiki Lodge
Panakaiki Beach

Christ, it knows how to rain here. The cyclone split in two, clobbered places north and south of where we were and pretty much left us alone. So Day 2 of the tour dawned bright and beautiful, with departure planned for nine o’clock. And therefore, when we were still faffing about at ten thirty, it was bound to mean trouble ahead, trouble in the form of rain. Heavy rain. Heading south from Nelson, it took fourteen glorious minutes of riding in sunshine for us to encounter the first splash of the stuff. Hah! I thought. Cunningly, we had brought our BMW Rallye 3 suits that had a gore-tex inner lining for just such an eventuality. These liners were stored in the panniers. But since the tough exterior Cordura fabric would probably hold out until we got ... read more
Lunch Stop
Cheltenham House, Hamner Spings
Unused Snooker Facility

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Nelson Region » Nelson February 20th 2018

Here we are in New Zealand and things are not starting brilliantly. Yes, the dinner last night was fantastic (Harbour Lights), and the wifi works and we had a comfortable night’s sleep in the eclectic Collingwood Manor B&B here in Nelson, at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. And the helmets we bought online and sent to Wozz the airbrush artist have arrived safely at the B&B and look great. And all the people on the tour with us, including John Fitzwater of, seem pleasant and colourful characters. Yet I find myself irritated by three things. Firstly, we are about to be hit by cyclone Gita that is expected to bring 200mm of rain in one day with winds of up to 150Km per hour. Secondly, I already know I can’t close my ... read more
The eclectic B&B
WOW is closed
Outside WOW

Africa » Namibia » Caprivi September 5th 2013

This feels odd. Its almost two years since my last entry on our Charlie Boorman trip. I'll talk about why on another thread, but for now I'll just take care of some unfinished business, namely that of concluding the story. First off, an apology. I have no further biking photos after day 13. Can't remember why, but the final day's crossing into Zambia after a short run from the lodge was pretty uneventful. The name of the hotel at Victoria also now escapes me, but it had many animals wandering in its gardens; this added to our general sense of well being and accomplishment at making it all this way without mishap. We had a long and pretty filling dinner and many lifelong friendships were declared and commitments to reunions given. The next day Pam and ... read more
Hotel Guest
Jenna & Craig
Charlie & Billy

Tot: 0.087s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 15; qc: 96; dbt: 0.0249s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb