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Published: April 15th 2006
Sorting the knee 05-09/03/06
The road to Wellington from National Park looks like a great riding route when the local plant life isn't horizontal and the weather isn't blowing "againsterlies" (we'd like to thank Wafflycat for that description). As it is we're sitting on the train admiring the views.
On the morning of the 6th we head into Welly to shop for Sealskinz for Vern, they're waterproof socks which he can wear with his cycling sandals (yes, we know Socks And Sandals - the horror!). While we're in Pennyfarthing Cycles we start discussing my knee and are overheard by Shane who, with typical Kiwi recitence, takes over the conversation and convinces me to have a Cycle Surgery session this afternoon. Which is how, later on, I'm sat on my bike on a turbo trainer pedalling whilst being filmed. Of course my positioning is all wrong but after a few adjustments I'm declared "sorted" and am allowed out. Shane suggests we go for a ride around the headlands to try the new set up out before we head south, so any problems can be ironed out. I knock over a pile of shoe boxes while getting off the turbo trainer, thereby
leaving my mark on another cycling shop.
The following morning the local vegetation is still being flattened, so we decide to stay off the bikes and look around Te Papa (the national museum) instead. We spend an interesting day taking in exhibits covering the natural history of NZ, geology and earthquakes (including The Hut of Terror - stand inside and experience a quake), Maori history, settler history, "Made in NZ" artwork and the earthquake isolators which Te Papa stands on. Happy Birthday Vernon
8th March is Vern's 39th birthday, to celebrate we decide to cycle around the headlands. The wind is still strong and at one point we are travelling at 16mph on a flat road without pedalling at all. Sadly, all to soon we turn a corner and head back into it at about 5mph! we continue struggling to the Chocolate Fish Cafe where I get the staff to put a candle in a piece of chocolate cake much to Vern's embarrassment, although he does get a round of applause from the customers when he blows the flame out. His wish that it would stop b****y raining comes true for about half an hour.
Later we take
Corrugated Iron car
On display at Te Papa Museum.
the cable car to the botanical gardens and our award for customer service Kiwi style goes to the two men in the ticket office for berating an elderly American tourist who doesn't realise that the till receipt is also his ticket. An honourable mention goes to the tourist for remaining polite and not actually hitting either of the staff. We walk through the gardens and back to the city centre stopping to look at the Beehive (parliament building) on the way. We eat at The Flying Burrito Brothers (Mexican, unsurprisingly) before heading back to the hotel bar for a couple of beers.
The next morning we arrange tickets for the ferry crossing of the Cook Strait and are entertained with stories of the horror crossing of last weekend, it took 8 hours instead of the usual 3, a number of cars were written off by falling rail carriages and some passengers ended up in hospital. We're glad that the seas have calmed and we're not likely to get 6 metre swells on our crossing.
Mainland Ho! 10/03/06
We cycle onto the ferry and strap the bikes securely to the bulkhead. There is a very old Henderson motorbike on
Watch where you're driving!
The only mainland breeding colony of this endangered species is found near Wellington.
the ferry as well and it's owner ties it down side-on to our bikes; hope the compression straps and wheel chocks hold, otherwise there'll be a couple of very flat Hewitts leaving the boat in Picton. We find the cafe and settle in for the journey. The swell is around one metre and we make good progress, getting into Picton on time. As we ride to Sequoia Backpackers the Henderson goes past us with the passenger sat in the sidecar which appears to be made out of an old crate.
Tot: 0.137s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 11; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0168s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb