Thursday, 2 May 2019

AGM 2018

Saturday morning came along, finally. We all met at the ferry terminal for the start of our adventure down south for nearly 2 weeks incorporating the Annual Ulysses AGM in Mosgiel the following weekend. The trip over on ferry was nice and calm. Apparently some people saw the odd dolphin or two. I didn’t as when they said there was one, it disappeared.
We all came off the ferry in different directions. We had been waiting for bikes to catch up and then we got a text to say they were at a garage and were heading off over the Queen Charlotte Sound drive. We went looking for them but they had gone. So we headed off as well. Luckily we all had planned to stop at Pelorus for lunch. We weren’t far behind. That cafe is always a great stop for a break.
From there we headed to Nelson and there is where all the wheels fell off. Figuratively speaking that is. We were quite a bit behind and when we hit Nelson, we headed to Richmond and onto the meeting place at Wake- field. When we all got there, we were missing Mike. We waited awhile and Rex & Wayne headed back to see if they could find him, to no avail. Some headed straight for motel at Murchison and others headed to St Arnaud and then to Murchison. Mike was already at Motel as he went the long way through Nelson as Rex went the so called short cut. Actually it ended up being the long cut.
From Murchison we headed towards Westport via Buller gorge. The mandatory stop at Hawks Crag. Unfortunately they were road marking and both Nobby and I got caught. So now I had a white tailed Spyder and Nobby also had a white tail. No signs up to warn people. Lunch and refuel at Westport the off down south. Catch up at Punikaiki. Nice easy ride to Hokitika and tea at the renowned pizza place.
The next day was a hard slog to Wanaka. Our longest day ride. Didn’t help with rain starting from Franz Josef and got worse the further south we went. Lunch and refuel at Haast pub. Going through Haast Pass in rain is not the best. Catch up at Makarora where the rain eased off and dry going into Wanaka. Because we were a wee way out of town, we decided to send someone (me) into New World and get some tea and have it at camp. After long wet day, most headed to bed earlier than normal.
From there we headed off down Crown Range and into the Cardrona Pub for morning tea. From there it was out to Arrowtown for a look see. We left there and headed out to Glenorchy for lunch. We spent a while there after lunch and then headed back to Queenstown for the night. We wouldn’t recommend the camp ground even though it had the best ablution block I have come across. Kitchen was good but had quite a few lights out of action. Accommodation was very basic.
From there we headed to Invercargill via Gore. We started to get rain about an hour out of Queenstown so we stopped at Athol for a warm up cuppa. And also some of the best muffins we have had. I didn’t help that they had just come out of the oven. A good break. From there we went to the Croydon Aviation Centre. The guys went and had a look around the museum whilst the gals went straight to the cafe to warm up. Lunch was nice there.
Last slog to the Deep South with weather getting worse as we got closer to Invercargill. It was surprising to see so many cars in the bad light with no lights on. We didn’t stop in Gore liked we hoped but maybe another day. It was a great relief to get to motel and get wet cold gear off and warmed up. After we got warm and dry we all headed off over to pub across road. It was a good happy hour or so. The next day the gals headed into town to go shopping, whilst the guys headed to Bill Richardson’s Truck Museum. An easy two hours or more gone. And I don’t think we saw it all. From there we headed to the relocated Classic Bike Museum. So far not as good as it was in Nelson but it is in its early stages. The evening meal was at the local RSA. Same place they had the 2016 AGM.
The next day we headed to Mosgiel via the Catlins. But before that we went to Bluff as a couple of people hadn’t been there. We didn’t stay long as you couldn’t see anything. Mainly to say been there and photo at sign post. The journey through the Catlins was not the usual nice ride. We took a wrong turn as everyone else had shot way ahead. Lucky we knew that we were meeting up at the Niagara Falls cafe. Unfortunately the route we took had some road works going on and we spent about 10kms on fresh laid lime. So when we got to cafe, the Spyder was covered in yucky lime. Not to worry, when the others headed to Curio Bay, they came back looking just as bad.
We got to motel complex nice and early. There was a queue for hose and cleaning gear. Even had time to head to AGM / Rally HQ and have a look at what was on offer and grab our registra- tion gear. AGM was a very straight forward event and over fairly quickly. After that we headed back to motel and chilled out until later when we headed to Event centre for the night. We thought that we would win the best dressed comp again but luckily a couple of clubs had great outfits. The evening was good. Alas, nobody from our region won the bike. Have to take another ticket next year to try again.
Sunday we headed to the breakfast venue earliest so we could get on road as soon as possible. We headed straight inland towards Middlemarch. The rest of the group headed on a scenic drive as it was going to be quite windy, so Annette and I headed on direct route to Middlemarch where we waited for others to catch up. From there we met up again at St Bathans at the Vulcan Hotel. The others went via Naseby with some going direct from Naseby to St Bathans while the others went back to main Rd and up. When we got there, the cafe staff said that they had another group arriving soon and that we would have to wait awhile. Then they said no at all. So we all bought out our thermos flasks and had a coffee straight across the road. While watching more poten- tial customers been turned away.
From there we went on to Omarama over the Lindis Pass. Great views looking down the valley. We got to Motel nice and early and freshened up and headed for pub just down the road. Another good happy hour was had and a great meal. Big helpings. The accommodation was one of the best on trip. Highly recommended. One of the very few motels to offer unlimited wifi without getting a chit. Just put password in like wifi at home and that’s it. In with a grin.
We headed for Tekapo for refuel and lunch the next day. Love riding through the centre of the South Island. Great motorcycling country. We picked the wrong day to be at Tekapo as there were so many tourists there; it was hard to get some photos of the church without them. Or anywhere for that fact. Weather was great which makes the ride through there so much nicer. From there we headed to Christchurch and to motel in centre of city. Not the best motel, gone down a bit from last time the group went there on last trip. Lucky there was a pub down road for tea. We didn’t stay more than one night there. Some people went out to Akaroa and on up to Amberly while the others mulled around Christchurch until meeting time. No great panic as it was only an hour and half ride to Hanmer Springs. Out there in plenty of time to indulge ourselves in the hot pools. The motel complex was at the start of the town but the motelier let us have the courtesy van for awhile. Best accommodation on trip. Another endless wifi motel.
From there we headed on to Waiau as the Kaikoura coast was open but with delays. In- stead of heading towards Mt Lyford and to Kaikoura we opted to head straight from Waiau to Parnassus and up coast to Kaikoura. That road was very windy. The road from Parnassus up to Kaikoura showed the devastation that they endured from the earthquake. How far the ground had risen. It was hard to watch the road and look around you. Lunch was in Kaikoura. Headed off again to Blenheim via coastal route. The road when finished will be a great asset to area. They are using both the old road and making new ones. We stopped at the vacant pub at Ward for another thermos cup- pa. Having a look around pub at damage done from earthquake. Then it was a dash for Blenheim. At motel there, bikes got a quick clean for last leg home the next day. Can’t go home with too dirty a bike after going on the roadwork’s up the Kaikoura coast.
When we came off ferry at Wellington, we all made our own way home. A good trip with great company. We were still friends at end of trip. There were lots of moments both good and bad. But the good moments outweighed the bad ones. That is what makes a good trip. A big thank you to Mike for organising the accommodation. A job well done. Rex for taking the lead, most of the time. Couple of hiccups. But we all got around in one piece with no bike problems.

Cheers, Kevin.

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