April 29, 2010

Introducing: My new backyard

... almost. Only a five minutes walk from my new home is the Coastal Walkway of the Burrard Inlet.
For once I did not think about two-wheeling. I was happy and content being able to spend the late afternoon walking by the water, enjoying the mountain view, and listening to the wind in the trees.

April 25, 2010

Close, but no cigar

It's BMW Demo Day. I am in a rush. I am running late, since this is my moving (in) day. Of course I have a hard time finding my riding gear in the mess. Of course I forget to bring my camera, and my Blackberry, too. Of course it starts raining just now. The G650GS in the lowered version is waiting for me but I only have 20 minutes left to test it. The next customer is already waiting. So, I am riding. The motor sounds a bit like a sewing machine, the vibrations of the thumper remind me of good ole times. Shifting gears is smooth and direct. The heated grips are more than welcomed (Does this bike also come with a heated seat, I am wondering.) This two wheeler is nimble and goes easy on (re-)beginners. I like it, and as far as I am concerned the only thing missing is a decent windshield. Reluctantly I return to the dealership. No pushing sales guy, that's good, I need time to think it over. I consult with my fellow traveller, whether to buy one of those. He asked the wrong question: Don't you wanna try the Triumph before you make your decision? Darn, yes, I do. Maybe next weekend? To be continued...

April 20, 2010

There is no place like home

Good bye, Auckland!

Time to catch the plane back to Canada. After 13 hours of uninterupted and smooth commute I landed in Vancouver, and got picked up by my car dealer in my own new-used vehicle.
Now I am staying with friends in their basement for another week while waiting for my stuff to arrive from Calgary. After a quick power nap I met with my landlord and got the keys for my new apartment in Port Moody. The underground parking lot that comes with it is big enough for one car and two motorcycles! And there was actually a Honda two-wheeler parked just left of my spot. I take that as a good sign. Afterwards I did some grocery shopping, and finally called it a day.

Looking forward to move into my new place and actually have a real place that I can call home.
And praying that the company won't send me back too soon... Winter is coming soon to New Zealand, and the house that I was staying in didn't have a decent heating system (except you would find plugging in an oil heater decent...)

April 10, 2010

Coromandel Peninsula

Another weekend, another tour. This time: The Coromandel! Even more windy roads, even more paradise beaches... Here is a glimpse of what I have enjoyed today.
Hot Water Beach - dig your own spa!
But... it's the second dangerous beach in NZ.
Near Cathedral Cove - while there are busloads of tourists, I find serenity on a gravel road.
Slipping and sliding on the 309 to Coromandel (town)
At Waiau waterfall
And today's two-wheeled related content:
Hang 'em High? What has this bike done to deserve this?
Or maybe it's an anti-theft device.
Eye-candy: The Coromandel East Coast
Mooring in Coromandel, just find a spot and tie it down.
Excellent roads! Let it roll!
Along the Coastline
The one-way bridge back to the Mainland.
Another 400km added to the odometer.

April 05, 2010

The (not so) Forgotten World Highway

I did a little round trip through the Southern part of the North Island. 1,300km, all on the left side, and I survived. As an important fact of the road I noted that Kiwi's obviously take the 100km speed sign merely as a minimum recommendation. I let them... while I was conveniently driving 80 to 90km mostly in awe by the stunning and constantly changing landscape in front of me. From rugged, flat and dry to rainforest and mountains, from wild beaches to dormant vulcanoes, all in a blink of an eye. It doesn't get much better than this (well it could, if I only had a bike, but who am I to complain since the rental car is a freebee sponsored by the company, and all I had to do is fill it up...). The photos certainly don't do it justice.

Driving down the last leg of HWY 3 to Plymouth had its charm already. It went through jungle like vegetation and gorges following the Awakino River, before it reached the Tasman Sea.
I spent the night in a lovely B&B and moved on to surround Mount Taranaki.
At Strathford I hit the eerie Forgotten World Highway. No fuel for 150km... better refill before you enter. The road started in good quality and there was actually a bit traffic, mostly bikers (them lucky bunch!), so I didn't worry too much.
Even riders stop for a nice view, and I chatted with them for a while before they blasted down the twisties.
Here's the turning point, and the usual stop for a refreshing drink, before the two-wheelers that I had met before would return to do the twisties again.
And then the eerie part begins: ghost towns, gravel roads, a weird one-lane tunnel that is on the verge of break-down and several one-lane bridges to cross... all I met on this part of the road was a beemer (GS of course...). I slowed down to let him pass, and not throw any debris in his direction and he thanked me with a quick nod, otherwise busy keeping his motorcycle straight.
 
My day ended in Taupo where a feasted from a AYCE buffet at the Millenium Resort.
The next day I visited several places with thermal activities, more waterfalls and enjoyed the everchanging landscape while I was heading towards Rotarua, and finally back on my way to my temporary home in Auckland. It was a darn good road trip.
The route

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