It's Anzac Day, a holiday in New Zealand. In the morning another rental car was ready for pick-up, and I meandered a bit through Auckland, and spent some time sitting in a park, while enjoying the sun, watching the water and reading. The weather was simply gorgeous, and by the time I arrived at Roger's place, it had warmed up quite nicely.
Boy, was I in for a surprise today. Squeaky clean, not showing any signs of previous gravel road adventures, there was Roger's G650GS waiting for me in the driveway.
With this rare opportunity at hand I neglected to mention that I hadn't been riding a motorcycle since winterizing my Sportster last November. The only riding I did for the past few months was on the Vespa.
But being familiar with the model, and with Rog in the lead I was confident to be able to master whatever was lying in front of me. When we encountered the first twisties I knew that the master of the Triumph in front of me was holding back to give me a chance to get more comfortable with riding on the wrong left side. Roger's IAM training became a valuable lesson for me, as I started following his line.
We briefly stopped to quench our thirst (a chance for me to snap a quick picture) and continued along the Firth of Thames down to Kaiaua, where we had a typical Kiwi lunch: fush and chups. Probably the best I have ever had!
We backtracked our route, and two and a half hours and 140 km later, we arrived at Roger's place where I got spoiled once again, this time with Moroccan Lamb Pizza, wine and cookies for desert.
Meanwhile I wonder how I can ever repay that debt. For me this day was a dream come true: Riding New Zealand! And I tell you, it's addictive, because I want more! Thanks, Rog. You made my day!
Fall has arrived in this part of the hemisphere, and days are getting shorter. Hence, I thought it would be a good idea to leave reasonable early from work, and find a nice spot to watch the sunset. I shouldn't come very far because my rental car had other plans.
Our company provides cars for the stay of their guests, which is nice but comes with a downside. The rental company, known for its low rates, is also infamous for the quality of their vehicles. So, while I was puttering along suddenly the car made funny noises, the dashboard started flickering, and then went black. I had the GPS going showing me the speed, so I continued until suddenly the cage just went completely dead in the middle of the road while I was overtaking a parked truck. I put on the hazard lights and maneuvered the car backwards closer to the curb, until the hazard lights decided to stop working as well. There I was, stranded in a somewhat sketchy area of Auckland suburbs, with dawn arriving.
I phoned up the rental company... answering machine, then I called the colleague responsible for arranging the rental to get me out of there. He said that he was living too far away but would call another colleague. Half an hour later Steve, a big hat of the company I work for arrived, secured the car, and did that thing again that the Kiwis are so adorable for. He asked if I was hungry (of course by the time he arrived I was) and if I like fish (Taraki or so?), and invited me home to have dinner with his family.
I missed the sunset but the fish was simply gorgeous, and it turned out to be a lovely evening nevertheless.
Re-arranged my private schedule, booked my flight, traveled on the weekend, woke up in another time zone...
... and as an homage to Bobskoot, I already got my feet wet.
A kind person offered me guidance on my first day, picked me up and showed me around, invited me into his home, and fed and watered me, demonstrating once again the great hospitality that these island species is known for.
I had a wonderful day, thanks to Roger and his partner willing to spend their Sunday off with a perfect stranger.
Tomorrow will be a work day, and my inner clock is telling me that it's 2AM, so I am calling it a day.
In the last few months I have spent more hours on a plane than on a bike. And that doesn't seem to change much in the near future.
So, while my fellow readers may mentally prepare for a weekend that will likely involve some two-wheeled activity of the motorized kind, I am sitting in the airport lounge wondering if I should rename my blog to 'Find me in the Air', because that's where I will be for the next fourteen hours. Note to self: Make sure that iPod and Kindle are juiced up.
Have a fun weekend out there be it gravel or blacktop, and keep the shiny side up.
Weekend has arrived and with it a long list of chores. So we made the best out of it and took the scooters to action. First stop was at Chevron for the mandatory air pressure check.
I was 'gassing up' on money, while the spousal unit took care of the mail. Of course our parking the bikes was not quite legal, so we let the Vespas blend in with the environment. Were we successful?
Afterwards we rode to the country side to do some grocery shopping at our favorite farmer's market. Organic and gluten free, please. Homegrown beef and local produce. Good stuff, but you lose a paycheck over it...
Also, Bella's and Paolo's insurance needed renewal. Happy anniversary! Now we are good for another year.
Last but not least, the bikes needed a long overdue wash. As I am not a big fan of cleaning bikes (you know... that's what rain is for!) I had the spousal unit do the work ;-)
We also logged in about 150km and a total of three hours of pleasure riding in the lower mainland. Yes, Finally a longer ride, plus we managed to stay dry the whole time. That was a first this year.
Nice to see that nature dressed up for the occasion.
We came across some 'wild' animals.
Back in town we stopped at the old city hall, for the first time ever. We drove by many times, and always had admired the architecture.
Seizing the moment.
Tulips all over the place, reminding us of Holland.
We found ourselves rushing to Bellingham Airport on last week's Wednesday to catch a plane last minute to California and enjoy once again our friends' hospitality. They had a few days off as well, and we had the rare opportunity to roam around together and re-discover the bay area.
The weather was kind and we had mild temperatures and sun. We made good use of our time and spent it outdoors on foot or on wheels as much as we could and far away from computers.
Way too soon we had to return home back into the treadmill called work. Needless to say, we had a blast, and made the best out of the long Easter weekend.
And here's to the proud owner of a brand new Tiger 800.
One thing my friend said got stuck in my mind: Let's buy some scooters, he said, put knobbies on and ride down to Baja. Darn you, Guido. You are giving me all the wrong ideas... yet again. Thanks for a wonderful time, guys!