Posts Tagged With: Packing

Leaving on a Jet Plane

(Post from Friday the 25th of May) 

I am at Wellington airport, ready to face the horrors of long haul flying again. As usual am I overweight, haven’t done the amount of training that I should have, and worked too many hours in the past week.

At least this time I didn’t exceed the weight allowance, as I have got what to take and what not to take pretty sorted, plus it helps not having to take a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, because this is all hotels 😀😀😀😀.

I left the parking to the last minute again and decided for some reason that I didn’t need to make a list 😕 So far I am aware I have forgotten my iPod, earrings, and first aid kit, and no doubt more things to add to the list, but hey they are all first world countries so if I need anything I can buy it. I do have my passport, credit cards, and bike.

I fly from Wellington to Melbourne to Dubai to Dublin. It is now 3:30 Friday pm, I will get there midnight Saturday night New Zealand time!

I have two new books so I should have enough to read. Yep I forgot to get the kindle off my son . . . hmm maybe next time a list would be a good idea.

I am looking forward to getting to Dubai and catching up with Shellbe, my third daughter, and also Michele and Tony who did part of the South American ride in 2013 and the New Zealand ride in 2016. I am also looking forward to catching up with Shirley and Dan who did the South American ride from Colombia to Santiago 😀😀.

Dublin, Guinness, whiskey, pub food, here I come 🍺🥃 🍻👍

Thankfully for us Kelly, my eldest daughter, has once again agreed to be editor extraordinaire so you won’t have to put up with my creative spelling and appalling grammar.

Categories: The Pub Ride, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Day 26: Rest Day One in Queenstown

I was awake at about 7am and read for a couple of hours, then packed up to move along the road to the Hurley Lodge. This was about 0.3 of a km away. We went along and checked at 930 am if we could leave our bags and bike boxes there until we could check in. The room we were allocated was already vacant so we were able to leave our stuff in there straight away. It took two trips: one for the bike boxes and the next to carry the bags.

We had arranged to meet with Michele and Tony at the Pig and Whistle for breakfast at 1030am. When we got there we found it did not open till 11am so we went to a cafe next door. It was nice food. Michele and Tony have a trip to the Milford Sounds today – a plane ride and and a cruise today – depending on the weather. We had a look around Queenstown, the wharf, and the markets, and found some tape and cable ties to get our bikes well secured in their boxes.

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Checking out the brunch menu at the Pig and Whistle

The plan was then to go back to the hotel to box the bikes properly, but instead we both read until it was time to meet Sue for a drink to celebrate her EFI, at 2 pm.

At 2pm we met Sue and went back into the town. We looked along the water front and stopped at an Irish Pub called Pog Mahones. We sat outside drinking a nice bottle of Daniel Le Brun with a antipasto platter, followed by a cold beer and bread and dips. We were a bit startled when the bread and dip came out: 2 freshly cooked loaves of bread (the size of the Sunday fresh loaves we used to get) with large containers of pesto, oil and balsamic, and a green dip – possibly cream cheese.

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Celebrating Sue’s EFI

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Congrats Sue! A well deserved bubbles after cycling EFI (every f*cking inch)

We stayed for quite a while, chatting and watching people walking along the wharf, and listening to the young busker playing the saxophone.

Then it was back to the hotel to read a bit more until it was time to meet for dinner. We met Tony, Michele, Phil, Anne and Graham at the Pig and Whistle for dinner. I had a lamb shank pie which was really nice. Everyone liked their meals but the service was not friendly. Snappy young ladies who banged the plates down on the table, with no smiles or friendly banter. Nothing like the Pig and Whistle in Rotorua where the staff were extremely friendly. After dinner it was time to say goodbye to Phil, Anne, and Graham.

Michele, Tony, Brett and I went back to Pog Mahones and listened to the Irish Band for a while. Due to the weather conditions Michele and Tony were not able to go on the trip to the Milford Sounds and an alternative was organised for 6am tomorrow morning.

After that it was back up the hill again to the hotel. Tomorrow is the last day of the holiday!

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I made a friend in Queenstown

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 -Monday 14 November

Auckland to Miranda Hot Pools – Climbing 1,000 meters and down 1,000 metres.

The weather was fine but windy – luckily a tail wind mostly. I was up at 6am and packing bags. It was a bit of a worry finding out about the earthquake, thankfully my family and friends are all ok. I didn’t really have anything to put in my rest day bag as have managed to fit everything into my every day bag, including the pillow.

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Bags all packed: Almost everything for the next month is in my daily bag on the bottom, the permanent bag (which we only get on rest days) is on the top and is just about empty

We all had breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then set off to navigate the Auckland traffic! It was rush hour but luckily it was coming the other way.

It was a nice surprise to find Peter from NZ who did part of the South American trip is joining us for the first four days.

We made it out of Auckland ok after stopping at numerous traffic lights. First stop was at 41k for coffee, then 51k for for fresh Cleveland oysters. Brett and I shared some nice fresh oysters with a squeeze of lemon, yum!

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Oysters!

Lunch was at 66k, by 61k I was feeling pretty hungry and had a 4k climb. I got cramp in my calves and had to get off my bike, I walked a bit and got back on and got cramp again! Then when I got off my bike I could hardly walk either, so I hobbled to the top of the hill doing a mixture of walking and riding. Thankfully the cramp did not return after that. When I got to lunch I did not stay too long as I did not want to cool down and start to stiffen up.

From lunch it was up hill and I struggled a bit, feeling annoyed that I had not trained more but then luckily we got down to the Firth of Thames and it was pretty flat all the way to camp.

We are staying at Miranda Hot Pools camp. It has nice amenities including a hairdryer in the toilet and shower block. Plus of course the hot pools.

My first job was to put up the tent. You would think after putting it up for five and half months in South America this would have been a breeze. Sadly not so. It took me awhile to work out which bit went where, I was pleased it was not pouring with rain. Then after a shower I had a nice soak in the hot pool, followed by a rest before dinner.

There are four TDA staff compared to the 12 on the South American ride, all are new to me, including I am pleased to say the cook. We had a lovely meal of fresh salmon, asparagus, and a fresh salad of kale, capsicum, pineapple and tomatoes (could have done without the pineapple but at least it was fresh) plus couscous which normally I leave but it went straight down tonight. All the plates and cups and cooking gear is really clean, much more hygienic than the previous trip, fingers crossed it continues.

This ride started in Darwin and the group rode down to Sydney then flew across to Auckland. Sue, who I rode the South American ride with, has done from Darwin and joined us in Auckland.

Other riders I have ridden with before are:
Walli from the Trans Europa Epic
Michelle, Tony, Chris, Linda, and Peter – from the South American Epic
Plus Brett who has done both rides with me.

I headed off to the tent for an early night. It’s meant to start raining tonight and rain for the next two days, so I have rung ahead to the next place we stay, the Welcome Bay Camp and Hot Pools, and booked their last remaining cabin for tomorrow. It’s not so bad to pack up a tent when it’s raining, or put one up in the rain, but it’s pretty miserable if it’s raining at both ends.

One of the riders is tracking her rides with “Strava” which is quite interesting to see – here is the clip of today’s ride.

Categories: Trans-Oceania, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another trip begins! (Friday 11 Nov)

I had a feeling of “too much to do” before I was due to head off on Friday. I went into work on Sunday (6th Nov) to try and get stuff sorted. When I left work on Sunday night I had 21 things on my “must do” work list. On Monday night went I left work I had 25!  Somehow I got every single one off my list by home time on Thursday, at least to the state of handing over where I was up to with it.

Unusually for me I left packing till the last minute, I hope I have everything. I have been using the trip bike for the past month and bought new shoes a month ago. The good thing with doing the trip in NZ is if I have forgotten anything I will easily be able to buy it.

We set off from Wellington at midday on Friday. We got a rental car to drive up rather than flying and having to box up the bikes. Plus then there was no pressure to be at the airport by a certain time. We drove to Taupo and stayed at a place called The Cove, it was very nice. Nicer I suspect than anywhere I will be staying the next month. We went to the supermarket and got some cheese and crackers, and picked up Indian take aways for dinner.

On Saturday morning we went to a cafe for breakfast. Crikey, the service was slow! I had read the whole Dominion Post by the time my food arrived. When it did arrive, it wasn’t worth the wait. I had a Spanish omelette, but it was hard and flat and had no olives or tomatoes and was pretty uninspiring, but by that stage I was hungry so I ate it.

Then we drove to Auckland and got stuck in the traffic coming into the city, from the Bombay Hills onwards it was crawling speed only and this was Saturday – I can’t even imagine what it must be like during the week.  It was a bit of a mission finding the place we are staying in Auckland with the one way traffic system, but we got there in the end. The place we stayed on Saturday night is less than 5 minutes from the start hotel.

We unpacked and then took the rental car back which was a couple of kilometres away. We then walked back along the waterfront and stopped at a bar called the “Y not” and had some lovely mussels in coconut cream and coriander, plus a couple of cold beers. Then we walked a bit further round and called in at bar and had a red wine. Then we headed back to the apartment. On the way we stopped to get tea bags and I bought a small bottle of calci-trim milk.

We had a great view from our apartment, and sat and watched the view change from day to night, munching on cheese and crackers.

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Auckland waterfront – woohoo, we are on holiday!

Categories: Information, Preparations, Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 55/164: Rest Day in La Gramita

Although it is nice to be able to sleep in, I was awake as usual by 5 am. It was nice though, lying tucked up in bed listening to the surf, and knowing there was no desert or head wind to battle today.

We are used to eating breakfast at 6:00am, I thought the white board had said breakfast from 7:00am. But shock! horror! – when I got to the restaurant at 7am, it was shut up! I checked the whiteboard and it said 8:30am! One of the other riders had already checked the town a kilometre away and that was also all closed. So I sorted out some gear and went for a short walk along the beach. The hotel staff must have got sick  of having a bunch of riders either prowling around or standing with their noses pressed against the restaurant window as they opened up early at 8 am.

Breakfast was ok, rolls and a small plate of scrambled eggs. The tea so far has not been drinkable in Peru as  it has some sort of spice added to it. The other choice was instant coffee in warm milk or buying a plunger of coffee. Usually this would have been a simple choice but I only have $10 soles as I assumed wrongly where we were staying for the rest day would have a cash flow machine (also wrongly assumed there would be Wifi and power in the room). Luckily Jackie got a pot for us both.

Sadly Jackie is leaving in a couple of days, the day before we get to Lima. I will really miss her. After breakfast Jackie gave me the first option on stuff she was going to give away. I now have another sleeping bag inner which will help when it gets cold, a travel pillow, some more medications, and small bag for rest days.

There are no laundry options here, other than wash your stuff in the shower and them hang out to dry (there are no clothes lines, but I have a line and pegs). Luckily it has been only 3 riding days since the last rest day, and only 3 to the next rest day, so I just washed my bike riding stuff and strung out my line on the balcony.

Next I went for a walk along the beach to check out the town. I got some great photos of birds, including some pelicans.

Birds in La Gramite

Birds in La Gramita

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

Guano covered rocks with Pelicans

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Editors note: I’m not sure this counts as a “Great photo of birds” . . . See below for a better example

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A pelican in the bay (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Seabirds fishing in the shallow waves (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The town is very small, there about 40 houses, a general shop, four restaurants and a small church.

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

View of the town from Las Aloas Hotel

Another view of the town in La Gramite

Another view of the town in La Gramita

The industry here is fishing. A number of boats are pulled up on the sand, as there is no wharf. A few boats come in and out. The fishermen row the boats in until they are close to shore, then they haul them up onto the beach. The birds all hover around expectantly, and the dogs lurk around when any new boat comes in.

Fishing boats in La Gramite

Fishing boats in La Gramita

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramite

Fishermen bringing in the boat in La Gramita

Fishing boats on their way into shore

Fishing boats on their way into shore (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Fresh fish for lunch arriving

Fresh fish for lunch arriving (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As Jackie is leaving in a few days, this is the last rest day she will be around for so we checked out the restaurant options for dinner. One place looks a better option than the others (one of them we discounted as an option as the lady told us there is no menu), and Jackie who speaks a bit of Spanish checked that the one we were interested in is open tonight, which they say they are.

As predicted there are no cash flow machines in town, and none of the restaurants take credit cards or American dollars – the ‘restaurants’ consist of a few plastic chairs and tables, on cracked concrete floors. Thankfully one of the other riders Rolf has offered to lend me money so I will be able to eat tonight 😀

While we were walking around the town we went past one shack, and 5 gorgeous little puppies, about 4-5 weeks old, came running out. They were delighted to see us and wanted to come with us. They looked quite well cared for, but they must have been bored as their mum was out an about – probably at the shore watching the incoming boats with hopeful interest. We ended up having to lure them back to the shack, push them inside, and run flat out to the corner and hide until they lost interest to get away from them.

Local residents just chilling in La Gramite

Local residents just chilling in La Gramita

Could this be a cousin of BenBen's? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Could this be a cousin of BenBen’s? Looks like he is loathe to bathe too

Before leaving the hotel I had put on swimming shorts and a top, and on the way back we stopped for a swim. The water was cold to get into, but once you were in it was ok. The waves were quite strong, and a couple of times I got spun around and around by them. However, as I do not know this beach I made sure I did not go out past where the water was over my head.

After we got back to the hotel Jackie found out that the owner was happy to change American dollars at a reasonable exchange rate. Yay I have money again! In Pacasmayo when I used the cash machine I did not notice the bit where I had to opt out of getting American dollars and pick soles, so I had a reasonable amount of American money.

I spent a bit of time with the usual repacking. I am going to trial only having one pannier, and having it behind my seat instead of two panniers one on each side. With the headwind we are having, and expect to have for weeks, anything that cuts down the wind resistance will be a bonus. However to do this I have to decide what is in and what is out, as currently both panniers are full. This takes quite a while, but eventually I get everything into one pannier.

The next problem I have is to fit the stuff that did not make the cut into the one pannier into one of my two bags. My permanent bag has lots of room but, I can only access it on rest days. My daily bag is so full it is a 5 minute struggle everyday to close it!

After this we set off into town for dinner. We got to the restaurant that had confirmed it was open till 8pm and it was just closing! Two of the other restaurants were also closing or closed. We couldn’t go back to our hotel for dinner as we had to notify them if we were eating there at lunchtime.

The lady who had the restaurant that had no menu was standing at her doorway smiling at us, making “come in” gestures, so in we went. There was still no menu so we confirmed we were happy to have what she was serving – the only other option being having nothing to eat.

It turned out to be one of the best fish meals we have had. The fish was really fresh and even the rice had a nice flavour. Also she must have missed out on the price fixing memo that the rest of the town and restaurants have been following, as it is less than half the price of the other places, and the beer instead of being $10, soles is $2. Also she was delighted to have us.

The whole time we were eating, a local dog was sitting to one side unobtrusively, watching hopefully. At the end of the meal I went to give him a piece of fish. As my hand went out from under the table a previously unnoticed cat reached up and gently but firmly removed the fish from my hand. This was watched with a resigned look by the dog. I did manage to break off another piece and throw it to him clear enough from the cat. We left a reasonable tip and happily headed off.

Walking back along the beach we were so pleased we had bought our headlights as there were crabs galore scuttling around everywhere. We had to walk carefully so as not to step on them. A few rear up and challenged us but mostly they quickly scurried away.

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramite

Crabs on the rocks at La Gramita

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ready to go!

The day has arrived and unlike last time I have packed everything in the car and have two hours to spare.

The last couple of days have been crazy getting everything at work and home sorted. I managed to get hold of Millie the cat and take her to the vet for vaccination so got everything on the list done.

Having a day off before going has helped, especially with daughter Shellbe also off today to Asia for 3 months.  I dropped her off at airport already this morning.

Last night was busy, with the last family dinner and packing. Trying to get everything you need into two 23 kg bags for 6 months, including the bike parts and tent was a mission. Thank you to Kelly, Daniel, Dan and Karen, after packing, re packing, weighing and re weighing, and then re packing we managed to get everything into the bike box, bag, and carry on (just hope they don’t weight my carry on! ), except 3 items. Degreaser and tubes I can get over there. Oh, and also the large bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I took out at the airport – who knew they weighed so much?!

I will certainly look like a tourist, with my camera around my neck, and iPad and book in hand (because they won’t fit in my carry on). I will miss family and friends but looking forward to seeing what the next 6 months brings.

The packing process - the top left is all my medication!!

The packing process – the top left is only about half of my medication / first aid kit!!

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My life for the next 6 months, all packed up!

If only I could take this guy too!!

If only I could take this guy too!!

My last coffee . . .  . Headed for the plane - goodbye NZ, hello South America!

                            My last New Zealand coffee                                       Headed for the plane – goodbye NZ, hello South America!

Categories: Preparations | Tags: | 5 Comments