The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Yeah Holidays.

The 'silly season' is over thank goodness. It's so silly it's truly laughable. Oops I was about to launch myself in to the idiocy of it all, oops I just put my foot in it again without even trying. Change the subject quickly.

 We are going on summer holiday. With a bit of luck it will actually be summery. The weather hasn't been doing what it's supposed to do, it is raining as I speak, and cold enough to be wearing my winter sheepskin slippers. [Although I've just thrown them off due to a hot flush, the joys of being middle aged].

I've been preparing the garden for leaving it for 2 weeks. With Niels help joining hoses together, I've layed down some irrigation and connected it to a timer. I was feeling pretty smug that I would have vegetables to come home to, when in the evening twilight we saw a huge Hare jump into the garden. Now I'm paranoid that our garden will be some bunnies belated Christmas dinner. Why can't it be happy in the huge cabbage market garden 500 meters down the road?

Artificial rain from my soad hoses.

I asked Niel if he'd make me a frame for the garden to grow my tomatoes and cucumber up. So on Christmas and Boxing day when I was at work, he made me this wonderful frame. Isn't he a good boy.

Frame made from bamboo from the garden.

Actually talking of holidays, I asked my boss if he would confirm that I could have the time off to join Niel in Morocco and S.E. Asia. I showed him the dates on Niel's global route, and my boss - Jim confirmed that - yes I could go. Jim understands me, and appreciates that this is what I live for, he's a very good man. So I can now allow myself to get excited. 

Next time you hear from me, I'll be somewhere in the beautiful south island on my beloved Vespa, encouraging Niel as he whips himself into shape doing 200 kms a day on his bike. For once I'll beat him to the top of the hills.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

After the flood.

It's been a week since the biggest flood in Nelson in 40 years. And it is heartening to know the the house came through it without any problems, unlike other parts of the district.

The debris on the Vines would have been head height. This is 50 meters from our letter box, which was lapped by the edge.

They really knew where to build houses in the 'olden days', most of the damaged houses where 'new' houses. In Nelson city 100 houses have been deemed destroyed of too dangerous to live in. I did a little tour of a 1km radius from our house to have a look at the local damage.

I'm standing on the debris mark, and there is mud on the footbridge Niel is standing on. The water would have been about 3meters deep.

A slip that completely covered the road.

Needless to say Woo the chicken decided this was a good time to disappear. I searched for two days for here nest without finding  it. Eventually she turned up for some food and drink and a dust bath. We stealthily followed her and found her nest. Her most cunning and hard to find yet. As I have said before I'm sure she does it to test how clever we are, in finding it.

Even at full zoom on the camera it is hard to see the chicken, playing hide and seek.

Well with the main highway through Nelson closed to traffic for the next few weeks, it's been a challenge to get into town to spend money,[ not that we do much of that] but a resourceful cyclist with an extremely useful bob trailer can get through. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Climate Change?

We've just been hit by a weather bomb. Torrential rain that is predicted to carry on for at least another 27 hours before it begins to ease off. I hope we won't be under water by then. Is it climate change? you can't help but question it. Has our normally tepid climate gone tropical with monsoon rain?  5 floods in a year is unheard of before. I shouldn't have bothered spraying those roses for Mildew!!

Those roses are on a raised bed 1/2 a meter above the ground.

I wonder if we will actually get a summer. It is not looking very positive. I'll tell you what though, it looks like we won't get a drought this year - that's a good thing. And it costs us less in electricity pumping water out of the ground as there is no need to irrigate. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Our garage is above ground, so luckily the vespas and Combi are fine - so far.

I've been rerouting the trip, to include me joining Niel in SE Asia and Morocco. I've also been reversing the rest  of his trip to make the most of the seasons now that he is starting from home instead of London. So I have had plenty to occupy myself. I have also ordered next years firewood. Luckily it won't come today as the road has been officially closed by the powers that be.

A closed road but the trucks still get through - for now.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Presents

The 'Global Bike Race' is no more. It's fallen over as we suspected it would back in the middle of our winter. At least 3 riders have pulled out and are going around the world on their own. The remaining riders have banded together and are trying to reorganise an event from the ashes. So far they are doing a good job of it. The dilemma is that : Niel is the only overseas rider all the others are from the UK. Does he spend the the extra thousands of dollars to get to the start /finish in London, or go it alone around the world starting from home in New Zealand, and save many thousands of dollars.

Here's the crux of it. Is his loyalty to the riders race, greater than saving many thousands of dollars that would enable me to have an overseas adventure too? Well it's a 'no brainer' really. I think of this as my Christmas present.

Where do I most want to go in the world? Morocco, but as a couple, not as a lone woman in a Muslim country. Morocco looks to be such a contrast. Dry interior, warm Mediterranean coastline, fascinating old towns and markets. Orchards and oasis', and a vibrant culture. I have only ever heard positive comments about the country. And of course just across the straits is Gibraltar. I've visited there  very briefly once and was entranced with the place, I would love to see it again.

South East Asia, particularly Vietnam, has been drawing me in for years. The only reason we haven't been before now, is that the best time to visit, is in the middle of our summer, which is not a good time to leave the garden. I can't just up and leave the garden, when it would need to be watered constantly. Not to mention the stupidity of leaving our own lovely summer when you wait all year for it.

So if I could met up with Niel as he cycles the world, Morocco would be in April - their spring, when all the orchards are in flower and the interior isn't so hot - brilliant. And then S.E. Asia / Vietnam in August. Not the best for missing the rainy season, but hopefully not in the middle of the monsoons. Christmas present sorted.

Christmas. It's such a busy time, even if you don't celebrate it. things need to be done before businesses close for the summer break, In our case, Niel needs the dentist and vaccinations. I need to get my summer annuals planted in the window boxes and flower beds, not to mention hundreds of daffodil bulbs. I just can't believe how many there are that came out of a 2 meter edging strip of a flower bed. There were so many I didn't bother keeping the small ones - I just threw them on the lawn and ran over them with the lawn mower.

After 2 weeks of gale force winds while Niel was away, we've now had 2 weeks of heavy rain - in biblical amounts. The farmers are loving it, but it's so hard to get anything done outside. My summer annuals have been waiting so long to get planted that they are starting to get root bound in their little seedling pots. And why oh why does it always rain on a day off? When the sun does decide to come out, even the cat and chicken have been sunbathing to soak it up. Luckily the sun stayed out long enough to get a bike ride in. My feet played up a lot, but I still managed 100 kms.

We are now looking forward to our jaunt around the south island in a couple of weeks time. I will put my bicycle on the Vespa and zoom on ahead get my bike off and ride back to meet Niel, so that I get some training in without hindering his training. It will be officially the middle of summer so hopefully it will be fine, fine, fine. In the meantime, when it does rain, as it is forecast to do heavily for at least the next 5 days, I've got the trip to reroute, to cut out England and add in Vietnam. 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Newspaper again.

Niel returned from his 1,600 km ride in 10 days to a reporter and photographer on the side of the road waiting for him. Actually I organised it and surprised him with it as I met him riding home from Picton. It is only 2 months until he leaves for England and he needs as much publicity as possible. That is my role as wife, promoter, trip planner, breadwinner and all round dogs body, doing everything to free him up to ride that bike as much as possible.

He's out at the moment trying to bring his total up to 2,000 kms in 2 weeks. I've started swimming again. God it was noisy at the pool there must have been 2 whole schools there all shouting above each other to be heard and of course it echoes in those hollow buildings. I'm a pretty slow swimmer but I'd like to do the Nelson woman's triathlon in April. I was once told by a top athlete - "your never enter an event you haven't trained for". So there I am training.