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.

Monday, 16 January 2012

What storm?

What started off as a pleasant ride south out of Queenstown a week ago, turned into a battle titanic against extreme winds no matter which direction you were pointed. The dreadful trucks didn't help matters. I had to ride the whole way up the east coast on the verge, as the trucks were so unrelenting and impatient. The winds made it hard not to weave into the hated rumble strip on the side of the road, and I had a pretty unpleasant time of it. little did I know that it was just a taste of what was to come.

Looking back at Queenstown heading south.

At our southern most point, the winds were very strong,and 20 kms from Invercargill, we decided to head east towards the Caitlins - a picturesque corner of little civilisation, on the south east corner of the south island. Guess what? the wind turned with us, and got even stronger.

Closer to the south pole than the equator.

Niel has had everything thrown at him in this training ride around the south island. But the one thing we didn't expect was gravel, deep gravel that went on for 40 kms. He had road shoes, so couldn't walk in it when the camber on the road dipped into a low point, and the high point on your side of the road was unrideable with ankle deep gravel.It was also very hard on the scooter. We were very relieved when it finally ended and neither one of us had crashed in it. But by now the wind was even stronger. Trees bent in half and the sea churned into a froth of white caps and muddy in colour.

40 kms of thick gravel.

Finally we got a break in the wind for a couple of days, and Niel managed to make up some time with 210 kms rides. It meant he had no time for anything but riding riding riding, and he was up till midnight blogging, so I'm sorry folks but I never got a chance to use the computer and my blog got relegated to - "when we get home".

Vespa Chick on the wild and untamed east coast of the south island.

We had seen my family, and heading north towards home and the wind had died and we were feeling pretty good again. We'll be home in a few days, with everything sorted - great training for Niel, Vespa going well, and the sun was shining. Famous lasts words as the saying goes. The weather was just saving up for one last and violent bash at us.

The calm before the storm.

That night there was non stop lightening and thunder and wind and rain. It was hard to sleep, but our old tent stood up to it, and the day dawned with some blue sky, so off we went. 10 kms down the road, the wind was the strongest I've ever experienced, trees bent in half, and made the gales of the Caitlin's look like a breeze. Throw in the rain, and temperatures low enough to see your breath. Then add steep uphill roads with road works laying gravel on the road, and the non stop traffic, not giving me the least bit of consideration. I was sodden down to my under clothes, and thrown across the road like a toy. I finally made it to a cafe at Springs Junction - the only food stop in 200kms and changed into my only dry clothes. I was hypothermic and shivering uncontrollably. The cafe was filled with happy tourists oblivious to the weather and taking up every table. I braved the conditions and went on. It was not a pleasant day but I made it home.

Wet through - trying to thaw out with a cup of tea.

What's happened to our summer. This is winter weather.

What has happened to our summer? Snow in January and storms like this? Niel had to sit out this storm for 3 boring and frustrating days on the other side of the pass. One thing he can be proud of is that no matter what was thrown at him he triumphed over it. That was one hell of a training trip.

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