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.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


I've been quiet lately, I've been waiting. It's seems my whole existence involves around waiting at the moment.

Niel and the World Cycle Race contestants wait for their next food and drink stop,  it can never come soon enough.

Some people wait in queues.

some people wait in traffic jams - not me.

What am I waiting for?

Well you all know of my battle with the health system, waiting for appointments, that never led to any solution, just to more waiting for more appointments. I've reached the end of my tolerance for waiting. After talking to my Mother, 400kms away in Christchurch, she was convinced things would happen faster for me there. So leaving it in her capable hands, I now have an appointment to see a specialist  and even a surgery date, in the space of 2 weeks, not 6 months as it is here at home in Nelson. Thanks Mum, you're a gem.

I've also been waiting to hear from Niel. That wonderful man of mine has completed his crossing of the South American continent, from Lima in Peru to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. If you've been reading my blog, you will know it hasn't been easy for him.Snow blizzards and endless mountains in the Andes. Then tropical heat over 30 degrees Celsius. Deplorable roads that turn into mountain bike tracks for 200 kms. Dodging scary animals. Going hungry and thirsty and foregoing meals just to make the distance before loosing the light in the short tropical days. Not to mention blistered lips and 2 bouts of food poisoning. Then there's the loneliness and communication problems. But he's done it.

At times he couldn't contact me, and my imagination worked overtime. I imagined  him kidnapped and held for ransom in the mountains, or mugged and left in a ditch, or bitten by a snake or crocodile, or hairy spider and left dead or dying somewhere, I wait and try not to fret and then I get an email and I can smile again.

This is playing havoc with my levels of tolerance and patience. I can't be patient with stupid, annoying people at the shop. And there is plenty of people who are stupid and annoying.

Then I have to begin waiting again. I've decided I'm not pshycologically disposed to waiting.

I'll tell you something funny that happened today. I was late for work. is that funny you're thinking, well no, whats funny is why. I had Bird trouble. What?!?

The chicken wouldn't get out from under the dining room table, in the end  I had to get the broom and push the chicken towards the open door. Just as she goes out the door a fantail flutters in. A fantail for those that don't know, is a small native bird that has a tail that fans out. They torment cats because the expertly flutter around them without the cat being able to catch it. So, I had to open the door again to get the  fantail outside, the chicken trots in again. Arrgh....... Out comes the broom again.

When I get to work and explained why I was late, my boss said: " If anyone else had used that as an excuse, I wouldn't have believed them".

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Well I was right about my hub bearings. By working out the problem, it only took $15  to get it fixed. Didn't I do well?

I have another mission this week. Curtains. We have an old house [1880], so there are gaps and draughts everywhere. Yes there are curtains on the windows, all be them being old and a horrible peach colour. However it's the external doors I've decided to put curtains on. I noticed last winter - a very cold draught coming through them.

Men are probably thinking - what curtains? why not use some draught stop stripping? Quick answer - I'm not a man. Also a lot of heat is lost through window panes - of which there's a lot of on the external doors. And there's not a man here to stop me. Also the electrical supplier in all their wisdom have put the cost of power up yet again.

However it doesn't stop there. I've decided to replace the peach curtains too, so that they are all the same colour. You know I feel driven to get things done, that I never seem to get around to. I already know what my next mission will be. You'll just have to wait to find out.

my trailer full of curtains.

That's my week, pretty tame compared to Niel's. His mission is to survive the Brazilian swamps and get back to civilisation. He is dodging very large road kill and going for it to cover the large distances till the next town as there is no way you want to freedom camp with these nasties.

As I write this he will be on his last day of remoteness, from now on there are constant towns all the way to the Atlantic coast and Rio de Janiero. 11 more cycling days and he'll have a few well deserved days off sightseeing and waiting for his flight to Morocco.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

What would Niel do?

I had a lovely bike ride on the flat of 75 kms, as I wished for in last weeks blog entry. It was a lovely autumn day - warm and sunny without a breath of wind.

A sunny autumn day in Nelson.

While I was having an easy and pleasant ride, Niel was enduring roads from hell if you could call them roads. More like mountain biking. He was wise enough to have a hybrid bike with heavy duty tyres, otherwise it would have been impossible. He even admitted it was un-rideable in places and had to walk. I bet he's grateful he did his 'round the South Island' ride which ended up being on 150 kms of gravel roads, so that it confirmed what sort of tyres to take and what componentry to have on his bike to fix any problem. He is off the Andes now and finally on some flat roads for at least a week, heading towards Brazil, on  roads the locals tell him are MOSTLY sealed!!

Niel's 'road' through the Andes.

I've had a ticking sound on my bike that is driving me crazy. I really hate unexplained noises, it's like slow torture. I can't afford to take it to the bike shop and tell them to find it and fix it. What would Niel do?

The sound still happens when I stop pedaling, so it's either of the wheels or the freewheel - that the cluster attaches to. Hmm..... I put the bike on a stand and spun the back wheel - no noise. I spun the front wheel - the computer sensor was ticking, was that it? I turned the sensor around so that it wasn't working - hmm still ticking. Is it the bearings in the hub. How can I test for that? Put another wheel in and see if it is still ticking. That's about where I am up to so far.

Now which wheel should I use?

I hope Niel's proud of me, for sussing things out and being analytical, I know that's what he would do.