New Zealand 2014

Day 21

April 4

  I guess real men eat this stuff for breakfast, but as for me ...  
  I'll have what I had yesterday ...  
  with the same results!  
  Today we will be headed for Dunedin by way of the southernmost point in New Zealand.  
  I get one more dose of the beautiful view, knowing it will probably be the last time that I get to experience it 'live'.  
  Jeff and Liz take us out to look at their motorcycle. When we leave today, I feel like I am leaving old friends, not just a place that I have stayed at for two nights.  
  While we are in the garage, we hear something that sounds like a clap of thunder. Jeff and Liz know immediately what it is - the rams are butting heads to determine who will be the 'chief'. Jeff intervenes before they do too much damage to each other. I've seen goats and wild rams butt heads, but I've never seen male sheep go at it this way. They are obviously as serious as a heart attack in their efforts.  
  But we've got to get on with it, so I give them both big hugs and Alain and I head down that gravel road one more time.  
  Soon it turns into pavement and we are on our way.  
  The skies don't look too friendly, but the sun is still coming up so maybe we will be okay.  
  The further we go, the darker skies become as they are warning us as to what we will experience later in the day.  
  Moving right along, I see this sign and we decide to do an 'about face' to go check it out. That's the nice thing about having two way radios, you can make a 'change of plans' pretty quickly.  
  It is a well-preserved historical sight well worth the stop.  
  Opened April 5th, 1899, it had the longest span of any bridge in New Zealand at that time and was the first bridge across the Waiau River. The engineering for that time and this place makes the whole affair seem that much more remarkable.  
  As we leave, I manage to get a side shot of the suspension bridge which really gives a feel for the length of the span.  
  Since we didn't fill up on the way in last night, we avail ourselves of the first opportunity for fuel.  
  On the way to Invercargill, we pass through several interesting villages like this one. Invercargill shares two interesting 'claims to fame'. It is the southernmost city in New Zealand and it is the westernmost city in New Zealand. In fact, it is one of the most southernmost cities in the world.  
  Once we are back out on the open road, we encounter a gentle herding ...  
  that turns into a wild stampede (at least by sheep standards). We just patiently wait and the white blizzard soon passes.  
  Finally either we catch up with the rain or the rain catches up with us and we don our 'rain bags' before we get soaked.  

The main reason we are coming to Invercargill is to see a hardware store like you've never seen before - E. Hayes And Sons.


What brings us here is their exhibit of the 'World's Fastest Indian'.

  In 1967, Burt Munro set the World's Speed Record of 191.34 mph for motorcycles 1000 cc and under at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  
  And that record still stands today. This is the bodywork that he put around his 1920 Indian Scout to accomplish it.  
  He was 68 years old and the motorcycle he was riding was 47 years old. Burt was born and raised in Invercargill so the town held a special place in his heart.  
  On the left is the 'World's Fastest Indian' he rode 'unskinned' and on the right is his 1936 Velocette that he rode to a 12.2 second quarter mile back in 1962. When his health began to fail, he sold his motorcycle collection to the Hayes to insure that they stayed in New Zealand.  
  Throughout the store are all sorts of motorcycle and car displayed, positioned between the wheel barrows ...  
  and the nuts and bolts. Admission is free and open to the general public. This is a 1955 1000cc Square Ariel in original condition.  
  This is 1922 Ricardo Triumph. A sister machine came in second in the 1922 Isle of Mann race.  
  Everywhere you look, even amongst the saws, are unique pieces of motorcycle history. This one has a 500cc motorcycle engine built by General Motors  
  Toward the front of the store are automobiles on display surrounded by the toolbox section and other hardware. This is a lovely 1957 two hardtop 57 Chevrolet Bel Air, similar to the one that I used to own many years ago. Next to it is a 1967 Camaro, one of the first.  
  Further down is an immaculate 1957 Thunderbird with the port hole top, just like the one in the 'American Graffiti' movie.  
  Off to the left is a threesome of motorcycles near the funnels.  
  In the middle is 1929 101 Indian Scout on display.  
  But one of my favorites has to be the 'Corvair'. Some enterprising person took the air cooled engine of a Corvair and built a motorcycle around it, right down to using the Corvair and the Chevrolet emblems from the car.  
  It's the sort of place you could spend several hours or days just looking around, but we've got to get on the road if we're going to make it to the hotel. The weather has taken a really nasty turn as we head for our next stop.  
  Stirling Point is the southernmost 'driveable' spot in New Zealand, located in the village of Bluff.  
  I wait my turn in the stormy weather so I can get a shot of RubyRed at the sign post.  

It reminds me a lot of the signposts at Lands End and John O'Groats in England. From here it's only 18,958 km (that's 11,780 miles for those metrically challenged folks) to London.

  There's also a nice little lighthouse down the shore a bit, but not somewhere we want to walk in this kind of weather.  
  With the all the pictures taken we want, we head back north and east toward the Catlins, a very scenic part of New Zealand.  
  Finally we find a nice place with fuel and shelter from the rain so we can take a bit of a longer break. Riding in the downpour just seems to take a lot out of me today for some reason.  
  As I sit there enjoying some milk and cookies, one of the 'locals' shows up. I decide to be courteous and share some milk with him. But then the little extra milk leads ...  
  to some serious discussion as to who has the rights to the remainder. After I explain to him that I think he is being a little 'grabby' ...  
  he seems to be a bit repentant afterwards... but not much. I think he is just disappointed that he just got out reasoned by a hillbilly from Tennessee.  
  The longer break does us both good and the rain seems to have slacked off for a while which makes the delightfully twisting roads a lot more enjoyable.  
  We pass through several small settlements on our way to Dunedin but the weather has taken another nasty turn.  
  The rain finally stops as we near Dunedin.  
  As we make our way through Dunedin the traffic picks up quite a bit. Dunedin is the second largest city on the South Island, after Christchurch. Up until 1900, it was the largest city in the entire country.  
  We are headed out the other side of the city to an area called Portobello. It was named after the Portobello area in Edinburgh Scotland.  
  It's a nice ride out along the Otago Harbor.  
  Finally we arrive at the 'city proper', our destination for the evening.  
  The accommodations are top notch once again as Te Waipounamu has done an excellent job. And it feels really good to get in out of the weather.  
  There's an interesting restaurant we noticed on the way in, so we walk down the hill to check it out.  
  The menu out front looks inviting and when we go inside, we are pretty sure we've made the right choice ...  

especially when we see this sign that states -

Our Meals are not pre-prepared.

They are cooked fresh to order.

So please advise our staff if you have limited time.

Thank you.

  The bread appetizers make me want to lick the tops out of my shoes they are so tasty.  
  I get to try a new fish, monk fish, and it is simply delightful - fresh and very lightly coated.  
  But it too disappears and once again I take note that we are near the ocean so that must be the reason without a doubt.  
  After the delightful meal and settling up, I figure I'd best be taking care of breakfast as feller needs to maintain his strength for the tasks ahead. Since there doesn't seem to be any nearby options, we walk over to the store that is still open.  
  I snag some bananas, chips, cookies, milk and an egg & meat concoction (quiche I guess you would call it) that really looks good. We head back up the hill to our rooms and get the route for tomorrow sorted out on our GPSs. It's been a very interesting day, but the weather has taken its toll on me. Pretty soon I fold up like a nickel card table and am out of it in a blink.