New Zealand 2014

Day 22

April 5

  We wake up to the sound of rain this morning, but we really can't complain. For the most part, we have encountered very little of the wet stuff on our 20 some odd days of riding down here. I fire up the microwave and heat the quiche and some water for hot chocolate. It's pretty good eating for a put together deal from a store.  
  And since I don't mind my own fixins', I give them the same treatment that I would give any good breakfast.  
  Looking out our window, it appears like the weather has settled in for a while, so we prepare accordingly.  
  I make sure all my gear on the bike has its 'waterproofs' on as well as me. At least we can prepare for the weather from the getgo this morning.  
  Soon we are off on our next journey to see Mount Cook.  
  There's no let up with the rain so we just soldier along. There are worse things than being on vacation and riding a motorcycle in the rain ...  
  When we come to Palmerston, it's time for fuel for the girls and a break for us.  
  There are some pretty interesting old buildings right across the street from where we are enjoying a bit of shelter.  
  But we've got a place to be, so we get back out in it.  
  About a third of today's ride will be with the ocean to our right, then we turn inland and head for the mountains.  
  Today is a shorter day for us, so when we see a sign pointing to the Moeraki Boulders, we figure we'll check them out.  
  It's a bit of damp slog out through the grass to the beach, but we've got our wet gear on so we're okay.  
  The boulders are kind of interesting, but nothing that would get your heart racing - except for the walk out to them.  
  There is a place closer to them where you could park, but they charge admission and pretty handsomely I must say. So we are really glad we did not take them up on their offer.  
  When we come into this town, we know we are back in civilization as there is a McDonalds sign just up ahead.  
  Once we turn left off Highway 1 on to Highway 83, I see this lovely orchard.  
  The sky is making no promises, but at least at this point liquid is not falling.  
  And once more we pass another deer farm where they graze just like beef cattle and will meet the same end.  
  And just in case we forget, Mother New Zealand reminds us of which side of the road we should be proceeding on.  
  Near Duntroon, we see this stately old church building, patiently waiting for its attendees to arrive..  
  As we head further north, the terrain changes from rolling hills ...  
  to more rugged ridges.  
  We decide to take a short break when we come to the Waitaki Dam. This dam was built between 1928 and 1934 and was the last one to have been excavated the old fashioned way - with pick and shovel, not heavy machinery.  
  I park RubyRed beside an old turbine blade for another 'calendar' shot.  
  This little 'blade' only weights 17 tons and was put in use back in 1941.  
  They have some pretty interesting diagrams and such in the little shelter overlooking the dam itself.  
  And across the highway is the village that was constructed for the workers on the project.  
  Lake Waitaki is beautiful reservoir and the highway follows the shore line for a while, providing us with some nice, lazy sweepers to enjoy.  
  Soon we leave the lake behind as we continue toward Mount Cook.  
  At Omarama, where we take a fuel/defuel brake, we know we are not far from our motel.  
  But we decide we will ride on past it and head for the mountain in hopes that the 'old man' will be visible through this cloud cover.  
  Unfortunately, that is not the case. Some where up there is Mount Cook, but you couldn't prove it by me.  
  There's a nice museum in the village that we go take a look.  
  The rain has let up, but these clouds sure don't look promising - unless you consider more rain a promise.  
  As we head back to Twizel, our destination for the evening, we get to enjoy the beauty of Lake Pukaki again. It is the largest of three glacier fed lakes in the area and has a unique color to the water caused by 'glacier flour'.  
  Soon we arrive at Twizel, pronounced 'Twa Zel', which was supposed to be out of existence by now. It was built in 1968 to service a large hydroelectric project and then it was to revert back to farmland. But the residents won a 'stay of execution' and the town lives on.  
  Our motel is a nice modern affair and the rooms are very spacious.  
  And in the main lounge area there is a nice fire roaring right along.  
  The motel also has a restaurant with an incredible selection on their buffet of both 'rabbit food' ...  
  and the real deal for those like me persuaded to pursue that line of eating.  
  And they didn't scrimp on the sweetening one bit, either!  
  It is with some sadness I pillow my head tonight, for tomorrow will be the last day of riding. It is a run from here to Christchurch, taking in as much as we can. But we have to get up early to get the bikes returned in time so we hit the sack early. It's been a great ride with Alain, but too soon we will be going our separate ways in the 'get home' mode.