Wagon and Drag

Just signed up for Wireless nation rural broad band.  Supposed to be designed for the Movanner in mind.  I was getting 4 GB from Spark for $56 a month but found if I used the phone as a hotspot then it lasted me a week or so.  I am paying $ 96 in total as I am paying for the phone too. WN offer 133GB for around $100 a month so seemed like a good idea. Also supposed to have good coverage which is the biggest thing with the mobile companies.  They all claim 90+% coverage in NZ but the small print does say in populated areas.  No living on the road means a lot of my overnight stops are in quieter areas, I mean that’s the whole idea isn’t it?  This led me to drop in the Spark shop to reduce my phone package as I no longer need their data.  Not that simple! I can drop down to a monthly top up plan for $20 but have to pay off the remainder of the phone as a lump sum. needs a bit of though but guess other than the initial pain it will be cheaper in the long run.

Anyway.  What’s been happening?  well bought a trailer and had a tow bar fitted to the bus Inshallah. Thinking behind this was to [a] to take the Royal Enfield with me and [b] move some of the bulkier items out of the bus and on to the trailer.

First we [the royal we] have to secure the bike, also need a tool or lockable box as the trailer is open to the world.  This done we need to try it out.  Now its a long time since I backed up a trailer and the first time I’ve done it were the trailer is shorter than the tow unit, which has no power steering by the way. An hour in the car park practicing and I’m not making any progress.  By the time I can see the trailer in my mirror, its side on to the bus.  Need a camera.  Fitted a camera and getting better but a long way to go yet.

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Set off on my first trial run up north as far as Kirikiri via Tane Mauta.  Its a big Kauri tree in the forest, supposed to be 2000 years old.  Impressive.  Came out of Dargaville on the way up to my stop for the night and struggling to get 6th gear.  Maybe just linkage needs adjusting.  will do that when I stop.  Arrived in a nice forest parking spot and dropped the trailer off and started to back in to the pitch for the night.  Inshallah, didn’t like it.  A lot of shuddering in reverse.  Know what that is, think to myself, engine mountings! Sure enough rear right-hand engine mounting rubber had sheared.  No big drama except its Friday afternoon and there is no phone coverage.  Now have to site tight until Monday morning before I can do anything about it.  Saturday took the bike out for a spin as far as Tane Mauta.  nice ride all twisty stuff.  will just mention, the Enfield is not a sports bike just a plodder, so was good listening to the single thumping away and the crack of the exhaust when you could open her up.

Monday 20 k’s on and we find a signal.  Ring the “Bedford Man” Lance Cryer in Thames and relayed the problem to him.  No sweat.  Will courier over night to Marcel Motors Dargaville.  Tuesday out early on the bike to Dargaville 60 klicks, beautiful morning. and there it was one rear engine mount, quick coffee and back to the forest.

Tuesday afternoon was spent fitting the new mounting.  I will say while I was here.  There was a nightly charge for the pitch.  I approach the camp manager and explained that I was broken down and if he minded if I stayed there until it was fixed.  No problem but he needed to go in to Auckland on Monday and Tuesday and if I was prepared to look after the camp and make sure everyone who arrived booked in and paid, then I could stay for free.  Result me thinks.

Away Wednesday morning up to Kirikiri and Rainbow falls.  Another opportunity to get the bike off the trailer and head to Russell, the original capital of New Zealand. Decided to take the long way around and come back on the ferry.  somehow ended up on a metal road being shaken and bounced around for 10 k’s but guess I’ve seen bits of NZ others haven’t.  This of course shook everything up including the crap in the bottom of the petrol tank.  By the time I got to Russell the old bike was coughing an spluttering like “50 a day capstan full strength man.”  think we ad the carb off three times on the way to the ferry, but got back to the bus inshallah.

Promised my Daughter I would drop in and visit back in Pukekhoe as her In-Laws had come for a holiday so was only polite to say hello.  Not seen them for a while so was nice to catch up for a couple of days, then set off again, initially south. Decided to head east in the end as far as Paeroa and to see if I could get a bit of sign writing done.

This completed we travelled on through Opotiki and on to Matata camp.  and it rained, al lot.

After it cleared up we headed for Rotorua and the NZMCA camp.  this gave me a bit of reversing practice with the trailer and also an opportunity to take the bike for a little tour around the lake

So were to next.  someone asked as I was leaving the NZMCA camp and I said I had no idea.  They suggested Kawerau.  Friendly town with lots of freedom camping and free hot spar pool.  So that’s what we did.  Spent a few days there and did my washing and used the free showers, re stocked the larder.  The town itself was quiet small but everything you needed was there.  A big supermarket, laundrette, bar, take away food.

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Magic. time to leave and thought I would go up to the near by waterfall, at Lake Tarawera.  This involved getting a pass for the forestry road.  I had spoken to a local guy who said there were two roads. One to the falls and one to the lake.  He suggested I took the falls road/track as they where cutting timber there and therefore the haul road was being maintained.  The office where you get your pass suggested I went to the lake as the walk down to the falls was spectacular.  this I did.  12 kilometre of metal road, quiet corrugated but when I got to the fork in the track, lake or falls, I took the lake route.  wrong.  should have listened to the local lad.  There had been a lot of rain and the track was quite washed out in places.  but we persevered.  after an hour and a half of bone shaking and dust. we arrived at the lake.  lovely spot and a big camping area with lots of long drop toilets and solar showers. Anyway we walked down to the falls, about an hours hike.  didn’t  see a sole but a lovely walk.  even saw a wallaby!

headed back before dark and continued on to Matata again.  convenient spot and with my DOC camp pass cost me nothing to stay and a bit dryer this time..

Bit of a dash now, which I said I was not going to do.  I needed to get back to Mel’s to collect my Wireless Nation router and set that up so back to Rotorua and then on to Pukekhoe the following day. and that’s was that little trip with the trailer sorted.  All in all I found the bus pulled the trailer with no issues.  reversing is getting easier but did find that I had to check the tie downs on the bike regularly.  broke a couple of ratchet straps and the did become loose also so this needs a rethink but all in all feel I have achieved my goal.

just a couple of pictures of a bus parked up near Port Albert.  bet it could tel some stories.  looking a bit sad now.

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