Category Archives: Uncategorized

Heading south for the winter. Pukekohe to Wellington.

Gentlemen! Start your engines.  We have set off. Managed to get the trailer sorted by Wednesday afternoon so Thursday morning get the air up and off we go.

 

Now like all good adventures you need a plan.  After all how can you tell if it has gone wrong if you don’t have a plan.  Looking on the TomTom at the route I thought we would run as far as Tirau and park up there for the first night and then jump the Desert Road the following day.  I was looking to get to Palmerston North by the weekend, to meet up with Ed Teece.  When we lived in Sharjah the Teece’s were are best mates and Ed and his brother Will, were big mates with my two daughters.  Weekend would see us on the beach or up the Wadis picnicking or BBQs while the kids set fire to anything they could find that would burn. Ed is all grown up now but thought it would be nice to catch up.

Any way Got to Tirau in good time so thought, press on to Tuapo and make that the night stop. Tuapo saw me arrive just after lunch, so what the hell, let press on we can stop at the war museum on the desert road.  Nice flat parking area a few takeaway spots or just cook in the bus. Inshallah. So Friday morning sees me wake up to 8 deg C on the desert road and almost a day ahead of schedule.

IMG_20170519_082821_077

Roll in to Palmerston just after lunch. Get parked up.  Idea was to meet Ed on Saturday as I did not want to impact on his weekend.  Using Google maps located an Irish bar with in walking distance Thinking behind this was. A couple of pints and some Jockey’s Whips and then off to bed.  First pint of Kilkenny and post the event on Facebook.

IMG_20170519_184241_359

Ed sees this and messages me.  Had I arrived?  he would drop down and have a beer with me.  This of course led to. Come back to the house and we’ll get a takeaway. Then the offer to stay.  This I declined as I had not planned on being there until the following day and had left the bus heater running and all the lights on.  I promised I would stay Saturday night and his partner Jo said she would do a roast dinner.

Saturday was very bright but had been windy through the night and the temperature had dropped.  but we all met up and went for a walk

then back to Eds for beer, wine and a lovely roast dinner. Sunday, Ed and Joe provided bacon butties for breakfast and I returned to the bus.  My plan was to set off towards Wellington but it was 10 o’clock and I needed to stow everything before I could travel so I decided I would leave early doors Monday morning.  Spent the day tidying up and packing most things so I could get an early start.  Looked at ferry timings and prices but decided I would park up close to wellington on Monday and book a ferry for Tuesday or Wednesday.  Nice NZMCA park poped up at Plimmerton which is about half hour from the ferry so that were we headed.  Settled in and set the computer up so I could book the ferry on line and also up date my Tom Tom.  Coming down from Palmy the new express way was not on my maps so I was a bit in the dark to where I actualy was.  The nice lady on Tom Tom ke[t telling me to turn left at the end of the road then turn right but I’m bowling along at 90 on a duel carageway with no exsits.  not used the new computer to up date TomTom befor and of course it could not see my device,  After much messing around and trouble shooting it appears that all the USB ports are USB3 and TomTom only works on USB2.  not sure what I did but eventually we’re connected.  7 updates availabkle 3 hours forty minutes remaining.  Hate it when it says that.  We had a few goes befor we managed a clean download and then it had to up date the device another 40 minutes.  Any way look like we are up to date now.

 

Going to be cold tonight so light the fire now it too bloody hot  cant win.  bet it goes out around 4 in the morning and ill wake up freezing.

easy drive to the ferry but arrived a bit early.  Got to the check in line and it was closed.  Now it did not say when it would open or if it would open so I went around the block.  Anyway a guy stopped me and said it would be 12 before it opens and I would be okay just to wait outside the terminus and park in the shuttle bus bay.  This I did and went for a coffee.  Get back the bus and another guy says “you cant park there.  Go around the corner and find a spot there you’ll be alright there”. Get parked up and finishing my coffee and the first guy appeared and said that I was okay in the original spot and the other guy was new.  Anyway we have opened the check in just for you so head down there now and the lady will sort you out.  And she did.  First on the wharf and first in lane 5.  While waiting I heard on the wireless that they had closed the desert road behind me, so that was a bit of luck.

 

DunK

 

 

In preparation.

The plan to head south as far as Fortrose and park up for the winter was all set.  I was getting stuff  together and prepping the trailer.  I had looked at but not booked the ferry and was waiting for the man who was building the box to go on the trailer.  The idea was to protect the bike and other stuff from the weather and prying eyes.  It seemed a simple task, just a frame and some sheet alloy with a tarp for the roof.  4 weeks he recons but could do it in less.  Anyway I rang him over a week ago, we have had three short weeks, Easter and Anzac and something else, cant remember. so no box for the trailer.  I had set myself  today as the start day for the trip [10/05/17].  just as well I did not book a ferry.  I have been waiting for an MRI scan to try and see if they can find out what’s up with right eye after the cold I caught on the plane coming back from Dubai.  This was November.  Talk about slow. it took until February for the CT scan to be done then another 6 weeks to tell me they could not find anything so I need aa MRI.  Lo and behold they sent me a letter last Monday giving me an appointment for the 16 of May.  Close on 6 months and I am still no nearer to resolving the issue. So the trip is now scheduled for the 17th or 18th of May,  I feel pretty sure that it will take the hospital months to get the results and unless it life threating I am sure any consultation can be done over the phone or on skype,  so I am going.

Still not heard about the trailer but that should be this week. Then all I have to do is pack and set off.  The ferry booking can be done as I get near Wellington.  As I don’t have a particular arrival date I can get whatever ferry is available.

I have ben having trouble with my laptop for some time now.  Its an ASUS and about as much use as a chocolate tea pot.  I bought it a couple of years ago because it was small.  I should have done more research.  Yes its small but it also has the smallest memory, just big enough to run the operating system.  Add anything else and it just cannot cope.  Streaming video is just about impossible.  It charges through a USB port but for some reason will not charge from the USB outlets on the bus, only the If its plugged in to the mains.  As I am off grid all the time this means I have to use the inverter which knocks hell out of the house batteries at night. I think I mentioned that I had signed up for Wireless Nation Urban Broard Band in the last post.  After initial hiccups it seems to be working well although it is yet to be proven out in the Wop Wops,  Having invested in this program I thought we need to do something about my computer.  Now in a flash of brilliance or maybe not.  I though, Hey! we live on a bus.  I have loads of space tucked away in the back of cupboards, under the bed or under seats.  Why not go down to RS components or PB Tech and buy the bits to build my own PC and secrete it around the bus.  If it was all Bluetooth then the bits could be scattered around the bus.  As space was not a concern then this could be a super computer, may be even do a bit of Bitcoin mining.

With this in mind, off I pop to PB Tech in Manakua.  Now the problem starts with the power supply.  I have endless amounts of 12 volt DC. so first thing I have to establish and obtain would be a transformer that will bring my 12 volt, up or down to meet the PC requirements..  Lovely guy asked if I needed some help but he couldn’t  grasp the concept.  All PC run on DC power but usually have a transformer where the main 240 volt AC plugs in..  I am looking to get 12 DC to whatever, 7v,15, 5v. I have no idea?  “Why don’t you just buy a laptop and charge it through the cigarette lighter port.”  think he was missing the point.  Anyway to cut a long story short.  he said “how about one of these. A compute stick by Intel. Plug it in to the HDMI port on your telly power it from the USB port on the telly.  You will need a Bluetooth or wireless keyboard and mouse and Bobs you uncle.

The spec was good and the memory could be expanded with an SD card.  Not in stock right now but can get it too you in 5 working days.  So went away to think about it.  Did a lot of research and ordered it on line.  Acquired a wireless keyboard and mouse and bought a set top camera for skype.

Anyway it all arrived as promised but not quiet as the  man said. It plugs in to the HDMI port and there is a handy link cable for the stick.  The stick is about 110mm long 10mm thick and 40mm wide and using the cable, can be plugged in without blocking other ports on the telly.  The power was were it went wrong. It was not a conventional mini USB port but a special which plugged in to a power adaptor, which incidentally also had two extra USB ports, one for the keyboard/mouse dongle and one for the camera or a USB hub..

Other than having to still use the inverter but at least it is only on while I am using the computer not all night trying to charge some manky old laptop., it works fine.  set up was painless and the SD card meant I could transfare my photos, music and files across. It takes up no space at all but there are cables everywhere.  and when its not connected, what do you do with all this stuff.  Biuld a cupboard to put it in under the telly.  so that’s what we did.  All neat and tidy like.

DunK

 

 

C.O.F

Well that time of year again.  every six months the bus is required to go through a through inspection. this is the equivalent to the UK’s MOT.  last November we flew through, just an indicator bulb not working, which was just a bad connection. they are the old festoon type bulbs and work loose with all the shaking and rattling the old bus seems to produce.

This six month, not so easy.  I took her in to Pukekohe VTNZ and they seems to take an age.  Not a good sign that.  Well nothing to drastic but not nice jobs.

Play in the King Pins, this just required grease pumping in so could of been avoided if I had just got underneath with the grease gun. will know next time.

The frame under the step was rotten so needed to be cut out and new steel work welded in. Again not the end of the world but not something I could do with the limited resources to hand

And perhaps the messy on.  Fuel tank leaking.  suspected pin holes under the securing straps.

And finally, not a fail but advisory for next time.  The seats and seat belt have no record of being certified.  I did argue that because of the age of the bus, this was not required . “no no, the rules have changed and there is nothing on record”

Right a trip up to Lance Cryer, Bedford guru in Puriri near Thames.

I decided to take the scenic route via Clevedon rather than down H1, H2 and through to the Coromandel.  This was a nice run and as it was a public holiday the roads were quiet.  the plane was to get to Kaiaua for the night as the fish and chips there are special and its right on the beach. Got as far as Kawakawa, this is were you turn right to go Matingarahi and Wharakawa then Kaiaua.  Big electronic road sign. Slips.  Road closed.  so I had to turn around and head back and start again. I got back to Clevedon and decided to call it a day and headed to park up in Ardmore airport.

Next day we set off early and arrived at Puriri just gone 9 after a quick stop at the dump station.

Lance had a look at the list of issues and got his guy on it straight away.

Started with the step.  This took all of Wednesday but by Thursday morning was all done except for a bit of paint and riveting the panels back on.

Next the Diesel tank had to come off.  this required the bus to be jacked up high enough to get the tank out from under the bus.  It was originally though that the tank straps had rubbed through the tank causing pin holes and the diesel was weeping out from there.  Once the tank was off and had been steam cleaned, it was apparent that there were quiet large holes around the drain plug area.  So armed with a large soldering iron Rodney set to work repairing the bottom of the tank.

I went Geocaching down the Hikutaia cycle trial.

Got back around 4 o’clock and the tank was ready to be refitted the following morning.  While I was away Lance had arranged an engineer to come and have a look at the seat belts and seats with a view to certifying them.  His advice was that because of the buses age, the seats did not need to be certified and to do so would require so much structural steel work that it would be impractical.  As far as the seat belts are concerned, if they are fitted they must comply therefore  “take them out and chuck them in the bin”  So that’s that problem solved.

 

All done and parked up at Rays Rest for the night.

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.

DSCF1052

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.

IMG_20170330_101700_110

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.

New Year, none event

 

I spent too long in Cyprus this year trying to avoid the New Zealand winter. Only to get back to a summer that never was, well not so far. The bus had been in storage while I was away so I was a bit unsure of what I would find on getting back.  however the solar panels had kept the batteries up and she started first crack. No damp to report or infestations of any kind, as they say in the English speaking parts of France

Summer in Cyprus had been hot and I did not get anything done other than a security gate fitted on the side steps and the cracks in the lounge wall filled and painted. My little scooter had all sorts of petrol problems, so I sorted that out after a fashion.  think it ready for the knackers yard next year.  need to look at a car I think.

On getting back, my plan was to head off to the South Island before Christmas, disappear for a few months, find somewhere nice for New Year and then just drift around the south for a bit.  This did not happen.  My trip back from Cyprus was via Dubai to call in and see some old friends and also to finally close my Bank account there.  I had tried to do this before I left originally but banks being the pain in the arse that they are, couldn’t close my wife’s credit card account for some reason even though it was on my account and they had closed mine.  Anyway that’s another story. As I was saying.  I came back via Dubai and arrived in New Zealand with the start of a cold.  I always seem to sit in sneezing distance of someone who spend the entire flight coughing their guts up or sneezing.  First few day this developed in to a heavy cold, with the result that I did not feel like going anywhere.  I developed a bloodshot right eye and a pain in my right ear and jaw.  Two weeks later and the cold has gone but not the problem with the eye and the pain in the jaw was very uncomfortable.  off to see the quack.  He came back with a diagnosis of Bells Palsy.  Two weeks later and it had eased a bit but my right eye was still not right, if you get my drift. Opticians!  Well had very thorough exam and the suggested seeing a specialist.  This came to pass.  He referred me to a neurologist on the 7th December and up until yesterday I had not heard any news about a date for my appointment.  This of course has left me in limbo, so no South Island tour and not much else to tell you the truth.

Stayed at my daughters for Christmas which was nice but decided I would go away for New Year.  Plan was to head east as far as the light house on the east cape.  This would be the first spot in the world to see the new year in and also the first sunrise. Off we pop, stopping in varicose spots. I don’t think I mentioned it but I managed to re-home my two cats before I left for Cyprus and although I miss them, life on the road is so much easier and gives me so many more options of parking up.  Anyway off we set.  Now the east cape road once you leave Opotiki is pretty remote but the weather was good and I was in no rush, just had to be at the lighthouse by New Years Eve.  Friday I  am with in 40 klicks of my destination and just change down to tack a slow bend, bang! clutch linkage snaps. Now have to find somewhere to stop.  Also had to master changing gear without being able to disengage the clutch.  Old school eh!

Quick look underneath and there is about 200mm of clutch rod missing as well as the adjusting nut, which is a special domed shape.  I quickly realised that I could not cobble anything together were I was and also I needed to find the missing bit.  Next task find somewhere to turn around bearing in mind I would have to start  the bus in gear, be it first or reverse and once she starts she’s off. To cut a long story short we managed and got back to the spot of the disaster, parked up as close to the hedge as I could then spent a good half hour walking up and down the road looking for the missing bits.  Eureka I found them.

I have been up this road before and know there is nothing in front of me until I get the east cape and other than a couple of farms no facilities where I could get the clutch rod welded.  We needed a plan. Driving with out the clutch was not a big problem other than if I had to stop and I knew the road was uninterrupted until I got to Waihua Bay. Plan was to head for there before dark, park up, have a beer or three and ask if there were any welders around.  This we did. Beer there was, welders, nay. Sleep on it.

Saturday morning, New Years Eve.  Head back to Opotiki early!  arrived in town at 08:00 hrs and went for breakfast at the two fish café.  Well worth a visit and about the only place open.  Made some enquires re welders and ended up with two options.  one place I was actually parked outside but big sign in the window.  Closed until 9th of January.  Second place, Lowes Engineering was a 20 minutes walk so gave them a ring.  Low and behold they were open until 12 and only had two staff on duty.  It was my only option.  so clutch rod in had we walked over there.  To smashing guys and one of them could certainly use a gas torch. Twenty minuets later and I am on my way back to the bus with the rod repaired, they even painted it for me.  Ten minutes on my back and my hands covered in grease and we are up and running.

New Year was by now a right off.  so find a place to park for the rest of the day and New Years day then head back west.

may be next year

New Start

Well finally got around to starting my blog again.  It all went pear shape due to the bloody awful connectivity in NZ.  Vodafone claim 95% coverage of North Island, what they don’t tell you is that’s only in populated areas and as most of NZ is empty, when you hit the city limits the phone goes blank.  I have now switched to Spark which, although not much better does have free Wi-Fi spots dotted about in strange places.  We will see.

My plan on returning to NZ for their summer was to head to South Island for a few months “Tiki Tour”.  After the events over the last couple of days, which I might add are still ongoing, I may have to re-schedule.  The infrastructure, roads and communications seem to be in a mess and will be for some time.  Guess there will be workarounds and alternative routes and I guess as I am not in a particular hurry or have any particular destination in mind should not affect me too much.  So currently parked up on my daughter’s path watching the news and planning my next move.

I managed to get my Royal Enfield certified and registered so all street legal.  The local dealer said it could not be done and basically said the bike was scrap.  My first thoughts were to ship it to Cyprus as if you pay enough money to some local, anything is possible.  Anyway I found a guy in Wellington who said he could do it for me and just before I set off for my 4 month in Cyprus he rang to say it was all complete.  he suggested I did not register it until I got back in October.  Fair play, dropped him a mail as I left Cyprus to say I was on my way and low and behold he got the rego done.  Ten hours on the train from Auckland to Wellington on the Thursday and a night in the backpackers hostel and I collected it on Friday morning.  She did not want to start.  after a plug change and a few kicks she was up and running. In hindsight I think a service prior to setting off on the 600 kilometre ride would have been prudent, but hey ho, will know better next time. We did the trip in two days, well one and a half. My big fear was getting stuck on the desert road.  This is pretty remote but once I got to Waiouru I decided to push on with a vague plan to find somewhere to stop for the night once the desert was behind me.  As it happened I got to Taupo and stayed there for  the night. Up early on the Saturday and rolled in to Pukekhoe and home around midday.  By now the Enfield was coughing and farting like a docker who smokes Capstan Full strength.

Now looking for a trailer so I can take the bike with me to South Island but it needs to be covered and have brakes.  the brakes on the bus are drum brakes and you have to stand on them to feel any effect.  hopefully a braked trailer will help a bit in shortening the stopping distance.

DunK

At last

Let’s have another go.  Finally got a good signal and am holed up at Rainbow Fall due to the bad weather.  I was here last month when I did the trip up to Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach.  This followed on from my trip to Ocean Beach.  Rather than re write my last attempt I shall just follow on as though nothing had happened.  So here goes hope it’s not too much out of sync

 

Well in an attempt to catch up on my blog, which has been ignored for so long.  This has been due, in part to Vodafone’s pathetic attempt at coverage.  They claim 98% coverage on North Island.  This can only be described as farcical, that, or I spent most of my time driving from one part of the 2% to the next. I had started a few blogs but Have no idea where they are saved and it’s not so much the drafts that are the problem, I can do them off line and just up load when I get a good connection.  No it’s this stupid WordPress thingy.  Not found it the easiest to navigate but eventually managed to work out how to do it, still cannot find any saved drafts though.  It’s the pictures.  WordPress won’t, or, I cannot find a way to up load pictures off line.  It did not like down loading pictures from any of the many clouds out there so I would have to make a folder on my hard drive, of whichever computer I was using at the time and first down load the pictures to that then up load them to WordPress from there.  This takes ages so unless I have a free unlimited connection I cannot do it.  If my literary skills were better that the pictures wouldn’t matter but unfortunately I did not pay enough attention I school so we need the pictures.

Not sure where I left off but I have returned to New Zealand for their summer an rented a place up in Whangari The idea being it would give me a base and I could empty the storage unit I was hiring in Pukekhoe.  This has not worked out quiet as planned but that’s another story.  The place is a two bedroom cabin on a hill overlooking Parua Bay.  Lovely location but windy.

Somewhere there is the start of a blog on the “little Cracker” fire I have fitted.  I have now had a chance to light this on numerous occasions and now have it down pat, so will finish that when I find it and up load it and I think there is another one on the move to Parua

Enough of that.  I spent the last two weeks ripping out the cab and fitting a new floor and re surfacing the dash with vinyl.  I have a vision of Art Deco so its avocado and cream.  I now need to put the Art Deco bits in so looking for a wall clock and need to find a way to attach some motif to make it look like the inside of Biba. I suddenly realised that this was exactly what I did not want to do.  The bus had become a project and not the vehicle to my new life on the road.  I got to the stage where it was mobile again and decided to just travel, no particular objective or goal just move.

Packed the cats up and made the bus ready to sail, inshallah, and we set off on Monday.  First stop, Ocean Beach no more than 20 click away but free parking on one of New Zealand’s best surf beaches.

 

Travelling has many rewards and I guess issues.  Pulled up in the car park and although not full difficult for me to back the bus in Inshallah, so picked the best spot for me and set up for the night.  Opposite was a small Mazda Bongo van with a large black dog chained the front bumper.  The dog “ young Jack” belongs to Kevin.  Now Kevin anywhere else in the world you would shy away from.  Very unkempt and unwashed judging by the smell but a nice enough guy it turns out.  My dad  told me “ never pat a stray dog coz it will follow you home”  I have ignored this advice on many occasions and lived to regret it but I think Kevin is different and Jack,  I may live to regret this but hey ho you only get one shot at these things.  Will be moving on tomorrow but have said I would meet up with Kev at some pub up north were the landlord is his mate.  Recipe for disaster or another adventure.

Beach was magic today  went for a couple of walks even tried to get over the head land but that proved too steep so turned back.  Bird life is very prolific here and heard a More Pork last night, there is a cock Pheasant in the woods, not seen him but heard his call,  The Fan tails are funny as they seem to fly around you, I believe this is because, you walking disturb the insects and they eat them.  Not sure but think I saw a bellbird and defiantly chaffinch and California quail.  On the beach there were Variable Oystercatchers and Dotterel or could have been Lesser Knots???

Travelled north as far as Kirikiri and stayed at Rainbow Falls for a couple of days.  Very interesting place and one of the first missionary post set up by the Pakeha when we first arrived.  Had a nice long walk down to the stone basin along the edge of the river and past the falls.  Coming back was a different story as it was up hill.  The poor old knees struggled a bit.

Next we packed up and travelled to Waitangi, the site of the signing of the treaty between the Maori and the Pakeha.  Seems it was all a bit of a con. Well perhaps not intentionally but either way trust the Brits to cock it up.

The Idea was to head up to the Cape from Waitangi but stop one night on the way up to do some washing and have a decent shower.  I chose Hihi Beach resort.  It had just been taken over by new owners and was in a state of flux.  They had had a fishing tournament the weekend before so were busy cleaning up all the rooms and camp sites.  It was fine and I managed to plug in to shore power so I could use the vacuum cleaner and remove some of the cat hair that my two little buddies seem to leave everywhere. Anyway to cut a long story short there was an organised trip to the Cape which included a drive along Ninety Mile Beach so I booked that.  Very good but a little rushed in the end. I think they started a bit late and we seemed to be chasing our tails by the end of the day, so didn’t get long at the Kauri museum and had to eat my fish and chips on the run. Never mind I am glad I did it, even got a bit of sand boarding in.  This would have been better done at the end of the trip not at the beginning, as the bottom of the dune we went down was a shallow stream.  Therefor had to sit in wet, sand infested shorts for the rest of the day.  The Cape is quiet a spiritual place and although I am not religious, there was a certain magic about it.

That was about it for that trip. Then of course we have Christmas.  Plan was that my sister and Lisa, Mark and the boys would fly out from UK and stay at Mel’s for Christmas and New Year with a couple of day up at my place in the middle. This all went great and a good time was had by all.

I have decided to give up the place in Parua Bay as it seems pointless paying for that and still paying for the storage unit in Pukekhoe.  So around the 20th Jan the plan is to hire a van and bring my stuff back and put it back in to storage.  I will then just live full time on the bus and use Mel’s place as a base.  It would be much easier without the cats.  Much as I love them to bits they are very restricting in where I can stay, even to the extent that I cannot sit with the door of the bus open on a nice day.  I am sure they would not go far but New Zealand is big on conservation and look after their indigenous species.  Therefor many of the camp site do not allow pets and the department of Conservation lay traps and put down poison for rats, possums and any other mammal that may be wandering around and I guess that means cats.  I have tried to re home them but no luck so far but must make an effort if this year is to work out.  This decision has had me looking at sections of land to use as a base.  I just need a decent hardstanding that I can park the bus on for maintenance and through winter so this is why I am back up north.  Land is cheaper up here and the weather is supposed to be better, you wouldn’t think so as it seemed to have rained every day since New Year.  In fact I am sat in the middle of a field listening to it pouring down on the bus roof.

Section I was looking at.  Long drop toilet and two sleep-outs  That was it  Site was so steep I would never get the bus on or off.

I was going to move on today but Leo had a bit of a toilet problem last night at 02:30 so after cleaning him up the best I could and changing the bed sheets I decided to stay here today and let him clean himself up and anyway the weather is atrocious so no point in traveling when its pissing down.

Will head back to Parua tomorrow via the Kauri forests on H12 and find a paid camp site so I can was the sheets and do my smalls.

 

That should have brought us back on track. Now for the photos..

Well that didn’t go to plan.  Lost connection and also forgotten my username and password

 

DunK