Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A warrior worries. Then he makes a decision and worries no more

Written on January 17th 2009

I should get myself a warcry or something.

Mastercard didn't work either. I flew up to Nelson anyway. What a view from the plane!

I was picked up at the airport by the seller, a great guy called Gary. I'd called him about my problem in advance, and he offered me to stay at his place for the night. He took me to his home on the hills above Nelson and introduced me to his wife and one of his three sons. What a view they have!
I called the bank at 10pm, and eventually we found the problem. I can only take out 2000,- DKR from my card on any given day. Would have been nice to know in advance! Anyway, my banker was very helpful, and we decided to express-transfer the money instead. Gary agreed to let me have the bike if my banker sent a mail personally confirming the transfer. Great! I hit the sack a little past midnight. 12 hour time difference is a bitch!

Here's Gary with his newest purchase:

The story behind that bike of his goes like this: His motorcycle club has an annual challenge. You purchase a bike for no more than NZ$ 500. You repair/restore the bike, using no more than NZ$ 500. You go on a trip with other challenge-takers lasting 3 days and covering 1000km. You win prizes for things like Most Unrecognizable Brand and the likes. Sounds like fun!

Unfortunately, I never got a really good one of Gary, but here is a foto of his wife, Janet:

When she heard that this was my first time riding since taking my license, she responded with "Either you're very brave, or very stupid!" A bit of both I suppose.

Turns out their eldest is only one day older than me.

In the evening we had a barbeque and we talked at great lengths about the differences between Denmark and NZ. They both seem like very knowledgeable people. It's a shame I didn't get the chance to get to know them better. That chance might come when I come back up to Nelson, though, as Gary offered to help me do a bit of maintenance on the bike then. The legendary kiwi hospitality at work!

The next morning I rode my new bike back to Christchurch, a trip of 400km. I'd had my breakfast at Gary and Janet's place, but no sooner than I'd thought "what about second breakfast" I ran into this great couple from America (sorry you two, forgot the state!) who treated me to coffee and breakfast!

The guy (sorry mate, forgot the name!) had done a good bit of dirtbiking back home, and he confirmed some of the things Gary'd told me about it. Mainly that it's a good and reliable bike for the money.

Along the way I did a bit of video:

I named her Valkyrie after the valkyries of norse mythology. She's already taken so many brave bugs to valhalla that Odin started complaining. That's right, Odin's got my number.

The reason I'm panting in the video is the heat. It was a beautiful sunny day, and when I were riding the temperature was ok. Once I stopped, however, it wouldn't be more than five minutes before I had to loose the jacket!

The landscape kept outdoing itself, and every time it changed I thought "damn! I should have done the video here!" Here's some fotos, but they (or videos for that matter) just don't do it justice.

After a while the bike went dead. I realized I'd run out of gas! This is the first vehicle I've ever owned, mind you, but I felt very stupid none the less! I switched to the reserve tank, not knowing how much it held, and headed to the next town, 70 kilometers ahead. I leaned forward and lowered my speed. I was riding on a prayer.

This is the first time I've ever talked to something I'm driving, except maybe my first bicycle who was very sociable, but all the way I was urging the old girl on. Sometimes tenderly, sometimes in stronger terms. The moral support apparantly did the trick 'cause she took me all the way to Springs Junction. I watered her and thanked my lucky stars. Here she is, taking a rest next to the watering hole.

Google Maps said the trip back to Christchurch would be 5½ hours. I took 9 hours! The bike did 100 fine, but I took it easy to enjoy the scenery and because I don't know the bike that well yet. The mountain roads were curvy as well. Add a few stops, the slowing down on the reserve, and that about explains it.

Back in Christchurch I stayed with Mike one last night. This morning I got up and rode to a bike shop to buy riding clothes and panniers. The guys and girls at the shop, sport and street motorcycles, were great, and when I told them what I was doing they got really interested. One of them said he'd put my blog-link on their web-site, and when I left they gave me a beanie and some tie-downs saying they'd come in handy. They did!

I went back to Mike's place and started packing. I finished up around 4pm, and Mike helped me strap everything to the bike which took some time too. I realized I didn't have any pictures of Mike, and we got a bypasser to snap these. I rode off heading for Ashburton at 4:40.

Now I'm sitting in a budget (read: crap) room in an Ashburton motel. I'd hoped for a backpackers place, but no such things exist in Ashburton. Why would it, there's nothing to see here.
As I parked my bike I realized the panniers were too heavily loaded with the bag on top, and a plastic exhaust covering had down on the exhaust pipe, causing it to melt in places! My panniers took some damage too, and I was afraid my laptop was in that bag. Thankfully it wasn't, and there were no further damage. Tomorrow I'll try riding with my rucksack on my back and the panniers as far forward on the bike as possible. If the plastic thingy lets go of the exhaust I'll hopefully be able to push the panniers back into a comfortable position. This whole thing (crap motel and damaged bike) had me really bummed out for a while. To remedy this I called a backpackers at Lake Tekapo and reserved a room for tomorrow. It made me feel a lot better having a plan for the bike, as well as good (read: fun!) lodging for tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to seeing the lake, as I've heard it's beautiful.

Leave me a comment and tell me about one great adventure you've experienced!

This is Jophiel. Signing off.


Bozo said...

Good read, really like the picture with the waterfall. And running out of gas? Neewbie mistake ;)

Found this for ya, i really think you should apply!


Lucas Alexander said...

Hey Bro,
So nice to see that you're okay, and doing great... Learning by doing, eh...! Do you feel like a fighter pilot?? ;)
I SOOO wanna come next time! I'm serious!
Well my adventure was at the audition for the theater school!

Torben Nyman Nielsen said...

Hi Son
Nice to read that you are of and have had your first experience with the bike. 9 hours - doesn't your bum hurt?
And no worries - we know what spill means ;-)
Love, Dad

Torben Nyman Nielsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jophiel said...

hehe, yeah.

Don't worry though, it was at very slow speed (5km/h) and there were soft grass to land in.

The gas problem? Almost did it again today as I underestimated the distance to the Albatros colony on Otago Peninsula.

I'll write a new post soon, but good internet access is hard to get to in NZ. I asked the hostel what the speed was and he said "hi-speed! 256k!" *sigh* I miss my 24Mb connection!

And yes bro, I totally feel like a fighter pilot!

Christie-Jane Wiis said...

Hey my brave son! so good to see you, and hear your voise. Fantastic landscape must be so grate to travel in. I too wanna go down there. Big hug mutti

Dorte Manscher said...

Hi Joph
How nice it is to hear about the beginning(!!)of your great adventure :-)
And so funny that you met my friend Karin the other day! What are the odds of that?!
Love, Dorte

Andreas said...

Nice read. Wish I could be there with you! Back here its all dark and cold.

Climbing lessons are fun. Feel like I'm learning something new every time. Can't wait to go out there with you and conquer the cliffs of Skärvö. :)

Love reading your blog, and the video is very good. Gives the whole thing another dimension which I really like.

Enjoy you time down there. Looking forward to your next post.

Gary said...

Hi Jophiel,
I a read your latest post and enjoyed it. By now you will know how far to XR goes before you switch onto reserve! I normally set the trip meter when I fill up to keep track of how far I have left in the tank.
I sent you a separate email too, me being new to this blogging thing.

Jophiel said...

Mom: Miss you too!

Dorte: Yeah, we were both really psyched about that too!

Andreas: Don't get too much climbing experience, or I won't be able to keep up when I get home :) The next post will be up shortly :)

Gary: I've calculated that it'll go aprox 225k on one tank, but I haven't had the chance to test it yet (thankfully). The reserve is around 1/3 of the full tank which is 9 liters according to Wikipedia.
you're doing good, you're the only commenter with a picture :)