Archive for the ‘bike’ Category


January 7, 2016

Life as camp hosts provides us with varied days, we get asked for all sorts of information such as where to get gas bottles filled, to which walking tracks take, what time do the gates close and everything in between.  Campers come looking for all sorts of things to borrow or use, everything from a needle, to scissors, pens, and even a cooking stove!

 This summer, we are supplying power for people to charge up their phones and iPads etc, all for a gold coin donation to SOSSI (Shakespear Open Sanctuary Supporters Inc) .  At this time of the year, our solar panels generate enough energy to keep our batteries full to capacity and some, so we turn on the inverter – which converts the power from the batteries to 230v – we have an external power point to which we have plugged in a multi plug unit and people come along, plug in their device and charge it up.  I have to say that we have made a small fortune so far for SOSSI, as well as making for some happy campers.  Although we have had to put a sign up to say that it is solar generated power therefore only available during daylight hours and when the sun is shining, some people have been turning up and 7am wanting power!!  They get a bit of a grumpy response from me being woken at that hour  I have to say but a sign with the hours available has corrected that.  A few days of rain put a dampner on our charging capabilities but we were quickly back to normal again once the rain stopped.  

Speaking of rain, we had a deluge over New Year’s Day, and plenty of strong winds that saw many in the camp pack up and leave, but a hardy 60 or so campers remained and sat out the horrible weather.

  The view out of the window 
We didn’t seem to have had it as bad as some parts of the country, with only a couple of gazebos getting blown apart and we did not have as much rain as was predicted, besides, it drained away very quickly. 

  The following day, this was the view.
Another day saw Roy being asked if he could fix a bell on one of the kids bikes, soon he was surrounded by eagle eyed onlookers, with  the bell being repaired and some happy children off zooming around the camp on their bikes.  

 Bike workshop!  
 Experts abound.

Life certainly isn’t dull, and we meet some very interesting people.  We are greeted by returning campers from last year like long lost friends, and have shared drinks, and the occasional meal as well.  

Today we have had a bit of another exodus of campers as heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow . As many folk are back to work next week, the thought of having to pack up wet gear in the rain and wind is not exactly appealing, so today saw many packing up their dry gear and heading home.

Rolling on out

April 25, 2013

It was previously mentioned that we had some issues with maintenance on our awning.  To recap, some time ago we had scraped the rolled up awning on a tree and over time with sun and wind, the material had started to delaminate.  We undertook to take the awning off the van and have the piece of material cut off and then reattach the awning to the van.   We took the awning off with only some slight hitches, and on Roy’s birthday we attempted to put it back on the van, after the delaminated section had been removed. As John put it, Roy had a birthday and a near divorce all on the same day! 

It did not go well, however Bernice did find an excellent ‘how-to’ You Tube video on the correct way of re-installing the awning.  Once we had managed to get the material back onto the roller plus slide the material plus arms etc back onto the van, which is definitely a three person job, the next thing is to tension the roller.  Each end of the awning has a tensioning spring which enables the awning to be rolled out and then roll back up into the locked position.  This is where we had the major issues. 

As we had had some of the material removed, the number of turns that the awning roller requires to roll up needed to be adjusted, plus you have to ensure that each end is tensioned EXACTLY  the same number of turns….well, lets just say that we managed to get the awning back onto the van with one end rolled up very tightly and the other end, shall we say, loose.

It was decided at this stage that we may require an experts advise and assistance so a quick trip to the local motorhome store only to be told that they could not fit us in for another week or more.  Oh well, it was now secure to the side of the van and we agreed to leave it until another day. 

After everyone had left on Sunday afternoon, Bernice & Natalie headed off into town to partake in a little retail therapy. Whilst they were away, the blokes decided it would be a good time to have a go at fixing the awning without the helpful advice of the female member of the touring party!   The girls arrived back before the job was finished, which enabled them to get a couple of pictures of the work at hand.  

174_thumbHow many men does it take to turn a crescent? John, Mike, Stuart and Roy.

164_thumbNote that the youngest bloke was sent up the ladder!!!

After a couple of attempts, they eventually got it wound the correct number of times to efficiently roll out and wind back up. Phew!

We left John’s on Tuesday and headed on up the road to Otamarakau.

OtamarakauHere we are parked 20 metres away from the beach, and about the same from the railway line, plenty of noise when the train comes rumbling through. We have been here before, in fact it was just over two years ago when we had just purchased the van. 

sign 2 sign

A new addition at the parking spot is this sign which has two unusual features.  The first is that it not only provides distances to local and remote locations but it also shows the direction and angle for setting satellite dishes for TV reception. The second unusual feature is the Christchurch indicator which reflects the nature of events there by being rippled.  Someone’s good sense of humour.

bikingAnd a rare event captured, Roy trying out his bicycle to prove that they are just not ornaments on the back of the RAV.

Early morning wandering shows the usual bird life with Shags and Dotterel.

shag 1 dotterel

And two unusual items.  One is two spirula shells.  These are commonly found on beaches in both islands. 

barnaclesThe unusual aspect of these two is that they have been colonised by barnacles, in fact they look like the young of the goose barnacle.

The second unusual find is the 20cm long example of an unusual ‘organic’ item.  It is light in weight for it’s size and when broken the interior has a quite strong ammonia smell.  I would be interested if anyone can tell me what this is.  There were several smaller pieces around in the same area. 

mass 1  I have asked here and been told by someone that it may be a residue of something from the wreck of the Rena as plastic beads, clothing, timber and other wreckage has been cast up on the beach here. But this item appears to be organic in nature.

Today is our grandson Andre’s 3rd birthday, Happy Birthday Andre, and hope you have a wonderful day.  Today is also of course ANZAC Day.  Unfortunately we are some distance from a dawn service but we still paused to consider those that have gone before and those whose lives were and are affected by war.

On your bike

January 19, 2013

Friday was spent around John’s place on the outskirts of Whakatane, dealing with the day to day routine things such as laundry, filling with water, cooking, cleaning, oh and lots of talking. A trip into town to see the sights and do a bit of shopping before heading back to the house and van.
Here we are all parked up.

We also made a trip to a Motorhome store where we bought a large groundsheet to go under the awning, hopefully this will mean that there will be less dirt traipsed into the van as well as making it a bit more comfortable for sitting outside. And it will also make up for one of the mats that Chum, the dog, ate for breakfast yesterday!

Some negotiations have been taking place, amidst much mirth, and Roy is now the proud owner of a bike….thanks Jenny! We have the red bike for her, and the blue bike for him. We have no excuses any more, it’s on your bike for us.


Saturday and we are back into housesitting mode as John, Julie and Jenny are off to a wedding in Rotorua. A quiet day for us, just a bit more of the usual daily routine. Although I do admit to raiding the proliferation of citrus trees here, and I am enjoying drinking the juice from grapefruit, blood oranges, lemons and mandarins…oh and limes! I may even become inspired to make some marmalade or some citrus syrups/cordials over the next few days. Then I will have to get on my bike for a bit longer.

New Year

January 10, 2013

Happy New Year to you all, a little late but we have been very slack in keeping up with blog life!  Although now trying to think back on what we have been up to, I fear we have not been up to much apart from catching up with family and friends. 

Antony hosted a BBQ on the 28th December so we all wandered out to his place for the evening.  Mike left us the following day for his sojourn northwards. 

As I had received a small bike for Christmas, as in a 6inch model of a bike with the promise of a real bike,  we headed out to the shops to find a suitable model. This is because we in a moment of weakness I agreed to be part of a family team in the next Round the Taupo Bike race!!  Hence, I have to get fit ….and get a bike.  We found a lovely bike shop nearby where with the shop owner, along with Mike, gave me helpful advice.  So I ended up with a “Comfort Mountain Bike” which will be suitable for all sorts of biking, and not just one suitable for the race.

bike  Set up in a training frame for practice

Antony had given me a nice pair of headphones for Christmas, so now I can bike along merrily whilst listening to an audiobook.  This is of course very good for me and also helping with the rehab on my ankles, for which I am still having physio.  Whilst we are at Jacky & Chris’, I have the bike set up on a trainer so I can happily bike in situ without having to worry about negotiating traffic.

Just before New Year, friends Kevin & Faye from Nelson came to stay and we spent a lovely afternoon wandering along the waterfront,  checking out the views from the top of Mt Eden and other general sightseeing around the central city.  We ended the day with a relaxing dinner at home.  They left on New Years Eve,  and after all the excitement of the previous few days we did not stay up to welcome in the New Year and  we were in bed by 10pm. 

The following are some views of iconic Auckland sights;

iconic 2iconic

Boat Sheds                                     Sky Tower

rangi 2victoria

Rangitoto                                       Mt Victoria and Devonport


Pohutakawa’s                            And of course the queues of traffic,

Another day and we headed out to Howick to the cemetery and the Columbarium where Roy’s parents ashes are kept.   The plaque was a little tarnished so we spent some time giving it a polish.  

plaque 1

From there we headed out for a tiki tour (or trip down memory lane) around Howick and Cockle Bay, as this is where Roy grew up.  We passed many of his old haunts and we also called in at his parents old property in Cockle Bay where there are now two houses on the 1/3 acre section.  We also called past his aunts old property in Pt England where a new house is currently being built.  On our way home we called in to see Bill & Estelle for a cuppa and a catch up.   

And a few days later we were back at Bill & Estelle’s for a BBQ with some of the old crowd.  When I say old crowd, I mean Roy’s friends from his early days around Howick.  These evenings are always fun, and always end up with ‘do you remember…’

bill Bernice listening to another one of the stories at Bill & Estelle’s.

Another day and another trip out and about, this time to Warkworth to meet Roy’s cousin Delyse and her husband Graeme. We had not been on the new highway north on the toll road and through the tunnel, so after sorting out payment (all done via the internet) we headed north.

tunnel 5tunnel 2

Approaching the tunnel                Heading through the tunnel

Delyse has also been doing a bit of genealogy so she and Roy were able to compare and swap notes. We spent a lovely afternoon with them before heading south again, this time via the old coast road.  This time we called in to  Wenderholm and Shakespear Parks to view them as possible sites for a camping weekend with Alex and her friends when she is home from London next month.  Shakespear Park is looking the most likely spot as we are constrained as to where we may park our van due to size restrictions.

As you can see from the photos, we have been experiencing amazing weather, it has been very warm and humid with a surprising lack of rain – very unusual for Auckland!  Long may this weather continue.

We have also managed to catch up with Robyn & Alan, friends from when our children were at school together at Parnell Primary.  We spent a lovely evening with them reminiscing, catching up with happenings and we will not mention the bottle of rum that Alan and Roy demolished!

We are now into our last few days of being in Auckland, as we plan to head off on Monday down to Taupo and back to our van ready for a couple of weeks of tripping around before heading  back to the Auckland region for Alex’s pending arrival.

Now for the interesting photo of the day we have the following;

 crash landed goose  It’s a patch in the tarseal but the shape is interesting…Roy says it looks like a goose that made a bad landing but I say it looks like the map of Tasmania.