North island 2018

 

North Island Expedition 2018

The mass movement North, of Rutherford Probus across the Cook Strait by ferry, was a godwit like migration. The forecast stormy sea conditions had all travellers grabbing for pills. Likely sufferers were no doubt aware of Nelson's useless advice for the seasick; "Sit under a Tree". Perhaps we hoped for a Moses parting of the waters in the Cook Strait and a tramp across its bottom. Not much good for Probus, we would spend much too long talking, taking photos and poking marooned jellyfish.

 
The cyclists made camp in Martinborough for the first night. The following day was to be the Club's Everest like moment as we  attempted the Rimutaka Trail, without oxygen.
 
Christine, our leader, with faith in the general fitness of her team, their battery power and a weather window between two storms, set off with a well oiled plan. An advanced party of the fittest was placed nearer the summit to prepare the route. Unfortunately two of its members appeared to have forgotten their sandwiches, set off at pace and were not seen again. As has occurred many times on such a venture, the climb up was not the problem, rather the descent However Rutherford Probus was up to the challenge and another chapter was written in the illustrious annals of the Club's cycling section.
 
On arrival in Napier bikes were cast aside in preparation for a trip to the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. A choice of transport was available, Business Class used luxury coach travel and was provided with copious liquid refreshment, Economy Class consisted of tractor, trailer and a beach passage. For the beach trip the health and safety briefing was short and to the point, if you fall off the trailer grab and pull off another passenger to make it worth the driver's return. At the colony, gannets, un-phased by nosey humans, went about their parental hatching duties with just the odd squawk. The scene seemed a bit undignified, a human audience with cameras, clicking away in a labour ward. A colony of white fronted terns was far less accommodating, straddling the beach trailer on a bombing run that left certain passengers wondering why they were supposed to feel lucky.
 
Two further cycle rides in Napier saw the pink tutu change waists several times as misdemeanours, real or invented, were punished. However it soon became apparent certain gentlemen were enjoying their decorative experience, so hardly a punishment.
 

Communication between the cyclists and other club members, especially the support team of Harry and Kay should not have been a problem, after all Charles H monitors his Pacific fishing fleet with his mobile phone, one hand while peddling. Mistakes can happen, Suzie B thought she was making a group restaurant booking with her phone only to realize she had misdialed and was talking to a puzzled Harry on her own apartment balcony. I was suitably chastised for almost mowing down two elderly ladies on a combined biking/walking path while trying to take video action shots. The ladies fortunately showed remarkable athleticism as well as an appropriate turn of phrase.

 Taupo, interesting, but not a favourite bit of NZ, too much like a high class holiday camp, provided a memorable lakeside ride. Fortunately for Joe there were no hills en route, some jerk in Napier had pinched his bicycle battery. By this time cycling numbers had dropped from the original twenty one, members used a visit to local relatives as an excuse to limit further damage to complaining bottoms.
 
The last ride at Turangi was thought to be a comfortable riverside 'wind down'. It was, except for the last kilometre. A sadistic planner had set the finish to climb a four hundred metre high lookout, the only route back.
 
Forteen surviving holiday stragglers assembled at Chateau Tongariro for a short decadent stay in its fading glory. We said our goodbyes as we scattered in all directions to continue our holiday or make tracks back to Nelson. Well done Christine, Gill and Chris, a great trip.