Friday, May 30, 2008

Kaiaua and The Coromandel Loop

Kaiaua and The Coromandel Loop - it sounds like an adventure book for boys title. What a great days ride! All day long - the sky was clear blue, the sea was sparkling, the lush green of the bush and farmland was accented with autumn colours, the vistas across the Coromandel were spectacular, and the traffic light. Except for the rush-hour traffic congestion coming back into Auckland.

View Larger Map

It was a day for taking in NZ sights, sounds, smells and autumn sunshine. I started out at 10:00a.m. with a full tank of gas (what decadence!) and headed for Maraetai. This additional destination in the usual Clevedon-Kawakawa Bay-Kaiaua part of the trip was well worth the effort. The tide was in and as you ride along the shore on that narrow winding road you wonder why you didn't come sooner or more often - and being a Thursday the beaches were empty of people. I vote every Thursday as a holiday!

The ride produced a big day despite being only 450km, and my left hand was suffering repetitive strain from all the clutch work - I eventually dispensed with using the clutch except when I really needed to - e.g. the traffic jam on the Southern Motorway.

I will address the two parts of the trip The Kaiaua part and the Coromandel Loop in subsequent posts, when I will publish some pictures taken on the trip as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Koru waiting at SFO

Yes, I am here reflecting on a great couple of years with a group of wonderful people, while the mighty Koru waits patiently to take me back home.

I am on my way back to Auckland, having said goodbye to my US friends and colleagues - but I don't really want to think of it as goodbye, just 'working from home'. And of course, when I get back to Auckland I will also be saying goodbye to the guys in the Netconcepts Browns Bay office - sitting here alone in the empty gate lounge at SFO sure doesn't help dissolve that feeling of loss.

There are so many great people, great memories, battles won and lost, and unfinished business that I can't believe that we wont be working together or playing together another day.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial

If you are riding through Door County, then you should ride to the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial. You'll find it on Mathey Road and its sign posted from both Hwy 42 and Hwy 57, the two main roads that run up the peninsula.

The Memorial was founded by the Northern Wisconsin Bikers Association, Inc - this is a moving place. The purpose of the memorial is to recognise and honour those whose "earthly biking days have passed". I found it moving. There are free maps of Wisconsin and brochures about buying a memorial paving stone for the "Walkway of Remembrance".

Of course we don't really want any more names on paving stones. But great job guys. Its a must visit.

County U

Well, there are some roads that make life worth living. I found another one when heading back from Door County. Just after Sturgeon Bay you hang a left onto County Route U, which was a bright star in an otherwise straight sweepy straight flat universe. Of course THOSE roads have their place for some deep throttle twisting, but there is nothing quite like a road with corners.

View Larger Map

Nice flowing narrow road which sprints along open tops and then dives down to the Lake edge, then back up again... very nice. Just 20km, but worth it.

If you have been up to Door County and visited the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial on Mathey Road, as I'm sure you will, this is a must do on the way back to civilization.

Door County by Street Glide

Why would you come all the way across the world, and NOT ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle through Door County Wisconsin?

This is the pewter denim H-D Street Glide that I hired for the weekend - a really smooth machine. The bikes in the background are from a Christian riders group who have a motorcycle ministry in Illinois - you know that Harley Davidson is a religion over here - I was told there were 160 members in all. They were your typical grey-haired biker - except the scowl was replaced with an angelic smile.

I didn't stop grinning myself the entire weekend. The Street Glide had very little vibration at cruising speeds, and was very comfortable. The rides Saturday and Sunday were about 6 hours each - and that was easy. I did run into a bit of rain which turned to hail on the way up. THAT is extremely painful on the face, and I was wishing for my full-face helmet. It didn't last long, in fact the weather was good, not too hot yet, and not too cool.

View Larger Map

After exploring Washington Island, I headed back to Ephraim WI where I stayed the night, and had a fish-boil at the Post Office Restaurant. The initial run up to Washington Island was only 5 hrs, so I was making good time. That made me rethink the route back and I did a bit of a zig-zag on the way back. I backtracked to Pipe WI to take pictures of the wind farm there. It was awesome to see those big towers with the slow moving vanes.

A great ride. See my post about County U

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sausage Race - 1 Brewers - Nil

Today we went to the Brewers / Dodges game at the Miller Park in Milwaukee. The team got a 15-seater van - well done Rachel, and we drove down from Madison, arriving in the Milwaukee sunshine for the midday game - along with 30,000 others.

That my friend is a lot of sick-days and a lot of team building! Well done Jody. A lot of people had made a real go of it, with BBQ's aflame and picnic tables strewn throughout the carpark.

The roof remained closed, but that didn't stop the fireworks from going off when the Brewers hit a home run. They just didn't hit enough of them on the day.

We had pretzels, hot dogs (including soy dogs), popcorn, peanuts and beer - all the major food groups. Including Soydogs - well done Tina! We were sat right behind the batters plate - well done Jeff. The Brewers were playing the LA Dodgers - but that wasn't the important part - the Sausage Race was won by Chorizo - he was the hot favourite!

Lets see, we kept Kerry away from the casino, the peanuts away from Rachel, Kris away from the edge of the terrace - none was injured, and we had some great music on the road trip. Thanks guys for a great day to remember. Oh yes, and I bought a Milwaukee Brewers cap, for um... good luck.