Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Australian Road Trip

"To escape the routines of work and home and hit the road"
We did that. It was the coming together of birthday milestones and provided a great opportunity to go on an Aussie road trip.

Birthdays

Well we have an economic way of having birthdays - with quite a few in September and October, so this was a good excuse, especially with Roger's 60th, we managed to assemble most of the family in Albury to help him celebrate. A fantastic time was had - with a bus, winery tours and a wonderful dinner - planned and executed with aplomb. Thank you to all who made it, we all had quite a day - and I will admit to crawling off to be at around mid-night even though the party continued.

We also got a couple of days in Albury and took the mountain bikes out for a bit of a Tiki Tour - there are great cycle trails that go through town and into the wetlands. Albury Trails. We saw a snake on the path - that was fairly exciting - but we weren't looking forward to the next one - no snakes in NZ!

Road Trip

Gassed up, have 3G wireless modem, chilli-bin (well being Aussie it was an 'Esky') we headed off - around 2,500 kms. THanks Sandy - your Mazda3 was a fantastic drive.
View Larger Map
Hartwig Wines at the top of the Barossa Valley where we stopped to look at a patchwork shop.
Bronze pigs in Adelaide - better pigs?
Pelicans at Kangaroo Island - they are truly the funniest looking birds - well they look like living cartoons...
When we were in Melbourne the Queen came to visit - yeah I didn't see her either.
We spent 4 days in Melbourne at the end of the trip - shopping, and shopping, and eating and ... it was really good - walked a few miles though ;-) I bought clothes - by Deus Ex and Ducati! We stayed in the Causeway Inn - I can recommend it - right in the action and well priced.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SSANZ Two Handed on Peppermint Planet

Short-handed Sailing

The B&G Simrad Triple Series. Every year Peppermint Planet has taken part in the SSANZ racing in Auckland, and on occasion I have been fortunate enough to be be onboard. They are a great experience, especially flying spinnakers and gybing them two-handed - no really...
As the day fades we are heading back past the Rangitoto light-house to the finish at Orakei wharf.

This year I got two races, the 50 and 60 mile races, missing out on the 100. Maybe Kerkira should have a go at the short-haul course this year...

On line

We came 6th in the B&G Simrad 50
We came 15th in the B&G Simrad 60
We came 8th in the B&G Simrad 100
The field was 23 boats for our division

Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Just June

A June Picture

I found this picture in my June browsings.

Robotart - Robot Art or Robo Tart?

I was inspired by Andrew Palace (Metal As Anything) who had an exhibition of his lamps in Grey Lynn. Fantastic stuff.

In-the-middle

Stuff happens all the time. It doesn't necessarily start or finish though, sometimes things are in-the-middle. A bit like June. Everything is in-the-middle.
  • Dr Who is in-the-middle of the series
  • An energy site I am working on is in-the-middle, with a go-live of phase 1 in early July
  • An insurance site is in-the-middle of the analysis and design phase, and decisions that need to be made all seem to be in-the-middle of a decision making process
  • the house re-renovations are in-the-middle as we tick rooms off - moving junk from one romm to another in a kind of merry-go-round
  • the year is in-the-middle - obviously, as it is each year at this time - doh
  • I wish I could say that yacht maintenance was in-the-middle but it hasn't started. But it should have...
  • I am currently in-the-middle of this post ;-)
  • Based on the fact that I will live to 108 years, my life is approaching the in-the-middle phase, although the amount of whisky I have yet to consume could well be greater in the second half
  • Oh, I am in-the-middle of Call of Duty: Black Ops for the second time...??!!
When you use a list element you type the brackets and you start with a-lie (li), and you end with not-a-lie (/li). Whatever... Just goes to show my mood.

A Poem About String

In the middle of
A piece of string each end is
Equally distant

johnhs

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hampton Downs May Rideday

Javawocky and Evil Stig's Adventure

With the last MotoTT Taupo weekend being rained out I was certainly up for a rideday to blow out the cobwebs. Then all things aligned, and the May rideday at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park near Meremere appeared and the Metservice promised sunshine. All ducks in a row, and Javawocky (Elton) also rearing to go, I booked online in the Green (Med-Fast) group.


Eltonio (Javawocky) with his black GSXR600 and new Sharp helmet.

And what a beautiful day it was - a little cool and foggy on the way down, but the day cleared and was brilliant. A spot or two of rain in the afternoon was nothing to worry about.


Evil Stig's black Ducati 916

Tyre pressures were adjusted down to aid tyre warm-up - I ran 29 PSI front and back. Two circuits was all that was needed to get the Metzeler M5's to grip - just up to me now to relearn the track, relearn how to ride, and get down to business.

What a Ducati of a workout!

Being in the med-fast group means that you are not cruising between corners, you are totally focused and already planning the next - all day, and using/improving skills as the day progressed has left me with sore muscles - especially the legs. The Enterprise (Suzuki Boulevard C90 cruiser) does not require you to grip with your knees - whereas the Ducati requires vice-like grip - aided by the leathers against the TechSpec Gripster tank grips I have added.

Knees to the Grindstone

Its a kind of right-of-passage - no idea what all the fuss is about - except its a bit like virginity for riders. One guy is grinding his knee slider around the corner and you are right on his back wheel and not... its a funny business. However funny or not, I can say (in a slightly deeper voice than usual) that my sliders are now scuffed up.

Video Highlights

Elton had his cameras on and captured some of the later sessions on video. It gives you a good idea of the circuit and also what a GSXR600 can get up to when unleashed.
Video of Hampton Downs GSXR 600. The later sessions had some sun between turns 1 and 2, but the track has been very well thought out with regard to the afternoon sun and its affects on visibility.

Great day, had a real blast too.

cheers
johnhs

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boulevard Rally 2011 Goes North

This years rally had been split into two parts, with South Island and a North Island legs to cater for those who wanted to make a real roadtrip out of it, and those who just wanted the weekend. The Christchurch earthquake put a dampener on the South Island part and so it was largely called off - although there were a few that made the trip to Nelson to be together.


View Larger Map
The trip up and back to Whangarei on Saturday, return to Auckland Sunday.

Saturday morning started very early... I was at Coleman's Suzuki at 6:00AM - just me and the 'girls'. Eventually the crew turned up and 7 of us headed north to the meeting place at the Pacific Motor Group in Whangarei. I had new tyres and brakes fitted on Wednesday and had spent some time cleaning and polishing ready for the meetup. We had a good trip up, at a reasonable pace, and not much traffic, arriving at PMG gassed up and rearing to go. And there was Paul Bougher - I didn't know he rode bikes, but he was on a Boulevard cruiser. I hadn't discovered riding when I worked with him at Fletchers many years ago - we usually talked sailing.

Quite a number of the crew had come up on Friday, and the use of sunglasses for 'medicinal purposes' was apparent.

It was a fantastic day though... after a dark start (and quite cold). Coming up we hit some pockets that were foggy and cold enough to fog the mirrors and around the visor. I have a Shoei XR1000 helmet with the pin-lock anti-fogging 'skin' on the inside - it works so well - highly recommended.


The Starship Enterprise leaves Whangarei.

Once briefing was over the "Rolling Thunder" experience hit the road North. I was amazed at the numbers of people along the way that waved from bridges , who took photos and movies with their cell-phones, and who waved signs at us like "Feijoa's $2.00" and stuff like that. One even said "Dangerous Curves" - in reference to the northern and downwards side of the Mangamuka hill - held by Dayna from Suzuki.

The north road does get a bit windy at times, and its all the better for it ;-) We arrived in Kaitaia, gassed up, and regrouped at Kaitaia Motorcycles.



I was getting a bit hungry now, the effects of my 2 fried eggs on toast for breakfast had run out - but ahead lay the quick run down from Kaitaia to the Mangonui Fish Shop, at, er ... Mangonui. I headed for the front of the pack as I knew that a) parking was going to be at a premium, and b) I was hungry and reckoned I would be better near the front of the queue (of 200 people!!) I pity those who had gone their of their own volition - finding a huge queue snaking out of the fish shop. Anyway, I checked in with Foursquare and waited in line for THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS - the fish was wonderfully fresh - I imagine it had come in that morning.



The trip back to Whangarei took us to our hotel. I was staying at the Kingsgate Hotel Whangarei, across the river from the city centre. I checked in, cleaned up, and walked back into town to take part in the judging of the "Show-and-shine" competition and to get a shuttle ride to the golf course, where out dinner was being held. There was a bit of under-estimating when it came to organising the shuttles - quite a few people taking up on the offer, and leaving their bikes at the Hotel or locked up at PMG.

I went with a van-load of BOP people who reckoned that the next one should be in Tauranga, and we set about planning where the reception would be. The night at the golf club was great - good company, good food, cold beer! However I was very tired, saying that "yesterday when we came up... oh no that was this morning wasn't it..." it had certainly been a long day.


Looking at the Kingsgate from across the marina.

Sunday up and breakfasted, we hit the road back to Auckland headed for the Puhoi pub (which I by-passed). I was going to meet up with Kev and Cathy and the crew but I was at Warkworth at 11:15AM and figured they would be along in a hour or so - so carried on.

So, home for lunch, and enough time to trim the hedge, have a beer, and eat some excellent fresh pasta before crashing. 650KM roadtrip weekend - thanks Suzuki for putting on a great Boulevard Rally 2011.

cheers
johnhs [windingroad]

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Richmond Yacht Club Summer Series 2010-2011

For the second year Kerkira has raced on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland with the Richmond Yacht Club in the Wednesday night Summer Series races.

Kerkira racing Auckland Harbour Bridge

Kerkira contested the 12 races this year, and we certainly have improved from our first season - in confidence, focus and in our knowledge of sailing. And I would add, the crew are working very well together too, able to sense what the next thing that needs doing is, before its too late, or the skippers barks out his orders ;-) No barking... only purring this year.

Kerkira racing
And we stood on the top of the podium 3 times!

In the first season we were triumphant in the clubhouse on more than one occassion however this year we were able to exercise that prowess on the water as well, picking up 3 wins and coming a respectable 4th in the series.

Results Division E No Extras
============================
Race 01: PROTEST [We withdrew after missing Rough Rock Buoy]
Race 02: Handicap: 0.625 Place: 16/16
Race 03: Handicap: 0.627 Place: 10/14
Race 04: Handicap: 0.625 Place: 7/16
Race 05: Handicap: 0.622 Place: 1/14
Race 06: Handicap: 0.623 Place: 1/14
Race 07: Handicap: 0.626 Place: 7/10
Race 08: Handicap: 0.632 Place: 5/12
Race 09: DNF [Arrived 3 minutes after 9:00 closing]
Race 10: Handicap: 0.634 Place: 4/12
Race 11: Handicap: 0.638 Place: 1/11
Race 12: Handicap: 0.639 Place: 5/10

Sailing on Wednesday nights after work is just amazing really (if you can get through the traffic in time!) and I appreciate the support I have had with crew always onhand to make the night great.

Read our sailing blog called Kerkira Racing where I have chronicled each race, our course, crew, start, progress and result throughout the series, adding the Quote of the Day where appropriate - I admit we have had alot of fun - but our sailing skills have grown also - and we are proud of our achievement of 4th place overall.

Kerkira racing
Kerkira racing sunset
Kerkira racing bridge
Kerkira racing
Kerkira racing ship
Kerkira racing ship
Kerkira racing ship
Kerkira racing ship