Here was the most important rule of the road for the entire trip. It was odd at first and took about a day to get used to riding on the wrong, er, I mean, left /images/icons/wink.gif side of the road. I'm just really glad I didn't have to do it in a car!
So, we fly into Aukland International Airport and are greeted by someone that we had only previously met on the internet, Michelle. She picks us up and do we go straight to her house for some much needed rest after the grueling 14hour flight? No! Straight out to the woods to go riding! /images/icons/smile.gif Her husband is out there waiting for us and has a KTM 380 for me to ride and a trials bike for Jen to ride. We proceeded to spend the rest of the day riding through the woods with our new friends.
Ok, first impressions? Damn! Motorcycles have a LOT more power at sea level. I was ripping up wheelies in 3rd and 4th gear with ease.
Anyway, here's a pic of our new Kiwi friends and the loaner bikes. Yes, that's the Pacific Ocean in the background. More of that later... /images/icons/wink.gif/images/icons/smile.gif
So, one of the not-so-cool things about New Zealand is that most land is private, which means you can't just go out anywhere and go for a ride anytime you want. You have to get permission from a property owner to ride on their farm or forest or whatever.
The COOL thing that this causes, however, is that there are many organized rides, where one person or group sets up a ride on a specific date and gets permission from 7 or 8 farmers at once and gets to rip all over creation with, guess what? 300 other people who are itchin to ride just as bad as you are.
Here is Henk (on the right), one of our most gracious hosts, at the start of one of these rides.
About halfway through the ride, I looked off in the distance at what appeared to be a mountain just in front of an ocean panarama. As I got closer, it I was delighted to find out that this "mountain" was actually an incredibly large sand dune with what I'm guessing to be 800-1000 feet of vertical relief! Yeeee-foookin-haaa! /images/icons/laugh.gif
And there was much rejoicing... Actually, there's no sicker feeling than being wide open in top gear, racing down the beach and hitting a patch of soft sand and wondering what your body looks like doing repetitive cartwheels.../images/icons/tongue.gif
Not bad for the first two days of a 17 day vacation! /images/icons/smile.gif
Then it was time to move on. We thanked our Kiwi friends for the use of their bikes and went on to pic up our trusty steed for the remainder of the trip. Since it was just me and Jen touring 2-up on a beemer I don't have any action shots. Lots of twisty roads, mountains, glaciers, twisty roads, waterfalls, ocean, beaches, did I mention twisty roads... /images/icons/wink.gif