Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finally, a New Tour plan unfolds

I have been off the road for almost 6 months now. I have been living in Southern California at Fort Irwin, an American Army base, out in the Mohave Desert. I spent my days mostly helping take care of my grand children. I have not been riding my bike much because for the first three months it was over 100 degrees everyday and then since it cooled down I have had some health issues that prevented me from riding.

But a few days ago I bought plane tickets to New Zealand and then to Australia. The tour is limited to six months because I am doing it on a shoestring and hoping it all works out safely for me. My funds are critically low and most people would never consider even trying to do a major tour of riding around the North and South Islands of New Zealand and then riding in Australia for three months if they heard my budget. I am going to need to rely on help from the wonderful hosts at Warm Showers and spend a lot of nights camping in the bush to be able to survive this tour. If I run over any snakes in Australia they just might end up on a stick over a campfire.

I lived in Australia for two years so I do know what I am getting into there. I have also been to New Zealand so I am somewhat familiar with the country. I will start in Auckland New Zealand and circle both islands and do as many fun activities as my crippled old body will allow me to do and then I fly to Sydney and will likely ride down to Tasmania and back to Sydney then go North to the Gold Coast where I used to live before I fly back to California.

My routes and travel plans are still very much up in the air. I am reading blogs from other riders to get an idea of the road and riding conditions in New Zealand. I have enjoyed reading the blogs. I did not know that Kiwis, as New Zealanders are called, are rated as the third worst drivers in the world!!! They have a very high accident rate for hitting bicycles with a very high mortality rate as well. So my riding there will need to be very defensive with me ready to jump off the bike to the side of the road at a seconds notice. I just mastered jumping off my bike to the right side and now I need to learn how to do it on the left side since they still drive on the old British side of the road which is the left side. I am used to driving on the wrong side of the road after many years or driving all around the world so I hope I will be OK. The numbers statistically speaking are not in my favor as for my personal safety while riding in NZ. I also learned that the crime rate in NZ although a low rate overall is very high with tourists being robbed at an alarming rate. So again I hope I have a safe journey.

All the blogs talk about how nice and friendly the people are in NZ so I think I will survive. The scenery can be spectacular there so I am looking forward to getting some decent pics.

Wish me luck and as my plans gel I will post some more updates before I leave.