[Original post by Elliot Mogerman] – March 21, 2010 –
At the lodge, the next day all the off road bikers went for some rides. I decided to go for a 2 hour hike and run around the lake. However the lake was like 4 km away, so it was pretty much a track to the lake and back to the lodge. It was still nice and I liked being out in the sun to relax. So we said our farewells to the adventure rally, which was not as fun as the triumph rally, and headed back to Christchurch. Mike decided to take a detour to see the base of Mt. Cook and normally wouldn’t have been a bad call but with my worn tires, running out of gas, burnt out headlight and night approaching, I was a little worried. We both were low on fuel and luckily I found a gas station in the small town, but we had to wait 30 minutes for a porter to come and give us gas. We found a hostel but they were completely booked. So we rode fast and found a town in between the two places and camped outside at a hostel. There was an observatory trip we were interested in taking but it was so expensive we decided to just look up at the night sky for free. Then in the morning we took our own trip up to Mt John observatory and had hot chocolate before arriving in Christchurch.
In town, I got my bike serviced and bought new adventure tires. They are off road and on road but more aggressive for on road. This way, I don’t plan on off-roading anymore this trip, but if we get somewhere without a choice, I at least have decent tires. Also, how incredible a trip where you can go anywhere and do anything and so far not only deal with ticks, mites, bedbugs, biting flies, mosquitoes, lice, snakes, spiders, sunburn, heat, thirst, diarrhea, parasites, bruises, infections, scrapes, lacerations, pulled and torn muscles, injuries, and that’s when things were going good but worse yourself, the mind, and all your own issues therein. All this and more yet I found when it is over that each country, culture, environment, had worked something into me so that it became in retrospect not the fault of each place or person but those who were blind or willful and each nostalgic place needs to be honored with a return visit. A piece of myself has been left behind waiting for me to come back and pick it up.
Singha Thai beer is worth mentioning as it was really really good with lunch recently. On a night’s venture out to the bar scene, some of us from the hostel went to the base bar, “Saints and Sinners.” The DJ announced a free $400 tattoo coupon to whoever would do the weirdest thing to win it. Well three guys, who looked as if they have done this before, ended up stapling there scrotums together on a piece of wood. The next day I finished my book Steel Tiger by Stirling Silliphant. Bmw told me my broken clutch is too expensive to fix, but since it is still working, for now, to try and ride it all the way home and get it repaired there. I went on a pub crawl and won a prize of my own! They offered a free jet boat ride to whoever wanted to win a contest. So they lined us up, guys in back, girls up front. They bent the girls over and gave each guy 3 balloons. We had to inflate the balloons and pop them on the girl without using our hands. Yes, of course, the American won. And the jet boat ride was so fun. We went to the Waimakariri River and rode over shallow water doing fast turns and stops. These machines are quite amazing and versatile. Tomorrow we have a nice ride to Queenstown in store.
Left Christchurch and doubled back through the MT. Cook area. It is such a great ride, with the blue lakes, and ever changing scenery. The weather was around 80 and barely any traffic to fight with. The hostel we stayed at was right on the lake. And none to soon, when NZ announced a national emergency to stay away from all beaches because of the typhoon and waves crashing in from a Chilean earthquake of 8.8. Queenstown in majestic. This wonderful place has all the adventure and sights you could want. I took a gondola up high to a lookout where I sat in a luge and rolled down the side of a mountain. At sunset it is so beautiful and amazing with all the mountains around the lake. I celebrated with a nice Japanese dinner which was the best Japanese food I have had since Japan. For lunch also had a pretty delicious burger from a famous joint in town. I went into a hairstylist place looking for a haircut and the chick was so rude I ended up walking out. But I found another place and they were happy to take my money.
Since I had so much fun at the Christchurch pub crawl I decided to try the one in Queenstown. It wasn’t as fun as the other one but I had a good time and became friends with the organizers. This turned out nicely, because the next night he saw me in the street and invited me to the crawl again but this time said it was on the house, free for me, because I brought in so much business and made sure everyone had fun. I wasn’t expecting what happened next. Or maybe I should have since it is the theme of the trip. I was walking around the first bar being my social self and someone knocked over a heavy wooden bar table. Fortunately the table was ok, because my big toe broke its fall. Yes, it crushed my toe and my sandal filled with blood instantly. I toughed it out, emptying out my sandal and washing my foot under sinks at every bar I managed to make the most of the night. When I returned, limping to the hostel, I cleaned and dressed the ugly thing not to look at it again. The next day I was going to ride up the west coast and through some new areas back to Christchurch.
In the morning, I could barely fit my boot over my foot and toe and the vibrations of the bike were not very pleasant. But the ride was so epic and phenomenal words can’t express how wonderful it was. First went north west to Franz Joseph and through all the glaciers here. The west coast is unlike anything I have seen before. The tall mountains had waterfall after waterfall running down through canyons the glaciers and springs from them have been carving out for a very long time. The forests were so tropical, and unfortunately wet and rainy, but still great to ride through. East through Arthur’s pass and the national forest there proved to be spectacular also. The roads were quiet, and windy with not too many pin hair turns and you could just sway around leisurely and enjoy the views. Some straight drops right next to you fall off the mountain side and into blue streams and rivers.
Back in Christchurch and first thing I try and find an ENT specialist as my ear is still jacked up. Guess what!? At the hospital all the ENTs are away at a conference. So I proceed to the next hospital, as this is where all specialists work and like home do not have their own practices. I find medical center where there are a few on staff and after 5 hours of waiting and pre screens I finally get seen by one. While I waited a nurse saw my toe and decided to clean it and dress it for me at no charge. The ENT cleaned out my ear and said it looked fungal. So she prescribed me drops and took a swab. I need to follow up on Monday but at least she appears to be the first competent doctor I have seen about my ear since 5 or 6 weeks ago now. When I exited from the Hospital there was a card on my bike another BMW rider told me about a bmw club ride this weekend. We will follow up and check it out.
To pass some time today, we went to the Antarctic experience. This is a big place to check out penguins, and learn about the South pole. We rode in a Hagglund twice. These are the coolest land machines ever. They are like mini tanks that are all terrain and even can navigate through water for up to several hours. There is a test course they take people out in and explain all the cool stuff while you get jolted around. Later we entered a chamber where it mimics or simulates an Arctic storm. They give you boots and a coverall then the wind starts coming in and the temperature drops. I think it is like 80 times worse if you are actually there, but it was confirmation I hate the freezing cold. We took a funny video, hopefully you will like it. Tonight I convinced Mike to go on the pub crawl with me since it was so fun last week. Wish us luck! I will be on the look out for furniture giving me the evil eye.