Monday, February 29, 2016

Aotearoa Pre-trip Getting ready in Kelowna

We are off on a bike adventure to New Zealand, and I say we as Agnes is joining us this time.  She is going to drive the support vehicle for the tour.  However I am getting ahead of myself. First I should begin by telling you about the trip. 
The trip is called Aotearoa which is a Maori name for New Zealand.  This tour was Jos’ brain child from last year’s Rockies III tour.  We were riding along and Jos said I think we should do a tour in New Zealand, spend at least a month, do a great tour, not a week or ten days but a great tour.  Scenery is great and there are lots of things to see and roads to ride.  I said you put it together and I will come.  So over the last several months Jos has been busy mining ideas, putting routes together, making reservations, renting vehicles, and looking after the thousand other details it takes to make a successful tour. 
There are going to be five of us on this tour.  Agnes driving support with Amy riding shot gun and providing navigation.  The riders will be; Tom who is a friend of mine from way back when we rode Crossroads together.  Jos, host and guide extraordinaire, whom I meet on the Orient Express (Paris to Istanbul) and who has accompanied me on lots of other adventures, and bringing up the rear will be myself. 
The plan is to fly into Wellington where Jos lives, spend a couple of days getting sorted out and then head across to the south island where we will spend most of our time. After that it is across the ferry to Picton and down the east coast by van catching a few short rides and doing some site seeing.  We will drive all the way to Bluff which is the very southern tip of the south island were we will begin the ride in earnest up the west coast through all the mountains back to Picton.  So it will be an end to end ride. Short sightseeing tours not counted the end to end tour will be 1200m kms (750 mi) and have 11,000 meters (36,000 ft) of climb.  A short and al too brief drive up the north island and fly home from Auckland.  Not quite the month as we arrive March 4 and fly out April 1. 
Agnes and I are really looking forward to the trip as New Zealand has been on the radar for several years. 
A quick note on the pictures.  It was snowing yesterday morning as I did my first trial pack..   In the suit case you can see my bike bag and bike shoes.