Sunday, September 14, 2014

Adrenalin Rush

After a week in Palmerston North staying in the driveway of Pat and Peter, I left on Saturday morning. My workshop on Friday was exhausting but the feedback was great. A few tweeks to make for next time but it was well received but everyone there. They had come from as far afield as New Plymouth and Gisborne to be part of the day so I was really happy with the results.
Trundling up the highway I decided to do a right turn and have a look at Gravity Canyon, just south of Taihape. I had cheekily applied for a job there a while ago but was unsuccessful so wanted to see what it was like. Well…..

Those were promotional shots not taken by me.
Gravity Canyon has 4 rides, an 80m bridge bungy jump, a 50m freefall bridge swing, a 1km long flying fox (160km per hour) and a hydrolift, which is a water powered chairlift. After some deliberation I decided what the heck and got a ticket for the flying fox.
After being weighed and signing my life away, I walked up the track, and up the track and then up the stairs to the start point where two lovely employees strapped, bucked and clipped me into a canvas sack…..after a rest from walking all the way up the hill to get there. They also gave me a pair of goggles to wear due to the speed at which one travels on this beastie.
Then it was clip on time and lying face down suspended on the wires, they let me go.
These are stills I have taken from the video which I will post when I get back to a non mobile internet connection. There is a GoPro mounted in front of the rider/s recording the journey.
On release, you gather speed quite quickly down the wire and soon you are rushing headlong down towards the river and under the bridge. It is quite a rush but as you are around 175m above the river to start with, it is quite difficult to get the real sense of how fast you are travelling, which is around 160kmpH at the bottom.
Once you have stopped at the bottom, you are hauled back up to the top, which is almost as good as the trip down. The young guy then tried to upsell me on another trip straight away, but I turned him down. Then they reversed the clipping, buckling and strapping to get me out of the harness and then a lovely walk back down the track to HQ.
After a bit of consideration I decided to partake of the Bridge swing. This is an 50m freefall swing down into the river canyon. So after suiting up into the harness…
Those pics were taken by the official photographer…the next are stills taken from the video shot with a GoPro strapped to my arm…

Now that was a fantastic experience and one I believe that I will redo at some stage. A great feeling of freefall followed by a huge swing through the canyon above the river. Just a great feeling and a huge head rush! Brilliant!
There was a triple on the flying fox as I was being hoisted back up to the bridge and they sped underneath me. You can see just how deep this canyon is from the scale of this picture.
So after a coffee and a quiet time watching another group speed down on the flying fox, I headed out from the Gravity HQ and crossed over the road to the Makino Scenic Reserve which is a free DoC campsite. There is a toilet on site but that is all. The guys from the Gravity Canyon do the maintenance on the site. The carpark at Gravity Canyon is also a POP but I thought that a night in the quiet grassy reserve might be better than the carpark. It was a lovely quiet evening. With no internet connection from either Spark or Vodafone, no update possible….
It rained over the night and there was a fine drizzle as I left and headed back out to the highway, heading to the NZMCA Piriaka Park, just out of Taumarunui. I stopped on the way at the Tangiwai Memorial…

From there it was a quick stop at the Makatote Viaduct for morning tea
and then onwards to Piriaka Park.
I was a bit worried about having the train tracks right there and the road (uphill grind) behind but surprisingly it has been quiet. I have seen two trains go past but not a great amount of noise.
We shall see how bad it is tonight….
So tomorrow I will continue northwards and see how far I get…
Safe travels everyone.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lunch with friends

A lovely start to the day on Saturday, leaving from Waikanae Beach, I paused in Waikanae at the butcher, where I picked up a lovely assortment of sausages and a very nice looking roast for one. I asked him for a small roast of beef and he brought out a great big one and asked how big and then sliced me off a lovely piece, just the right size. I am looking forward to having a roast dinner soon.

So from there I headed northwards and turned left a couple of times. The first was Te Horo where I headed out to the beach for a look.

A lovely spot with an interesting rocky beach with a river flowing outwards.

From there it was back out to the highway and then left again towards Kuku Beach. At the end of the road is a lovely carpark and a very interesting beach. The area is Maori land and they have allowed access and have created a lovely area.

The wind was quite severe here so I didn’t go too far towards the sea. Certainly a place to explore further next time.

From there it was through to Levin for lunch with Robin and Jenny the Romany Ramblers whom I have talked about often. Jenny had created an awesome lunch of French Onion soup with French Bread croutons with cheese, followed by sausage rolls and lemon muffins.


I arrived at 11am and left about 3:30pm after chatting and trying to solve the issues of the world. Their little ‘village’ is a great little area and I met a couple of their neighbours who also have motorhomes, so a grand tour of the Fredrock Cafe was undertaken and comments about how each and every motorhome was set up differently and how neat it was to do the grand tours and get ideas for improvements and alterations. Thanks to Jenny for the lovely lunch and after a 32 point turn around I left Levin and headed north to a new POP in Foxton for the night. I was the second name in the book. My hosts Wendy and Brian are long term motorhomers and have a great POP set up. They are lovely people and are looking forward to their next three weeks on the road in October. My thanks to them for their POP, it is not in the book, but is on the website, site ID 9522 called DIDYOUBRINGYOURGROGALONG.

After a lovely afternoon cuppa with Wendy and Brian, I headed out to the bus and had a lovely quiet night.

After bidding Wendy adieu, I headed off towards Palmerston North and set up at Pat and Peter’s. They are expecting the roofing guys Monday or Tuesday to come and reroof their house, garage and carport over the next few days so I am parked on the lawn out of the way. I offered to park out on the street and got a clip around the ear from Pat for my troubles.

After doing some washing I was given Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel, Personal. An interesting and fun read if you enjoy Jack Reacher, it was up to his normal high standard. I missed the wry humour that is written in the book when I watched the movie. Somehow the movie didn’t really do it for me, not just because the lead character was played by completely the wrong actor, but it was Hollywood’ised and failed to reach my rather high expectations. After reading such a well written and very descriptive series of novels, you end up with some pretty vivid images and the movie came nowhere near.

For those of you who are interested in my flyscreens on the front door, the Warehouse is currently advertising magnetic flyscreens on the radio. I am heading to get a new pair tomorrow so will let you know how good they seem. Mine are starting to get a bit battered around.

I have a rather full week ahead, helping Pat and Peter in various ways and getting ready for my workshop on Friday so am looking forward to sitting still for the rest of the week and then a run through to Auckland to get there by Tuesday for my surgery (minor) on Wednesday.

Safe travels everyone.