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Woolly Wheels Trip

With a big trip planned down south it was an oil change, a new set of rubber hooves,  a quick check over the bike and hit the road. This trip was a mixture of GPS logging new content for the RemoteMoto website, meeting up with Phil from Motorbikin to do a filming session for one of his New Zealand series DVDs and then catch up with some lads for a trip planned down in the deep south.

Leg #1, Karamea to Christchurch, bring it on!
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It was a cracker day to hit the road for a tarmac blast
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Nearing St Arnaud the temperatures started to climb
Wairau River on SH63
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Nearing Blenheim it was up around the 34 degrees mark
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Heading out from Blenheim on SH1 the landscape soon switched to dry and barren
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Not too far out of Ward a cool ocean breeze dropped the temps and made for a pleasant ride down the coastline
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Lots of seals out and about sunbathing on the rocks

So that was leg one, a simple but enjoyable tarmac blast down to Christchurch and a couple of days spent catching up with family and friends

Leg #2 - Christchurch to Omarama to High Country
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This leg was a tarmac blast to Omarama, catch up with some family, then head South and sink my teeth into some remote country and fly fishing
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Big beautiful lakes along the way
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At this stage the tarmac was done and it was time hit the gravel roads and 4X4 tracks
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Several river crossings stood between me and where I'd planned to camp up, some quite small while some fairly decent in size
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This crossing, although looking quite tame, was pretty gnarly. Big boulders, deep pockets and fast water
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After lots of sweating and bike wrestling I reached the destination to put the tent up... and what a place to do that, spectacular views!
Strapping on the fishing boots, yehaa!
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The next day kicked off with a sold walk up a clear beautiful river with a healthy stock of cunning brown trout
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They were wise and wary and it took a while to discover what they were feeding on. Once I'd figured that out, they started coming to the net =)
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As the day was coming to an end it was fairly rewarding to wind up the day landing this golden beauty...
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...and setting it on its way again
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Wild and wet weather
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Overnight a front pushed almost a day early. The wind was insane almost the whole night and allowed for very little sleep. The rivers were up, quite a bit, and I was 5km up the valley so it didn't look promising to get out as I had two decent rivers to cross and meet up with Phil and the team for the DVD shoot
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The wet weather brought out the sandflies in the thousands, needless to say it was a quick pack-up of camp and on the bike that morning!
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As suspected the rivers further downstream were to deep and dangerous to cross. Waiting it out was the only option
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Next morning
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What a difference a day makes! Beautiful blue skies and low clear water allowing an easy exit of the valley
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The same river as above but now running low and clear
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I stopped in at the hut where I was meant to meet Phil and the team, sure enough they were there and wondering where the hell I'd got to!
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The ride out was great. It was then off to grab a shower and a quick blast into Milford Sound
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Dropping down from Homer Tunnel
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The almost vertical bluffs blow me away each time I visit this place, dang New Zealand is awesome!
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After an overnight stay in a motel it was off to Gore to be a good son and take my mother out to lunch for her birthday
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Needs more trailers!
More fishing
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After a night in Gore it was north again and up to a hut and spend a couple of days chilling out and fishing. Things started out according to plan...
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After a magic ride and nearing the destination, while doing a little shy of 100 clicks a sheep popped up from out of nowhere and headed straight for my front tyre. I managed to scrub off a lot of speed and veer to avoid it but not before a violent highside, some cartwheels from both me and the bike and the final thud of the bike landing on me. For a while I laid there conjuring up the energy from my sore body to lift the bike off me.
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The smile was a result of the fact that this was a pretty hefty off and although I was in almighty pain, I could still wiggle my toes and fingers and nothing appeared broken. Wohoo!
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Hang on, that ain't right
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So it was off to seek mechanical and medical aid from relatives that lived nearby in Omarama. Thanks Paul and Linda!!
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I had an A&E nurse check me out. My main concern was that I had planned to meet up with some lads in a few days for a ride and wanted to make sure I wouldn't do any damage if I rode. She assured me nothing was broken but there was soft tissue damage and serious bruising. I was advised that riding is not really recommended and that I should rest and recover instead. As lovely a lady as she was and not discrediting her medical knowledge, I had full plans to head off on the trip =) I did try and behave though and did my best to rest up and keep a pressure bandage on for the two days leading up to the trip.
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With painkillers doing a great job of subduing the pain it was time to meet up with these lads and head off into the mountains for a couple of days of epic riding
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The weather looked after us very well. At the altitudes we were going, if a strong southwest wind kicked up it would have been a bitter place to be, it was however brilliantly still, warm and just a few spectacular clouds to keep the temperature in check
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One of the first things we did was go and check out an old plane crash. Later on we were told by a farmer that the plane crashed up on the hill, but because it kept on being reported as a new crash by other planes flying over, the military used explosives to blast the plane down the hill and out of sight. That's one way to do it!
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Some of the wreckage in amongst the matagauri
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A stop for a quick water bottle fill from a water trough pipe and of course, there's always time for a childish game right =)
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Getting up to 1625 meters
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The clouds were certainly something else
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By one of our stop points there was a dead sheep, then...
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...moments later while Paul was riding he did his best impression of a dead sheep. He did well =)
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Absolutely magic views!
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Dropping down to the cool blue lake waters
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This was an interesting section of road, it would have taken some serious time and effort to chisel it out from the rock face
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After a cracker ride we had ourselves a great shearers quarters to spend the night
A cloudy start
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The next day of riding started out with a thick cloud cover but this was short lived, as we neared the head of the valley it burnt off revealing a beauty of a day
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Carl doing a crotch depth test
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The river levels were about as high as we'd wanted for a safe crossing
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Nearing the end of the valley track with only a few hundred metres to go we didn't venture any further as a group of fly fisherman were targeting some fish and we thought we'd leave them in peace
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The numerous stream crossings made for a great ride back out the valley
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We stopped off to check out some waterfalls. I hadn't planned to do any fishing on the way out but as Paul meandered down to the waters edge I spotted a good sized brown. He slowly back away so as not to spook it, I then got my fly gear out and served up a cicada pattern which was engulfed on the 3rd pass...
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...you beauty!
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We stopped up at another small stream where I spotted another brown feeding away. I couldn't help myself and out came the fly gear again, this time it was the first cast that brought another beautiful brown to the net
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Carl conserving front tyre tread
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One last look out over the lake before we hit the tarmac
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Not long after here the group split with Paul and I heading to Omarama for a pit-stop before tarmacing it back to Christchurch
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All in all this wound up a superb trip. Lots of new routes logged for the website and although I missed the DVD shoot with the Motorbikin team I managed to put together a wee promo video for RemoteMoto below