Thursday, 21 March 2019

Then there was only me

Picton a nice place for a stop over, the top 10 was almost completely booked out with only a bunk room left for Pete and me, still it was very clean and tidy and saved quite a few bucks on the motel units we normally stay in. we had a bit of a wander round town looking for a suitable dinner establishment, while the Irish pub had good signage the menu didn't take either of our fancies so we ate at one of the swanky bars on the water front strip, not sure the food was any better once we had eaten it.

Unfortunately Pete's wife Alix is unwell, I pointed out that family comes first, so he's on the plane back to Auckland at lunch time tomorrow.
I'll stay an extra night and do the morning ferry crossing with a direct drive to Napier.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

I was Sucked In

On our stop in kaikoura we walked past this sign outside a cafe, how could we not go in? Sure enough there was one steak and mushroom pie left in the warmer which I ordered with a flat white. The service was good and friendly, the pie was not so good and at $10 for it and the worst flat white on tour I was a bit disappointed, bit of a reality check after Oamaru.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Oamaru - Home of the best Steak and Mushroom Pies

Leaving Dunedin and going to Christchurch we had a few stops. First in Moraki where Google once again had problems locating things and then in Oamaru at the Steam punk museum, Scott's Brewery and a pie shop with the best pie this tour and also the best steak and mushroom pie I've ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of pies.
Katiki Lighthouse
Moraki Boulders

Lentil, pear, beef, kale and Feta Pie even I was too scared to try it

A fine tasting platter I have three more riggers in the fridge for our return.

Well it was worth a quick look anyway

Back to the Mainland

Once again on our ferry crossing back from Stewart Island a maritime disaster was unfolding with a 16 ft power boat broken down and sinking just outside bluff harbor. Fortunately this time they had called a mayday in time and our ferry and the local coast guard turned up to rescue them and no one died.

Back in Bluff we took in the obligatory tourist sights of Bluff hill lookout (really bloody windy, Pete had to hold on to his glasses) and the road sign pointing back up to cape reinga 
Once again going north, NZ is shorter

Large Anchor chain to stop Stewart Island dragging in the breeze
A rather closed Invercargill Brewery
 On our way up to Dunedin we stopped in at the Invercargill Brewery, closed and looking unlikely to re-open.
Carey's Bay Hotel rather good food and beer
On-wards to the Top 10 Dunedin. On the way to dinner we drove past Emerson's but after suffering the cloudy jug of their IPA in Oban I decided  to go directly to the rather nice pub - Carey's Bay Hotel
A bit of exercise the light at the end of the Mole after pub closing.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Stewart Island Catchup

Hello Again sorry for the lack of updates but while our accommodation was much more luxurious than last time it still had no wifi
safe after finish in the pub
 After crossing the finish line Coppelia tied up next to the wharf to flush and refill her water tanks. We then dropped her off on a mooring and returned to the pub to await the rest of the finishers. No real damage except the pump on the toilet packed up, this happened early on in the leg so we had time for a new one to be brought down for repairs.
Norwegian whaler propellers
 After bit of a lie in we got up to pouring rain, Sally and Rob set off to fix the loo I settled down to doing the washing.

Next day the sun was back out and the sand flies seemed to have gone off to feast elsewhere. Rob drove us and a few of the other sailors in Coppelia around to the abandoned Norwegian whaling station, There were less bugs and more to see than our previous Stewart island stop over where we investigated Ulva Island
Slipway and boiler at Whalers repair station

Vehicle transport Stewart Island style
On our return we got to see the chorus van being loaded ready for return to the mainland.
Competitors ready for launch

Rob with boat and his winning crew
Yes Rob's boat won the cardboard boat race. Motorboat 2nd, Sally's was by far the most solidly built and most water tight however it suffered from having a large water displacement and coupled with poor paddle selection couldn't keep up.
Sail past for the locals prior to restart

Spectator fleet including most of the school chanting for motorboat, they probably couldn't hear them though due to the volume level from the stereo

Clean start and Coppelia pops her chute first to gain a temporary lead on the others.
Final goodbye as the start boat turns back for Oban 
Things to remember for next time If your jug of beer comes out cloudy with foam on top but no fizz it is probably better to swap it for a different beer the kegs gone off.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Bloody Roosters

Stewart Island is quite a nice place really, nice pub, excellent Four Square that sells lollies I like and everything else at reasonable prices, there just one thing - Roosters they just keep cock-a-doodle-dooing all night, all day, all the time, arrrrrrrrrgh!

Invercargill - Pride of the South

Well Invercargill once you've driven around it a bit is quite a big place with some very large hardware stores. I thought their Mitre 10 was big until we drove downtown and discovered Hayes for hardware a 100ft wall of spanners and a free motor cycle museum in the same place. Plenty of Burt Munro memorabilia and a tape dispenser to reassemble the Coppelia resupply box before catching the ferry
100ft wall of tools
Offerings to the Gods of Speed direct from Burt Munro's Shed
 We picked up Kat and Storm in the morning on the way to the ferry and enjoyed a mostly smooth sailing across to Oban

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Early Start for a Change

Early wake up call on the straitsman at 5:30am quick shower and back down to the car we were on the road to timaru by 6:30am. Driving down the coast was fairly uneventful the roading is mostly fixed and there are still some long smooth straights to wind the volvo up to get past the car, freight and milk trucks that came off the ferry in front of us. Breakfast of coffee plus bacon and egg pie at the kaikoura BP not so bad for a pie from a servo, then straight on to Timaru and the Ship Hop brewery.

Growlers ready for filling
On arrival we discovered to our disappointment that Ship  Hop is only open on Friday evenings the shop was deserted looking through the windows revealed a small brewery with attacked retail and tasting facilities.

Vats of Beer Waiting for Consumption
Walking down the road a bit further we discovered a Speights Ale House. Nice lamb salad and two pints of their IPA and i felt restored.

 on to Invercargil tomorrow to pick up Skinners dehydrated food for the next leg (I have Coppelias already in the car) and have a look at how back country make their meals up.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

1:30am Waiting in Bluebridge Queue

Today was make or break for the brewery tour 3 days no brewery we have managed pies and or chips every day but it's definitely crunch time now. Mike's Brewery was in the wrong direction so Roots brewing co. would be our first opportunity to have a fresh from the tank brew.

First things first we needed to visit Cape Egmont Light house  Google lead us on a wild goose chase through the back blocks of the middle of nowhere we eventually found a sign pointing to highway 43 and headed back to the coast. Not our first bad google experience this trip.
Cape Egmont one of the most phallic lighthouses in the country
On to Whanganui. Pulling out from the light house we slipped in behind a parade of classic American cars which was driving past as part of an Americana festival being held locally. The throngs of teaming kids out on the  side of the road got to see the American muscle  cars going past with our Swedish Volvo holding up the tail end of the procession.

Roots brewery was a fail. The signage was so poor we drove straight past it. We decided on Tuatara or bust fortunately they opened at 3pm so were ready to serve cold beer and hot pizza on our arrival at 3:15.
Tuatara brewery No.1
Plenty of take home supplies purchased for later consumption. Back in the car we head on down to Lyall Bay to Parrottdog. I had the LB Nitro Stout good but not exceptional Pete got stuck into a larger.
Brewery no.2 Parrot Dog
Vats full of beer ready for drinking
Thanks to Pete's sister Bernadette and family for feeding us dinner and looking after us till check in time at the ferry

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Burning Caravans

Up sticks this morning and a long drive to New Plymouth was the plan for the day. First things first coffee, then pack the car, then leave. We headed down to Auckland to visit my cat Chairman and to drop off the fuel tank and various unwanted pieces of baggage. Chairman was asleep as usual but once awake seemed pleased to see me. Apparently he's been well behaved and not left any presents of dead birds in my shoes yet.

Lunch from the Lekk bakery in Bayswater, this is the bakery at the start of my street so I had the prerequisite Steak and mushroom pie which the Blog was named after and also a rather giant cream doughnut

Fresh and stuffed full of cream they don't get much better
On to New Plymouth  with Pete behind the wheel for the first time. Everything was a bit uneventful till 20kms past Piopio where we were stopped by a fairly large fire in a caravan which had then set the surrounding countryside on fire. Lots of smoke, fire appliances, police and water tankers and us stuck for an hour with a fuel tanker behind us before getting turned round and having to do a giant loop detour to get back on the road to our accommodation.

Observations from the road: Clapped out jags seemed to be driven by wankers. Delica 4WD vans travel at excessive speed then stop randomly, then over take you again 15mins later on blind corners.  The February super-moon is tonight and looks pretty big (14% Larger and 30% brighter according to Mentalfloss), apparently March's (21st) will be even bigger.

Mikes brewery was well shut by the time we came past so off to the local pub (the Fitz) for dinner kitchen was closed (9pm) also missed the quiz so no practice for the south sea hotel. We had to settle for MacDs for dinner.

Shore Crew lead the race

Coffee at 7:30 am followed by showers all round then down to the yacht club for briefing. Race management seemed concerned about some tropical cyclone. Cooked breakfast then back to the house to pack up and deliver Rob and Sally off to the boat.

Pete and I then scored a very nice ride out to watch the start on Karamea A local ferro cruiser. No prangs or restarts so back to the club house for ginger beers, then back to base to organize our trip south.

In the afternoon it was off to cape reinga to recheck the road signs as last time there was some discrepancy in the length of New Zealand, we will report our findings once we reach bluff. No signs of the boats at 5:30pm (no wind either) so back to base for dinner.

Observations from the road: Red cars go slow in northland. Shops including the takeaways close at 6pm so the only place to get dinner is the pub (kitchen closes at 8pm) so don't dawdle.
Not exactly a brewery tour but Macs gold for Pete and Panhead super charger and Pilsner on Tap for me to have a few samples of.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Sitting Amongst the Mosquitos at Monganui

Sunday morning arrived with chairman meow, meowing outside my window with a skink in his mouth at 6am. Open the door and a couple of strokes later  the skink managed a getaway minus its tail. Go check the tracker not finished yet go make a coffee and put some food out for the cat. Phone call from sally bring spare keyboard and water. once dressed i brave the drive into Devonport and buy requested items head back home to load the car and collect Pete.

Observations on the road The Volvo hates road works stones keep getting caught in the brakes making dreadful noises. remote will no longer will open the car doors.

Arrive Monganui Sally and Rob sleeping on boat so can unload the car and have a sneaky beer before water taxiing out to the boat to fold the sails and help bring the boat along side to change the water in the water tanks.
Pete and Suellen help with taking on water

I had remembered we weren't going to be in Auckland so had stocked up on some cash to buy food and drink at the yacht club where we had excellent lamb shanks for dinner. A few sad faces from their finishing spots at prize giving but no one was actually disappointed everyone raced hard and the weather didn't play ball for some.

Full house in our accommodation tonight, apparently I am the new loudest snorer.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

And the Race is off

An early start to the morning with first coffee then feed cats then shower followed by the packing up the volvo for the quick trip north to Gulf Harbour. A few quick boat tasks and then filling all the water tanks and bottles and Coppelia was ready to sail own to the start.
Coppelia poised to leave the wharf
Off I go back down to West Haven to meet the other faithful supporters at R peir for a trip out on the Force Eleven to watch the start. In previous lives both Rob and Sally have Skippered the Force and now as its more of a cruiser cruiser Pete was happy to let us all come out for a spot of bubbly, beer and flag waving.
Jenny at the helm with Pete, Steve, Aidan, Jody and Helena, with the Wingco in charge of hydraulics down the hatch
There's plenty of better footage of the start than I managed but special mention to Sara and Christine who when out in a rhib in fairly fresh to frightening conditions to cheer sally and rob on.

Back in the marina we had a few more liquid refreshments and decided it was probably wise to walk back to swashies for some food before driving home.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

2019 Here I go again

Ruby as you can see in the picture below is not quite back in one piece yet. After mostly finishing my light house I sent her off to a coach builders for a little work, its seems there wasn't a single piece of metal work on the old girl that wasn't bent, rusted and bogged. Some of the previous 14 owners didn't seem to realize expanding foam covered in paint isn't usually considered a structural element, so repairs are taking a little longer than expected hence the need to take the Volvo. 
This time round instead of visiting light houses and using AA touring maps from the 90's I thought I'd try the NZ Craft Beer Map I found on the interweb.
Its doesn't seem to have a lot of roads marked and I'm not sure if it has stops in sensible locations, but I will report in on the odd craft beers I find on my way round the country along with the usual bakeries and fast food joints of note.

This year my faithful SSANZ sailing skipper Peter is coming with me, he's done quite a bit of sports management in the past so hopefully he knows where the stop overs are and who to talk to to get us out of any troubles we may get into out on the road.
Check back soon as more posts are coming.