Friday, March 21, 2008

The Southern bit

It's officially Day 3 of The Mini's Return but as we came back to Palmy last night and don't have to be in Wanganui until 7am tomorrow morning it's a day off for Mark & I. So here's a brief run down on the ride so far -there will hopefully be more on the website once the ride's all done & dusted.

Day One

We were up early and at the Invercargill Cemetery by about 07:30 and raring to go. Once everyone else had turned up we got the usual speech & instructions from Lee Rusty and then everyone was charging on up the road.

We stuck with a small group of riders all the way to Dunedin where we found the Octagon & the first checkpoint. We grabbed our flags and hit the road, back-tracking to Mosgiel to take the road through to Middlemarch. Mark, KoroJ and I had a blast through here and the grins were a mile wide when we stopped for gas at Middlemarch.

On the road again heading for Ranfurly and man was it hot. Later on Koro told us that his ambient temperature gauge had hit 32 degrees and never gone lower than 27 - hot work. From Ranfurly we made our way onto Alexandra and then Cromwell for the 2nd checkpoint. Grabbed our flags and hit the road again.

A quick stop again in Wanaka for fuel, drink & food and we were into the really good stuff. We had another photo stop alongside Lake Wanaka before hitting the Haast Pass.

After the stop Koro set a swift pace and we ate up the road stopping just once to put on wets when it started to drizzle a bit. The drizzle stayed with us off & on for the remainder of the day with some quite greasy roads in places.

Mark & I made one last fuel stop in Franz ($1.98/l!) before realing off the final couple of hundred k's to Greymouth. We ended up doing about 1,000km in just under 11 and a quarter hours and arrived while it was still light - not bad.

Day Two

Day two was always going to be a bit easier as there was a lot less k's to do and the roads were great. Arthur's Pass was absolutely magic - beautiful weather and of course the great scenery. We ended up at the Christchurch checkpoint just after 11am and then had 7 hours to do the 300 odd km to Picton! It was hot again and as we had plenty of time we took it easy and stopped whenever we felt like for a stretch, photos or just cause.

Caught the ferry back with Koro, the Hitchers and a few others and ended up home in bed by 00:40. Ready for the Northern leg now...

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