A lovely restful sleep followed by a leisurely start to the day and then a spectacular ride up Te Mata Peak for jaw dropping views in all directions not to mention on the ride up and down, then a quick look at Cape Kidnappers where Captain Cook and crew had a bit of an altercation with some locals then onto the Elephant Hill Winery for a light lunch. The afternoon was filled with exploring Napier proper, the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand which was wonderful…mind you with a Michael Buble concert last night and a cruise ship in the harbour as well we were sharing the area with an extra 15,000 people. By the time we had dinner and walked back to the bikes the street which was bustling and choked with cars was almost empty so we set off to our accommodation via the Port and new beach areas where it is safe to swim, not that we swam. The beach along the main esplanade is unfit for swimming with a sharp drop off a shelf and strong undertows.


A challenge for the start of the day, a top hanging in the window had blown out onto the roof below and Lynne retrieved it with a fishing rod found in the laundry…just a bit late to snap her in the act.


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On the way up to Te Mata peak.

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And a view from the peak.

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And again with a timber platform where hang gliders launch from.


The road was a great climb.

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Cape Kidnappers.

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Leaving Elephant Hill Winery.

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And onto Napier.


No doubt about Norm, not only found a parking spot but a Donut Caravan as well.

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Napier. We had our dinner in the green domed building, a Lone Star Café. Very nice. We went to one of these in Dunedin last year.


Have to make this the last, way too many pics.

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A 3.5-hour ferry cruise took us to the North Island, landing in Wellington and then headed off for Napier and travelled through hills, forests, vineyards, farmland and everything in between. We were glad to get in after a hot ride though a good 10 degrees cooler than home in Australia we hear.

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Lined the bikes up for a pic with our ferry (Interislander) in the distance.


Getting ready to head off the ferry.


A specie steep and winding ride up over the Rimutaka Hill which was awesome. This is a look back to where we had come from taken from the lookout on top before heading down.


A memorial on top to the memory of the thousands of infantrymen who marched over Rimutaka Hill prior to their departure to the Western Front as part of the NZ Division in WWI.

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On the road and loving the corners.


Last stop before we got in and stretching everything we could so we could tackle the last 45 mins to get in.


Our accommodation for the next two nights, an AirBnB in the Art Deco style. Rather quaint and the bikes all parked up so the owners can get out of their driveway.


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Just a lovely day of riding, enjoying the view, breathing in the ocean air in patches and looking forward to heading off on the ferry to the North Island tomorrow. Was good to see the post Kaikoura Earthquake infrastructure works have progressed well up the coast road and Kaikoura itself looks quite renewed. We again were blown away with the great warmth of our hosts no matter where we went.

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Fossil Point for coffee and no it doesn’t refer to the age of clients but the fossils along the shore which can be found at low tide.

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Lots of good views of railway bridges over glacial watercourses.


Lined up at roadworks (one of many).


Lots of tunnels on the road and rail.

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The troops are coming (a mobile shot over Norm shoulder)

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Crayfish lunch on the shore at Nin's Bin.

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A disaster waiting to happen...or bored waiting for lunch perhaps.

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Underpass works on the railroad, impressive.

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Lots of grapevines and wineries to be seen in the Marlborough region. The leaves being a sharp contrast to the dry grass on the hills behind.

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Tonight’s accommodation (we stayed here last year) Very nice. Ok so not a great shot of the Motel but not bad of the bikes … just saying.


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After a leisurely sleep in we rounded up a couple of taxi’s and headed off to collect our bikes, got our WOF / Warrant of Fitness and registration for our bikes then off for a brief bit of exploring.


At the VTNZ station almost finished with the WOF’s, last bike coming out so the bikes road approved for NZ.

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A brief shot towards Lyttleton Port. A bit cloudy / smoky.


Last night and tonight’s accommodation an Air BnB.



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Much excitement today as we headed to the airport to follow our bikes which we packed in a container on December 23rd. Good flight, very gusty / bumpy landing and a short trip to our Accommodation and then a welcome shower and bed and plans to collect bikes tomorrow.

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Waiting for our ride to arrive.

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Unloading our luggage and a handy shot so we don’t forget where to retrieve the car from.


Waiting for the kiosk to open.

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Through the gate and time for a toast before we board.

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Category: Travel to USA

The morning dawned a little foggy and comfortably cool, and gradually cleared and warmed up with temperatures expected in the 80F range this afternoon. We followed Route 12 until close into Chicago to stay off turnpikes and experience more of the country and it was a treat. The countryside was pretty with lots of different sorts of agriculture happening. Attractive little towns and settlements and overall gently undulating and leafy terrain and in what seemed no time at all we were pulling into Dupage Honda & Yamaha and catching up with Mike, Mark and all the team These guys have been awesome in sorting our bikes for us to make it all possible and will do the same before our return next year.

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A very nice house in the surrounds of Coldwater … it’s always an awesome one that brings out the camera, this one was the next but still very nice.

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Lovely town buildings as we continued.

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And that would be the thumbs up for the ride, the view, the holiday and the whole experience.

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All sorts of different farms to be seen.

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And attractive towns.

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Effective marketing for on farm marketing .... hopefully.

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Halloween approaching and there are pumpkins everywhere.

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 And that's a quick grab at a quaint old bridge as we turned onto another road. It's no longer used.

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Intensive farming support.

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Barns still in evidence.

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Serious farming efforts here.


Loved this sign at the Truckstop where we stopped for lunch and the announcements over the loudspeaker for shower bookings and the like were also great. So good to see and hear the truckers / truckies being valued and respected.


As we headed back to the bikes after lunch the Sherriff’s car pulled up beside us, in the employees car park spot. As the guy got out of the passenger side and said hi I could have told him we were about to go so they could have our parking spot but no, the opportunity for a photo was far too good.

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And there we are back at Dupage Honda & Yamaha to hand the bikes over and feeling very plesed with our efforts. It was an awsome ride and we loved every minute of it especially catching up with Ashley in NYC and Kevin and family in Louisiana, not to mention only experiencing 1 wet day (heading into Toledo) being our first day out with about 2 inches of ran in half an hour!

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Our hotel for tonight is the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference centre.

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It has been another lovely sunny day just made for bike travel. Not too cool to start and not too hot to finish. Bit of a Cinderella ride really albeit with not a lot of photo opportunities spending most of the ride on Interstates but at least that meant we had plenty to occupy our time and attention so there wasn’t any likelihood of being mesmerised and needing to have a nap before we got here. Where we started in Canada was obviously an English settled location with London and then Chatham Kent Windsor and Blenheim (and they’re only the names I can remember) all being passed through. We saw heaps of interesting truck configurations and suspect these are known as Michigan Mules (within the industry anyway, if you need more weight add an axle principle). They look a bit bizarre to us but apparently do the job so some shots of those. We got in by 3.30pm so Norm is tidying up the bikes as we will be returning them tomorrow for storage, so he wants them looking good for the handover. A bit sad the journey is close to finishing. Boo hoo on that front and yippee on getting home to catch up with family and friends but especially new grandson snuggles!


Lots of roadworks early in the day, narrow lane between concrete barriers for the other direction. All 80kmh.

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Norm was on a mission when we stopped for coffee to talk to a driver about the axle situation, this is the truck he was driving.

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So, the trailer is a triaxle with 1 single axle in front of the tri and 2 single steer axles (1 at the very back of the trailer and 1 just behind the legs). All up this allows him to carry a payload of 40 tonnes.

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And obviously circumstances / different freight tasks call for different configurations.


And again.


And again.

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Flat and windy and many wind turbines here amongst the corn.

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Ambassador Bridge. A privately-owned bridge so our toll transponders wouldn’t work. Glad it was dry when it came to fish for cash.

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And it's crossing a big body of water with serious shipping underneath.


And back into the USA we go.

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We love the many and varied water towers at all the towns, this one in Summit Township.

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Pumpkins and flowers for sale. Have seen lots of these coming up to Halloween and they vary from being quite professional like this and plenty with them lined up on cardboard under trees as well.


And some interesting things for sale for would be collectors.


Our hotel for the night the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. This is where Norm cleaned up the bikes so he could remain in the shade.

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To start, I should announce that my phone was ringing when we got into our hotel room last night and we were shocked to see our daughter Rosey with a newborn baby, she was supposed to be induced today but ended up with an emergency caesarean. Little Arlo is in the special care nursery but doing well and will hopefully be out of there very soon. It goes without saying that he is perfect!

Back to the trip. We left the long johns in the case today figuring that we weren’t going to have any mountain riding like yesterday and that most of the hills were behind us and we were right with mostly undulating to flat land throughout today and comfortable temperatures throughout. We rode through heaps of corn fields and all sorts of agriculture including orchards, berries, pumpkin and vegetables of all descriptions, some of which we were struggling to identify. We have been in Canada since the first few minutes of our trip and have found the housing quite different to the USA. Overall there appears to be very little marginal housing and more brick being used as well as various timber finishes rather than vinyl cladding and consistently good quality along Route where we travelled. The big highlight was to visit Niagara Falls


And there we are in Niagara Falls.


One of the Fall faces.


And the other, the horseshoe.

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And all together.

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Some of the manicured gardens at the falls.

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Our parking ticket and the infringement issued when we had 30 minutes left! Norm tracked down the Policeman who was apologetic. $12 to park was enough without a fine on top when we weren’t out of time.

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And it’s all happening back from the falls.

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And again.

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Farm autumn colour (since we are in Canada) and wind turbine. Have seen a few throughout our trip.

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Another barn.


80km straight roads nearly all day is mesmerising …. nap time.

And some work shots. Rigs in yard.

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And again.


And what exactly is that???

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Some more nice real estate.

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And again

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And tonight, is a highlight staying at the Idlewyld Inn & Spa in London Ontario. All kinds of lovely including a delicious dinner and a buffet breakfast will start our day in the morning. The only downside was a slowere mthan ideal Wifi but I guess you can't have everything.

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And a view of the bikes from our dinner spot which is the front of the little round room on the right above. Heavenly.

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Category: Travel to USA

We opted to add the long johns today as it was cool and were grateful for them except for the last hour (1.5kms) in a snail pace dribble over some of the interstate to our exit 200m from our hotel. The only respite from the heat was briefly under an overpass or two and in the shade of trucks …. Not enough.  But that said we had a beautiful day of riding along Route 28 then Route 20 through lots of farmland forest and cute little communities. More eagles soaring and lots of pumpkins in evidence as the locals get ready for Halloween.

We particularly loved Skaneateles Auburn and Seneca Falls with Skaneateles (pronounced as skinny atlas) being knobs hill (our opinion) and the next two in descending order of status going on the real estate. The first incredible, the second just beautiful and third still quite lovely.

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Creative use of a bale elevator.


Great view of a lake in passing.


A part work shot. I'd seen this truck earlier but wasn't quick enough to get a photo so was chuffed when I came back from my walk to find Norm had snapped this.

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Found a little community recreation park (closed) but went for a walk and startled some ducks.

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 An old-time clothesline … and a trailer in the back yard.

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Serious intensive farming in this area.

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Specie real estate,

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And again.

And again.

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Another great bridge.

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A wildlife reserve complete with eagles or osprey nests on the top of transmission towers. We’ve seen these elsewhere in the states on previous trips. They are quite a hazard to themselves not to mention the power supply.

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The sunflowers are about done.

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No stopping on pavement … would be more than happy to oblige! The last 1.5km took us 1 hour!

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Hotel foyer display.

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And our hotel for the night the Buffalo Grand Hotel, some of it not as grand as it used to be.

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Category: Travel to USA

We started with grey skies and a light dusting of the wet stuff at some point, but a clear blue sky soon made its way through the clouds and the day has been just lovely to travel in. We wound our way through lots of forest and farmland and delighted to see a lot of trees starting to colour up and have arrived this afternoon in Cooperstown where all things Baseball happen. There are baseball Museums, this is the home of Cooperstown bats, there is a Baseball Stars Wax Museum and even the Baseball Hall of Fame. Apart from that the town is just a delight with picturesque houses and leafy streets. Just beautiful.

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Rondout Yacht Basin bridge, quirky … but a 3-ton load limit?


Ahh, that would explain the load limit. Probably about to dissolve in a rust cloud.

Ahh a cute bridge in Lexington.

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Love the farm buildings.

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A change of colour slowly happening.

Awesome barn.

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Prattville Diner for lunch.


Country roads.

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And again.


Into Cooperstown and there is a definite Art Deco feel in the street.


And again.

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A lot of specie real estate in Cooperstown.

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And again.


And the Railroad Inn, used to be a feed supplier building in the railway precinct.

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