Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Brakes... And Deans Trucks...

 Well... From a beautiful lake, to a lovely orchard and now...
Here I am at Dean's Truck Services.
I just pulled in on the off chance they wouldn't be too busy.
After all... I was sure the brake problem was just a loose wire
or cable... Or something!

 As usual in these truck places I was surrounded by all sorts
of vehicles much bigger than me.

 But I parked in the sun and waited, they were busy and
would have a look when they could squeeze me in...
Three hours later I was put over the rollers and found I had
no brakes at all on the front left wheel. That explained why,
when the brakes did work I lurched to the left. Also the
vacuum assist wasn't working... That's what made the
brake pedal hard like a rock and not usable... Oh dear!

 So I was directed further along the road to Marchwood Park...
A council camping ground and found somewhere to park
Two mechanics from Dean's arrived...

 And spent two hours taking of both front wheels, 

 And absolutely everything to do with the brakes except the axel.
Turned out the right hand brake cylinder was leaking
and this side began to leak as it was taken apart.

 So I was propped up on blocks and jacks, a wheel put underneath
in case anything collapsed to be support #2...

 The big vacuum drum was taken off...

This is the mess the oil leak made...
The brake cylinders had to go to Christchurch...
The vacuum drum to Nelson...
And there I was... Going nowhere.
But Deans very kindly lent me a courtesy car.
I had come from Christchurch and made it this far.
It was my daughter's 50th birthday in Pohara
and do or die I was going to get there...
And I did thanks to Deans.

Little did I know at the time that my bus was not
going to be mobile again for three weeks!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Motueka... Len Arthur Orchards...

 This was my next overnight stop... PoP # 6146
in the Travel Directory...

 A beautiful spot. A mown paddock in the middle
of apple and pear trees, all in flower right now.

 A seat outside my door...

And elevated enough to look over the Motueka
I only stayed here one night as my brakes had
become a definite issue and I was not prepared to
drive over the Takaka Hill which is  grade 1 with dicey brakes.
 The people parked next to me directed me to the best truck stop in town...

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Brakes... And Free Range Eggs

Have you missed me... I'm sorry about that. Life took
some unexpected turns and has been both a bit chaotic,
frustratingly slow and stressful... But here I am... Again!

I left Lake Rotoroa to continue on... Next stop Motueka.
But coming over the Hope Saddle then the Spooner
Range my brakes gave me a real fright and wouldn't
work properly... Sometimes they would, other times
not at all so I had to rely on gears and my handbrake.

I made it this far... Half way along the Motueka
Valley and saw this sign. Hurray... I needed eggs.
I stopped, barely missed taking out the letter box,
as the brakes didn't work again... Rock hard...
No play in them at all so no stopping!
But I did stop...
 In the middle of nowhere...

 And was invited by the 'egg lady' to stop and
park for the night. Backing in and parking was
difficult with spasmodic brakes. I managed to not
flatten the farm gate which is behind me.

 Stanley Brook is the name of the farm and also
of this area through the Motueka Valley.

 I was surrounded by peaceful countryside.
It was 4pm, lovely and warm and sunny.
A perfect place to enjoy the sun and a red
wine... some company from the owner who 
came to chat...

 I'm surrounded by well over 100 chooks that
are rotated around 4 paddocks. They put themselves
to bed in their hen house when they are ready
and lay their eggs all morning.

The eggs were the yellowest yolks I've ever had
and were so fresh they poached beautifully and
stayed in one round ball of egg and didn't
wander everywhere - as they do when not fresh.

Do stop of you go this way.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Nelson Lakes... Lake Rotoroa...

This was my next stop... Lake Rotoroa... oroa is Maori for long lake
The next place I haven't been to before... 
And it is stunning.
Nelson Lakes National Park, formed in 1956 and covering 
1,020 km², is situated in the northernmost ranges of the Southern Alps. 
Best known for its lakes, both large and small, this 101,733 
hectare park has tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear
streams, open tussock lands and river edge clearings.

During the last Ice Age, massive glaciers gouged out
troughs in the mountainous headwaters of the Buller
River. Today these troughs are filled by Lakes
Rotoiti and Rotoroa, which are the largest
lakes in the area.

Turn off State Highway 6 at Gowan Bridge. A sealed road
takes you 11km up the Gowan valley and river to the lake. 

Over the Gowan River bridge...

And there is the lake. I don't know what I expected but 
I was really surprised. It's magical.

Lake Rotoroa is fed by the D'Urville and Sabine rivers. The 
greatest depth is 145 metres and the lake is completely 
surrounded by beech forest.

 There are introduced trout, which attract recreational fishermen. 
There is a  fly-fishing lodge, Lake Rotoroa Lodge
on the edge of the lake.

I drove round the track, through the stands of mixed beech
podocarp, matai, miro, kahikatea... Tree fuchsia...

And here I am... In sandfly territory...
This is a Department of Conservation campsite.
DoC looks after all this National Park and
provides tracks and walks, picnic areas, camps
and huts to help enjoy and explore it.
Nelson Lakes retains a semi-wilderness feeling,
the tracks and huts are uncrowded,
perfect for exploration and relaxation.

Mist lingering round the mountain tops...

On one of my walks I found this very ingenious bike...
For transport or cutting the grass I'm not sure...
But my legs seemed more reliable!

All these little houses made up the tiny settlement
of the lake... Probably all belong to fisher people...

The day I left it had started to rain and the lake was a
symphony in greys and mysteriously shrouded in
cloaks of cloud... Absolutely beautiful...

 And... The Gowan River which flows out of the lake at this point,
making the lake one of the sources of the  Buller River system.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Murchison... Out Walking and Old History

This is Hotham Street... just another street in Murchison now
but before the 1929 earthquake it was the main street
through Murchison.

At the end of the street the road just ends. There is a barrier rail
as you can see, a picnic table and a track at the right...

That goes to a grassy reserve, the river and...

It's a 15 minute walk each way...

Through ferns and bush... Recently developed.

Of more interest to me was the remains of the old bridge.

This is how it was...

And what happened to it during the quake. It cut off the access
into and out of Murchison. In the museum are some fascinating
old photos of the temporary bridges, enormous land slides
into the river, mud tracks, horses, 
drays, carts and men as Murchison was evacuated 
with the loss of 17 lives.
I spent a while sitting in the sun just enjoying the peacefulness
of the river and thinking about how frightening it must
have been for all those people.

It was a beautiful day. In the South Island there is a
definite spring season of lovely sunny days, the air still
cool from the snow on the alps and quite cold nights.
But spring abounds in all the blossoms... Rhododendrons...

This is flowering blackcurrant... A real old fashioned plant
that I hardly ever see today... But then Murchison is
a lovely old fashioned place.

I think this is bachelors button?

A flowering cherry tree...

I don't know what this is...

Or this one... 

I walked past the old Anglican Church built at the cost of
165 pounds (conflicting infomation on different signage)
and opened in 1905. Still the original old wooden pews inside.

 I then walked back to SH 1 and south of the town to the
"new" bridge opened in 1977.
It is at the confluence of the Buller and Matakitaki
rivers. You can walk (with suitable footwear) from
the "old" bridge, past here and round to
the Catholic Church at the end of Fairfax Street.
Dust & Rust and the NZMCA park are in
Fairfax St. These rivers are renown for
trout but I didn't see or catch any!

But it's a lovely walk around the river.