Death and destruction followed by reconstruction
Christchurch, New Zealand
What you don't mean it is 10.35am already, the furniture removalist looks sighs and gives a YES.
My plane leaves at 1pm and I need to be there at least 60 minutes before departure. Would not be a problem except the airport is in the next town, I have to drop a key off and pay for tiles, go to my friends place all after driving some 55kms after I have packed my bag.
Easy just grab the bag from Europe after all if I lived out of it for 6 months surely it can substain me for this short 5 weeks trip.
The title of this blog is WATOC which stands for World Association of Triumph Owners Club and with their 2019 world Rally being held in New Zealnd, the first time a rally has been held in a Southern Hemishere country it was a no brainer to attend.
The New Zealanders also realised that for most people it would be a long and expensive trip so a month of motorcycling events are planned.
What a trip? Well it was always going to be tight in the organisation area.
The Triumph Sprint ST infact only managed a 12 day arrival then departure in Australia. As it had been subsequent to arrival back "home"in some 19 different countries it needed a little refurbishment and as the English would say fettling. This meant a collection from Sydney a trip of 1100kms to The Gold Coast in Queensland where two new tyres, a new chain, two new sprockets, a complete new clutch and a major service was done in two days at a $2500 cost and the bike returned to Nambucca Heads over Christmas for a pannier repack and a tyre run in to Coffs Harbour.
Then it was united with it's Triumph T120 travelling companion and whisked back to Sydney and repacked for NZ at the very same depot it had left 12 days previously.
The plane flight from Coffs was made on time infact a relaxing Chai Latte was indulged before boarding. Sydney transfers were hassle free and the flight of 3hours and 20minutes to Christchurch was perhaps my shortest ever International flight. The special meal ordered meant I was served first always a bonus as one can use the amenties while the masses are still eating.
NZ arrival @1155 was smooth and soon a Toyota Yaris hire car was under the guidance of Tom Tom and had us installed in our B&B intime for a swim in the pool (freezing as the owners had turned the heating off guess they dont expect guests to be using the pool at 1.30am?)
The city of Christchurch was devastated in 2011 by an earthquake that levelled much of the downtown area leaving a massive reconstruction after the removal of the remains of some 280+ victims.
We naturally drove into the central area to view the destruction and reconstruction that is some 8 years later still very evident. Most people have an image of Christchurch Cathedral and apart from no spiral tower little visual evidence of reconstruction can be seen despite ingoing efforts.
Large areas are simply levelled and serve a car parks, green spaces and play areas.
I had thought it may invoke memories of my times at Joplin, Missouri, and the EF5 that took 141 lives but this scene was different and unlike Joplin much unfinished works were evident. Many buildings still rely on massive steel triangles to stop their further collapse.
Plans are drawn up for a new Convention Centre but many years of work will be required before Christchurch central recovers
With news that our shipment of bikes were "still in bond"and not even in Christchurch plan B swung into action.
The Toyota stretched its small legs and took us to Akaroa. Akaroa is a small series of bays about 75kms from Christchurch being a former historic French and English settlement. The area is the basin of a former active volcano and also a port where in Summer one cruise ship a day visits so life is lively and prosperous. There are many shops,craft stores and galleries as well as a wide range of water based activities to cater for the cruise passengers. We however were more interested in a lunch at the Akaroa Fish & Chip shop where we had the daily special grilled in foil fresh fish and chips for $17.
The name Akaroa is Kai Tahu Maori for long Harbour as the Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury Region has a long coastline but one that extends inland to the basin of the ex volcano with both the town and harbour sharing the same name. New Zealand was opening up some of the scenery that is it's trademark Worldwide.
Heck even US motorcycle manufacturer Indian used NZ for the release and photo shoots of the latest range.