The ‘naki ride Day 2

I woke up to a gorgeous Taranaki morning, which gave me the motivation to do a quick 10km run on the treadmill in the hotel gym.

After a quick shower I joined the boys for breakfast and the news that Semi had fallen over on the dance floor last night trying some disco move, and damaged his hip! Yes, the hip replacement hip he has just had put in! We suggested a hospital visit would be wise, but Semi was having none of it. He wanted to ride.

The only problem was he could no longer swing his leg over his ride!

Muz and I had to physically pick him up and as SJ, Grandma, Bo and Enos got ready to take video footage Semi gave them a look that no evidence of this should ever surface.

Once we had all stopped laughing we rolled out of Taranaki and headed toward the Forgotten Highway and Whangamomona Pub for lunch.

It was a spectacular ride with awesome views and lots of twists and turns.

After the pub lunch we hit the road again toward The Big Easy, which is the Taihape to Napier road.

None of us have ever done this road on a bike and I think it will be fair to say we would all do it again in a heartbeat.

There was no other traffic and you could stay between 80 to 100kms/hour comfortably most of the way.

The rolling hills were dotted with sheep and I caught myself smiling numerous times whilst riding today.

We eventually hit Napier after a nearly 500km day in the saddle, but it was fun.

We are in some swanky hotel right on the harbour and from the balcony overlooking the marina I can hear the music from the bars down the street were we will soon be having our well deserved beers!

Note: Semi’s hip is better and he can now mount and dismount by himself.

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The ‘naki ride – Day 1

“You don’t need a key. It’s a fob you just carry in your pocket to start.”

It seemed odd that I had to explain how to start the Harley Davidson to my eldest brother Mark, also known as “Grandma” due to his constant grumpiness, bitterness and aggressiveness to most things life throws at him.

It also filled me with fear as he hadn’t ridden a motorcycle for over 4 decades, and here he was swinging a leg over my Harley Davidson, Eva, that I needed to sell to keep the bank manager happy.

I prayed silently to the biker gods that he wouldn’t drop it on this trip to New Plymouth and Napier.

Muz could see my concern and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and whispered, “I hope your insurance is paid up.”

His grin was wide, and I just muttered the word “prick” back at him followed by my own smile.

Semi was jabbering away by his bike checking that the bungee cords holding his bags on were tight, while eating butter chicken left overs.

SJ was now showing Grandma where Eva’s indicators were. I rolled my eyes and checked Equus’s tyre pressure to take my mind off the expected wreckage I was undoubtedly about to witness sometime in the next few days.

We still had two more riders to add to our group.

Bo would be waiting for us at the BP station in south Auckland. Enos, we would pick up in The Thirsty Weta in Otorohanga. No doubt he will be half cut by the time we get there.

As for my journey it had started last night as I left work on a gorgeous Dargaville evening for the quick 180km ride to SJ’s lifestyle block in Hobsonville.

All 5 bikes were parked by his kidney shaped swimming pool, ready to go, which I’m now kicking myself for not taking a photo.

It was 9am and time to officially start our journey. The 5 Harleys kick into life creating the famous “potato potato” sound that shuddered the pillars of SJ’s 8 bedroom mansion.

We raced through and picked up Bo and down to a surprisingly sober Enos.

The weather was perfect and we had a beer at Awakino Tavern were Semi divulged the information that only last week he had a successful hip replacement operation.

We were all shocked at this news and even more surprised he could ride so quickly after.

We hit the road again to Mikes Brewery for another orange juice.

Then we blasted through to Taranaki and Americano was in town.

Muz, SJ and I slipped back to our digs after dinner whilst Semi, Grandma, Bo and Enos tried to drink the ‘naki dry.

They were well deserved beers.

Rolling Horse: Day 13 Final ride

I left Paso Robles at 9am and headed for my final destination.
Los Angeles.
It was a gentle 227 mile ride (365 kms) to Redondo Beach, LA. Of course the closer I was getting to LA the traffic got worse.
Eva and I had a couple of car park moments and I was confident enough to lane split, but I was being very aware of these huge Utes everyone seems to drive here.

The temperature has also kicked up another gear and easily hitting 30 degrees.

Suddenly I felt a sharp sting on my right forearm.
A bee had flown up my jacket and stung me.
Do I pull over?
Nah, I smashed my left hand several times onto my right forearm all whilst travelling at 60 miles per hour. People in their cages looked at me like I was a nutter. To be fair I probably looked like one.
The bee was dead, but my arm was gently throbbing.
My forearm is now swollen and tight, but fortunately I’m in no pain.
I rode on to my hotel delighted I’d only have to pack once more when leaving for the airport.
I took Eva to CFR Rinkens shipping company and checked her mileage.

42412 miles

Therefore I’ve rode 3993 miles, which is 6426 kms.

Eva sitting with all the other bikes waiting to be transported around the USA and the world.

The ownership papers are still with the DMV, which means Eva is unable to go anywhere until my freight trader has it in her hands.

I’ve phoned and left messages, but not much more I can do now as I’m out of here in a couple of days.

Until then I’ll just sit at the bars on Hermosa and Redondo beaches with several well deserved beers.

Rolling Horse: Day 10, 11 and 12

Day 10

Virginia City with a hop, skip and jump down the road to Lake Tahoe.

Day 11

Fairly early start and another short ride to Sacramento.
I rode through this town two years ago and it looked beautiful so I wanted to experience it.
I stayed in Old Sacramento, which I fell in love with.
Found a couple of really cool bars with great food and company.

Day 12

I wanted to get within striking distance of Los Angeles so hit the road at 8am and headed for San Francisco and down as far as I could go on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The road was closed at Big Sur due to slips, which I knew, but I wanted to check out the great views.

I doubled back to Carmel and had a delightful lunch at an out of the way restaurant.

I jumped on a backroad, G16, that would take me onto the 101 freeway.

It was a great ride with few cars, no road markings or signs and hot weather.

I rode threw vineyard after vineyard and I was loving life!

Just me and a remote road.

Worries and stresses left me weeks ago, and today was pure enjoyment.

I jumped on the freeway and road a few more hours and am now in my cave at Paso Robles.

I've just ordered my spare ribs and well deserved beer.

Rolling Horse: Day 9

Wells, Nevada is situated in the middle of the desert.
I'd had dinner and a couple of jars and was walking across the car park.

It was dimly let and eerie.

So I thought happy thoughts.

I started thinking how dad use to put me to bed when I was a nipper. He'd make up wonderful stories right there and give the characters absolutely ridiculous names that he would forget later in the story that would send us both into fits of laughter and tears of joy streaming down my face.

All of a sudden this bright light hit me from above.
I was being elevated, but felt safe and remained calm.

I'd been abducted by aliens.

Fortunately they had WiFi on their spaceship so I can post the following.

I wanted to get to Virginia City, Nevada tomorrow. Google maps told me it was 465 miles (748 kms) and that's big!

If I hadn't had my air filter mishap yesterday I'd be further down the road.

I stumbled out of bed at 6.15am shocked that I'd slept so late. I was on the road by 7 in the am after skipping breakfast, which won't hurt me.

I had on my jacket, but no gloves. Eva was filled up last night so I was away. It was blue sky and smooth roads so I whacked Eva on the backside, dug my spurs into her, and she slid up to 75 miles/hour.

The Nevada desert is unforgiving.
I find it cool to ride through , but most I presume will fill find it monotonous.

The little green man made me a cup of coffee and told me I'm like no other human they have picked up.
They have never met a bigger fibber!

I stayed in my jacket the majority of the day despite quickly rising temperatures.

I had a big breaks in Carlin, Winnemucca and a quick bottle of water in Lovelock and Fernley.
The breaks served me well.

Google lied as Virginia City was just under 400 miles.

I love this tiny city, and with today being Saturday it was packed. I managed a room in the same motel I stayed at last time, The Sugarloaf Mountain Motel.

The aliens zapped me back to earth.

I've wandered down to this amazing city for a well deserved beer.

Rolling Horse: Day 6, 7 and 8

The frivolity of Sturgis is done and dusted.
It's now time to hit the road and head for Los Angeles.
Well head for it in a round about way.
I stumbled out of bed at 6.45am and showered, shaved and ate the complimentary breakfast the Best Western offers.
I was on Eva by 8.30am and flying down Interstate 90 that would carry me 380 miles to Billings, Montana.
Some of the views today were gorgeous as the higher you climb the more you see.
I entered Montana and Crow Country and was hoping to get my first sighting of buffalo.
Sadly, it wasn't to be but I'm sure tomorrows ride through Yellowstone National Park will not disappoint on that score.
It's easy to imagine a tribe of Indians in this land. It's beautiful.

For those of you still wondering about my reserve tank problems I flicked it over to reserve after I just filled up. It conked out after about 50 metres. I'm wondering if it's not connected properly. It's a pain in the you know where as I nearly ran out of gas again today.
I did 126 miles on my regular tank. That's just over 200kms. Take into account I'm travelling at 80 miles/hour, or 128 kms/hour in our language, with lots of head, or side, wind.
I haven't time to take it to the shop as my bike needs to be in Los Angeles in 8 days.

The barmaid told me to forget Yellowstone National Park as I should head along highway 2 toward Oregon. She swears it's beautiful.

I'm going to stick with my original plan of heading through Yellowstone, but she did pour me a well deserved beer.

DAY 7

Eva and I rolled out of Billings at 8am in great anticipation of seeing Yellowstone.

She didn't disappoint.

I took Beartooth Pass via Red Lodge and what wonderful views I had.

New Zealand is hard to beat for outstanding views, but I must say Yellowstone is on a par at least.

There were lots of twists and turns all at the pace of 35 to 45 miles per hour.

Hour after hour – it was mind blowing.


I know my pics will not do it justice.

There was snow/ice on the hilltops and it got cold the higher you climb. Of course the higher you climbed the better the views.

Then I rode into a gulley and I saw them!

Buffalo!!!

I pulled hard on Eva's reins and she came to a sudden stop so I could take a closer look.

They were 50 metres away from me, grazing.

I jumped on Eva and cruised around the next corner where more Buffalo were right next to the road.

People were out of their cages taking pics. I wasn't so brave plus Yellowstone was longer than expected.

I kept cruising to Western Yellowstone where I washed Eva and headed off to feed myself and moisten my lips with a well deserved beer.

Day 8

Up at 5.30am and eating breakfast by 6am.
I was packed and loaded by 7am and heading toward Wells, Nevada.

It was chilly so I had on gloves and light jacket, but within a couple of hours the heat was warming me up.
I had plenty of rest stops today and drank more water, applied sunscreen and lip balm at every stop.
I also slowed up today to 60 miles/hour or 100 kms/hr to see how far I could travel on Eva. Turns out over 300 kms! I'm well happy with that.

As soon as I take her up from 60 to 70 miles she starts sucking hard. The needle on the gauge is worse than my blood pressure needle!

She's a cruiser baby! She doesn't like the rough stuff.

I cradled Eva 400 miles today from West Yellowstone to Wells.

Highlights of the day:
Idaho Falls were nice.
Twin Falls blew my mind!!

I couldn't stop on the bridge to take a pic so here is an internet version.

After gassing up at Twin Falls and starting to head toward Wells I felt something on my leg.

It was the cover to my air filter!

I held it with my podgy calf until I could safely pull over and inspect what had happened.

It just seemed to have fell off.

I googled Harley Davidson Tein Falls and they were 4 kms away.

Thank goodness this didn't happen out in the Nevada desert!!!

After a bit of sweet talking the guy at the service department I managed to push in line of other bikers waiting for their rides to be serviced.

Good manners (and an accent) go a long way as the mechanic had it back on in a couple of minutes and was to busy to write up my name etc to charge me.

I went into the dealership and got a shirt!

I was soon back on Eva cruising toward Wells. The delay had set me back just over an hour and it was mid afternoon I hit the Nevada desert and the heat.

I've got into Wells, which nobody should stay here! It's scary! Lots of motels and businesses closed with beady eyes watching behind twitching curtains.

I'm stay at the best motel. $43USD for the night is the normal price. I got it for $40USD because Mary on reception liked me.

I'm now over the road reflecting on my day and supping a well deserved beer.

Sturgis: Day 5

I needed to ride just under 400 miles today.
The god of two wheels provided blue sky overhead, and I stormed out of Sioux Falls at 7.30am.
No gloves.
No jacket.
Just a t-shirt and leather vest.
No helmet.
Yep, no helmet!
This was the first time I'd be riding without one.
I wanted to experience it although I did have an internal debate the evening prior as I value my big, chubby, ugly mug.
It had to be done.
To be fair there were more riders in the morning wearing lids than without.
By lunchtime there were more without as the sun belted down rays of about 32 degrees Celsius.
It was magnificent riding although the occasional cross wind kept me on my toes.
Every gas station was filled with blokes and gals dressed in black filling up their horses.

Of course the other event beside Sturgis Bike Week in South Dakota was I will be meeting my 25 year old daughter for the first time.
Her name is Mustang Shelby Little Crow.
The Little Crow represents the native Indian side of her mother.
Mustang Shelby was chosen as her first name because she was conceived in the back seat of my Toyota Corolla 25 years ago, but we were parked next to a Mustang. I'm glad her mother had the intelligence not to name her after the make of my car.
I'm just so proud of Shelby as she is now a topless waitress in the 4th best drinking establishment in Deadwood.
I asked her to put on a top for our photo below.

Shelby took the day off from the pole she slides on to take me out to an Indian reservation here in South Dakota.
Here I met her grandfather, Loads of Bull.
Her grandmother, You've Been Suckered, had no teeth, spoke not a word, but the wrinkly faced woman beamed with delight throughout my entire time with her.
I later found out she has terrible hemorrhoids and was actually grimacing in pain.

Shelby offered to clean my bike. She did a great job.

Shelby already calls me Daddy.

Sturgis is insane during the Bike Week.
I partied hard with Shelby. Here she is on the left, granny in the middle and mum on the right.

She liked the chaps I got her.

Tomorrow I head out of Sturgis after I'm sure of one last party at the Buffalo Chip where I'll no doubt bump into my daughter several times throughout the night and have a few well deserved beers.