The Burt – Final Ride For Home

Day 12

Enos, SJ, Grumpy and I had a great evening at Oakura Boat Club in New Plymouth, where the red wine flowed easily.

We then walked back to the Holiday Park and our cabin, number 12 for future reference, on the beach for a tipple of port and a cigar. It was still warm and Grumpy made the decision to sleep outside on the deck so as not to wake the rest of us with he freight train snoring.

Enos was staying behind in New Plymouth for a couple of extra days as his missus didn’t want him home yet.

So the three of us said our goodbyes at 7am and hit the road for the last time. We stopped off two hours later at Pio Pio for a ripper of a breakfast. It was great putting those early miles under our belt as we knew it was only a hop, skip and a jump to Auckland, or in my case Dargaville, which was an extra leap.

All on this tour there has been no close calls traffic wise. The fine weather we had certainly played a part in that, but we all rode at levels that were comfortable to us. That’s not to say that some corners were taken a little to quickly on occasion, or overtaking when we would have been better to just be a little more patient, but there was no scary moments for any of us.

As we left the cafe in Piopio I checked my bags and spare helmet were on securely and threw my leg over Equus.

We decided to fill up in Te Kuiti and say our goodbyes to each other there as SJ was heading to Cooks Beach, and Grumpy and I wouldn’t need to fill up again. It was fitting that it was us three remaining as it was only us who had done the South Island a couple of years before. SJ was fighting back the tears, and I admit to shedding a lone tear down my rosey cheek.

SJ would leave us at Hamilton and head toward the Coromandel, while Grumpy and I would continue north.

However, before SJ left us we were just outside Otorohanga when I saw her.

Her blonde hair waving in the wind like a graceful ballerina.

Her blue eyes sparkling like the pools of St Bathans would have many years ago.

She was wearing a white cotton dress that showed off her taut figure.

She was in the hitchhikers pose with thumb extended.

I pulled on the reins of Equus who eased next to her. I threw my kick stand down and quickly took off the spare helmet and gave it to this incredibly gorgeous woman.

She took the helmet, and laughed.

She then thrust out her spare hand and said, “I’m Wendy. Where are you heading?”

I showed her my pearly whites and replied, “Shepp” pointing to my embroidered name on my leather vest. “I’m heading to Dargaville.”

“I’ve never been there,” she continued to laugh. “Let’s go!” She quickly slid on some jeans whilst keeping her summer dress on. She looked hot.

Grumpy and SJ sat on their bikes, mouths agape, at what they had just witnessed.

Wendy slid her long legs around me and the three Harleys roared off once more.

I hadn’t even got into top gear before I felt Wendy’s hand rubbing the side of my leg.

I found it very hard to concentrate on the road.

We soon got to Hamilton and waved our farewells to SJ.

He’s been a great leader on this trip, despite a few hic cups with directions and tickets. He actually bought me a very cool Route 66 sign in Invercargill to hang in the Man Shed. Cheers brother.

Grumpy, Wendy and I had a relatively smooth ride through Auckland with Wendy absolutely loving the V-Twin between her legs.

Wendy and I waved to Grumpy as he exited onto Greville Road in Alabany and headed for his palatial home on the Shore.

There was little traffic for Wendy and I to fight with for the remaining hour and a half ride to Dargaville.

I pulled Equus into the drive and Wendy hopped off and planted a big kiss straight on my lips.

My kind of woman!

Equus was back in her stable, and I jumped into the shower to try and get rid of 12 days of mayhem.

I returned to find Wendy naked in my bed holding my well deserved beer.

The Burt – Day 11

A sad day.

We had to farewell Semi at Bulls after we had all caught the Interislander ferry to Wellington.

I must tell one story that happened on the Interislander that was amusing.

As we were leaving we were amongst a throng of passengers.

SJ decided to be lazy and take the lift instead of the stairs. He was the last one in the lift and the doors wouldn’t shut because it was overweight.

After much laughter and telling him to get off, which he initially wouldn’t, he finally stepped out and sure enough the doors finally closed causing those watching the dilemma double up in laughter.

It was so emotional to be splitting up the 5, but Semi was in fine form over dinner the previous night in Picton.

So Enos, SJ, Grumpy and I rode in more sunshine, which put smiles on all our faces.

Oakura Holiday Park is one of my favourite spots on the planet.

We dusted ourselves off and kicked off our boots and sank a few well deserved beers.

The Burt – Day 10

We left my nephews Christchurch pad at 8am and poked our noses toward Picton, via Kaikoura.

James, my nephew, and his caregiver, Bayley, looked after us very well.

The sun was shining, but not throwing off much heat and although I have enough natural padding to insulate me the same can’t be said for Grumpy who had also decided to ride jacket less.

I could see his false teeth chattering in my mirrors, and hoped the 83 year old would survive.

At Amberley we stopped and I tucked into my muesli and fruit with lite yogurt and a glass of water for brekkie, while the other four lads devoured bacon, fried bread, mushrooms, onions, fried eggs, sausages, hash browns all washed down with a keg of coffee.

We decided to meet at Kaikoura for lunch and SJ, Grumpy and I blasted off leaving Semi and Enos to fend for themselves.

Now I know there’s a few harden bikers reading this blog and asking why we would leave two of the crew behind.

It’s a fair question, but that’s our arrangement and Semi and Enos seem happy with that. We all ride at the pace we feel comfortable at.

However, this arrangement has it’s downfalls as the 3 leaders reached Kaikoura and headed to the Pier Hotel for lunch, which is right by the water and a great spot.

The problem being Kaikoura town ship is situated back on the main road and that’s where Semi and Enos looked for us.

Of course they missed us so rode onto Picton.

The three Chuckle Brothers sat and had lunch and beers on the waters edge wondering where the hell the stragglers were.

Contact was finally made over 2 hours later with Semi stating he and Enos were near Blenheim. We told them to ride through to Picton and we would see them soon.

No harm done as we were happy supping away on a few cold ones at the Pier Hotel.

The temperatures soared and were the hottest they have been on the whole trip.

We arrived in Picton and were greeted with smiles from Enos and Semi.

Everyone was happy.

We all went for a walk trying to decide which restaurant would receive our custom, and ended up in the same pub we go to every year below our lovely apartment for a well deserved beer.

The Burt – Day 9

I love Dunedin, but was pleased to be jumping on the bike and heading toward our next destination, Christchurch.

We blasted through despite seeing several cops on the way.

Fortunately we were well gone by the time they could of turned around and gave chase.

The scenery is still wonderful, and we are taking it a bit for granted now.

We got slightly lost trying to find my nephews shack in Redcliffs.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal with James and Bailey and some well deserved beers.

The Burt – Day 8

The Turn For Home.

We packed up our kit and left our Riverton house for the last time.

It was a great place to lay our weary heads although a second bathroom wouldn’t of gone amiss.

Again I had my jacket and gloves in my saddle bags as temperatures soared toward 30 degrees (86 Fahrenheit) and I hoped the sun lotion was doing its job on my naked forearms.

It was a lovely, short, ride with a quick cuppa stop at Balclutha.

SJ and Grumpy were starting to feel the effects of last night, but as I’m in better physical condition than both of them I was fine.

We rolled into Dunedin mid-afternoon where only I went for a well deserved beer.

The Burt – Day 6

We woke to a glorious day here in our Airbnb in Riverton.

We have a new member to our gang. Marcel flew in yesterday afternoon and has fitted in nicely.

His initiation was to run nude across the road and back.

All I’ll say it was very funny, but not a pretty sight.

On today’s agenda was the Beach Races.

It’s a 1 mile track marked out by cones, and these guys let it rip.

So we jumped on our rides, with Marcel on the back of SJ’s bike.

Enos, SJ, Marcel, Grumpy and I are waiting for Semi who seems to be unable to get his bike moving.

No problem starting it, it just wouldn’t move.

Grumpy jumped off his bike and soon realised that Semi had left a brake lock on the front disc.

Another fine.

We smashed down a cooked breakfast at the local cafe, and rode out to Oreti Beach.

There was bikes galore.

We estimated about 3000, but keen to hear official numbers.

The sun was fierce and as we sat on the dunes we could feel it burning the backs of our necks.

The races came thick and fast, which for a spectator was brilliant.

On the bigger bikes speeds of 160kms were reached and you could see the riders fighting with their beasts to keep them upright.

There were a few spills as the sand became softer from the continuous use of the track.

The 50 mile race was the big one for the Burt Munro trophy.

Nine riders started, only three finished with some poor bugger not realising he’d only done 49 laps.

They must have been exhausted after that.

The five of us weren’t feeling to flash after baking in our jeans and leathers for a few hours.

We jumped back on horses and rode to Bluff to get a photo with a sign post.

We stopped off and had a feed and a couple of beers to try and cool down.

Enos didn’t look to good, but Doc Semi was keeping a close eye on him.

I was also feeling the effects so left the lads early to come back and have a sleep.

I was just drifting off when they returned! No afternoon nap for me.

Marcel and I went for a swim in the Foveaux Strait to cool down.

It worked wonders.

We had a few beers at our base and headed out to dinner.

As we walked along a young lady pulled over in a pub courtesy van.

“You look like you boys want some food and beers.”

We jumped into Hannah’s van and she took her to her pub Aparima Restaurant and Bar.

The meal was outstanding and Hannah was a lot of fun. The beers were again well deserved.

The Burt – Day 5 Loo Poo (R18)

Vulcan Hotel you bloody beauty.

We had a great night although the pub was empty.

I’d love to be there when the place was rocking.

As for Rose the Vulcan prostitute ghost, Semi thought he “felt something “ during the night.

We left the mysterious pub at 9.30am and headed towardBase Camp 1 in Riverton where we will spend the next few nights.

SJ took us the long way, I’m not sure if on purpose or unintentionally, and the cloudless sky with yellow sun made riding the scenic route lovely.

I must say despite the perfect weather it was bloody freezing. The wind ripped through my body giving me chills constantly.

SJ pulled over in Crichton at the public toilets to relieve himself. Enos, Grumpy and I parked our rides next to his and followed suit.

I was the unlucky bugger to use it last and needed to do a number 2.

This takes time.

I pushed the automated lock button on the pungent convenience stop, and went about my business.

I hate using public loos at the best of times, and especially for dropping bombs.

I forced as many out as I could in record time to try and get the nostrils back to clean fresh air.

I washed my hands and pushed the green automatic open button on the pisser door.


I pushed again.


Insert expletive here.

For those of you that have been stuck in a lift I can assure you being stuck in a public toilet at 2.30pm on a sunny day (the temperature had climbed by this time) is a lot worse.

I called out to the lads on the outside.


“Lads!” I said loudly with a slight panic in my voice.

My eyes searched for an escape route.

“Aucklanders Sux” was prominent graffiti on the wall.

There was no escape from my cell.

“LADS!” I screamed.

“Hurry up” was the reply I got.

Please note I have pressed the button 5000 times by now.

“The fucking door won’t open.” I stammered in a higher pitched voice that oozed more panic than I wanted to give away.

“Press the open button,” was the reply I got.

Are these guys kidding me?

I immediately thought of a sarcastic reply, but decided to give both barrels back instead.

“What the fuck do you think I’ve been pressing for the last 10 minutes you prick.”

Sweat was now forming on my forehead.

Then I heard the angelic, and calm, voice of Grumpy.

“I’ll get my tools.”

I heard one set of footsteps leaving.

Then I heard murmuring outside soon followed by howls of laughter. Even Semi’s laugh had finally turned up.

Pricks, I thought.

Please also note that both buttons had been pushed.

“I need water.”

I heard tools being used on the outside and was thankful Grumpy was there.

If you ever wanted a guy in your corner in a situation like this it’s him.

A water bottle was passed over the small gap above the door.

I had to stand on the seat to reach it.

I hadn’t put the lid down so was precariously balanced astride the lip of the dunny.

As my outstretched fingers grasped the bottle I slipped and my left boot sunk to the perilous depths of the bowl.

The loudest expletive was screamed.

The whole of Crichton would now know my dilemma.

There was no sympathy from outside just bellows of long laughter.

To cut a long, smelly story short, Grumpy finally managed to rescue me after 20 minutes of hell.

I feel I can now sympathise better with the Mexican miners who were rescued.

My delight was immediate as soon as the door sprung open and my eyes blinked continuously to adjust to the light.

“Thanks Grumpy.”

We raced to Riverton where I had a long shower and a well deserved beer.

The Burt – Day 5 SJ’s error

Franz Josef.


It was on Grumpy’s bucket list to see the glacier.

However he was to lazy to walk up to see it.

This would probably be his last chance to see it as I doubt the old-timer would ever make another trip like this.

We were going to leave early and have breakfast somewhere on the way.

I advised it maybe best to hold our horses and pay the extra 20% that they charge down here for everything and let the sun dry the roads a bit and get some heat up.

The senior citizens I’m travelling with said this should be fine as it was pension week.

Breakfast was decent and with bladders and catheters emptied we hit the road with blue sky’s above.

It was chilly so my jacket and gloves were on, but jeans and the open face helmet (dust mask in use) were all I needed.

Lake Mapourika, Westland Tai Poutini Park, numerous bridges and rivers and the Tasman Sea provided stunning scenery.

SJ was leading the way to our next destination, the historic Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans.

Now I do love my brother, but he ain’t the quickest train on the railway track.

For example when at high school he was strongly advised to take Auckland Maths instead of School Certificate Maths.

He did take Auckland Maths, and failed.

He still spells my name Gleen.

And over our morning coffee he was asking me how to spell words so he could post on Facebook.

So what happened next doesn’t surprise me.

For this monumental SJ error we start back at Franz Josef where he looked at the map of our route for well over an hour.

It was only two roads he needed to remember.

We get to the Lindis Pass intersection having come through the stunning Hawea National Park.

SJ confidently goes left and like sheep we all follow this Sheppard.

The bad news is we should of turned right toward Clyde and Alexandra.

The worse news was that Semi knew we should of turned right, but was typically to far back to tell us.

So we travel in the wrong direction until our trusty steads need some more juice.

This is nearly 100kms on the Lindis Pass to Omarama.

Grumpy and I look at the map and see we are way off course so advise our leader that we need to travel back the way we came.

Another 100kms on a road we have just ridden.

It gets worse.

Once SJ had fueled up and told he’s an idiot (in good humour) he races off in the correct direction leaving the four of us at the gas station.

Grumpy, Enos and I rode back on the Lindis Pass ….. again with Doc Semi not far behind.

There’s a golden rule when motorcycling in a group.

Never leave a man and his bike alone.

SJ left the 4 us.

St Bathans is in the middle of nowhere. It’s an old gold mining town that saw 75 tonne of gold panned out of the Blue Lake, but never leaving St Bathans as it all went into the 14 bars and hookers that were here back in the day.

The Vulcan Hotel is a wonderful old pub and when Enos, Grumpy, Semi and I finally arrived there was SJ already on his second quart bottle.

The excuses started coming out in typical fashion, but surprisingly enough no fine book was out.

SJ you do owe us and you won’t get away with it.

To be fair he was a little embarrassed by his mistake so Grumpy, Semi and I let him win at pool to ease the pain.

Jude is the wonderful owner of The Vulcan (it’s for sale) and has been here for 19 years.

Lisa, the barmaid, was as funny as hell and well worth the extra kms we rode to get here with tales of “Rose” the ghost of the Vulcan.

I’d definitely come back.

So here we are. The haunted Vulcan Hotel having a well deserved beer.

The Burt – Day 4

Westport greeted us with a warm sun over breakfast.

Before our meals came we discussed the delicious meal we had at Johnny’s Restaurant the night prior.

The Fine Book was out in force last night with everyone only to happy to squeal on their mates about the dumb-arse things they had done during the day.

For example SJ got pinged for stuffing up the ferry booking, Grumpy got done for breaking his wine glass, Enos for constantly cleaning his ride (harsh fine that Enos), I was hit with leaving a bag with all my clean socks and undies back at Picton (I’m now going commando), and Semi has been fined the most for missing turn-offs,

Of course this is just making us roll up with laughter as each story is retold and only done with fun in mind.

The accommodation at McMannus Hotel was only $45 but really tidy and everyone had their own en-suite.

We all highly recommend the place for those on a low budget.

As we sat for breakfast the waitress finally brings out the first plate, which is sausage and eggs.

Everyone one of us says “No, I didn’t order that.”

A perplexed waitress looks at us and says “are you sure no one ordered sausages and eggs?”

SJ looks straight at Semi and asks, “Didn’t you order sausages and eggs?”

Semi’s reply, “I ordered eggs and sausage.”

We all rolled up in stitches of laughter as the waitress just rolled her eyes and gave Semi his breakfast.

Another fine.

We hit the road at 9.30am with the sun on our backs.

I was gloveless and no jacket, and although it was a cooler temperature I was happy enough.

We aimed for the well known pub “Formerly known as The Blackball Hilton.”

This is a historic pub for many tourists and bikers especially.

SJ, Enos, Grumpy and myself all turned off at the well signed Blackball intersection.

We parked outside the pub and waited for the Worlds Slowest Indian.

15 minutes later he’s phoning Grumpy asking where we are. He’s missed the turn off.

Another fine.

We had a pint or two with the landlady providing wonderful stories of how the big Hilton Hotel chain took them to court over naming rights. The little pub won and got a payout for their troubles too.

The Pike River mine was a prominent sight on the walls, and lots of clippings of other mining tragedies from years gone by.

I’ve added the Blackball Hilton to my bucket list of places to stay.

We then jumped back on our horses and rode through Greymouth.

I had put my jacket on as we left the pub as the needle on the temperature gauge had plummeted.

As we rode toward Harihari for another liquid stop the weather was looking grey and miserable on the hills ahead.

I pulled over after giving Semi the thumbs up that I was ok as I wanted to put on my full face helmet and gloves.

It was the right decision as the rain soon set in.

All of a sudden I saw Semi standing by his bike on the other side of the road.

I wondered why he was on the other side as there was plenty of spaces to pull over on our side. I slowed right down and he gave me the thumbs up letting me know he was ok.

I rode a kilometre ahead to Ross and stopped and waited for Semi who I presumed was putting on wet weather gear.

At first I left Equus running, but realised the Indian wasn’t coming anytime soon. With the engine off I sat and waited. 5 minutes goes past.

No Semi.

10 minutes goes past.

No Semi.

I said to myself I’d give him another 5 minutes then go back.

So another 5 minutes goes past.

No Semi.

Oh, I’ll give him 2 more minutes.

No Semi.

I ignite Equus back into life and ride back to where he was waiting.

As I rode in from the way I had come and pulled alongside him he replied, “I never saw you go past!”

“We gave each other the thumbs up Semi.”

“ Oh heaps of riders have been waving at me while I’ve been here.”

I could only laugh.

Another fine.

We rode in the wet together to Harihari where I found out Semi had been calling Grumpy while he was waiting for me saying I hadn’t gone past.

Another fine.

After much laughter and a couple of orange juices we swung our legs over our girls and rode in the rain to Franz Josef for a well deserved beer.