The Rurus

Adventure Before Dementia

3/12/17 What’s Another Two Football Fields?

Taking the #4 route, the plan had been to trek up to Purple Peak Saddle, one of the many walks above Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula.

It was a scorcher and we had gone no more than 100 metres before the beads of sweat started to trickle. The bush was alive with the hum of flies, bees and bumbles in unison; and the song of the bell bird echoed.

The elevation was steep. This trail is not for your novice, nor un-fit. Emotions of different places we have trodden on the planet flooded back. It helped taking the mind off the ball of yellow pushing up the internal mercury.

The colour of purple veronica flowers were stunning; the yellow of gorse pin pricky; the green of broom similar to peas growing. When they seed, the hillside will be popping as they disperse their children!

A little hut to shelter from the sun was cute. It was welcoming. Reaching the saddle, we had reached our destination however, it was only another couple of hundred metres to the Stony Bay Peak / Taraterehu. We imagined what the view would be like from there.

What’s another two football fields? Certainly steeper and goat trail like … and standing at 806m in altitude … the view was just spectacular.

Taking the Tara Track, then Te Paripai shortcut to get back on the Purple Peak track down to sea level, made the ice block certainly worth it.

Ya gotta love this country.

17/11/17 West Coast Wilderness Trail – Impromptu Encounters … Priceless

To Greymouth we drove to participate in the West Coast Wilderness Trail mountain biking event.

Whether in a one day or over three or four days … take the journey.

You will be not be disatisfied with the road ridden … Ross to Hokitika to Cowboy Paradise to Kumara to Greymouth.

Or just the bits in-between.

The impromptu encounters – priceless.

And, certainly memorable …

 

… “Are you there?” was the question asked as we sat in the room of our B&B.

“Yes, come in”

It was the B&B operator’s daughter.

“Just wanted to know if you are any relation of a Sonny Ruru?”

“He was my Dad” the reply given.

“What a small world.  My Mum went out with him when Sonny used to live in Reefton.  Her name is Gladys and she would love to meet you”

And so we did.

Meet and greet and then had the most awesome conversation about my Dad when he lived in Reefton.  He worked in the mines and both him and Gladys were an item for the time he lived there.  The year, 1948 or there abouts.  Gladys was a Nurse Aid and she confirmed Dad’s story about the mining accident where Dad and one other made it out alive – Morris Skilton.  Another was unfortunate and was killed. Dad lived with a family by the name of the Lawrences during his time there; and when Dad returned to Christchurch, their relationship ended.

Shortly after our face to face, Gladys had found a black and white photo of her and Dad.

This was an impromptu encounter of the most amazing type. And ironically, it happened on the 17/11/17 (Friday) … which was Sonny’s birthday.

Leaving Greymouth, we back tracked to Ross (the start of my ride) to do touristy thing as the township had pioneer history worthy of a re-visit.  Calling into friends Tane, Rachel, Ruby, Ava and Tilly in-between for a nose rub and bounce on the tramp was fun.

Just as priceless as the impromptu encounter.

‘It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you’ – Rumi

11/11/17 Where Pakeha Met the Maori

-34.662334 latitude and 178.017654 longitude is re-known for it being the first place in New Zealand to see the dawn of the new sunrise – Gisborne.

It’s significance is for it being the place where Captain James Cook first stepped onto the New Zealand landscape and encounter the natives – where Pakeha met the Maori.

We were there for the weekend to attend a conference with Toastmasters New Zealand. The first time for BClaire.  A return for me as I once lived here for a year after a work promotion in my earlier career days.

It was great to reminisce as a guide for the other half; as much as rub shoulders with fellow speakers.

A number of iconic Kiwi’s originate from Gisborne also, from both sides of the first encounter.

Certainly a part of our cultural heritage to check out.

4/11/17 Ya Gotta Love Our Country – New Zealand

It was a repeat ride from Diamond Harbour to Lyttelton and return … this time on solo bikes.

Ya just gotta love our country …

28/10/17 Now, Where the Fbeepk Did We Put the Butt Butter?

It was back through the tunnel to Lyttelton where chocolate bacon resides, with the Fatty 29 – our tandem.  And our cycling buddies, Randall and Maree Grenfell.

We had been for a couple of smallish togetherness rides on the flatlands of the city … it was time to return to some undulation to increase the training to get thigh burn.  Preparation for the much longer upcoming mountainbike ride adventure next month.  Where most sane folk ride the distance over four days … we are going to be doing it in one!

From one side of the harbour Lyttelton to the other, Diamond Harbour we rode.

It took us back to Canada and stirred reflective memories that we still hold dear … stay upright; try not to get collected by metal vehicles sharing the narrow bits; communicate the call when changing gears to be easier or slower; watch for shit on the road; don’t run over dead things R.I.P. on the road; and when you see an upcoming squashed remains – take a breath before you get to it versus when upon it; take the piss out of each other; remember the host and friendship connections made and wonder what they would be doing; return a smile and salutation when passers by look at you like you are two idiots doing what we were on our Fatty; eat a scone and have a cuppa at the destination Diamond Harbour.

It was a great feeling to be on and out doing it.  One way, only twenty something kilometres.  The legs had worked fine.

Return back to Lyttelton was the same … 58kms around our own terra firma right on our back door step was just magic.

No chocolate bacon today.   By the time we arrived back to our car, we had missed the bulk of the Saturday market.

This is our new training ride … everyone welcome for a repeat blat next weekend :0)

Now, where the f..k did we put the butt butter cream?!!!!!!

22/10/17 Chew it all before swallowing

You will find it at the Lyttelton market on a Saturday morning.

It’s worth the walk up and over the Bridle Path … to find the stall, hand over the small change, open the twist top, hold a piece, and then bite into it.

Chew it all before swallowing.

Be interested in what you think.

The walk, the view, the taste.

Chocolate bacon and all!

15/10/17 Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!

All those in favour, say “Ru can be the first rider” It’s what happened when I was taking a leak … to arrive back at the Atlas Gentech corporate tent and be told, “Ru, you are the first rider!”

BClaire and I were making up a team of four from Alarm Solutions to participate in a 6 hour relay mountain bike challenge.  The other two riders were Richard Jones & Mike Fairbrother.  We each took turns to pedal at speed the 11 km route racing against the clock to complete as many laps as we could in the 6 hours.

With 1,650 others sharing the same track, it was absolute chaos as the the bunch started however, as all shapes of size, weight, fitness or not snailed the first lap, riders spread out in a figure of eight to allow for a much easier pump of the metal between the legs.

The last time we were involved in a corporate team wearing sponsorship was way way back in the dragon boat days of yesteryear.  This day flooded back thoughts of those we played, drank and partied with … where ever they are on the planet nowadays!

Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!

Not so the comaradery of fellow bikers today though … it was alive with bragging & banter bullshit like all those in uniform should abide by.

Cheers Gwyneth, Richard, CJ and Mike for allowing the Ru’s to partake.

A great day that tis the start to the adventure season ahead.

10/9/17 A Whale Run but No Whales

350 participants fronted up for either the 2km for kids; or 10km and 21km for those wanting to run or walk.

BClaire and Lisa lined up amongst the punters to step out another 10km run to add to their lengthy list of kilometre-age trodden resume.

Mark (Lisa’s hubby) and I are always there in support to watch.  Cheer then on.  Clap them in.  To capture that moment of crossing the finish line.  It’s an important role we are tasked with and take it very seriously.  Sure, we have missed them come in a couple of times.  They’re quick in their old age.  Besides, our sport at each event is to sample ‘eggs benedict’ through frequenting different location eateries.  All sports magazines promote eating and hydration during events, ahem!

The event this time, the Kaikoura Whale run held by a little Kaikoura School just north of the township, a two-hour drive north of Christchurch.  It’s a fun event fund raiser designed to encourage folk to have a ‘get fit’ project over winter to feel great for the summer.  For BClaire and Lisa, it breaks the monotony of getting up under the cover of darkness weekdays to puff it out around Hagley every other morning.

Mark and I don’t attend those!

It was a spectacular view with the nose pointed north towards the steep rise of the Kaikoura Ranges.  Furthermore, it was a landscape that was forever changed back on the 14th November 2016 when at two minutes after midnight, Kaikoura was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

The sea bed rose over two metres exposing wildlife that lived just below the tide line.  Mountain sides are scared from earth slips.  We had to take an inland route because the old coastal route in parts has only recently become passable.

For BClaire and I personally, Kaikoura holds dear to our hearts.  We got engaged and then returned to place rings on fingers and tie the knot, getting married at the Winery overlooking the South Bay.  Our stage included the mighty Kaikoura Ranges.  Fifteen years ago.  Strewth time flies when you are having fun.

A whale fun run at that, where there were no whales running!  I did snap the girls though.   And the eggs bene was okay ya’know!

To bump into an old mates’ brother from yesteryear at the event was a bonus.  It was at their Dad’s funeral back in 2012 that sowed the seed for me to become a funeral and marriage celebrant.

BClaire and Lisa befriended another runner (similar age) who with her husband, downsized their life to be nomads travelling around our country in a caravan, parking up whenever they feel enough tarseal has been driven, so as to explore.  Another bonus meeting like-minded minimalists.

It’s a small world.  Perhaps a signal that it’s time to renew our vows.  Know any good celebrants?

Kia Ora Kaikoura.  Warm thoughts for a speedy recover.  Full kudos to the orange jackets making that possible as well.

All un-sung heroes.

27/8/17 Soaking in the Tub with the Willies

There is something to be cherished when one soaks in a hot tub of mineral water, sharing the warmth with mates.  Bubble farts rippling the surface top from the crack below don’t stink as the odd whiff of sulphur reminds you that you are in a geothermal longitude and latitude – Hanmer Springs.

The water tide mark was up with all the hordes of other patrons.  Tall people, short people, thin people, fat.  Kids and olds and different nationalities at that.  Bathing costumes to perv at, some not so good, faces with make-up and some that should wear a hood.  Tattoos were many and piercings through bits, whether male or female from ears to one’s nipples.

It had been a while since we were last there.  New shops have been erected and you couldn’t help wondering if the community were trying too hard to be a micro-tourist mecca the likes of Queenstown or Wanaka.

Beyond the commercial and residential suburbia, the adventure playground traditions still wait patiently for those whom put on either lycra, sweat pants or boots to mountain bike, walk or run or hike.

It was a two-hour round hump up Jacks Pass around then blat of the back country to then free wheel down Jollies Pass and back.  The old Connical Hill ascent favourite was not to be missed.  It gives one a brilliant 360° panoramic view of valley, mountain range and Waiau River.  The white of snow breaks the mountain brown from the sky blue.

It’s worth the 90-minute drive north of Christchurch if traveling to our neck of the woods.  So too the hot pools.

Sharing the time spent soaking in the tub with mates Andrew and Cherone Wilson made for some belly to belly catch up time.  Togs on beneath the water naturally.

Only because there were kids around!

6/8/17 The Rakaia Gorge Walking Track – Abandoned

As we departed west toward the Southern Alps, the weather was a balmy sunny morning.  Not a candyfloss cloud in the sky.

However, isobars on the Aussie side of the Alps were completely opposite with heavy rain.  Not the candyfloss type of clouds neither.

The Rakaia Gorge Track was in no man’s land.  As we started the 10 odd kilometre walk, sunshine.  Just 3 kilometres inland, driving rain has us cowering under vegetation canopy.  The wind picked up too giving caution to it being hypothermic possibilities.

It made for the track to become rivers of mud.  Bets were made as to who would ‘arse up’ first.  Staying on the track was paramount as a slide down into the Rakaia River would have been a drenching for sure.  Fortunately, no one did.

The decision to retrace our imprints and abandon the adventure was unanimous.

Once down on the grey whacky shingle bed looking back toward the bridges that connected the Inland Scenic Route, we were back in the rays and it didn’t take long to dry out.

Munching down our sammies overlooking the Rakaia River from the camp ground made pleasant.

Bell birds sang.  Rabbits hopped.  Jet boats jetted.  The girls gaggled.

In-between the munching of course!

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