Of rain, rock, sun and wind

Our weather fortunes turned after the crossing of the Tankwa. We had a wet muddy day getting to the Tankwa Padstal (one of the more well known roadside eating places). To get there we had shortcutted onto the gravel ‘highway’ R355 which deteriorated to soft muddy corrugations as the day went on. The alternative 2 […]

From tyre troubles to the Tankwa Karoo

We had a long day from Laingsburg to hosted accommodation in an old farm cottage. The winds had turned on us and strengthened as the day went on so we arrived pretty knackered. The fresh bread, farm honey and eggs we were given by Rae the owner certainly perked us up. To sneak in some […]

The Karoo

The Karoo is an extensive area of semi desert in South Africa and was where we were headed after the wine and fruit growing region of our first few days. Think big skies, and scrubby vegetation. Much of it is featureless but fortunately for us we skirted the edges of the Karoo in cooee of […]

Starting our South African journey

It was a long haul from Wanaka to Cape Town but we got there, along with our tiny trangia burner that Queenstown airport wanted to confiscate – a far cry from the chainsaw and fuel that Christchurch airport had missed in their scanning procedures a week or two back! We spent 2 nights in the […]

The Mereene loop to Alice and the end of our journey

After our walk around Kings Canyon we packed up and refueled on burgers, chips and cake at the ‘resort’ restaurant. The clouds broke and we had a sunny departure. The first 10km were bitumin followed by a pretty smooth and fast dirt road. We climbed to a low pass at about 30km and decided it […]

Exploring some red centre gems

Our original plan was a pretty direct route north to Alice Springs once finishing the Mawson track and in my ignorance I thought we might also have time to ride to Uluṟu or Ayer’s Rock. The reality is that it is 500km from Alice, hmmmm! I was keen to get there by pedal power as […]

Dodging the rains

We left Marree as the sun was rising and the wind was still sleeping. It was great to be off the bitumin of the previous few days and we were pleasantly surprised at the generally fast and smooth road. We were to learn that the condition of the Oodnadatta road was as good as it […]

To Marree, the end of the paved road

From the town of Hawker the quality of riding and scenery ramped up as we made a circuitous route thru the Flinders Range. We camped at Mt Little Station, where like NZ, stations are diversifying into tourism to supplement farm incomes. We were lucky to strike pizza night (Wednesday and Saturdays) and the owners very […]

Week 2 on the Mawson Trail

We are only a couple of days from the end of the 2 week Mawson trail and our only complaint is the winds we have been having. They have been predominantly northerly thru to westerly and at times up to 40km/hr in our faces. The expectation was for less wind and from the more favourable […]

Mawson musings

We had a last minute calling to take our bikes on another wee adventure before winter 2023 fully sets in – #becausewecan ?? Looking a bit closer to home we investigated the options north from Adelaide and into Australia’s red centre. The Mawson Trail is a 900km well documented route that will take us from […]

The story ends with sun, sail, sea and a little sickness

We were certainly happy to roll out of the city of La Paz after 3  noisy nights. The route headed up a 20km climb on a busy highway and into wet clouds getting wetter. I turned off near the top for the longer ride to La Ventura via Los Divisadores and a fun undulating dirt […]

The final leg to La Paz

The ride out of the town of Constitución was as uninspiring as the ride in as the town sits on big open plains west of the mountains. We took an alternative route to avoid the city dump but it was a mistake – the long stretch of sand and corrugations of the re-route was way […]

Ferry and fords

Mulege was not a town to rush away from but the weather forecast pushed us on. We needed a calm morning for the 12km boat ride across the Bahia de Ascension and the forecast was for calm till 11am and then wind for the next 3 days. As the saying goes ‘It was now or […]

Baby whales and mammoth canyons

Due to a rainy morning in San Ignacio we delayed our whale watching excursion to the following day. This meant we could have a relaxed departure. Along with our bike companion Bec, we left in the rain, but with a paved road most of the way to the Pacific coast it was not a hardship […]

The oasis of San Ignacio

From Vizcaíno we took separate paths. Alan needed some easier miles to settle the improving back issue and I was keen to stay on the Divide route to San Ignacio. We had an early start and rode the initial 27kms of the Mex 1 highway together and then we parted ways. Alan stayed on the […]

Sand – the good, the bad and the ugly

After a good break in Bahia we left the sanctuary of the Princess motel. It was great travel all day thru a range of hills and then back to the coast to a lovely beach camp amidst the cries of coyotes in the night. In the early morning I spotted one slinking along the beach. […]

The good life of the Bahia de Los Angeles

Leaving Santa Rosalita we still had 18km of cruisy coastal riding before heading inland at the ‘The Wall’ which is the last of the Seven Sisters surf breaks. The little used trail inland started out as rough sand and progressed to a rough stoney trail before hitting the highway and some smooth riding to the […]

Rain, sand, mud and sun

We were joined at the Mission Hotel in Catavina by Bec (Utah) and Roel (Netherlands) who are both riding the route independently. Wet weather held us up an extra day and we all decided to leave Catavina after lunch on a clearing forecast to start the journey back out to the Pacific coast. Not long […]

The curious cirios, cardon cacti and cervezas

We felt rested leaving the oasis of La Posada hotel and braced ourselves for the busy Mex 1 for 6km before following quiet tracks to San Quintin. A close call saw me riding into a near invisible single barbed wire fence strung across the track. I was saved by a lack of speed and it […]

The wild roads of the Sierra San Pedro Martir

The forecast was for some rain, so despite the shorter 40km day planned from Erendira we left early. With high tide and a good swell there were water spouts ejecting out of the rocky platformed coastal edge. The route climbed inland before traversing a large plateau incised by some deep and steep sided arroyos (gullies) […]

Beyond the Borderlands

The gods of mud decreed New Year statutary holidays were to be observed. There had been a lot of rain on NY day and the roads were a muddy mess. While local stores were trading, sadly there were no restaurants open  so we indulged in the standard cold fare of tortilla, refried beans, fresh cheese, […]

The Crossing

The Baja Divide is a 2700km bikepacking route that zig zags it’s way down Mexico’s Baja peninsula. It is reputed to be an amazing but challenging ride due primarily to the state of the tracks & roads it traverses, avoiding as much as possible paved highways, combined with the need to carry water between resupply […]

Early days in Armenia – with a sting in the tail..

Aologies for the length of this story but it is an interesting tale.. From Tbilisi we took a local van to Dmanisi, within striking distance of the gravel road border with Armenia. It was a nice ride up an English Beech forest gorge and little traffic as most vehicles take the paved border routes. The […]

Konnecting Kazbegi to Khevsureti

The military road from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda (and on another 11km through to the Russian border) is the funnel through which countries north and south of the Caucasus mountains utilise as it is the only open road border between Georgia and Russia. We were warned how busy it was so we opted for a van […]

Completing the loop back to Tbilisi

Akhalkaliki wasn’t an inspiring town, our bikes were clean and Alan had had his first jabs so we headed out of town and up to the high volcanic plain that cradled Lake Parvani and was edged by cones, the tallest being Didi Abuli (3300m). It was a fantastic ride following small tracks in big open, […]

Surprises in the Lesser Caucasus mountains

After a great stay in Kutaisi we sadly forewent another amazing Leyla breakfast for an early start across to the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus to avoid the lowland heat. It paid off and we climbed steadily up to Sairme through cool forest to our first surprise – a full on spa resort – Georgia […]

Pinch me moments (Mestia to Kutaisi)

We are lying in the tent beside the large slit laden Zeshko river, the sun has gone, obscured by the early evening thunder, lightening and rain storm that is upon us. Alan is reading and I am working my pink iPhone hard, choosing and editing photos, uploading to the blog and writing the story. My […]

Gamarjoba from Georgia (hello)

We flew out of Queenstown as the sky was filling with cloud spaceships heralding a northwest weather change. It was a short hop to Sydney, 15 hours to Doha followed by a 3hr flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, nestled in green hills on the banks of the river Mtkvari. Hostel Fabrika, where we […]

Georgia on my mind…

Georgia, GeorgiaThe whole day throughJust an old sweet songKeeps Georgia on my mind  It is June and normally we are on the road by now but we have started a redevelopment on the section here in Albert Town. The small build in the backyard is 90% finished and we made the call to head off […]

Notes from a softer Hunt1000 route

Our version of the Hunt was a mix of the 2016 route (as written up on bikepacking.com), with the deviation to Mt Kosciusko (2018 route), a shortcut down to Omeo and a low level diversion to avoid the Billy Goat pushfest. The only section that involved a significant amount of pushing was the steep pitches […]

Hunt1000 Dargo to Melbourne – part 3

From Dargo the 2016 Hunt1000 route goes up Billy Goat Bluff. There were souvineer badges in the Dargo general store with the slogan “I survived Billy Goat Bluff” and a drawing of a 4WD on a very steep track. For cyclists it is a 7km, 1,100m push up the rough rocky track. Our set up […]

Hunt1000 Thredbo to Dargo – part 2

We had an indulgent day of doing nothing in Thredbo, enjoying the comforts of the YHA and eating well. Rain showers came through as predicted so it was nice to be in the dry. Legs were fresh for the climb up the road to Dead Horse Pass – a local had warned us there would […]

The Hunt1000 – Canberra to Thredbo – part 1

The Hunt1000 is a bike brevet event from Canberra to Melbourne through the Australian Alps. It has run 3 times now and riders try and complete the route in 8 to 10 days. This years event had a new course and ran in a week of very bad weather and unseasonal snow on the high […]

Final miles in Equador, city time in Quito

With time running out for us we had a few variations of a plan on leaving Quito. We threw bikes and ourselves in the back of a bus heading north to Tulcan, a large town only 10km from the Colombian border. It was pouring down with rain through the afternoon and Tulcan was as appealing […]

Cotopaxi Gold

Laguna Quilatoa is a flooded volcanic caldera that is 10km around its crater rim, and 300m deep. It was only a short ride from the party town of Zumbahau and we found it to be very beautiful but boy what a windy and cold place at 3850m. Because it is so scenic, with many hiking […]

Volcanoes, Vicuñas and Very loud music

We are still having our fair share of inclement weather, Alan is battling a reoccurring bad tummy but in between we are having fun and unique times. I rode and Alan bussed the short hop to Cayabamba and in the afternoon we took the bus to Riobamba to find a cash machine and enjoy some […]

Windy Equador

With rain, mud flows, walls of wind, sandstorms and a night at 4000m in a shepherds choza, we have certainly had an interesting time of it since leaving Cuenca. We left the city of Cuenca on the TEMBR route which after following a mellow riverside track took to the hill suburbs on gravel roads. It […]

Friendly Equador

It was great to be on our bikes and heading north from Loja, on the Trans Equador Mountain Bike Route (TEMBR). We had a sweet riverside trail to follow to get us to the outskirts of town and then we enjoyed the ride alongside the Rio San Lucas that climbed us gradually to join the […]

Last days in Peru

The attraction of the small village of San Pablo was the walk to the third highest waterfall in the world (actually the 17th, but don’t tell the Peruvians). The total fall height is over 700m but because it drops in 2 falls I think it loses places in the waterfall stakes. Despite low water volume, […]

Making new friends on the road

We had been in communication with Mark and Hana (highlux.co.nz) who were heading south on the same road as our northward journey and we were finding it tricky working out a plan to meet up. They have been on the road for 2 years from Alaska, and are taking the least travelled roads so their […]

The Mummies of Chachapoya

The Maranon river is one of the principle sources of the Amazon river, flowing east from the Andes. To traverse this catchment (heading north) means an exhilarating downhill of 2400m followed by an intimidating 2800m of climbing. The town of Balsas, beside the Rio Maranon, is at a hot, dry 850m. We crested the ridge […]

Striking north again

Lady Luck shone us as we searched for a tent that would suffice and not cost too much. There was little in the stores which is surprising as it is a region of much trekking and mountaineering. Julio Olaza runs the only mountain bike company in Huaraz and we had met him when we left […]

Low days in Peru…

We looked at the empty harness on the front of my bike in disbelief. The tent was gone, the clips undone… The bikes had been sitting locked together in the locked hostel courtyard, and assured of its security, we had left the tent strapped on the front. Someone had broken in and taken it F..K. […]

Up, down, up … on, off, on days

After our standard town breakfast of tea/coffee and egg buns, we said goodbye to Pomabamba and started our climb up the gorge heading north. Maybe because the roads are so bad people stay put in their villages and so there is not a lot of traffic between. When there is, the most common is the […]

No Bull..

We had spent pretty well the whole day cycling uphill, on a road, that when flicking thru a 2002 guidebook in Chavin 2 days previously, was said to be paved, but it most certainly wasn’t and never had been. We had decided to camp at the top of the pass at 4400m as after three […]

The hard road to Chavin

We could have made it easy for ourselves and biked the shortest route to Chavin de Huantar on the eastern side of the Cordillera Blanca mountains, a paved highway with a tunnel at the high point of 4500m. Instead we took an unpaved route over a 4800m pass further south that undulated at that altitude […]

More Cordillera Blanca magic

In the 1940’s a glacial lake high above Huaraz burst its moraine dam and sent a wall of water and rocks down 1500 vertical metres to and through the city killing 5000 people. Julio, a local mountain bike guide, had told us that the walking track to this lake (Lago Palcacocha) has been recently upgraded […]

A mountain jolly in the Cordillera Blanca range

This time we headed south from Huaraz and we were carrying our accommodation and kitchen with us. If you thought we were travelling light on our foray down Duck Canyon you were right. After 8km on the highway we turned west up the Rajuculta Valley and onto a nice dirt road that we planned to […]

A shaky start and a shake down Duck Canyon (Canon del Pato)

Our first morning in Peru we were shaken awake by a terremoto (a trifle terre-fying) as our building shook with the 5.5 earthquake. That on top of arriving in Lima airport sin bicis (without bicycles) was making for a good start to the trip. It seemed Latam airlines were onto our case so we had […]

Getting ready for our next journey

Welcome back….in mid May we are off again back to South America on our bicis – the leaves have mostly fallen here in Wanaka after an amazing autumn and the early snow on the hills is refusing to melt The plan..we fly into Huaraz, the mountain town sorrounded by 6000m peaks that we finished up […]