New Zealand – September 2009

From Clyde it was on to Alexandra where I turned north on Rt 85 and began heading back toward Christchurch. At Becks, I follow the signs for Historic St Bathans, a former gold and coal mining town.

Brutal traffic on the way to historic St. Bathans
Map of St, Bathans

The Vulcan Hotel is reputed to be haunted by a ghost.

The Vulcan Hotel
The bar
Pool room
The dining room at the Vulcan Hotel
The dining room at the Vulcan Hotel

I stopped for coffee and muffin, and walked around a bit to take some pictures of the man-made lake that was created by extensive mining activity. Mining was halted in 1934 because the sides of the pit were getting too close to the town.

Across the street from the Hotel
Reminders of earlier mining

It was now mid afternoon and I knew that I had to push to get back to my hotel. I took 85 east to the coast and in Palmerston, headed north on Rt 1 along the coast back to Christchurch.

On the east coast at a rest area on Rt. 1

It turned dark about an hour before I got back to Christchurch, but it was Sunday evening and traffic was light. I was jolted alert at one point by the sight of 5 Clydsdales trotting alongside the railroad tracks that paralleled the road! They appeared almost ghostlike in the dark, materializing in my headlight beam and then disappearing as I passed them. There was no fence – I don’t know if they got out somehow and simply took off, but it was quite a sight to see! Bizarre…

I stopped for dinner, had “bangers and mash” (sausage and mashed potatoes) at a restaurant in Christchurch, then rode the last 15 minutes to my hotel. What a weekend it had been. I did a little over 750 miles in two days. The Honda was flawless and the weather was perfect for touring. Everything you have ever heard about the beauty of New Zealand is true. I was only sorry that I didn’t have time to ride the west coast of the island. That’ll have wait for another trip!

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Matthew Dragiff

A Goldwing rider from Jacksonville, FL.

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