Weekend away Camping

Thought I’d do a diary style post (its been a while!).

I’ve been into cycling for a while now, a good few years, and one of my favourite races is the bikethelake which is a nice 42km loop of the Rotorua Lake, or 2 Laps for the main event. Since i had surgery i’ve been pretty lax about any exercise and struggled to get back into it and up to fitness, i decided that i needed to do it again this year. My daughter was keen to do some tandem cycling with me, so we found a 30 year old Healing Tandem on Trademe and cleaned it up.

Took a bit of hard yakka to get it clean, polishing all the surface rust off and bringing the bling chrome back to life. I didn’t dare take it apart to re-paint it so i just taped over the smaller bits and only removed the major bits (wheels and seats etc). As it was the pedals had to have their threads re-tapped to get them back on, and being 2 right pedals on each person meant we had no cleat useage, just standerd pedals.

So though it doesnt look brand new, it did look pretty awesome after finishing, and very retro with all the crome. No 120PSI tyres here, it was 60PSI and all standard car valves all the way! We did a few training runs around the neighbourhood and managed to sustain about 20km/ph fairly easily. We decided it was going to be a pleasure ride rather than race, we were just not fit enough or good enough to try anything more and it would have been silly to try with only 2-3 weeks training for a 42km race.

Since I’m also training for the oxfam Trailwalker Ive been trying to fit in longer walks with that, and thursday i went and walked 20km to Hamilton from home, whilst my husband was about to pick me up his car started playing up (gearbox) so when we went to Rotorua for the race, we decided to take mine.

This may seem ok to most people, but we have a family of 5 fitting into a 990cc Toyota Vitz here now, plus tents, bags, and a tandem on the back!

packedcarIn the boot was 2 tents (one larger, one smaller dome), bed rolls, blow up bed, my bag, food, bike gear, helmets, etc. That left no room for kids bags and pillows which sat on their lap. In all the confusion trying to pack that much gear into the car we managed to only remember to bring 1 blanket for my husband and I :/

So we got to campsite, put up tents, unloaded gear, etc and locked up the tandem, did race registration, found a couple geocaches, and then headed back to camp for a swim. I have to say here, i love the Top10 holiday parks, great service, and i KNOW the toilet isn’t going to be a long drop with bugs in it!


After having an awesome BBQ dinner, kids went to bed, followed shortly by us. The temp dropped fairly quickly and though we thought at first our only blanket would do combined with being crushed up against each other, we froze. I slept for about maybe an hour before waking freezing. Even with that single blanket over our heads, the air in the airbed went down as cold as the air outside, a nice balmy 6C. We stayed semi warm with socks, clothes and PJs on, so long as we were pressed up against each other. In fact we probably would have slept if that darned bird hadn’t started hooting from about 2am onwards. I think somewhere around 4-5am i tweeted

Forgot how fun camping was, freezing your butt off counting off the hours till dawn whilst contemplating ways to kill that noisy bird”

Luckily an soon after its friends all chorused in , and at 6am i got up and made a cooked breakfast of bacon & eggs and fried bread. It was still freezing, as my daughter and I setup at 7am for the bike race clad only in our shorts and cycling top. We were fairly warm by the time we got to the startline and made sure we sat in the son.

Race started well, the sun was out, the day was clear, i felt like I had slept well even though i must have only got 1 hour. The kids had slept well at least and were not grumpy, Chelsea and I chatted and made jokes and even sung badly through out. About 15km in a squeek got noticeably louder so i stopped to check the bike over. Good thing i had, turned out one of the pedals was half unscrewed! Pulled out the spanners from the back pocket and put the bike back together, and continued.

On the back stretch over the hill it was a mission going up hill, we would chant 2 syllable food related words to motivate ourselfs in time with the pedals much to everyones amusement.

Now to understand this fully, a normal bike can balance going fairly slowly. A tandem needs a bit more speed to be able to balance, so going uphill meant we had to just go a little faster than most. So people would hear us behind them ‘big, mac, big, mac, big, mac, milk, shake, milk, shake, milk, shake’ and then we would over take them. At one point some lady told us to add in ‘coffee’ which we most defiantly hadn’t thought of, so we did. The downhills were great fun, being heavier we pretty much let her go whilst screaming to guys in front “MOVE LEFT! COMING THROUGH!” as we went flying past. Lucky for us I had also fitted a 120 db air horn onto the bike also!

We were the first tandem to finish, and had a lot of comments about our awesome ‘retro’ tandem. In fact, we came first in the tandems doing the 42km! which was kinda funny because our Team name was ‘Last Place’. Ironicly we also came last because there was only 1 Tandem doing the 42km race! Bonus! There were about 10 Tandems doing the 2 laps, but im glad we didn’t !

After the race we cycled back to camp, packed down and refilled the car. Lastly i loaded up the tandem, and got into the car, at which point i said ‘has anyone seen my keys?’. We looked around the camp site, toilets, kitchen and saw nothing. I assumed it was in my bag packed at the very bottom of the car so used my spare car key on my husbands keyring. Went for a swim in the hotpools, then back to prize giving where we won nothing but a bit of sunburn, then headed home. By this time the hour of sleep and 42km bike ride was really kicking in.

Unloaded the car, and sorted everything out whilst husband went for KFC pickup duty. No keys in the car, no keys packed in any bag – oh dear! Hopefully they will turn up somewhere, however its no major as I have spares of both house and car (can you tell i loose them often?) Went to bed at 8:30ishpm and slept like a log!

Planning on a 2 night stay in Taupo in 3 weeks! we love camping! This time however taking husbands much larger car, and plenty more bedding!

Okay, I admit, I believe in the Karma Fairy. I helped an Old Lady out today …

About 9 months ago My family and I moved from one of the largest cities in New Zealand, Auckland, to one of the smaller towns,  Cambridge.  Its been interesting to say the least getting used to being more relaxed, only takes 2 minutes to get to anywhere, takeaways now consist of about 5 options rather than 1000 (this is a good thing, my diet is MUCH better!). Everyone is totally more friendly and helpful. If somebody tripped and fell on the sidewalk, everyone would be there in and instant helping them up.

One of the coolest and fun things I like, is if you are walking through town, and even remotely look like you are going to cross a zebra crossing, cars will stop and wait for you to get to the crossing, and cross! It makes you tend to hurry up since they are so darned nice!

When i was in hospital and my husband was at home with the kids, he had people turning up with dinner and other things to help out, it was really awesome.

This town is friendly, and i guess I’m really getting into the ‘being a helpful friendly person’ thing that you just cant do in Auckland without people taking advantage of you. I love the feeling when you do a good deed.

I was finally back in Cambridge, and going into work to surprise my husband. I visited Maya (i think thats how you spell it!) at the shop downstairs and got her to send up some munchies upstairs to the office, and was just about to go up the lift (hey i was fresh outta hospital!). Anyway This old lady in the shop grabs my arm and asks if we could possibly help her carry her bags so she doesnt have to make two trips.

Im all for helping out, and I figured Maya would be another 10 minutes preparing the food. I wasnt allowed to lift heavy items so i got my 2 lovely daughters to do it for me. We carried them maybe 100 mtrs down the road.

So the next week i she asked me again, and because again, still not allowed to lift heavy things I had to say no, I felt kinda bad, but didn’t have much choice. So I was thinking about it , I had a talk to Maya, and this lady apparently does this every single day. Goes and sits at the cafe and leasurely eats morning tea and lunch then tries to get people to carry her shopping for her.

So I went down to the Second hand shop, and asked if they had a Shopping Trolly Bag. One of those ones with the wheels that you drag behind you. The lady said “no, but i have one at home i can bring in you can buy for $5!”. So today i went in and picked it up.

As I got to the Cafe, i noticed the old lady sitting there having her cuppa, bonus! I didnt have to wait! So i gave it to her …… She looks as me as if i did something nasty. Eeeek! “I dont accept gifts from strangers!” she says. Eventually I got her to remember me from helping her out other times and when I’d seen her a couple of other times.

Then she looked like she was going to cry that somebody had been so thoughtful. And then she got talking ……..and talking ….

Started with a “Oh are you from Cambridge? oh the new area, houses are very close together there …… oh you rent … you need to buy one …. im selling my house …..” So by the time i left, my lunch was cold, and she had tried to pay me off with food (from the cafe of course), buy my daughters things (we refused), sell me her house, and had a moan about how the toilets in the building were not free for public use etc.

Though you might be thinking im a nice kind person,  I’m not. I just figured that the $5 i paid for the silly trolley bag may just stop her having to ask people for help and give some independance (apparently people were getting annoyed with her asking every single day also lol)

+5 Karma Points

You know you’re Australian if….

You know the meaning of ‘girt’

You believe that stubbies can either be worn or drunk

You think it is normal to have a Prime Minister called Kevin

You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse

You’ve made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden

When you hear that an American ‘roots for his team’ you wonder how often and with whom

You understand that the phrase ‘a group of women wearing black thongs’ refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds

You pronounce Melbourne as ‘Mel-bin’

You pronounce Penrith as ‘;Pen-riff’

You believe the ‘L’ in the word ‘ Australia ‘ is optional

You can translate: ‘Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas’

You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep

You call your best friend ‘a total bastard’ but someone you really, truly despise is just ‘a bit of a bastard’

You think ‘Woolloomooloo’ is a perfectly reasonable name for a place

You believe is makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that’s twice as big as its $2 coin

You understand that ‘Wagga Wagga’ can be abbreviated to ‘Wagga’ but ‘Woy Woy’ can’t be called ‘Woy’

You believe that cooked-down axlegrease makes a good breakfast spread

You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis

You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says ‘cobber’

You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels’ song ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’

You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionary known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year

You still don’t get why the ‘Labor’ in ‘Australian Labor Party’ is not spelt with a ‘U

You wear ugh boots outside the house

You believe that the more you shorten someone’s name the more you like them

Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language

You understand that ‘excuse me’ can sound rude, while ‘scuse me’ is always polite

You know what it’s like to swallow a fly, on occasions via your nose

You understand that ‘you’ has a plural and that it’s ‘youse’

You know it’s not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle

You biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules of beach cricket

You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call ‘Anzac cookies’

You still think of Kylie as ‘that girl off Neighbours’

When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs – just in case you’re trying to sneak in fruit

You believe the phrase ‘smart casual’ refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered

You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction

When working at a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer

You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second

You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government’s new test for migrants.

You will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand!!