Tuesday, 18 December 2012

NGARNZ 2012 Xmas at Tongariro National Park REVEALED

PEOPLE -  Our Weekend BreakDown of This Word we describe to you as below:

Those magnificent Mountain Views just seemed to follow us around as we scouted out the close environs

P  -  Weather  PERFECT  
O -   OUTSTANDING variety of terrain
P -    Machines  PRIMED and Ready for a serious Xmas Adventure
L -    LOCATION -               Right in The Very Heart of It All   
                                               (The Adventure Capital of The NORTH ISLAND)
E -    ENDING                 to a very successful First Season   Farewell 2012


Just back from our Tongariro Adventure motorcycling weekend and what a great weekend it was. We must have all held our tongues the right way as the weather and ground conditions were perfect. There were amazing views to be had all weekend, just great.

I would like to thank all Ride Attendees over the weekend who helped to make our weekend ride brilliant. There seems to be a real enjoyment and camaraderie amongst our group making our rides that bit special. As we state we are not about blitzing throughout the day although we can get along, rather helping all attendees complete their ride as challenges present themselves with a good measure of photography thrown in.  If you attended our Xmas ride you are most welcome to pix of yourself - I have created a special Slide Show Presentation with numbers under each picture sequence,  mail me with the pix that you request.  This is a Special Xmas offer available to Ride Attendees only.

The farm challenge sections were spaced out throughout the weekend and made for a bit of variety and even though not a lot of distance was covered on these, the challenge to complete and the satisfaction of having done so was immense. 

 The 42nd Traverse and Fishers track were also undertaken and completed without too much concern as they were in prime condition due to the recent DOC maintenance programme and the dry and dusty conditions. Just a word of warning here,  these tracks can be totally different in wet conditions as river levels rise the exposed brown sandy rock gets slippery and parts of the track turn to mud.  Always best to ride in a group through these areas for your safety.

The accommodation for this weekend was not 5 star but unique and comfortable. We elect to stay at these places to make the rides affordable for all,  rather than top line accommodation which may not be available in the ride area anyway. Give us some feedback if you would like the accommodation to be any different. At times we stay for 2 or 3 nights and with all meals included the dollar value can add up quickly; hence why we choose the cheaper accommodation option for affordability to all.

Providing New and Interesting Riding Areas and Terrain
NGARNZ is now nearly ONE year old, and we have come a long way since our start up. Realising that providing ONLY gravel roads to ride on all the time can be mundane and monotonous, we have sought out more interesting riding areas of late, to provide some variety to ride attendees. This will continue in the future as we look to broaden our ride areas.


We would also like to thank our Ride Group Supporters that help us make these events happen;

Corban Revell lawyers
Cyclespot Euro – Auckland BMW & KTM dealers
Spectro oils & Hi flo filters
Dunlop & Metzeler tyres
Dri rider jackets
Shoei premium helmets

Lastly from Jim and Sue of NGARNZ - We thank you all for your support and attendance throughout the year. We would like to make special mention here of the help we received and best wishes from some ride group members when faced with a large clean up after the recent tornado that went through NGARNZ HQ. We wish you all a merry Xmas, happy festive season, prosperous New Year and look forward to catching up again next year.

“ Stay safe over the holidays, right side up and venture            down the roads less travelled.”

Tongariro/National Park Xmas Ride ADVENTURE begins......
  Arriving in at The Owhango Hotel midday on the Friday both Jim and I used this opportunity wisely to continue to scout several of our areas that we intended to showcase to our Ride Group Members.  The weather at Tongariro National Park can be very changeable and always in our minds in providing an adventure to our people is our back-up plan in case of adverse weather conditions.  WE have been very spoilt as of late with the lovely fine and very humid days.  This has led us to be able to provide the much needed variety to our adventures, that we have included into our Ride Calendar.  These have been very well received by everyone,  and the many mails that we receive in relation to our "New Concepts",  we know we are on track to happy Ride Group Members.  

  The afternoon here soon wore on and it was time to check in with the Hotel Owners to run through our detailed plan of events.  Tick,  cross and sign,  we are done.  Due to a large 21st wedding in the area,  the Hotel was abuzz with patrons,  Gravel Riders included.  A very noisy reception anticipated,  we were all housed in the near vicinity of the Hotel.  Forest Lodge Complex overflowing,  many housed in adjacent and vacant houses.  The Gravel Riders filled much of the available accommodation in the tiny township of Owhango.  Our aim for this visit was to bring much needed business into this area that largely relies on the many tourists that frequent the Tongariro National Park and the Famous Tongariro Crossing.  Due to recent activity in the area,  a large downturn has been experienced due to track closures, and we were indeed well received here, along with our wedding party.  It is not often the Hotel caters for such large numbers.  WE will of course be back to visit here.

  Our accommodation saw Jim and I housed in a street nearby.  Our house unit consisted of three double rooms along with a living area, kitchen/dining, wash room and separate shower/toilet facility.  We felt the homeliness of the small home and this was well received by us,  and offered something quite unique rather than the normal Top 10 Holiday Park.  The home here was steeped in authenticity, and also came complete with a Visitor's Book with dozens of pages of warming entries penned inside.  Inside of our lounge area,  a cabinet full of books, games and many interesting nic nacs to keep all occupied for hours.   Settling in, it was not long before our roomies arrived.   The first being Neil and Denise who joined us late at night.  Great having lovely light evenings.    We were just about to call it in for our first night,  but we were still awaiting our third roomies,  John and Maria.    Our late arrivals now housed and settled in,  we were able to switch off the lights and enjoy a few hours of sleep before the excitement of the next morning.  My mind buzzing with details and planning,   it was early hours of the morning before I finally drifted off.

  Not needing any form of alarm,  as my mind drilled me into wakefulness and the dawn of the new day came beaming through the gaps in our curtains.  Up, dressed,  downed a cup of tea and over to the Hotel,  only a couple of blocks away,  trailer in tow.  The car parking area was abuzz with bikes, riders and vehicles/trailers and bikes/riders were gearing up and priming bikes,  making ready for the first day's planned adventures.  7am and Breakfast - orders taken the evening before,  the Hotel was busy with the preparation of 40 hot, cooked breakfasts.  Smells drifting from the kitchen,  as plates were being handed over the counter to hungry and waiting attendees.  The morning before any adventure really does wind over all too quickly,  and that imminent 8am Rider's briefing always rolls around with certainty.  Our friends living in the area had been hot with the reporting on the weather conditions for us, and we had been receiving frequent details, almost daily.  This had helped immensely with the planning and preparation of the varying terrain we could expect to be able to incorporate into our weekend of activities.

  Rider's briefing,  and for this ride we had good numbers in attendance at all three of our groups.  Our Mid Rangers group is proving to be very well received and we now have many joining into this group at our planned rides.  Along with this group,  we now have a NEW group that is set to expand,  that of our Scenic Leisure Tourers,  all whom were provided with their very own Adventure Activities,  to also enjoy, whilst our other attendees are busy over their scheduled activities.   Jim details procedures, and it is now time to separate into our respective groups and the Adventure begins.   Looking around,  it is interesting to see the many makes and models of bikes in attendance.   This aside,  all minds geared similarly,  Adventure seekers, all of us very like minded,  and looking to tackle it head on.  This is exciting,  as I know what they will have in store for them.  It is going to be great,  I know this for certain.  The perfect weather conditions means we can Bring It On,  and we are climbing on board those bikes,  and setting off.

  We fully plan to take in as much gravel on the journey over to our very first Station that we can hone in on,  and Jim has found a lovely and very loose offering to begin with.  The hoard of Gravel Riders bring the roar of engines,  and I am sure the neighbourhood here has not heard this sound and buzz in such numbers shattering their quiet in some time. 


Next stop,  another nice side track leading down into more loose gravel that our grader friend has been busy working on.  Nothing like freshly graded metal tracks.  Spending a few moments here to take in the surrounds, we head back via the state highway and enter into our very first Station.  

MAGIC,  the settings simply gorgeous with those big mountain views evident as we make our way around here. 

They seem to follow us in all directions as we traverse through.  On our entrance we are greeted with a predominant pumice based 4 x 4 track that leads up to a plateau that houses 250 acres of pristine farmland. 

The grass here fresh and very very green.  On my visit here a few months ago,  many of these paddocks had been freshly hoed and sewn with new seed.  The weather in this area only allows for three months of the year that caters to fresh grass growth.  So it is full time at The Station to ensure maximum growth and timing of crops to cater for inevitable winter hardships. 

These fresh and very green paddocks at the plateau ridge top provided for an excellent ride around the perimeters here.  One can actually get lost in this area alone.  Following the fence lines we were all treated to a great blast around.  Fantastic.  

Leaving the plateau we then headed out over our 4 x 4 tracks and Jim was then able to treat our more experienced riders to a little something more on this concept. 

ROB - Looking GREAT on that NEW bike and going so very well
ONE of our Challenge Sections
thoroughly enjoyed by those
looking for that something a little extra

A more challenging route was available to those looking for that little more,  whilst my Mid Rangers group journeyed on through many more gates that led us over more hard packed pumice trails.   


DAVE enjoys tackling our Challenge Sections - The crew at the top
loving to detail directions to DAVE

Andrew prepares for the Big Choco Mud Dipper
  The journey through the Station was excellent,  and the trail winding its way throughout, just seemed to be endless. 

As I journeyed through here, it was amazing the change in detail to our scenery.  Comments on this were to the effect that some felt they were in the South Island.  Simply amazing.    OVERLAND we were led, and as we travelled over one newly sewn paddock,  this led us down to the exquisite Kaiwaka Villa. 

Built in the early 20's by the Bowen Brothers,  being made and built by hand out of Kaiwaka Timber,  this cottage has withstood the test of time in this area.  The very harsh winter conditions in this area,  have not seemed to even marr the rustic beauty.  Comments rushing in -  "Can I stay here for the night"???  It really left you with that impression of The Boy's Camp Out Cottage in the bush.  Very enticing and brings back great memories of my scouting days.  (I had to check that all bikes were duly on track and vacating the area)  hmmm amazing what a Camp Out Cottage Stay can do to some of the crew!!!

  The sun beaming down on us and it is beginning to get hotttt.  Sunscreen out, and linings from jackets being peeled off.  It was hotttt here.  The call comes in from Jim,  and we saddle up and prepare to head off again,  over the fence line, and away from our Kaiwaka Villa in the sunlit and very desolate paddocks.  Sad to leave this area.  Peace and solitude.  Very quiet here and undisturbed.   Heading out and over some very rocky pumice tracks, and we come to one very gnarly and rocky little serving.  Quite a steep track ahead that went uphill, it was laced with big embedded rocks,  and this proved a technical little climb, amidst dodging big rocks as I ascended.   Applying FULL throttle,  I gassed up my DR650,  and she was pushed into maximum, to reach to the top here.  Almost making the top,  a slight push from one of my riders,  One MORE pumice rock to doge, and I had made it.  Husband Jim passing by even congratulated my efforts.  YES,  this is what this is all about.  Gas her to the Max,  and receive a badge of merit for your efforts.  I will soon earn myself quite a collection.  Bet on it.  I am...... 

  The pumice road out of the Station was a very long, dusty and winding one,  quite a ride was enjoyed here, and we exit the Station. 

The Long and Winding Pumice Track leads us out
of the Station
  WE are now at National Park,  and we fuel up, in more ways than one.  The heat of the day now taking its toll,  and thirst to be quenched, along with  refuel for our machines was needed to be organised.  A quick scout around,  and Mike comes to the rescue with some sunscreen.  I can feel my alll tooo fair skin burning quickly.  The sunscreen of the morning now soaked in dust and dripped offf long hours ago.  Drinks and fuel actioned,  just an hour left to take in Fishers Track, and we are off. 

Many seasons ago,  Fishers Track was once a clay based track leading down to the valley floor.  Today,  much work has been done here and the Track now boasts an easy gravel road leading down and over a few cattle stops.  Gates have been installed here to curb high traffic use, as this track is a predominant mountain bike circuit in this area,  along with being used by many motorbike riders.  The gravel soon gives way to a clay based track that is covered over by the strands of kaikuia grasses.  The lovely hard packed conditions we experienced made for easy riding for our group.  NOT SO,  in the winter months.  The big rains in the area,  combined with very cold conditions, and the water falling from the hills,  flows through and down this clay based track.  This makes for a very experienced ride over wet and wintry months.  Something not to be tackled by less experienced riders,  both mountain bikers and motor bikers.


Completing Fishers,  we enjoy further very loose and marbled gravel roads,  with little or no wheel tracks groomed into them.  Nice ride enjoyed by our Gravel Riders.  On watching some of our ride attendees you can see remnants of enduro based riding skills come into play.  Watch for the third leg flicking out the sides of those bikes as the back wheel skidders enjoy those loose corners.  Amazement as I take it in,  (when i can see through the dust haze that is)   Meanwhile,  back at Owhango,  the staff are preparing to bring in those big bbq burners and our lunch is served.   Nice to have cold drinks on tap after a very full on mng,  it is now 2pm and we enjoy just a brief break, before we prepare to journey out to Taumarunui to visit our Station here. 
Taumarunui Station is on our doorstep and we are all parked on the Airstrip.  Interesting riding on an Airstrip with the thought that this platform is used for crop dusting in the local area due to the terrain here.  Our position we are parked on,  not at all quite as flat as the grass area would have you believe.  Bikes pouring over and through the Station,  we switch off our engines and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area.  Hundreds of hectares of property,  but only a small amount suited to our big bikes to travel over,  but a journey we are about to embark on and we look forwards to enjoy.  As we rode through the wooden gates we are treated to several loop circuits that lead us over and up into those very big/high hills.  An accomplishment for those big bike riders amongst us.  WET grass along with animal droppings can make for some very slippery conditions.  Reaching the top of one of our paddock hilltop circuits,  gorgeous views greet us of The lower Whakapapa River - well received.  Riding alongside here - MAGIC in itself,  as the glistening diamond like sparkles flicker off the surface. 

Calm and surreal beauty here on this property also.   Exiting here and heading down again, we travel over and enjoy our second loop circuit on our schedule.  This provided an even further dustier experience as our riders travel over a newly graded paddock being made ready for winter crop pings to be sewn.  Amazing, the variable temperature conditions in this area also.  From well over minus seven degrees here in winter to well over 30 degrees in summer,  the soles of our feet can simply blister by walking the pumice track that leads out of this property.  Grass growth here has proved a mission and extensive testing has been conducted to analyse the soil conditions to be able to operate this Station as a productive business.  The green grasses of this Station today,  true testament to the exceptionally hard work of the new land managers.  Simply stunning property.
Yes,  the skills of Darryl who joined us with wife Sue -
just watch that DR - it comes with a large bag of skills also

Jim has mapped our more gravel roads and we slip and slide through more dusty roads to reach our destination for our first day -

The Owhango Hotel and our accommodation.  Yes,  a shower will be much appreciated,  chatting to fellow riders it is evident many have received a good smattering of embedded dust.  Eyes are red and bloodshot and many very tall tales are being related.  Laughs and camaraderie being shared around.  This has gone alll tooo well.  Dinner is now served.  LAWNSIDE and The Hotel has put up a marquee for us.  Our buffet dinner is now served.  Xmas lamb and roast veggies.  The line was QUICK,  and the rush to be in the line much quicker.  Full bellies and much appreciated drinks and the conversation is buzzing.   Evening is drawing rapidly to a close and darkness is setting in.  BUTTT,  the night is not finished people.  SUE calling to her riders - "Does anyone wish to go Out And About and view the Locals???" - "That being The Glow Worms in the immediate area????     WE know they put on a very very good show when the lights go down - so they come out and play.  Three cars out and pick ups taken - we journey over to their neighbourhood and drive through a very darkly carved out tunnel.  Lights dimmed and only whispers amongst us,  turning off all unnecessary lighting we head down to view.  Infrequent at first,  but as we make our way further through the dark tunnel,  it feels like we are living in a scene from Jurassic Park,  fitting a scene from a Rainforest setting we finally spot one area on our right hand sides where the whole steep embankment is covered with bright blue lights.  Absolutely amazing and well worth the late at night journey here.  What a treat.  Not special to our down country farmers who are treated to these in their neck of the woods,  but for us living further North,  an amazing spectacle.  Interesting,  Johnnie who attended our ride relayed to us the feeding habits of these creatures.  hmmm they really are very carnivorous with their dining habits.   ooooh  Johnnie.  You detailed it alll tooo finely....

Back at base and now to our respective houses/mini hotels,  it really was very nice having accommodation that was so very cosy and different.   I cannot quite remember the time it was that I finally turned in,  but I think at least midnight???  Why bother setting the alarm???  Only a few hours of sleep and then the next morning up again to another 7am breakfast visit at The Hotel,  before Day 2 of our Adventure is to begin.  Today,  we have something a little interesting planned for our Scenic Leisure Tourers in attendance,  and we will be also providing them with a little Blue Duck viewing also.  If you happen to be a Genesis Energy customer you will know a little something of these protected creatures. 

Andrew captures the famous Blue Ducks
A major breeding programme has been established by Genesis Energy,  so this offers quite a perspecive on viewing these animals.   Today we plan to take our riders over to visit their habitat and see if we can spot and view them and their living quarters.  Objective - Seek and Search Out The Blue Duck.  YES,   Andrew has posted me in a pic of two ducks perched on a rock in their secluded area.  We travel OVERLAND and into their private location,  and yes they happened to be At Home for our visit.  A short sealed section and we enjoy an intake.  A nice break and further jacket strip downs happening.    It is hot yet again.  Wow, this is going to be one very hot summer.

Viewing achieved here,  we journey out and our experienced group enjoy a nice farmland stretch that leads out and into the famous 42nd Traverse. 

The group is off and buzzing with excitement.  The weeks leading up has been dominated by conversations with regards to this very famous DOC land track.  Over winter months this track is highly utilised by many 4 x 4 attendees, and as such track conditions will be deemed unrideable by our big bikes.  WE do not recommend our big bike riders to tackle this track over wet conditions.  Once inside of this area under very wet conditions,  you may need to be hellied out again.  WE personally know of friends who have been hellied out of this area.  The track here will revert to deep and thick mud and you just will not get through it with our big bikes. 

The Stream Crossing on the 42nd Traverse

This weekend offered to us exceptional conditions all around,  the tracks relayed to us by our local farmers as being MOTORWAY conditions.  They refer the 42nd to us as MOTORWAY. 

 Amazing if you had seen it as Jim did a little over one month ago.  We would not have even envisaged taking our Ride Group here.  We have friends also that work for DOC and they have detailed to us that if you wish to enjoy the 42nd traverse,  it is now or never.  Work has been extensively carried out here, so enjoy it whilst you are able.   With our experienced group enjoying this route,  our Mid Rangers also enjoyed a brief circuit amongst the adjoining Forestry park taking in many pumice based trails with adorned with a very light gravel coating. 

Excellent riding here,  and much to be explored also.    Heading out to the very bottom of the Forestry Park we made a brief stop to view the Caves here.   The time has passed us by just tooo quickly and our day had come to a very quick end.  We leave this area and we are headed out to Raurimu area, to await the arrival of our Advanced Group of Riders.  All has gone exceedingly well and it is not long before our group is seem emerging from the bridge exit and into the Owhango Hotel car park again.   Approximately 2:30 and our riders are now parking bikes onto trailers and many are riding away with new found friends and acquaintances.  It is very pleasing in looking around to see so many new friendships have been formed.  This tells me that our season has been one of a very huge success.

Merry Xmas and We wish you all a fantastic New Year of Holidays to be enjoyed amongst our Ride Group Members and their families

Sue and Jim Denham


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tornado Hits NGARNZ head quarters

Tornado hits NGARNZ     head quarters

Hot on "OUR" Newz this week

A deadly tornado whipped through our property at Whenuapai,  carving a trail of devastation
through our paddocks.  Once a much used and loved children's clubhouse,  lucky no one
was playing inside of here at this time.  The Macrocarpa and She-Oak Trees have been well
established here in our paddocks for generations.  These have been torn to pieces by the
deadly force we experienced here at our property on Thursday the 06th December.

The tornado carved its mark from one end of our paddocks and exited out from here onto Waimarie and also           Totara Road - taking with it all power/services etc.  Total devastation as unseen here in The Village. 

Dominating our NEWZ Edition this week - we highlight scenes from the devastation that was wreaked upon the Hobsonville and Whenuapai areas of West Auckland.  From here MY Story unfolds, along with pictures our our STREETS that you won't see on TV ONE:

Arriving home from Melbourne on Thursday after visiting my son for few days I received a  call from Jim to enlighten me that he would not be  at the airport to collect me.   hmmm  ??????   Phone call - "What Is this about"??Z??    Mystery unfolds and details read from Jim re the tornado that had just occurred and had devastated our neighbourhood.  

Amazement - and finally I clear customs and exit through those glass doors to a very wet, windy and bleak grey airport, abuzz with vehicles collecting and dropping off.  Along with the grey day here,  a mix of torrential and driving rain made the few available shelters outside fully taken.  Fighting my way through the dozens of heavily laden passengers  it really was like a dodgem circuit as I wielded my feisty over laden luggage cart along the tarmac accompanied by tumultuous overhead barrages of rain water constantly lashing me every which way.  

Jim enlightened me  that my next door neighbour was on her way to collect me.  Tania from our adjacent property just happened to be OUT of her home and was running errands  when the tornado struck.
NEXT thought - How to spot your neighbour???   This proved to be a MISSION and a difficult one as I busily eye-scanned the perimeter amidst the throng sheltered here.    From the opposite end of the full to capacity overhead shelter I spotted Tania flagging me down and we were OFFF.  We now prepared to attempt the exit from Akd International Airport.  We began to embark on our vehicle journey from here, the window wipers were working on full capacity mode due to the onslaught of torrential downpour being plummeted on our screen.  An attempt at clearing some small portion of vision to enable us to view
the road ahead was a tough job for the small wipers.  By now,  small pools of water were being collected on the edges on the motorway, and a place to avoid also. 
"I'm Coming Home" - Puriri Road Closed and
Cordoned Off - No getting through here
Travelling "CarSide" we were receiving incoming text messages, along with dozens of calls from neighbours/friends/locals and many fire and police reports all detailing the same message to
us - "Road Blocked"  "Deaths In The Area"  "Power Lines Down"  "Major Damage"  -  So What To Do and Where To Go?????  Amongst these notifications we received - we were told that
OUR Roads - The TWO ONLY entrances had been "Road Blocked Off".  No residents were able to get in or out of our immediate area.
Puriri Road - this is where Rob, myself and The "HEAVY" suitcase began our "OVERLAND journey" to enter into our back paddocks - Just seen to the very left at the back alongside the house is where our property begins

My son Rob residing at Massey proved to be our Port of Call,  and we sheltered at his flat awhile amidst steaming hot cups of coffee - well received indeed.   Incoming Newz Reports detailed to us the sad news of three lives lost in the Hobsonville Area.  Three construction workers had lost their lives whilst currently working on the New Building Projects at "The Point" at Hobsonville.
Waimarie/Totara road Junction
Whist the tv cameras were largely focused on "The
Point" and the damage to
The Old Airbase homes and the consequent Deaths in
the Area - Whenuapai
Village also suffered MAJOR damage.   Dozens of power poles and lines were ripped and torn asunder from their moorings.  These then tossed and writhed about our sealed roads like wild snakes.  Fences/trees and shelter belts picked up and tossed about
like toys

Sitting at the Massey residence Tania and I began to formulate plans as to what strategy to adopt from here??   - How to Get Home and - Can We Get Home.    - Were We Even Allowed Home?     A friend living  down Totara Road,  whilst walking the local streets,  went to work quizzing the many police now on duty in our neighbourhood streets, and reported back to Tania and I the news - You Are NOT going home tonight -   "A NO GO ZONE"  had been duly set up and we now lived inside of this "NO GO ZONE"

Waimarie/Totara Road Junction - Police Blocks and Cordons in place - No Foot
Traffic - All Turned Around

Definite NO GO ZONE in place - Lines down everywhere - this is the
corner junction of Waimarie/Totara Roads

 - The bulk of the damage in Whenuapai Village happened to be right here in the very heart of our street now locked inside of this newly cordoned off area.  No foot traffic or otherwise allowed here!!  

Power lines down everywhere - smashed out onto the tarmac
Linesmen kept very busy here in Waimarie Road

Power lines don't quite look the same displayed out on the tarmac - at least 20
poles  were down and needed to be replaced - Waimarie/Totara/Puriri Roads

Puriri Road from the other side - Police blocking off roads
and turning residents back

This information reported back to us and son Rob decided we would take a short drive into our now tornado devastated area.  Entering via the back  Abandoning the small vehicle, looking around we soon realised this car was not going to be solitary for too long,  many others were now joining in our new found parking posse.  All looking to escape the cordoned off areas and enter into their homes also, via means not normally utilised to gain access.

Rob with The Offender - One HEAVY Suitcase -  Scary
standing Underneath Downed Power Lines and taking it all in

Our plan in place we exited the vehicle along with the heavy luggage case and we stepped it out OVERLAND, through paddocks and long grasses.  The entrances over the several property blocks made easy by the newly torn-apart fences.  Our entrance into our property was with the compliments of one of our fences that had been taken out via the weighty tree branches now perched erratically across the downed fencing wire.  Wow taking a moment to view the damage here - major - this, just one of our shelter belted paddocks lined with She Oaks now looking in a sad state.     we did not need to climb the fences as we had at first anticipated, as the fences were downed for our arrival.
Now, an EASY step-over into our paddocks

NEW CONCEPTS -"Travelling OVERLAND" - the Offending Set of Wheels Along For
 the HAUL
- and a HAUL it most certainly was

Travelling "OVERLAND",  the two tiny small wheels on the suitcase surprisingly handled
the long grasses in our paddocks amazingly well,  and on entering into our "Middle Earth"
amongst our Feijoa trees,  the turf here was now changing somewhat dramatically. 
Our progress was slowly but gradually being hampered and was becoming Hard Work,  judging by the comments from son Rob, as he lugged the case laboriously amongst it all.
hmmm that suitcase was becoming mighty HARD WORK by now - Deemed OVER
the allowable limit on exiting Melbourne airport,  this due to an additional incoming
item required for husband JIM -  @#_+--@#  The shelter belt damage amazing, 
peering through the fence here we noticed two of our neighbours cars had huge tree
trunks resting on top of their roofs - both cars duly written off

Rob taking a Much Needed Rest sitting on top
of THE OFFENDER - it really does have some uses!!!
 The more progress we made,
the damage was fast becoming more evident to us.  The tornado had ripped right through from
one side of our grassed
paddocks and had duly carved
its mark from one end at the tip
of our property block down to
the end, venting its fury throughout these age-old oaks, now standing shredded and scarred,  before exiting out
again and causing MAJOR damage along the junction of Waimarie Rd/Totara Rd.    For many many years in Whenuapai Village an Iconic Norfolk Pine
has stood untouched,  this has now been capped and lay smashed onto the tarmac also. 


Arriving at long last with the view of our home in sight,  we now followed the drone of the chain saw close by and were greeted by husband Jim busy at work attempting to clear One of our many fences that had been smashed by the weight of the overhanging tree branches. 
"Chain Saw Drone" has now become the norm here in our village as the locals attempt to clear many of the trees that did not survive the holocaust that was bestowed upon them. 

"She-Oaks" have had their trunks stripped, laid bare and
exposed to the elements and left dried and peeling like Old

This large OAK right across the road from our property -
this OAK has been growing here in our Village for generations, again another "ICONIC"
tree here - right outside of The Whenuapai Village Hall - The depth of the hole that this excursion has made is extremely deep - it was completely ripped out of its socket

Strolling to view the damage here in our neighbourhood  the homes had remained intact. but the many surrounding greenhouses that border our property block not so lucky.  Panes of glass lifted and turfed asunder - Steel structures completely torn from their moorings and tossed aside. Pictured below, just ONE of the local greenhouses, the property owners here used to grow Korean vegetables - and there did used to be glass panes in place here!!! 

The roof completely dislodged and is now resting amongst the paddock grasses

The larger glass house picture below suffered major structural damage and will also be written off.

Both of these will need to be complete bulldoze jobs.  Due to the large scale of
well established shelter belt trees here, 
we were now faced with many many
months of very expensive clean up work.  Our trees are generations old and the damage from ONE fallen oak is a
MAJOR - we have had many of these toppled and torn apart.

Malcolm Hahn Reserve and One of the local
residents fences torn aside by the demise of the large pine

If you know Whenuapai Village at all,  this Norfolk Pine feature Centrepiece here in this below pic has been well established inside of our Village for generations.  This is an Iconic Landmark of our Area.
Norfolk Pine duly topped and cast out onto the tarmac

This house borders onto the park which borders onto our property also - the path
was carved right through here

Strolling up Waimarie Road and taking in the damage
Many trees uprooted and tossed aside

Everywhere I looked total deforestation - trees yanked by their roots and tossed aside - branches completely
torn off their trunks - littering all sides of our roads

Linesmen working on the junction of Waimarie and Totara Rds
Road Block Detours in place
Inside of our immediate village area the power
had been knocked out
with smashed lines
evident up and down
 the streets here. 
Linesmen busy clearing
up and cleaning the damage.  On Friday
night,  this was now
TWO days without
power, and the smell
 of the rotting
produce in my fridge/freezer testament
to this. 


Rob has some great friends,  and it was not long
before the boys arrived back here with a generator for
us,  great to be able to keep the fridge and freezer going
for that little bit longer
  Memories now seemed all
too real,  as months ago we had a home tidy up in an endeavour to rid ourselves
 of long stored clutter. 
Amongst the items to leave
us and deemed to be clutter  remnants of some rather
nice candles.  ???  @ #__*@#  ????   Now as
 these thoughts came vividly flooding back,  we scouting around on fast impending DARKNESS as the the
evening drew to a close;  realising we had been tooo busy to think about what
form of lighting would be required?   BBQ dinner by candlestick was a reality and it really was quite romantic.  Perching together on the couch with only candlelight displaying itself and NO cell phones/services etc etc  leaves one wondering what this is all about???    Conversation
of the days events soon took us into the smaller hours and a good sleep was had. 

A NEW MNG has arrived, and it is now  Friday mng -  The stillness of our neighbourhood shattered only by the constant drone of the many chain saws being
put to very good use     Our NGARNZ Question - WHAT DOES A GRAVEL RIDER
WISH FOR XMAS - THIS XMAS our Answer may well just be  "A MACMASSIVE
Chain Saw".   
News pouring in from neighbours etc to inform us that services could be expected to be
resumed in another couple of days.  We have many produce/flower growing operations
in my area,  and this news was not well received.  Running automated and computer generated high-tech growing operations requires the power for the total and optimal
running of all electronic operations.  WE KNOW - We ran and operated a greenhouse growing operation here in Whenuapai at least eight years ago. 

Driving Out Of Home base - One Lane Traffic is now flowing - WE ARE ON THE MOVE!!!
Today - SUNDAY and I am able to drive out of my road

With emergency services working 24/7 around the clock  we were very fortunate and extremely pleased when the power did come on later on the Friday evening.  Quite quick
considering the devastation wreaked upon us all here.  Jim and myself on summing
up the thousands of dollars worth of damage to our property and with most of it
OUTSIDE of any possible form of insurance claim,  we decided to call upon our Ride
Group Members to see whether any had a few spare hours or even available chain
saws to form a gang of workers.    Several of our adjacent neighbours also took this opportunity to enlighten us that they wished for our large trees to be chopped down, as
they now viewed these as a threat to their homes. 

The mail was issued and to our surprise
the first in to assist us  Malcolm,  who
owns a business Mode Lawns.  Leaving
his business for the day he made his
way here to assist, and we were
extremely surprised at the knowledge
and skill displayed on the end of that big chain saw.  Well done Malcolm,   and
many thanks.

I would NEVER have guessed Malcolm could
wield a chain saw in THIS fashion !! I
guess you don't know EVERYTHING about a Gravel Rider!!!

Mails had been steadily pouring in from our Ride Group Members living from around the country, and some even from overseas.  Very well received from our people and much appreciated, such very kind thoughts.  Whilst many lived tooo far out of area,  Saturday mng  was a very busy one for us,  with a GANG of workers incoming to our aid. 


Joining Malcolm on the Friday was Dougie - and then joined by Ian.  The Saturday morning's brigade was made up of Al,  Mike,  Steve,  Neil and Rachel,  Gordon,  Oliver,  Koray,  Dean and Bev, Paul to pay his respects.  Many thanks to all who mailed in to us with their messages of support also,  whilst you could not join us,  your thoughts to us
very much appreciated,  and leaves us with very good thoughts of the Ride Group Members we have amongst us.

SATURDAY has arrived and Jim and I struggle from our NEST - not quite refreshed due to the hectic events of the now past couple of days -  My thoughts  -   I HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED!!

A GRAVEL RIDER WILL BE ON MY DOORSTEP   -  they might think they have come to the wrong house -  trashed outdoors and the occupants look trashed also  -   eeeeks  some serious bathroom time is definitely needed here folks  :)  It really is all in good humour,  so dressed and tidy  our first Gravel Rider aka Work Detailer has arrived -  Al  -  is THAT YOU  - I really did not recognise you behind those nice looking sunnies.   From Al - Mike and so forth.   If you think the FAMOUS Paddington Station is busy,  well   here at my property   it seriously was busy.

TEAM Neil and Gordon - Hard At It
One after the other vehicles came and vehicles went.  Amidst incoming Gravel Riders  -  (Work Detail Crew)  and dealing with hunting and tracking down  the local TreeScape crew someplace or other up the street,  arm twisting to get them to mulch OUR massive amount of foliage,  but duly enlightened to the fact that AS YOUR FOLIAGE IS NOT ON THE VERGE  the council will not mulch it.    NEXT on the list,    MORE incoming Work Detailers,   NEXT organising with local neighbours to assist with trailers to cart foliage away.  YIKES  AL has appeared at my doorstep and has duly informed me that my work crew are in much need of  sustenance, "SUE I WOULD LIKE DEVONSHIRE SCONES PLEASE"!!!  (smacks of Waikaretu here)   IN to the Prado and off to Westgate (local shopping centre)  and back with more supplies  -  fridge/freezers emptied out due to NO POWER.


TEAM Rachel/Bev  whizzing it around the property on the DR  -  Great job ladies
The boys appreciated it very much

NEXT  TEAM RACHEL/BEV  on the trusty DR  scooting around the property with drink bottles in tow  (Great minds really do think alike and Rachel came up with an ingenious plan to name each drink bottle due to exceptionally thirsty Work Detail crew) 

THESE TWO here really know how to spin a great joke
Things were now seriously heating up down in those paddocks now.  DR off again and
with the bikkie box.

ME - just back from Westgate aka shopping crew carting supplies into the house and
then the first of my Work Detailers arrives into the house for some lunch.   The crew
swings into action and Team Rachel and Bev busy "CAN I HAVE YOUR ORER PLEASE"
-  :NEXT" -   fresh bread slicing operation combined with salad and vegie slashings - slip slap slop the lids placed on the top of those mega wattie sammies and the crew were fed
in minutes.  Bev stirring,  pouring and   offering  -  we really do make one seriously good TEAM. 

The NGARNZ TEAM really makes an EXCELLENT TEAM - WEll done and many thanks everyone - If you had seen the place before the Gravel Riders took charge
of the situation,  well it really looks a lot better now - I think we need to hire this crew out - TALENTS WASTED!!!!
The NGARNZ TEAM putting their backs into it -  Have to take your hat off to THIS TEAM EFFORT

GO BEV - AND SHE REALLY DID  -  Those Branches were literally
flying up onto the top of that pile
Oliver is ON Chain Duty and makes light work of it

Those trees weighed a tonne - but the crew dragged them tirelessly onto the back
of trailers and hauled them around the yard and onto the bonfire piles

and......  hiding in the long grasses metres only
away from the ACTION of our Work Force
a newborn baby Pukeka Chick - this has
capped off one excellent weekend
NEW LIFE has been born into my paddocks
A very big thanks to all who assisted either by way of fantastic LABOUR and excellent TEAM
work to which we have come to personally know here
at NGARNZ  h q    -  also to those
who have mailed in their messages of support - thanks everyone


Rock-on Xmas 2012 and
a New and very exciting SEason of 2013
- ADVENTURES -   C You all there!!!