Monday, March 8, 2010

The last in the virtual 4wd series

As a few of my treasured commenters have noted my posts of late have been a virtual journey, so I thought I may as well finish the pictorial story of what has now amounted to 5 days days of 4wd travel incorporating two of Central Otago's block mountain ranges - the Dunstans [Leaning Rock] and The Pisa Range.

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2nd cousin Paul and his family...
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I had quite a hard time resisting making photos of these formations just below Leaning Rock...
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While I made my photos, acquaintance of a few trips like this, Peter, has the front wheel of his 50 yr. old Land Rover realigned. This amazing vehicle sporting number plates from many lands, has been toured in the Arctic Circle and driven to NZ through places like India and Africa. If as I suspect there is an emotional bond, this is something I can relate too, and I could forgive the need for constant maintenance on the journeys...
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Most of the 45 [approx.] 4wd vehicles stopped in Thomsons Gorge to look at a restored stamper battery...
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The whole day out was led by the owner of Northburn Station Tom Pinckney, and there was a radio transmitter put in his vehicle so he could give us a running commentary all day by tuning in our vehicle radios - it's a brilliant idea! Although Mike and myself and others had recc'd the trip a few weeks previous though, the last section we left up to him, and it turned out to be quite a surprise for myself at least, the terrain becoming very tight, steep and technical...
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My job on this day was to stay several vehicles back from Tom the leader, so here we wait and watch with some concern the tail-enders tackle the beginning of the "tight, steep and technical"...
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The corner on the left was about as tight and as steep as it's possible to get around - I took three goes...
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Tom watches. It must have been a bit nerve wracking - a lot of the drivers may have been perceived as "townies", but many have been doing these trips for 25 years with my cousin. They've perhaps realised that tough sidewall tires and experience, along with a quiet considered approach, goes much further than bull bar and winch festooned "looking the part' macho mentality...
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This first day of the weekend ended at the Northburn Winery's "The Shed" for drinks and nibbles and wine tastings. If everyone was as dusty, and thirsty as myself then they may have received a little recompense for the amazing adventure Tom gave us.

Sunday morning dawned again fine and found us on the eastern face of the Pisa Range [photo credit Kim C.] ...
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Having gained the tops near Mt Pisa, we stopped so I could show Kim this nice little tarn she photographed...
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Toileting has always been a problem on these fund-raisers in the wide open Central Otago landscape, but was solved very elegantly a few years back by realising, no matter what, the sloshing about somehow is contained by the design of these toilets...
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At the lower altitude of the southern Pisa Range one of the punters does a sharp turn from one track to another [photo credit Kim C.] ...
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Actually we directed and watched the whole wagon train make the turn...
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Here Mike and the organisers say a big "thanks to the 90 odd souls, that partake'd of the adventure, while Kim and myself, now turned tail enders, watched from a distance, noting that, if we wished, we could choose to see the line as an organism...
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This had to be done relatively high up because when we'd get down to the Kawarau Gorge in 30 mins. there would no room for an assembly point near the very busy main road...
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And for those interested the group had about 3 punctures, and one modern Land Rover Disco had to be abandoned during an ascent due to over heating, and the classic well travelled Land Rover broke a centre bolt of the front leaf spring assembly. but completed the whole two days after having it simply clamped tightly. It also had to have a stop while a heater hoses was tightened. On the last day, door-to-door, Kim and I put in 10 hours driving - less an hour each for morning tea and lunch, and only used a third of tank of fuel despite going up to 1900 metres! It goes to show how much fuel we use [waste] on the road simply pushing air at high speed!

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3 Comments:

Blogger Marg said...

The trip sounds magical and those photos with the blue of the sky and the starkness of the hills are awesome in the true meaning of the word ( inspiring awe - or wonder) Who could not be improved by taking part in that.

March 9, 2010 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
A great journey. Certainly indicates the immense beauty and proportion of the country there, in a way reminds me of the vast open desert spaces out in the western states. Ones which are littered with old mining exploration sites and areas hundreds of square kilometres destroyed forever by open pit mining.. Hope we keep it a bit purer here in Aotearoa. The beast seems to be knocking at the door. Kia kaha!
Cheers,
Ronn

March 10, 2010 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Bob McKerrow said...

Donald

Thanks for taking me on a nostalgic journey over a trail I saw as a young man. Superb country.

Bob

March 13, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

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