Mon Jul 30 7:46 2018 NZST
Run: 808nm (1462.5km)
Avg: 17211.8kms
24hr: 413084kms

My time is up so back to nz for. Holiday. At Domodedovo airport south south east of the city. David wanted beluga caviar Wow. Expensive tastes. Use 125 for a really tiny jar that may or may not last the trip as it has to be refrigerated. Vodca is a lot easier to handle.

Mon Jul 30 7:43 2018 NZST
Run: 207.4nm (375.4km)
Avg: 3.8kms
24hr: 90.4kms

Sat Jul 28 0:38 2018 NZST
Run: 188.4nm (341km)
Avg: 3588.6kms
24hr: 86125.7kms

Enjoying Moscow and the wonderful metro stations. Actually got myself to a ginormous shopping complex today to look for bedroom light fittings. They have really good ones here with a bendy tube with a led for reading. It was meant to be an art museum day, thenPushkin, but that will have to wait until tomorrow . I went to the Gorky Park history Museum but that was a waste of time. Also got money out. Am off to see La Boheme tonight at the new Bolshoi Theatre. It is across the road from the old one which is still going for ballet.

Sat Jul 28 0:34 2018 NZST
Run: 139.3nm (252.1km)
Avg: 2.5kms
24hr: 60.7kms

Wed Jul 25 17:31 2018 NZST
Run: 132.6nm (240km)
Avg: 5682.9kms
24hr: 136388.6kms

Have now worked out how to reposition on nomads. You click update BEFORE you write anything. Have now got me in Moscow but unfortunately missed the golden triangle towns before we got here.

Wed Jul 25 17:30 2018 NZST
Run: 638.5nm (1155.7km)
Avg: 45972kms
24hr: 1103328kms

Wed Jul 25 17:29 2018 NZST
Run: 262.2nm (474.6km)
Avg: 3359.1kms
24hr: 80619.5kms

Wed Jul 25 17:24 2018 NZST
Run: 66.1nm (119.6km)

Am trying to get My iPad to pick up my position here in Moscow so I can add photos later when my iPhone starts talking to the iPad again.

Sun Jul 22 3:15 2018 NZST
Run: 97.3nm (176.1km)

Really into the ABC part of the tour now. Another Beautiful Church! The definition of the B varies.
SergievPosad has a cluster of churches and is a big pilgrimage sitefor Russiansof the Orthodox faith. Blue domes are churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. We are north of a Moscow in Sergiev-Posad but Nomads is not picking up the position. We took anovernight train from Petrowhatsit to Mosciw and this place is about 1,5 hours driving north in fairly heavy traffic.

Fri Jul 20 8:03 2018 NZST
Run: 124.5nm (225.3km)
Avg: 5kms
24hr: 121.2kms

Now in the Capitol of Karelia province or whatever it is called up here. The Finns have claimed it from time to time and the people feel they are Kerellians rather than Russians. Millions of trees and huge lakes. And a hotel that finally is comfortable. Even the staff are friendly and helpful . Wow

Thu Jul 19 7:24 2018 NZST
Run: 123.1nm (222.8km)

Now up in Sortavala about , I don?t know NNW of where I was and on the second largest lake in Europe. It would be nice if we were in the hotel originally planned but just as in st Pete?s we got a new hotel in town with all the drunks. That happens in Russia. A booking is made and if a better price is offered a booking get deleted even if it is for 15 people. Anyway the lake is huge and has various monastic folk and old. Uilding son it. well those that the Finns did not plunder or the Soviets bomb. We had an interesting day being whizzed around by huge hydrofoils. The guide was fantastic. Elena had spect 17 years guiding in the Hermitage and Russian Museum before recently coming here. The lake is 18,000 sq Km so there are huge boats and also ships. putin has a property on Verlanand is much lived by the locals.

Sun Jul 15 2:01 2018 NZST
Run: 13nm (23.5km)

What an awesome city and it is really buzzing with the soccer third place game on far I am being highly productive with my time. Friday was experience the metro, buses, the exhibition on at the Hermitage which closes at 9 pm on Wednesday and Friday so that was lucky. Saturday saw me five hours at Peterhof and then to a piano recital at the marinsky theatre. Hot day .

Fri Jul 13 22:19 2018 NZST
Run: 42.1nm (76.2km)

Thu Jul 12 19:45 2018 NZST
Run: 148.5nm (268.8km)
Avg: 3.7kms
24hr: 88.2kms

Weather still dry and I have just managed to get all my stuff loaded in the suitcase. It will be a nightmare getting it topside. You go to the to this hotel on one street and go down and left and down and right and down and around,. .. you end up being shown almost on the lower street. There is a narrow spiral staircase with 19 steps so I have offered my bottle of Aussie Shiraz to the poor older man who will get my suitcase back to street level. I bought it to share with the other occupants of my four person carriage tonight on the train to Saint Petersburg. Fortunately I have now all but got over my jet lag. No pictures as for some reason my pics taken with cell phone are not transferring to the iPad.

Wed Jul 11 3:20 2018 NZST
Run: 10827.8nm (19598.3km)
Avg: 42.9kms
24hr: 1030.7kms

Back in Tallinn Estonia after a day even further north in Helsinki. It was lovely there as less crowded than here. But lots to do tomorrow as I have yet to go to the art museums on my list.

Sat Jun 30 15:12 2018 NZST
Run: 196.9nm (356.4km)

Arrived in Dubai after horrific 17 hr direct flight from Auckland on Emirates. Arab cabin crew who clearly did not know what customer service entailed. We got a minimal evening meal two hours after boarding and then nothing except a cup of tea for 14 hours. We would have eaten anything at that stage but breakfast was acceptable. I paid extra for a exit row seat which had room in front for all those waiting for the toilets made use of. I have never smelled farts like it. Also there was no seat pocket to put bits and pieces so all in all a not to be repeated exercise. Good landing and I have now navigated thru to the next departure gate. This gave me plenty of needed exercise and had me on 3 or 4 different trains plus a few escalators and walking strips. I passed hundreds of hours Doric shops which I am sure the arabs make use of. Now off to find some food in case they starve me again. Warsaw in about seven hours. Have just talked to david on FaceTime. Also the free wifi,20Mb, from the plane finally worked when we neared Dubai so we are in good contact despite the distance. And free wifi here so no need for expensive Vodafone global roaming. This is Saturday here in the morning.

Well the next flight could not have been more different fantastic crew

Foggy Dubai
Underneath a Boeing 777-500
Fri Mar 9 20:15 2018 NZDT
Run: 159.2nm (288.2km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 113.8kms
Weather: Wet, then dry then wet then,... finally windy in Blenheim -but dry

Made it through to Blenheim but a very long drive from a wet Christchurch. The magnitude of the Kaikoura road works needs to be seen to be believed. Totally awesome and way more than we thought from the brief TV pictures we have seen. It looks like a 50 year project. Miles and miles of cliffs ready to come down and two more cyclones to come. it seems an impossible battle but presumably they know what they are doing.Will update when the cruiser seminar is finished and we have a good wifi connection.

On the flat but still behind the RV
Finally a passing lane
Thu Mar 8 10:41 2018 NZDT
Speed: up to 236phkms
Run: 85.8nm (155.3km)
Weather: A brilliant day, sun and no wind, some cloud from time to time.

Ruapuna Mike Pero Motorsport Park on a glorious blue sky calm day. , Patricia had first turn on this longish left hand track and managed to find a new turn. As the only woman this was expected even though I am not blond. There are too few cars inour group soyou cannot follow the car infront!

The track is right under the landing flight path of ChCh international airport so very noisy, even when the cars are all in the pits! David drove an amazing 1min55 sec fastest lap despite the camber plates slipping. Once re adjusted Patricia was only 1.8 seconds slower when she finally managed to take his advice to plant foot on even the shortest of straights! With only a small group, and very expensive cars, there was rarely a car to chase but in the last session two groups were combined so the Porschesdid their best to catch us. One tried hard and got close only to fall behind on The deliciously long straight.

Many of us did gather at the pub that evening thinking there was going to be a closing function. Sadly there was not but it was good to chat to those we had beenwith for the week. New friends we will no doubt meet from time to time at north island tracks in the future. I think my favourite track was a Highlands as there were lots of corners. Ruapuna was a good challenge and Teretonga was a good place to start as it was the easiest to get to grips with for a novice. Levels was short and quite hard on the car but we managed four tracks with no need for replacement of tyres, brake pads or rotors. And a long way there and back so we are happy. Some more work will be needed to keep the camber plates from slipping. We added up the mileage when we got home and 4519 kilometers with yet another track day possible is rather wonderful for our Michelin Sport tyres.

The green Ford Focus belowis not your stock item, especially with John at the helm.

Totally home built, including the trailer
under the flight path
The group awaits the green flag.
Tue Mar 6 19:42 2018 NZDT
Weather: Wet, all day and chilly. About 13C

A very wet day, all day, in Timaru. But it did not matter as we met Ken, ZL3OZ and wife Shirley at their house and then had a really good look around Timaru with them. We have talked to Ken on ham radio all around the world during the past 15 years so it was great to finallytalk to them face to face. And meet 12 year old Jess. It is chilly down here and hard to believe it is in the mid 20s up home. Our high tomorrow at Levels track will be lower than the minimum in Auckland but fingers crossed it will be dry. It is a short track, 2.4 km so our power will not be all that useful so cornering had better be good.

Ken took us for a very interesting drive around Timaru and we saw the town highlights including a wild looking ocean around the port area. The amount of gravel brought to the break water by the north going current is amazing.

Ken and Shirley have an amazing garden. The Italian prune plum tree had fruited well as it was covered from attack by birds. They are small really tasty plums with a dark green yellow flesh underneath dark skin. I haveNever tasted such a tasty unusual plum.

Ken, Shirley and Jess
Ken, and David holding his ears in!
ZL3OZ home qth
patricia in davids old but good suit.
taking off for a session at Levels
Mon Mar 5 20:32 2018 NZDT
Run: 111.4nm (201.6km)
Avg: 4.5kms
24hr: 108.8kms

Arrived in Timaru Top10 holiday Park after filling up. Great trip up via Omarama, Twizel, Tekapo with varying weather. Beautiful glacial lakes and mountain views. Odometer at timaru 31664 with 34.13 l. Looking forward to meeting Ken and Shirley tomorrow. Shooting at Mt Dobson definitely off due the weather. We stopped at Gibbston Winery for a tiny lunch on the way up the Gorge and amazingly were seen by the eastern Automotive owners. We passed going in and out. There are numerous wineries in the area. When I left Queenstown many moons ago Chard Valley had just started up. Now there are dozens everywhere.

Sun Mar 4 19:58 2018 NZDT
Run: 103.3nm (187km)

Having a real struggle with internet connection here in Cromwell. We have had a super good weather and track day at Highlands. It is a beautiful park like setting and a really interesting track. Will update with pictures when we get to Timaru. Odometer at end of day and 71. 04 litres was 31364. Starting from full! And 31176 I think. David happy about tyre temperatures after each 15 min run. Highlandsis a right hand circuit, just over 4 k?s but there is interest all the way as lots of corners, a bridge, and a banked corner that adds interest.

Patricia was able to extend beyond her original comfort zone by following the black Ferrari. Close on his tail around and around. We got three runs of 15 min each. The day was interrupted by John Key arriving by helicopter and doing a few high speed circuits with the residents race car driver in their Ferrari.

the eclectic participant cars
The Prestige group leaders
John Key arrives
Glacial Lake Tekapo with Mt Cook
Lindis pass
Icy cold glacial fed lake.
Fri Mar 2 16:57 2018 NZDT
Run: 14.3nm (25.9km)

A wonderful day at Teretonga motorsport track in Invercargill. The weather stayed dry although it tried to spit at us.

Well, the fuel consumption was mind boggling and we were lucky to have been given 20 l of 98 octane. There are a lot of very serious motor sport people here with vans and trailers full of everything you might need. We filled up back in Invercargill after doing 165 is on the track. This included some slow runs where we were able to take Trevor and Norma. Fuel consumption back at the BP fill up was a scary 37.49L/ 100 k!!! Odometer at departure Invercargill 30931. ( 51.24 p,us the 20l)

Our Prestigio group had the two Ferrari?s and a Lamborghini which along with the GGRILA were the fastest . Patricia was thrilled when the Lambo drove off the track when it passed her too close to the hairpin . Yee ha. Excitement right in front of me. The race group was the most interesting to watch as more of them and they raced closer. The straight enabled top speed of 230 kph plus but it was a bit bumpy at the end where the brakes went on before the sweeper.

The Lambo sneaking up on the GGRILA
The Ferraris gave us a run for our money
The sexy looking Lambo fro Queenstown
Thu Mar 1 9:19 2018 NZDT
Run: 22.7nm (41.1km)
Weather: 100z cloud and light drizzle. Rain at 4 pm in Invercagil

In Bluff and itis starting to drizzle which will make changing the castor plates a bit tricky. We will be off to Invercargill today. The picture of us with Trevor and Norma, ZL4GD , is just downthe road from their house at themuch visited sign post in Bluff. The port has been very busy since we got here with ships coming and going. Today is the first day of the oyster season and it is flat calm so no problems with the first days catch. When we came back from Stewart Island last night quite a few boats were out waiting for the midnight start.

David and Trevor adjusted the castor plates and then we followed Trevor and Norma to Invercargill which madefinding the motel very easy! They then took us to the museum to see the giant tuataras, and a super roaring 40s display. Then a walk in the magnificent huge QueensPark and a visit to Anderson Park.

Odometer reading at BP Invercargill 30741 and we took 48.4l of 95 Octane plus booster which gives us our best fuel consumption from Dunedin. OK so I think 12.1L per 100k is not that great but it gets worse on the track!

Trevor and Norma and us down the road from their house in Bluff
Shipping from the window
Bluff Port from Bluff Hill
Trevor’s car has better fuel consumption
Adjusting the wheel angle
Wed Feb 28 21:54 2018 NZDT
Run: 155.9nm (282.2km)
Avg: 2.8kms
24hr: 68.1kms

Stewart Island, named after the cartographer who mapped it. Captain Cook thought it was part of the main land. We had a perfect day to visit. A flat calm crossing and full sun and no wind. Unbelievable really. We visited the museum, hotel for coffee, the DOC display and took a bus tour around the further away sites.

Stewart Island ferries at Halfmoon bay
The Stewart island end of the chain sculpture
From the observation viewpoint
David starting the Great Walk.
Oban township from end of Fuscia walk
Mon Feb 26 14:58 2018 NZDT
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)
Weather: Squalls early dark morning then cloud with the odd spot of rain.

Woke up to rain squalls and the day stayed very dull but mostly dry. We explored a bit first going to the spectacular Purakaunui Falls, having first checked out that there was a Four Square Shop in Oraka for later supplies. The bush walk was beautiful and worth the outing. Then off to Papatowai through challenging dry farm landwith another stop at the MATAI falls. We visited a sort of electrical engineers junk collection with all sorts of working things! Hard to describe and too dark to photograph. This seems to be a local thing. We passed a huge collection of teapots ina garden and by our beach/crib is a tree with hanging shoes!

PS I have no ide why we are out in the ocean. There is no cell phone coverage here but the gps on the phone seems to be working. Hopefully we will return to dry land tomorrow. After a walk along the beach at Surat Bay this evening I have decide to forego a later trip to see penguins. It is COLD.

Odometer for Tuesday start is 30557

Purakaunui Falls
Native trees, and birds, on bush walk to Falls
Surat Bay beach
Shoe Tree

Can i have your mail adres, i’ll send the pictures of your Holden.
Ronald & Ariane front the Netherlands

Sun Feb 25 20:09 2018 NZDT
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)
Weather: Dry at the start but by 2,30 pm a few spots, and by 3,30 heavy rain but we were inside then, after a quick walk along the beach to see the sea lions.

Surat Bay the Catlins. We came via Kaka Point and Nugget Point and managed these in dry weather. The walk to Nugget Point was amazing. Spectacular. Very rugged coast line with lots of kelp and not clear water. calm though.

Odometer at Surat Bay 30475

Nugget Point lighthouse
Walk to the Lighthouse
The Nuggets
A picture for Ashley!
Too steep to look for a drone!
Surat Bay sea lion

Haha. There are a few spots like that on Kangaroo Island. But no-one to police it. A different story when they need your help to spot something. Like the boundary of a grass/bush fire. Or a shark cruising up a swimming area.
Good pics though.Ash. & prop' has been lousy.

Sun Feb 25 16:08 2018 NZDT
Run: 23.5nm (42.5km)
Weather: Started drizzly but quickly dried up.

Day started a bit drizzly but warmed up and dried up. We stopped for coffee and a wander thru Dunedin. It was quite busy as a Carnival cruise ship was in port. Port Chalmers is a good 10 Ks away from the hilly town. There must have been a race meeting as today?s road nuisances were horse floats . Having got our last fill of 98 octane in Dunedin we are now very sedate drivers. We can now appreciate the drought down here as the land is really dry. Rugged and interesting down the coast and the acrosss the Taeri plains.

Odometer st last BO station at south Dunedin with 98 octane was 30341

Dunedin railway station
Funky coffee bar
Dunedin town centre
Self defence is nothing new!
Sat Feb 24 16:42 2018 NZDT
Run: 143.4nm (259.6km)
Avg: 7.2kms
24hr: 173.9kms

Arrived at Moeraki Boulders holiday park after our last fill of BP98 at Oamaru.
Odometer now 30252 making a peaceful 275 Ks behind often slow motor homes . Whata curse they are even with the long straights they travel in convoy we stopped to look at the great aviation museum in Ashburton befor a great lunch. The weather is starting to pack up but still no precipitation. Again an amazing change of scenery with the huge grain fields backed by the snow capped southern alps

Last used in the Falklands
Harrier Jet
Dakota DC3 with leg room
Good day for parachute drops
Ashburton aIrfield
Fri Feb 23 20:55 2018 NZDT
Run: 202.5nm (366.5km)
Avg: 13.9kms
24hr: 334.5kms
Weather: Partly cloudy most of the day and light winds on land. The sail across was amazing with flat seas and sun. A light next to nothing northerly. Ferry goes quite slow thru the Sounds.

Phew , what a tiring day. But spectacular changes of scenery as vast vineyards morphed into beech forests and mountain rivers. The roads were pretty grim and we had Toexercise patience with all the motor homes, caravans, trailers and drivers that totally ignored signs that said consider the drivers behind you! We left Picton at 12.35 pm and got to Murchison by 3.20 pm where we topped up with Mobil 95 and booster. Back on the road , fairly slow through Lewis Pass , wishing we had a machine gun toclear the motor bike carrier, and finally arrived at Rolleston at 7.20pm. Finding a motel was a bit difficult. We were amazed at the fantastic motorway past Christchurch. That which makes both Wellington and ChCh with better freeways than Auckland.

Odometer at Rolleston 29977 which makes a 498 km day -seemed a LOT longer.

Marlborough vineyards
Wairau Valley
Fri Feb 23 6:23 2018 NZDT
Run: 12.3nm (22.3km)
Weather: A glorious calm sunny day with a chill in the air.

A big day ahead as the Kaikoura road is closed again because of slips. TC Gita wrecked a bit of havoc in the South Island. So we will go inland thru Lewis Pass which adds another 2 hrs 30 min to the trip . We were hoping to get to Ashburton but maybe not as we also have the fuel problem to worry about.. the GGRILA needs 98. We have checked that the Mobil garage in Murchison does at least have 95 octane as the news said Mobil were out of 95 in the South Island.
More as the day goes on,.....

Odometer at start of South Island is 29479

Cook St ferry
Interislander Kaitaki
Thu Feb 22 17:04 2018 NZDT
Run: 109.8nm (198.7km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 113.8kms

The daystarted wet but that did not last long as we travelled south. Another day of great scenery especially south of Mangaweka. It got busy after Bulls where we stopped for coffee at a great cafe that had loads of airforce memorabilia, and a fresh pasta shop beside it. We stopped at Otaki for lunch and both bought some warmer clothing for the cooler temperatures. After visiting friends in Raumati we found, with difficulty the Mana marina. The are looks so different as there are wondrous motorways. So different from Auckland S the traffic flows. YIT Mike is now with us and he and David Are of course talking cars. Off to the marina tonight.

Note for return. heavenly Pasta 117 Bridge St Bulls, tel 06 322 1777

Mike Stent - web site manager of YIT and Nomads
Wed Feb 21 17:54 2018 NZDT
Run: 230.4nm (417km)
Weather: Dry and mild, about 22C.

TC Gita passed us yesterday and this morning was a good day to start the big journey. The GGRILA was loaded up, cars swapped around, and off we went. A brief stop at Silverdale to get my new reading glasses and off we went. Well not for long as about 30 ks later we got a low tyre pressure warning on the back left NEW Michelin Sport tyre. We took the first off ramp and found a gas station and hoped that would be it. First stop was , as usual, at Pokeno For an enourmous ice cream. For those that don?t know Pokeno has the largest selection and two huge scoops of rum and raisin is only $3! Off to another health stop at Tokoroa where a Whopper made lunch. Low pressure warning light again and a tyre shop was handily placed near Burger King. It took a while to get the tyre off and fortunately the boss had two spare pressure valves as that was the cause. It seems chinese pressure sensor valves are a common problem so we will have to research alternatives.And we have had it before. We decided to take the west side of Lake Taupo and the west side of National Park as we had been warned about all the road works on the Desert Road. What a great drive. Very little traffic and lots of opportunity to clear the jets! The day was partly cloudy and the country looked beautiful. The volcanic plateau is quite different scenery wise. 500 Ks from our start and we are now in taihape. Site of the famous gum boat throwing competition. We passed thru Ohakune , where most of our carrots are grown but did not stop for any.

Note for return. Fantastic Malaysian food at Straits Kitchen, Taihape. Tel 06 3881753.going north order at Mangaweka.Also accommodation at Aspen Court Motel

A valve problem
Another leaky tyre
Taihape- gumboot capitol of NZ
Wed Apr 26 16:30 2017 NZST
Run: 646.9nm (1170.9km)
Weather: Blue sky and no wind

Our last full day at Kawau island for the season as we will reluctantly weigh anchor tomorrow.

Wed Dec 7 19:02 2016 NZDT
Run: 603.4nm (1092.2km)
Avg: 241360kms
24hr: 5792640kms

Wed Dec 7 19:02 2016 NZDT
Run: 90.8nm (164.3km)
Avg: 9339.4kms
24hr: 224146.3kms

Wed Dec 7 19:01 2016 NZDT
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)

Sun Dec 4 8:57 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.5nm (2.7km)
Weather: Partly cloudy about 18C

Finally at the Auckland airport gate for Norfolk Island. Up at 5 am as the shuttle was to arrive, and he did, at 6 am. Fortunately he knew we had to not go to the international terminal to find the Police to check pistols and he took us to the cop shop half way between the two terminals. We rang the bell, talked to someone at Central casting and about 10mins later a young lass arrived with a Glock in her holster. I dont think she knew how to shoot it as she did Not know what sort it was and had to be helped as to what sort of ammo it was loaded with. But she did know it was a Glock. Anyway all our pistols were checked and off we trundled to the air NZ check in. Well, we had previously advised we had guns and ammo so when we tried to do the automatic checkin we got a slip to go to a real person. I had spent 25 mins on the phone with airnz so knew all the data was there. Well no it was not. I had also asked for a reference number at the end of the 25 min phone call but was told that was not necessary as it was all loaded. The info that is. So we held up the line putting all the gun and ammo detail in the system and then had to take the bags to the oversized and fragile section for loading. That turned out to be a good thing as all the instruments for the Norfolk Island jazz festival were in line and one man gave me the program. Yippee. Then a very long walk to gate 16 to board the tiny B737 for Norfolk.

Sat Dec 3 17:08 2016 NZDT
Run: 91.5nm (165.6km)
Weather: Lovely

We are sitting in the foyer of the Heartland Hotel at Auckland airport. We are waiting for the shuttle, $120 back to home. Our booking was cancelled in August as the company we booked through went bankrupt. cancelled the booking at the hotel but did not bother to tell us. We had to be at the airport really early tomorrow for checking pistols with the Police, and busing to the plane. Seems Auckland is bursting at the seems. Should have taken Chameleon to Auckland as much more reliable.

Fri Nov 25 19:13 2016 NZDT
Run: 227.9nm (412.5km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 111.9kms
Weather: Rain

Drove from Taupo to Whangarei today. A bit hungover and so did not enjoy the stop and go for an hour getting through Auckland. Rain from about half way and lots of stop and go at various road works. David stopped for a Whopper at Tokoroa Burger King but Patricia just had a milkshake. We arrived with peak hour traffic in a very wet Whangarei but a coup,e of cyclists I talked to when checking in at the Holiday Park said they had come from Russel in mostly dry weather.

Wed Nov 23 18:19 2016 NZDT
Run: 120.6nm (218.3km)
Weather: Glorious. Clear skies at last

Last day of the Gulf Harbour Radio net and off we went to Taupo. We felt really guilty as there are about ten boats left in New Cal but we have lots on the next few days. We went to the pistol club first as we have not been able to shoot at our Auckland club due to a noise complaint. We are off to Whangarei on Friday for the north island ISSF championships. Tomorrow we take the GGRILA to the track and try out the new brakes and sway bar.
Scenery all the way down was fantastic as you can see for miles today.

From Twin Peaks motel, Taupo
From Twin Peaks motel, Taupo
Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo
Sun Nov 6 15:52 2016 NZDT
Run: 69.1nm (125.1km)
Avg: 4.4kms
24hr: 104.5kms
Weather: Damp due early morning rain but enough wind to dry the track reasonably quickly. No significant rain all day.

The position reported is from our great seats in the stand. K59 and 60. We had hoped to make more Nomads reports but found that the combination of iPad screen and polarised glasses was not helpful. And on Sunday the cell phone signal dropped to two bars as many were tuned into the All Blacks game in Chicago. We arrived by 7.30am as we wanted to spend time in the pits but the gates did not open un 8 am despite what Mr Google said. We did in fact walk the Pits but were not allowed too close and really did not get to ask much as all were busy.
We went back to the stand to watch the Toyota cars as by now we had come to appreciate the great battles going on and there was some great driving from these young drivers. We had not got into the Aussie Racing cars so went back for the Garth Tander signing session. Thankfully David wanted to meet Garthas we have watched all of his Utube HSV handling videos. I say thankfully as by now there was a very long line behind the desk of Gisbergen and Wincup who had been at the lead of the Supercars all weekend. Fortunatley these two from the Red Bull team get on really well - not like the F1 Mercedes team! Red Bull spend 30% of profit on marketing and really seemed to have faster cars. Then again these drivers are very talented. Gisbergen certainly had the kiwi crowd for support and a great roar went up when he miraculously found a way passed Wincup.They seem to have been given the go ahead from team mangament to go for it indiviually as long as they did not wreck the cars.All went well until the first race of the day. SVG was just ahead at the hairpin with Wincup breathing down his neck. They both entered too fast, Wincup tried for the pass but hit and they both spun at the same time - it looked like syncronized swimming on the screen as they were so close. SVG recovered to work his way amazingly trhough the field of around 26 cars to end up third at the checquered flag. The other interesting battle was between Garth ander and Pye - who has replaced him at Holden Walkinshaw next year. Tander started at No11 on the pole in the last race and was definitely going to get ahead of Pye by the finish. Great aggressive driving, and he achieved this and came in 7th.

The driving we saw was just amazing and David commented he would like to be out there. Not me. It is a dangerous, evil track with bumps and concrete walls and difficult corners! I would not even do a fast lap with a professional driver! Next year it is going to be upgraded so we will see what they do. Viewing is great as you can see quite a bit from your seat or move around. There are about 4 screens that cover the corners although it took a bit of working out where they were filming. Some more aerial shots would have enabled us to see the lines cars took around corners. They certainly covered the mishaps well. One of the most spectacular was a Toyota car failed to take a corner, started to roll, then rolled faster, then went end over end and jumped over quite a high fence before rolling again and finishing upside down! The young man walked away from it!

The final Supercar race was a bit ho hum as the Red Bull drivers must have been given a strong word! They did of course lead by quite a margin. Mark Winterbottom in his Falcon had raced away in the earlier race so a Holden win was very necessary. We left just after it finished and had positioned the GGRILA for a good getaway. All was well on the freeway until we got to Papakura and the bottle neck got us. We had planned ahead though and ate the left over pizza from the night before! There is a little food area by a BP station not far from the freeway entrance to Puke and if you dont want McDonalds there is a little Korean supermarket with dumplings and an Indian restaurant with a takeawy menu that includes pizza! Before you gasp, the Italian pizza was pretty good. Indians do find out quickly what customers want. A stunning weekend and although we felt guilty about leaving all our cruisers without info we really have got the bug and will be back next year.

Garth Tander and fan
Greg Murphy and fan
Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF, no 2
Gisbergen Hokden Commodore VF, no 97
Damp finish line early Sunday
Paul Manuell , v8 UTE champ
Sun Nov 6 0:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 69.1nm (125.1km)
Avg: 4.8kms
24hr: 115.3kms

Sat Nov 5 9:37 2016 NZDT
Run: 135.7nm (245.6km)
Weather: Damp track and black clouds around

We were very fortunate to have been given platinum passes for the 3 day Virgin Australia ITM Auckland SuperSprint event at Pukekohe. The last time Patricia had been here was in January 1978 when she flew some (very heavy) men up from Palmenrston North in a C 172. In those day you were allowed to land a fixed wing in the centre of the horse racing track. Nowadays it is only helicopters that come in from the air!

We drove down on Friday in torrrential rain but it cleared before we got there and apart from a sometimes wet track, racing was not affected Saturday or Sunday - but did slow things down when the rain came. This event is the largest trans - Tasman sporting event so a good bit of rivalry pervades as well as the historic Ford v Holden competition.

It is not just the Supercars to hold your interest. We particularly wanted to see the NZ V8 Ute racing events as Paul Manuell who owns Eastern Automotive(where we often visit to get work done on the GGRILA) was racing in his very eye catching ORIX sponsored Ute. Holden of course. A great vehicle to watch and as the weekend progressed the results were anew lap record, 2 wins and and a third from reverse grid. (The race laps were reduced following an incident in this reverse grid race so he did not have sufficient time to get to the lead). The orange art work is really easy to see and has been there for 8 years - well ahead of the likes of McLaren! He has been a V8 champion and really drives the Ute amazingly - finding gaps where none seem to exist. It was exciting watching the rest of this group jockey for position. When 4 utes approach the fast first turn side by side you know that one will not make it and others will lose their rear vision mirrors!

Also of interest for us were the BNT NZ Touring cars as we had got to know young Tom Alexander when doing some training with Mike Eady. This is his first year in his new car. He previously did very well in the Toyota Finance TR 86 series, in fact won it last year I believe. Now 21 he has been mentored by a NZ racing guru Kenny Smith, since he was 17 and lives and breathes cars and racing.

Friday was mostly practise and qualifying for all events. Saturday saw the start of racing for all events. The Utes do 8 laps of the 2.9k circuit. The BNT N Touring cars do 12 laps, and the Supercars do 35 laps. All races are reduced if there is a mess to clean up. Both days went pretty much to schedule.

The only downside were some pretty grim food options and - trying to leave the car park took 1.5 hours as some idiot had decided to close off all but one exit because of pedestrian traffic! Plenty of cops around who could have helped but I guess it was not in their job descroption for the day. The GGRILA does not like to idle so we just stopped after getting nowhere for a while, and planned how we would handle it on Sunday!

Paul Manuell and No 1 Holden VE UTE
Tom Alexander preparing his Holden Commodore
The video screens were great for replays
Tom Alexander
A nipply day for some!
A great read
Sat Oct 29 8:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 138.2nm (250.1km)
Weather: Chilly 15-20 SW wind but dry.

Hampton Downs race track for the first 101, meaning 101 laps, on the extended track. Amazingly the rain was all but absent although when we arrived cars were on blocks waiting for a decision to be made as to whether to put the slicks on or not. The pits were open before the races started at 8.30 so we were able to wander around the wonderful cars and chat to the drivers and crew if we wanted to. I will let the pictures tell the story. Saturday was a day of sorting out pole positions forboth the Australian GT cars and the Central muscle cars . Also a day for deciding what we would buy if we won Lotto. It ended up between the McLaren and a Ferrari. Hard choice eh? Sadly during the Sunday race one of the Ferraris had an 'incident' so probably was going quite cheaply after that. All theAudi R8 LMS did fast times but were nowhere near the finishing line after 101 laps. The first three home on Sunday were a Lamborghini, a Porsche 911 GT3-R, and the Maclaren 650S GT 3. Patricia would settle for a 570!

Amazing organisation and a very enjoyable day although a bit chilly . We mostly sat at the hair pin and were itching to get in the GGRILA after watching all the different techniques for attacking it. One car lost its hood just at the apex which was a challenge as you cannot see the exit from the entry point as it drops about 8m.

A Porsche with Walkinshaw. Weird.
Klark Quinn's McLaren, son of Tony
The unfortunate Ferrari - before the race
The Audi Control Centre - pit lane
A good use for Steinlager cans - in Gary McKelvie's Holden Monaro GT
The hairpin drops about 8m
Thu Oct 6 11:56 2016 NZDT
Run: 0.7nm (1.3km)
Avg: 13.5kms
24hr: 323.4kms
Weather: Very wet and windy

Hampton Downs skid pad. A million dollars of a continuous concrete pour. Sadly the new owner has brought the concrete walls closer so the run off went from 3m to 1m.
Not much need for the fountains and sprinklers today as we got torrential rain making it very slippery. We had the GGRILA in performance mode for the first time as this gives quicker accelerator pedal response than in sport mode. The idea was. To learn how to slide around the corners. Lose the back end and correct. Good fun and we sure learned how to quickly stab the accelerator and then use the arms to take control without spinning. Well we did that a few times. But the real expert frequent spinner was the little Mazda sports car. 1500cc rear engine, 1100kg. It just loved the figure 8s!

Hampton Downs skid pad
With fountain and sprinklers on
The Tracktime Mazda cars
Thu Oct 6 11:53 2016 NZDT
Run: 112.7nm (204km)
Avg: 6.2kms
24hr: 149.5kms

Wed Oct 5 17:47 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.7nm (4.9km)
Avg: 30.5kms
24hr: 731.3kms
Weather: Very lucky as no rain yet

We are staying in a motel at Pokeno which is just north of Hampton Downs so veryconvenient. We would never get to the track from Gulf Harbour by 8.30 because of the commute traffic.
Pokeno is a very tiny country town but much visited by those that love pork products or ice cream. There are three ice cream shops and the one shown has about 40 different flavours but the big draw card is the price. $2 for a huge scoop but we went for the $3 two huge scoops. Rum and raisin on the bottom and maple fudge and walnuts on the top for me. David sticks to chocolate but had a choice of four different types.
I also stocked up on bacon, pork schnitzel, lamb and beef. They will keep it in the cooler for me to collect tomorrow.
I don't know how we are going to have room for the steak and eggs and salad and chips and mushroom onion sauce we will have at the motel laterbut we need our energy! And we will have a good talk to the motel manager Gary who happens to be a super8 driver running a Holden Monaro. When he Isnot at the motel bar. It is a very popular motel as Pokeno also has a huge truck stop across the road. And if you want a quick takeaway meal the Pakistani ex teacher who runs the little dairy cum supermarket across the road prepares good curries and other traditional meals.

Did I mention the spa bath?

Pokeno Ice cream shop
Pokeno butcher shop
Pokeno motel
Wed Oct 5 17:42 2016 NZDT
Run: 5.1nm (9.2km)
Avg: 124.9kms
24hr: 2997.6kms

Wed Oct 5 17:39 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.8nm (3.3km)

Well we were on our way south to Pokeno then Hampton Downs for a skid pad day but David discovered what Patricia had been complaining about when she drove the car a week ago. Our around home car is SuzieQ, the little yellow Suzuki Swift Sport, so the GGRILA gets to rest in between long trips. The brakes sounded really grim so back we went to Easter Automotive, which happens to be on the way south. Off comes the left front wheel and " O wow" says the young lad when he sees the nearr totally gone metal disk that goes between the brake pad and the rotor. Oh and the rotor is stuffed too. You guys must really heat those brakes. Even the office girl was rude enough to remind us that we had only just got them fitted!
Fortunately they had a set of HSV pads and we are going to get a whole new set of 6 pots and new rotors in a couple of weeks anyway.
The stop was quite short and in about half an hour we were on our way again. I think we should charge them for the entertainment we provide.

Up on the hoist
Oh wow
The disintegrated brake pad spacer
Waiting for the new pad
Mon Sep 19 19:59 2016 NZST
Run: 4.2nm (7.6km)
Weather: Great all day but rain at 8 pm.

Back at the Phoenix Resort Motel and the rain has started again. We were really lucky to have the sunshine today. This has turned out to be a great place to stay as sited on the lake at the start of the Napier Taupo Rd. We dont have to go near the busy town as the Pistol range is about 10 mins Down this road and the Motorsport track is maybe 13 mins away! And the motel like many others In This thermal area has private hot tubs for each room fed by the naturally heated water. The kitchen has everything you want including a little dish washer. And it is quiet with a huge Tv and a firm comfy bed.
And the icing on the cake came when we decided to eat out locally. Less than 5 mins away is a local pub with the most amazing gourmet food. All produced in house from fresh ingredients which for an msg allergic person is great. I asked the owner/ chef where he got his venison from. "I shoot it" was the reply! Service is slow as we managed to be there both nights with a visiting rugby team but it was well worth the wait. And yes, the big groups are in an adjacent room! It is called the Mole and Chicken. No idea what is behind that weird name.

Mon Sep 19 16:50 2016 NZST
Run: 2.6nm (4.7km)

Well today was the big day. We had promised to concentrate on our brake points and drive lines here at Bruce Maclaren Motorsport park.
The day started with the briefing from Playdayontrack organiser, Gary. Just the usual. Pass on acceleration. Let faster cars past. If you go intothe kitty litter, stay put and he will come and tow you out etc. it was a perfect day at last. A chilly SW wind but sun and a few artistic cumulus.

After that we all followed the GGRILA around the track at road speeds so that we got familiar with it. David then dropped the tyre pressures as advised.Patricia was first up and as usual took time to get as one one with car. It is a longer more technical track than Hampton Downs, and some faster cars went by as I got to grips with the nasty corners. More tyre pressure dropped before David went out.

The entry from the Pitts is at turn one. At the end of the start finish line straight. Like me he had a few things to sort out on his next run. Patricia had another 15 min turn before lunch and in an experimental attempt to do the hair pin in third gear went off the track at the start of the long back straight. Not seen by David. But a good reason for getting a new sway bar which will help the excessive under steer. Maybe it won't helppoor driving!

Anyway, this second session saw much better lines through the corners but still areas where an increase in corner entry speed would see improvements. On my return we took off to fill up at the local gas station and on return saw a major problem.

The outside edge of the front right tyre was chewed up. This track is basically a left hand track and with the soft tyres, and they are very good road tyres, the edge got damaged beyond use. The centre and inside was not worn at all. It was a new tyre last week. Continental Sport, and not available in Taupo. One is on the way for us by courier so we will get home tomorrow. Now back to the pistol range to save the day!

Gary, Playdayontrack, gives the briefing
entry at turn one from the pitts
Just how far off the track did you go, Patricia?
Tyre damage. End of track day
David, entering turn 4
Sun Sep 18 14:04 2016 NZST
Run: 52.5nm (95km)
Weather: Light rain to steady heavy rain. It cleared when we left at 2 pm.

The Taupo Pistol Club, part of the Deerstalkers Assoc range facilities on mountain Rd, off the main Napier Taupo Rd.

They alternate disciplines and it was action shooting on steel today which was great as no patching targets in the rain. The first course had 2 square steel targets at 25m, plus 2 small round targets at around 10m plus a central round red steel at 12m to finish. You shot fivetimesand got minus points for misses. The worst round was discarded. Then next door the course was easier. Two square targets to the right, two to the left and a central stop target. Theses were closer, about 8m with the red at 10m.

Taupo Pistol Club
The ISSF range
Sat Sep 17 11:52 2016 NZST
Run: 18.6nm (33.7km)
Weather: low cloud and drizzle

About 35min from Tauranga on the Pyes PaRd to Rotorua is a new recreational park for all sorts of outdoor activities from rifle shooting to motorbike riding. And it is so far away from any population and farm land it would never get a noise complaint. Called All terrain TectPark. The weather did not allow too much exploring and the bosswas a bit concerned for the GGRILAs new tyres but it is an amazing facility. A ranger is on site.

TECT recreational park, Tauranga
TECT Allterrain park, Tauranga
Pistol ranges
Shooting ranges
Tauranga Pistol Club
Tauranga Pistol Club
Thu Sep 15 16:53 2016 NZST
Run: 63.8nm (115.5km)
Avg: 3.1kms
24hr: 75kms

Overnighting in a hotel in Tauranga so as not to pass on our bugs to good friends. By the way we diverted on route to the little town of Paeroa to get the best hamburger meal in NZ. The friendly Asian man does a roaring trade. Jokers cafe ison the northern end of town and definitely worth a stop.

We are now into a new regime of medication. Patricia has a cough medicine which is 20% alcohol! And is trying olive leaf! Don't take notes as nothing has worked so far. Chicken soup, hot chocolate, rusty nails, decongestants, cough lozenges, Jamesons, ...., even lemon drinks with honey and Whisky.

Jokers cafe Paeroa
Wed Sep 14 20:27 2016 NZST

A fantastic day for the Mike Eady and Tracktime Driving Academy open day at the Hampton Downs track. Started with a wet track and light rain but it dried off. Lots to report which I will do later. The circuits with Paul Manuell were very interesting. Paul owns eastern Automotive where we get our GGRILA work done and actually volunteered to drive with us. Martin wished him luck as we left the pitts!Patricia was told she was braking too late. Who me? Petrol head Patricia he calls me. Paul was so relaxed on the circuit that it looked like he was out for a Sunday drive when he took the helm. However when you looked at his speeds they really demonstrated that smooth is fast.

We ended the day with nothing broken. And only a sway bar on the must have list. I am told it will reduce under steer! That would be good as when you brake too late after the straight,the car does not seem to want to turn the corner on the approved line! It seems that the extra speed you get on the straight is lost when you, just, make a very wide corner. We both have been advised to stop looking at the speedo and concentrate on using all the track width after corners,and driving the recommended line. Hmm. Hard to not look at lap times as the phone video replays tell you what they are and so of course you compare notes! We were lucky that the track dried off In the afternoon and it looks like we may have a dry day on Monday at Taupo.

By the way we did the first course here with Mike and Martin and this got us hooked on track driving. ( was a great course and got Patricia in particular more confident about the ABS, ESC, and all the other features of our new grunty car. Somewhat different from our cruising junker. We also did the skid pad course with them, turning off some of the stability features to get the car drifting around the cones. Scary with the concrete walls around it but it really taught me to hit the brakes! The biggest thing to get used to on the track is looking way ahead as in suburban driving you are looking not far from the hood to watch for kids darting out or cars leaving drive ways. I still need more confidence in ignoring the short view and looking where I want to go and lining up properly. The next track day at Hampton Downs is not until December as there are lots of other events on there over the next few months.

The middle picture shows david talking to Martin(one of the instructors) about corner 1 tactics.

Hampton Diwns main straight
Start finish line Hampton Downs
Martin chatting to David about corner 1
Mike Eady Tracktime Driving Academy Mazda cars
Corner 1 coming up, fast
Time to brake for corner 1
Tue Sep 13 14:50 2016 NZST
Run: 30.4nm (55km)
Avg: 14.8kms
24hr: 355kms

Hampton Downs motor sport track. Here for a Mike Eady track day and horrors- we are in the fast group. So much for taking it Easy. The pressure is on. Got stopped on the freeway for over 30 mins just prior to the exit. Evidently the police were chasing or looking for some one. Nobody knew anything but it was a very social gathering.

Tue Sep 13 12:47 2016 NZST
Run: 23.4nm (42.4km)

Cannot seem to find the GPS for our new position here at Eastern Automotive 40 Allens Rd East Tamaki Auckland. Here to get measured up for new improved brakes! A pre emotive measure.

The shop we visit frequently to replace broken bits
Our fixit and replace shop
Get the check book out!
Fri Sep 9 16:00 2016 NZST

Leaving the lovely spring garden behind on Tuesday, 13 th September for an exciting week of track drivingand shooting. Pity about the weather forecast. That will slow us down.

Colour in the herb garden
September is tulip time
Fri Sep 9 15:59 2016 NZST

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