Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting Sorted (NZ part 5)

(NZ part 1 here)

Early the next morning, probably while we were eating our bland oatmeal, Matt passed our cabin (the rack on the back of his bike had broken the night before on one of the downhills, and he had been forced to camp there on the side of the road). We get word from a road crew worker while we wait for a one lane bridge. He tells us Matt will be in Blenhiem, where we are headed, but we don't think we will make it there by the time he mentioned to the worker. We head on anyway, as we figure we will be able to get some spare parts in Blenhiem, work on the bikes a bit, and possibly reduce the loads in the trailers.

(The route marked on this section may not be right - we may have taken the route over Taylor Pass into Blenhiem)

We make it to Blenhiem, a medium sized town on the North/South route between Christchurch and the main ferry stop, Picton, without too much trouble, and I manage to find a replacement derailer mount for my borrowed bike at a outdoor shop. Dan finds a new Macpac sleeping bag that he will replace his summer weight bag with as it is really still spring here, and we expect to get up into the mountains again before too long. We spend the afternoon sifting through our gear and collect a pile of things to ship off along with Dan's sleeping bag - spare clothing, too many books, etc. - anything to help drop some of the 70 lbs from each of the trailers.

We also spend several hours trying to get the food storage system sorted. So far we have been simply taking our bag of groceries and slipping it into the larger BOB bag with all of our other gear. There seems to be several problems with this approach though. First of all, it is not particularly well organized in there - it is just one large duffel with all gear crammed into it. This makes us more inclined to just get basic, uninteresting food that we can pack without worrying. Second, the weight ends up higher than it needs to be with the duffel just getting taller and taller as we add food. And we just can't keep the Possums from trying to rip into the nylon duffels if they smell something good in there. We develop the food pods with supplies from a hardware store - plastic bins with tops that fit neatly on either side of the trailer wheel, a plastic cutting board shaped to act as platform for the bin, tons of zip-ties to hold the cutting board platforms to the trailer frame, some webbing straps with buckles to lash the tops on to the bins and keep the critters out, and finally, a few small pieces of foam egg crate to sit in the bottom of the bins and preserve our most fragile culinary cargo - tomatoes, avocados, kiwis, eggs. This would be the beginning of less bland meals on the road.

(Relaxing at our next site with food storage sorted - Photo Dan Cantrell)

No comments:

Post a Comment