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Road Trip - New Zealand, part 3

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bardahl1, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    ...... so we awoke Monday morning after Kumeu. Over the weekend we had met the owners/editors of NZ Hot Rod Magazine, Paul and Liz Grace. Craig knew them and had mentioned that we had a common hobby, Longboard surfing. They had invited us to thier house, which also serves as the HQ for NZ Hot Rod, and also for a surf. We loaded up the roadster, checked the map, and headed north to thier town, Orewa Beach. It seemed like a pretty strait shot.

    Its actually difficult to stay on a road when it goes through round-abouts every 5 minutes, its not really obvious which way is strait ahead. Of course the road we were trying to stay on hit a round-about under construction and without any signs so we ended up on the wrong exit. In the end we righted ourselves and made it to the little town where we called Paul and he drove down to get us in his '32. We followed him back to his place, its always neat to follow a '32 - especially in a '32.

    Paul and Liz live in an old beach cottage on a hill overlooking the ocean. They operate the magazine out of thier cramped basement, and its truly a family affair with thier daughters also working on the mag. I may be biased but I really like the magazine. It's very well done, great photography, real articles, and its done by real Hot Rodders. Look it up www.nz-hotrod.com We parked the '32's on the lawn and took a few pictures, they looked like they belonged together. Paul suggested that we get on the road to Te Aria beach for some surfing.

    It was about an hours drive to Te Aria, some down the main highway and some down a country dirt road. The beach was postcard beautiful and the water was warm. Although the forcast wasn't too good for the waves, it turned out to be fun conditions. We had a great time in the water, Ron watched from the beach, and it turned out to be a really fun session. After a few hours it was time to head back so we dried off and went back to Grace's house. We had plans to meet up with Kromie in Rotorua and stay at his place that night so we had to get on the road. We thanked Paul and Liz and looked forward to seeing them the following weekend on the South Island.

    Kromie and Steve had told us that the drive down to Rotorua would be 3 hours+ from Auckland, and we were north of Auckland. We ended up in rush hour traffic through downtown Auckland and finally broke through it to the south a little after 5. Rotorua is a decent sized town in the middle of the north island, and is in the forestry capitol of NZ. NZ is active in the logging business despite the fact that there are few natural forests there. They farm large areas of trees, planting and harvesting every 25 years or so. The drive down was half on a main road and half on some more of those winding little country roads. It was a great day and the drive was pleasant and uneventful, except for the fact that Ron sat on a package of chocolate covered peanuts that I had bought at the petrol station. He looked like he had chat his shorts, and he's a self concious sort of guy.

    We rolled into Rotorua 8'ish and Kromie drove into town to meet us. We followed him back to his house and his girlfriend Denise made us a great steak dinner. We were beat from the ride and a long day and went to bed early. The following morning we drove down to Kromie's shop to check out his business. He makes an attachment for large skip loaders that reaches out and grabs a tree, cuts it off, and de-limbs it in about 30 seconds. They also retrofit the loaders with cages, they lift them, and install computer controlls. It was impressive to see several of these large units getting lifted with 6" thick steel plates.

    After the tour we got in Kromie's car and went over and picked up PJ. PJ and Kromie have been over for Bonneville several times and Ron had met them while he was helping out on the 8-Ball roadster. After a tour of PJ's, which included a look at his modern redo of a '56 Nomad wagon, they took us to the Duece Farm. Steve, the Farms owner, gave us a tour of his place where he builds not only complete cars but also an array of glass bodies and parts. We got to see Roy Rawson's new '34 roadster project (he didn't actually buy it till the next day). After the Duece Farm we went to PJ's house on the beach at Pukehina. He has a great little beach cottage on the water where we hung out and had a few beers. He also showed us his new ride, a 30's (I forgot the exact year) Indian Scout that he has been riding between his shop in Rotorua and his house at the beach (a good 40 minute ride). PJ noted that there's some real serious fishing to be had out in front of his house, and I think that will be on my schedule next trip for sure. After a while we decided to head back to Rotorua where we would all meet for dinner and Luge.

    The Luge is this interesting little downhill ride on a street luge that you sit on. The advanced course was steep, fast, and fun where you can get moving along pretty good and tipping it over on the turns is likely. Of course there are no barriers or curbs so if you lose it your headed strait into the trees or off a ledge or something like that. They say that some of the really competitive regulars get torn up pretty good from time to time. Thats the nice thing about NZ, they either can't sue eachother or don't because there's all sorts of fun dangerous stuff to do for fun and if you eat it you're on your own. As it should be.

    After Luge we all had dinner at the summit resturaunt overlooking Rotorua and the lake. A stunning view. The next morning we were scheduled to start our journey south.

    Steve Keys and Row Rawson were going to guide/accompany us on our journey down and agreed to stop through at Kromies shop and get us. So about noon we left Kromie's house and went to his shop to meet up. The weather was looking a little grey and it was drizzling by the time we got to the shop. Steve and Roy got there and we hit the road. It was going to take us the rest of the day to get near Wellington, which is the capitol of NZ and is at the southern most tip of the north island. As we made our way south on those small-two lane-windy roads the weather only got worse. By the time we got to Lake Taupo it was raining. This was the beginning of what would become my newfound comfort with driving the roadster for prolonged periods of time in the pouring rain. The road along Taupo was treacherous, narrrow, windy, with a steep drop off to the lake. On top of that and the rain the boys were haulin' ass out front.

    NZ up to this point had been lush and green, but Bob Anderson had told us about this odd little desert out in the middle of nowhere. Well after we got south of Taupo we found it. It was just like blazing across northern Arizona, almost surreal. By the time we got out of the desert we were getting a liitle worn out, fortunately Steve found a little country pub. We slid in and had a couple of pitchers of Speights Old Dark and were refreshed. Finally as we neared Masterton, just outside of Wellington, the weather cleared and Steve had a stop for the night arranged. It was a long and hard day of driving, I wouldn't have traded it for 20 days at a Carribean Club Med not for nothing.

    Tomorrow we head to Magoo's Street Rods, the Southward Museum, and the ferry ride to the south island..........

    enjoy the pics -
     

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  2. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    More pics.............
     

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  3. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    more pics.............
     

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  4. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    more..................
     

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  5. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    more...................
     

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  6. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    more............................
     

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  7. HotrodBoy
    Joined: Oct 15, 2005
    Posts: 235

    HotrodBoy
    Member

    Awesome pics. We live in a beautiful country don't we?. Can't wait for the next installment where you meet us crazy Southerners.
     
  8. swifty
    Joined: Dec 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,799

    swifty
    Member

    Yes keep the stories and the pics coming cos I'm following it and enjoying it all. Roadtrips are great fun aren't they, especially in another country. My son has just posted a story and pics from our trip to the States in 66 so yours is a modern version.

    swifty
     
  9. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,033

    Rckt98
    Member

    Really enjoying the story. It wouldn't be summer in New Zealand without some rain. I have had NZ Hot Rod mag , NZ Rodder & Petrolhead sent to me, all have pics of your car in them. I will bring them to the next Long Beach swap to show you if you haven't already seen them.
    Russell
     
  10. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    Swifty - you are right, this has been the best time I've ever had with my car. I enjoyed your story too.

    Rckt98 - thanks for the offer. Paul is supposed to send me a copy of NZ Hot Rod. We had a good time posing the NZ HR cover shot, and from the little I've seen it came out great. If you stop by the Swap any staff person with a radio can find me, look forward to seeing it!

    Thanks - Marshall
     
  11. Great story! Looking forward to #4. I think it would make a great road trip story for one of the American mag's You should get in touch with someone or if they're smart they'll get in touch with you.
     
  12. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    Kev - already did, Hot Rod, and he wanted to do something on the trip but lost the guys contact info and of course his name. I had spoke with him a while back regarding an article he was doing on Swap Meets. When I get some time I'll dig and figure it out. The Hot Rodding community ought to know how much fun it is over there and how easy it is to do something like my trip.
     
  13. I've been tempted to start a thread about hot rodding in NZ because I believe it may be the most die hard country in the world when you consider the population is only 4 million. Over 100 hot rod clubs, 3 or 4 dragstrips, 3 local magazines, a full hot rod industry for decades, some world class cars and some very talented builders. A very strong do it yourself culture. Imagine what they could get done without all the drinking! Oh yeah and the gas is what? 6 or 7 dollars a gallon! There is a really good book about the history of hot rodding in NZ that I'm sure alot of H.A.M.B.ers would enjoy. I think you can get it from that NZ Hot Rod mag link. It's called Looking Back. Lots of great old pictures, I highly recommend it.
     
  14. 55olds88
    Joined: Jul 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,384

    55olds88
    Member

    Damn Kev "Imagine what they could get done without all the drinking!" thats almost Treason......

    Marshall, were you not mad enough to try surfing Pukehina ? I spend a lot of time down there, but stick to the body board/boady surf the break's not the flashest for a long board.
     
  15. What a great story so far,you've all of us back here in NZ eagerly waiting for your next instalment.
     
  16. nzsimon
    Joined: Oct 11, 2001
    Posts: 120

    nzsimon
    Member

    If you go through Timaru there is a great club there with really great club rroms their name is Tornadoes My father in law Kevin Smith is a member he has almost finished an awesome 34 coupe give them a lookup
     
  17. Thanks for sharing your adventure,what a blast.I have that book Kiwi Kev mentioned,what a history of rodding from the other side of the planet.:cool:
     
  18. flatoz
    Joined: May 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,193

    flatoz
    Member

    very cool,

    road trips are what its all about. But MORE PHOTOS PLEASE!! :)
     
  19. "Looking Back" is a great book, and is very Hamb-friendly. ( Course, it does'nt hurt that a 34 coupe I owned in the mid 60s is on page 106... heh, heh ......)
     
  20. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

    Kev - I've got a copy of 'Looking back' I got from Craig a few years ago, we looked it over on the way to NZ.

    55olds - nobody I was with at that point surfed so it didn't happen anywhere but up north with Paul. I'd like to take a surf tour of NZ sometime, maybe a future trip. Paul would probably do it. And I'll try any break under 12 feet (except Pipe or Teahupoo) for at least 5 minutes.

    NZ simon - I went to the Tornados clubhouse in '01 on our way to the Pre-49's in Cromwell. They were great people, fed us lunch and piss, and I found one of my Dad's business cards on the wall, I guess he'd been there too. It's real hard to explain the reality of cool car clubs to us here in SoCal, our clubs tend to be hyper-political, snobby, and don't have clubhouses to hang out at. Although, there has been a recent rush of new clubs keeeping it more basic and all about cars (building and driving them, not just buying and showing them). I've enjoyed the club scene in NZ.
     
  21. bardahl1
    Joined: Oct 16, 2005
    Posts: 347

    bardahl1
    Member

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