The van we’ve purchased runs great – except when it comes to starting, idling or climbing hills. It has also developed a fairly serious mouse problem and a permanent odor of farts and feet, though that’s hardly through any fault of its own. When we bought the van, we joked that if we couldn’t resell it at the end of our trip we’d just burn it and send it off a cliff. Three weeks later, it seems like that might actually be the most sanitary way to dispose of it.
It is, however reluctantly, doing the job we need it to do: transport the four of us to the finest tracks on New Zealand’s South Island. We arrived in Christchurch in early February, traded a couple Italian hippies a pile of cash for the van, slapped a bike rack on the back, taped “Free Candy” across the passenger side windows and moved into our new home. With roughly a month to kill before reporting to Craigieburn to race the Trans NZ Enduro, our only priority was to ride as many of the Island’s famed tracks as possible.
Gas prices in New Zealand are equivalent to roughly $8 USD per gallon, so we resisted the urge to immediately drive up and down the Island hitting the hotspots we’ve read about for years. Instead, we focused our efforts on exploring the central South Island. From laps at the Christchurch Adventure Park, to a helicopter shuttle in Reefton, to exploring some of the secret tracks in Craigieburn, it doesn’t feel like that decision has been a compromise at all.
These are a few random moments from the first leg of our trip.