New Zealand Day 7: How far to Auckland?

The trip from Waipukurau to Auckland is one which has largely faded from my memory, unfortunately. I know that we started out early in the morning due to an early check-out time required by the motel. We made it back to Auckland in the late afternoon, around 4 or 5 pm.

One distinct memory I have from this section of the trip was passing by the restaurant where we'd had lunch on the way down. I remember thinking, on the way down, that we'd lunched at a restaurant that must have been halfway between Auckland and Wellington. The road had gotten so "primitive" compared to the 4-lane freeway in Auckland. On the return trip, it was just the opposite -- the road was wide and high speed, and the restaurant was couched in the middle of a huge swath of civilization. It was also only about an hour or two from there to Auckland. It was practically a suburb! Perspective is an amazing thing.

Meeting up with Dave in Auckland

When we finally arrived at the boat in Auckland, I remembered that I had wanted to meet up with Dave Gale, a person I'd met on the message board. It's a motorcycle message board that focuses on the Moto Guzzi V11 Le Mans, which is a bike that we both own. I'd sent him email when I realized that I'd be in his home town. He responded with overwhelming offers: a place to say, a ride from the airport, the loan of a motorcycle, etc. All I'd really wanted was to meet up for drinks or dinner, since my parents were taking care of everything else.

We corresponded a bit via email (over the Zoom wireless modem, which only got a marginal signal on the boat), and had agreed to meet up this day, Sunday. I got his phone number from my email, and grabbed the phone card. A short conversation later, and we had agreed to meet up at a particular spot we both knew, and he'd lead me to a restaurant. He had brought his wife, Ranwen along, and Sibyl joined me in the beastly Toyota.

He lead us to a hopping business district, where Italian, Japanese, and doubtless many other styles of food were all clumped together. We selected a sushi restaurant and sat down at a table. Dave warned me that they don't do Sushi in New Zealand the way they do in the US. He seemed to be suggesting that it was worse, but i found that what I ordered was pretty good.

[Dave and Ranwen] We conversed on this and that, each of us covering what we did for a living, what motorcycles we'd owned, etc. Nothing earth-shattering, but a pleasant social evening. Dave has lead an interesting life, working as a television engineer. He travelled to the US, mostly in LA, numerous times, and even kept a motorcycle there, at a friend's house, so he'd have something to ride when visiting.

[Dave and Ian]

Soon enough, it was time to part company, but first, he had to show me his bike. He brought a Moto Guzzi California EV (as I recall), because it's a far more comfortable bike for the passenger than the Le Mans is (Sibyl basically refuses to ride with me on the Le Mans, since the passenger pegs are so high that it hurts her knees).

Return to the Introduction - Go on to Day 8

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