Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Life is so tough when you are locked into the hotel bar 😂                          20-12-2017

A tough 40 kilometres took me to a hamlet called Studholme. On the way, I passed a major milestone, the 45th parallel, halfway between the South Pole and the Equator. I would have to find a way to celebrate that night!
Looking for a place to camp in Studholme I asked the security guard of the Fonterra milk processing plant if I could pitch my tent on a nearby patch of grass. Instead, he pointed me down a laneway towards The Studholme Hotel.

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When I said I might stop in there for a plate of chips he obliged by ringing on ahead for me. I was greeted at the door by Sarah, the duty manager. What transpired was nothing short of amazing. My bangers 'n' mash dinner was on the house. Just before she locked up and went home she gave me a key to a hotel room. She had phoned Sam, the owner who invited me to stay a couple more nights. I could launder my clothes and I had a great time for the three nights I was locked in there lol!  I was told to help myself to whatever drinks in the bar that I wanted! Locked in a bar for three nights. 😂 Well, I'm not much of a drinker, even still this was amazing hospitality.

  Previously, the hotel was owned by the same Russian company that used to own the dairy plant. I was told that every few years that the owners had to get certificates of compliance that they weren't making too much noise and a nuisance of themselves to neighbours. To avoid hassle the Russians just bought up all of the surrounding properties near the plant. It's been refurbished and the rich wallpaper classic style fittings and antique furniture make the hotel a truly boutique-style country pub. 
On Monday I walked 21 kilometres without my baggage and then I thumbed my way back to the hotel. The driver was a Russian who has been living here for 17 years and before that, he lived in Germany. He mentioned (what many Russians told me when I was there) that much to the contrary to what many people believe, that Russians have always been free to leave their country. Even during hard-line communist times. However, he plans to go back to take up a land allotment scheme where the Russian government offers people free land in areas that they want to populate, like in Siberia.
Back at the hotel, Sam had a delicious lamb shank dinner waiting for me. Thanks so much to him for his wonderful kindness.
He chatted about his other business. He also runs a couple of trips per year where groups of about 15 couples get their kicks driving Mustangs across the historic American Route 66 highway 😅 See www.gilligansroute66.com Image may contain: outdoor

Tuesday, once again I thumbed a ride out to where I finished the day before. This time with a man called Rory Foley. His company raises money for a cancer charity. They have a unique approach to scaring people with their company called 'Fear NZ' Impressive Events. They put on a range of haunting games and shows. So I tramped out just under 20 kilometres as far as Timaru and thumbed my way back to the Studholme Hotel.

Monday, December 18, 2017

"A bit of deja vu and a question answered."




It's almost 19,000 kilometres and 22 months since I left Ireland to walk around the world. New Zealand is the first part of my world walk route which I took on my world run route. Back in February 2013 I was running along this same road that I am now walking on. Then, I was running south, now as I walk north I can't help looking across the road and reflecting that I actually ran along there before. 

 Thanks to David Brankley for his excellent question. David wants to know how a world run day compares to a world walk day with some pointers to my speed, distance,  logistics, wear and tear to my body?
Well the distances are definitely down on the walk. On the run I averaged around 43.3 kilometres per road day. Now it's about 37. However, my current average is about 30 and i expect it to stay there. The only reason it's at 37 is because I put in a massive effort coming across Russia when I took full advantage of the northern hemispheres long summer evenings and walked late into the evening and often into the early morning. The reason for that was to get through Mongolia before the onset of their harsh winter. That took me nice and neatly to Australia in April, an ideal time to cross the Nullarbor plains. On the run my pace started at about 9 kms per hour and slowed down to around six near the end. I know some people may not.consider that running and there are often debates on forums as to what pace equates to walking and what is running. Naturally, I won't allow anyone to tell me that my six kms an hour wasn't running! It depends on what you are doing and what preceded it. I was even paced into Dublin by my sister who is a smoker lol 😅 Thanks Ann! That was chronic fatigue which I had been battling with for about two years! 
On the world run I had a date set in stone : 27 October 2014, as I wanted to finish where I started, with my city marathon, which obviously only comes around once a year. Now, I don't have that pressure as I don't have a finishing date in mind. I can walk as little or as many kms as I want to on any given day, and take more rest days if I want to. I am living in the moment. On my run I was focused on a date ahead, so I guess I was living in the future. 
On my world run which comprised of 50,000 kilometres I pushed my gear in a cart (which I called Nirvana) about 30% of the expedition. Crew support, Police escorts in Mexico and Burma/Myanmar totalled about 20% The other 50% of the time I ran with just a backpack which mostly weighed around a couple of kilograms. That was in the cheaper poorer countries where I ran from cheap hotels to squalor dollar hotels and even did a lot of commuting on mini buses where I always returned from these places of rest to my previous days finish location.
On this world walk I have walked about 16,500 pushing my gear in Karma my cart. The other 2,500 I was supported by Michael Gillian in Australia and other people on short stretches. 
  My body is pretty sore now. It never really recovered in the 16 months between the end if the world run and the start of thus world walk. My left leg is pretty weak. To demonstrate I can hop on my left leg for a prolonged period of time but on my right I have to stop almost immediately. Am I worried I will not get to the finish line? No, not in the least as I am pacing myself and know I will be okay. Incidentally, a few months before I began I was checked out by an orthopaedic specialist and the result was that my ultra distance days of cycling, running and walking were over. I'm glad I didn't listen too closely.  No I wasn't going to give up on my dream. I encourage everyone never to give up on your dreams, just go back asleep
😂
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Sunday, December 17, 2017

My world walk blog new Zealand 3

Date: 16 Dec 2017 22:00

Friday 37 kms I arrived in Maheno, on New Zealand's picturesque south island. 
Thanks to my kind hosts Neil and Sandy for a lovely time 😅 
I stopped to ask permission  to camp on a patch of grass beside their house. Neil response was: "You can if you prefer that to a bed inside with a shower, a feed and someone to do your laundry!" 
Neil went out to the garden to pick some fresh lettuce for my dinner. Today, Saturday Neil has offered to take my pack 16 kms ahead to Oamaru! 
While chilling out I was so impressed by their local radio station called Brian Fm that I downloaded the app. Its constant classic rock with almost no talk for 24 hours. Check it out, it's great 😅
I expect to spend Christmas in Christchurch.
During these last few days I have passed by many world war one memorials. Its always especially so sad when I come to a village and see one where two brothers lives were taken in the war. 
Thanks also to the many kind people who stopped on the road to check on me 😀

A short day today as I mentioned in my last post that Neil, the man I stayed with the previous night delivered my backpack to his brother Jeff in Oamaru  for me to pick up.  

It was a pleasant stroll with the temperature hovering around 23C, it sure doesn't feel like Christmas. An odd feeling looking at frosty decorative shops and houses with the sun beaming down on me as I walked along route 1.
  After walking New Zealand I will be returning to my route in Australia to walk to Darwin. For New Zealand I decided to walk it with a backpack as there are so many one way bridges roads which are tighter than in Australia and with narrower hard shoulders. So far I think that I made a pretty conservative decision and I could have managed pushing Karma, my trusty cart. However, I am having a bit of a break from pushing her. It certainly makes camping much easier and I can jump over a fence as I did a couple of nights ago and camp in a forest. It does make the country a bit more expensive than it would have been with Karma as I am not carrying any cooking gear. My pack weighs about five kilos and includes my new light-weight  tent which weighs only 1.3 kgs and a summer sleeping bag. Lately, I have started to slip the yellow rain cover over my pack as it gives me higher viability, and besides there are a lot of short showers. I stock up on snacks of mostly dried fruit and peanuts in supermarkets. I also carry a few packets of noodles and any chance I get to get boiling water I lash a packet into my thermos mug. Sometimes I consume that along with a tin of sardines on the road. Instant oatmeal is another handy snack when I can get hot water. On the odd occasion that I do stop in a restaurant I never buy tea or coffee as it's about five dollars a cup. I usually just ask the friendly staff for boiling water and make my own!
 Fortunately, here in Kiwiland towns and villages are pretty close and I have fish 'n' chips at least once a day. I try to go to a regular chip shop as it costs only the equivalent of a few Euro.
One such place was in the picturesque Victorian town of Oamaru. The gentile  Chinese owner told me that he has been living here for eighteen years and knows New Zealand better than China. I couldn't help wondering if I know more of the land of the dragon than most Chinese do.  

I walked a couple of kilometres beyond the town as far as the racecourse.  As  arranged I phoned Jeff who came out of a nearby house with my pack. He mentioned that there was a chance of a rain storm and as he was watching darts on television it seemed like a sensible option to take him up on his invitation to stay the night in his home. 
Then we watched snooker and the Ashes cricket. So, it was a lazy 18 kilometre day but still nice to chill out watching sports which I haven't watched in many years.

 


"Baldwin Street: The steepest street in the world."

My world walk blog new Zealand 2

Thanks to Brian Railton for great crew support today. You may remember he crewed for me last week. Today he was in Dunedin buying a window so he picked up my pack from the backpackers hostel I was staying at.On the way out of the city I stopped at Baldwin Street which is the world's steepest street, please see info on photo for details. It was 350 meters long and not as difficult as I had imagined.  I walked up it in a leisurely seven minutes which included taking pictures. It was crowded with Japanese tourists. In Feb 2013 while on my world run I actually ran past the foot of it. I was at km 49 of a 50 km day on that occasion, and I was too knackered or more likely wimpy 😅 I said that I would return the following morning but I didn't 
Today was wet, so I was glad when I met Brian at a cafe 15 damp kms up the road. Then Brian offered to deliver my pack to a campsite in Waikouaiti a  further 24 kms up the road. That gave me a great 44 for the day.

Friday 37 kms I arrived in Maheno, on New Zealand's picturesque south island.
Thanks to my kind hosts Neil and Sandy for a lovely time 😅
I stopped to ask permission  to camp on a patch of grass beside their house. Neil response was: "You can if you prefer that to a bed inside with a shower, a feed and someone to do your laundry!" 
Neil went out to the garden to pick some fresh lettuce for my dinner. Today, Saturday Neil has offered to take my pack 16 kms ahead to Oamaru!
While chilling out I was so impressed by their local radio station called Brian Fm that I downloaded the app. Its constant classic rock with almost no talk for 24 hours. Check it out, it's great 😅
I expect to spend Christmas in Christchurch.
During these last few days I have passed by many world war one memorials. Its always especially so sad when I come to a village and see one where two brothers lives were taken in the war. 
Thanks also to the many kind people who stopped on the road to check on me 😀

A short day today as I mentioned in my last post that Neil, the man I stayed with the previous night delivered my backpack to his brother Jeff in Oamaru  for me to pick up.  

It was a pleasant stroll with the temperature hovering around 23C, it sure doesn't feel like Christmas. An odd feeling looking at frosty decorative shops and houses with the sun beaming down on me as I walked along route 1.
  After walking New Zealand I will be returning to my route in Australia to walk to Darwin. For New Zealand I decided to walk it with a backpack as there are so many one way bridges roads which are tighter than in Australia and with narrower hard shoulders. So far I think that I made a pretty conservative decision and I could have managed pushing Karma, my trusty cart. However, I am having a bit of a break from pushing her. It certainly makes camping much easier and I can jump over a fence as I did a couple of nights ago and camp in a forest. It does make the country a bit more expensive than it would have been with Karma as I am not carrying any cooking gear. My pack weighs about five kilos and includes my new light-weight  tent which weighs only 1.3 kgs and a summer sleeping bag. Lately, I have started to slip the yellow rain cover over my pack as it gives me higher viability, and besides there are a lot of short showers. I stock up on snacks of mostly dried fruit and peanuts in supermarkets. I also carry a few packets of noodles and any chance I get to get boiling water I lash a packet into my thermos mug. Sometimes I consume that along with a tin of sardines on the road. Instant oatmeal is another handy snack when I can get hot water. On the odd occasion that I do stop in a restaurant I never buy tea or coffee as it's about five dollars a cup. I usually just ask the friendly staff for boiling water and make my own!
 Fortunately, here in Kiwiland towns and villages are pretty close and I have fish 'n' chips at least once a day. I try to go to a regular chip shop as it costs only the equivalent of a few Euro.
One such place was in the picturesque Victorian town of Oamaru. The gentile  Chinese owner told me that he has been living here for eighteen years and knows New Zealand better than China. I couldn't help wondering if I know more of the land of the dragon than most Chinese do.  

I walked a couple of kilometers beyond the town as far as the racecourse.  As  arranged I phoned Jeff who came out of a nearby house with my pack. He mentioned that there was a chance of a rain storm and as he was watching darts on television it seemed like a sensible option to take him up on his invitation to stay the night in his home. 
Then we watched snooker and the Ashes cricket. So, it was a lazy 18 kilometer day but still nice to chill out watching sports which I haven't watched in many years.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Zealand 


I have begun walking New Zealand from Slope Point, the most southern point in the country 
Thanks to my great friend Brian Railton  for great crew support in the semi-remote area of Catlins region of South New Zealand. Previously, he won several national titles as a power boat racer and even represented his country in a world championship event in China.
 😅
He was also a great help when I finished off the country in February 2013 on my world run when I finished in Bluff.
Today he dropped me at the start and commuted me back to his home in Windred that he shares with Rose, his wife. I was delighted when he said that he would do the same again tomorrow.
After a couple of weeks off the road I was a bit stiff and lethargic. There was even a road closure at the area where I wanted to begin. We managed to bluff our way in by claiming to be local residents asking for local access. A sign pointed out 4803 kilometres to The South Pole; a bit too cold for me, I will leave that to my mate Richard Donovan who's burning dream is to run across the white continent.
Another sign suggested a more leisurely 5,140 kilometres to the Equator. As always my route will be a lot longer for I never seem to take the shortest route across a continent. I have been warned to watch out for strong winds coming from the south for it can be freezing cold, all the way from Antarctica and weather can change dramatically. That day it was overcast but the temperature soon picked up to around 27C and became pretty hot and humid. After 15 kilometres I had totalled 18,500 kilometres of my world walk. Tomorrow will be road day 500.
I walked past small man-made lagoons. One man told us that it was dug out while a gold mine was in operation in the 1800's. Further on up the road I heard about a passenger ship which was sunk when it hit a reef in the dark. In those days roads were not in existence and people travelled by coastal shipping routes. Towards the end of that century roads were built. I passed by a concrete horse trough where a sign said:  Circa 1890 the concrete horse trough was situated by the roadside allowing the  horse teams a welcome drink when they had completed the climb up Cemetery Hill.The trip down the hill, however was often more perilous. It is known that the brakes failed at least once on the Waikawa-Fortrose coach on the downhill journey. 
I walked on further and when we arrived at a lovely cafe called the Niagara Falls, Brian stuck my head and arms inside a set of stocks. Later, he said that he should have left me there instead of releasing me on his country people! 
Inside the cafe we got a warm welcome from the owner, Susan Thompson who treated me to a delicious lamb burger and piping-hot  chips. Thanks so much Susan 😀
I walked another half hour and eventually finished my first day in New Zealand with 27 clicks.

Next day, once again Brian Railton provided his services and gave me a great days crewing. We had many laughs while I strode out 26 kilometres as far as Lake Wilkie with a minimal breaks in a little over a half days walking. On the way I walked past some lush green fields full of grazing cows and sheep and even a few curious horses and small wodden houses. Signs that told poachers to piss off, and small rolling hills that rolled beneath my eager feet like an asphalt  treadmill talking me on an epic journey of discovery. To walk is to wonder, to come alive. Not only do I see the world, I immerse myself within my world at its best. I try not to worry too much about the past or my future destiny, days like that day I lived in the moment. I say to anyone who is considering a long journey to find a way to do it, surely life's great shame is to not even make an effort to try. 
Earlier, I met a school bus driver who takes his job seriously. He loves his job but spoke of the need to be well rested each night. "For driving a school bus is not like driving a truck where a tired driver can pull over and have a snooze. 
"It doesn't happen to me very often. If I was tired, I would just stop and check the tyre pressure."
  That evening I enjoyed a huge steak in Big Willys Sports Bar & Grill with my hosts  Brian and Rose and some of their family members. We went out to celebrate Roses birthday and even cooked out own steaks on an indoor barbecue grill.
The restaurant bar and hotel is part of the 'Invercargill licencing trust' project. Prices are more affordable here than in other establishments. I guess it's a kind of bases on a socialist model as profits have been pumped back into the region for the past 70 years. Small sporting arenas and stadiums have built as a direct result of the trust project.
Later we checked out one of Brian speedboats called Otherwise Fine as he has a race coming up soon. 
  Next day I took a rest day and went around town with Brian as he promised a couple of people that he would mow their lawns and gardens. We continued to have a laugh and he expensed sorrow at me moving on in the morning. "Its my birthday soon and if you stayed for it you would age me ten years!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

 
Cinderella is almost ready for the Ball!
Tomorrow, Sunday 3rd I fly from Sydney to Queenstown, New Zealand and then in a couple of days I will walk from the southern coast to auckland in the north island. 
Last Sunday I had a great time in Jimmy's Irish bar in Randwick with Tom Denniss, my fellow around the world runner. Thanks to the Irish lads there for a great time and buying us some drinks 😅
Earlier, Tom kindly gave me a loan of his suit for my invitation to the Christmas Ball in Sydney.  This event is on tonight,  Saturday and is a fundraiser for the St Patrick’s Day Festival. I also put a shout out for a loan of a pair of black shoes as my walking shoes wouldn't suffice, lol! Thanks to Paul King for answering the call so Cinderella can go to the Ball 
😅
 
Here is my invitation from the president:
 
"Hi Tony,
   Word has spread quickly in Sydney about your great efforts to raise Awareness for Cancer with your world walk.
Each year the Sydney St Patrick’s Day Committee holds a Christmas Ball which will take place this year on December 2nd at the Shangri La Hotel.

On behalf of our committee I’d like to invite you to be our guest at our Christmas Ball and we would love to assist with publicising your great work and efforts.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards,

Robert

 

Robert Kineavy

President - Sydney St Patrick’s Day

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A. QVB Post Shop, PO Box Q1168 NSW 1230