26 Dec 2015 | 328 views | 3 Comments

Well, after three years trying in vain to get help from the doctors, consultants and specialists, by whom I have been diagnosed with mild CFS/ME/SEID, I’m now going my own way.
Settle in, it will be a long post – I’m going down the herbal, supplements, homeopathy and snake oil route because nothing else has got me back on a bike
Oh, if you need a bit of a back history click over here to read what’s gone on in the last three years. Better make a cuppa as it is another long read.
Yes I do agree that I suffer from Chronic Fatigue but it does not explain why I’m still in pain and what has caused the pain to start. And no one, so far, has told me what I need to do to get better. I’m just instructed to learn to “manage” my condition.
I’m reluctant to take any pain killers, because that is just masking what is happening and I fear that I might do permanent damage if I can’t feel when it hurts. I’m sure that pain is the body’s way of telling you “Erm, please stop what you are doing, or else you will break me.”
The …

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Review: What we like about our Hilleberg

We have recently described our frustrations with the zippers on our Hilleberg failing in this blog post. There are plenty of features we do like about the Hilleberg, however, and if they could only get the zippers problem sorted, we think it would be the perfect tent.
Fabric strength: It has taken some serious beating. We have heard of people losing or ripping tents while pitching theirs in Patagonia. We pitched in very strong winds which we could barely walk in and even in the middle of the night on Tierra del Fuego, and the fabric withstood such battering admirably.
Rigidity: We endured a massive thunderstorm with winds from all directions which shook the tent and bent the poles down so they touched us laying inside, for more than 12 hours on New Years Eve, 2012. Other campers bailed out and hid in their cars or the refuge shelter, while we woke up dry albeit in a ‘waterbed’ with 10cm of the wet stuff all around and underneath us.
UV resistance: Camping for more than a year in summer temperatures and in strong UV light in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile and the USA has caused the fabric to fade, …

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Review: When Hilleberg zippers fail. And fail again.

UPDATE: (07.08.2013) This issue has now been solved.
Since we first wrote this post we have received comment on this blog, via email and other online forums about our honest post about our experience with Hilleberg.
Hilleberg have come back to us offering to fit new zippers on our tent, so we’ll update our blog once that has happened.
Faulty zippers aside, as regular readers of our blog will know (as we bang on about our tent so often), there are many things we appreciate about our Hilleberg. If they could get the zipper thing sorted out, I think it would be the perfect tent. Read our Review: What we like about our Hilleberg.

Original post :
I blogged last July about the problems we’d had with the zippers failing on our (otherwise wonderful) Hilleberg Kaitum 3GT tent.
Despite Hilleberg replacing the sliders on the outer tent and providing us with a discounted brand-new inner tent, our zipper frustrations have continued. We’re now stuck with an unusable tent and here’s the story of how we got here.
In August 2012 I contacted Hilleberg’s US office in Redmond, Washington to explain that three out of our tent’s five zips had broken down irreparably. They …

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Blog: Mountains in New Zealand
10 Jan 2013 | 14,872 views | No Comment
Blog: Mountains in New Zealand

Glenorchy, Queenstown, Te Anau, Invercargill, Alexandra, Mount Cook.
Highlight: Yellow-eyed penguins, scorchio on Christmas Day, New Year in a puddle, mountain walks.
Day 349 – Dec 19 : Lake Sylvan
We got up early since the sun was hitting the tent with force and the hungry sandflies were waiting greedily for us.
We did the two hour walk through the forest to pretty Lake Sylvan and followed the old mining tramway back to the campsite.
Driving back from Routeburn track and Glenorchy is hard work, keeping your eyes on the road and where you are driving is nearly impossible when you have the beautiful distractions of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding snow capped mountains.
We stocked up in Queenstown and headed to Te Anau. We had heard that the road to Milford Sound was closed because of a rock slide and they were wondering what to do with an especially big rock laying just above the road. But, by the number of tour buses coming from Te Anau towards us it was clearly business as usual in Milford.
We headed to the free DoC campground around six kilometres south of Te Anau, according to the DoC camp book, but when we got there …

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Blog: Meet Domestique
18 Dec 2012 | 31,602 views | No Comment
Blog: Meet Domestique

Nelson, Christchurch, Abel Tasman Park, Nelson Lakes, Westport, Franz Josef, Haast Pass, Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy
Highlights: Rain, knife making, pancake rocks, limestone arches, lakes and mountains.
Day 333-335 – Dec 3-5 : Meet domestic, the car
We still have a month left to enjoy New Zealand.
Quick story: we rented a car. A slightly longer version: we made our way by bus from Nelson to Christchurch and went out to the area near the airport where there were at least ten rental car companies, with the plan to shop around. We went to the first one and drove away in a station wagon. No faffing.
So, the plan is that I will be Peli’s domestique driving the car while she cycles the best bits and in between we’ll find some day walks to hike.
We got some thinner tyres for Peli’s bike Milly and stored my bike and trailer at the great LBS in Christchurch – Cycletrader.co.nz, to be picked up next year before we fly out to Tasmania. Keith the owner showed us pictures of the old shop after the 2011 earthquake, the whole shop front was gone.
We didn’t spend much time in Christchurch last time we were here, but we …

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Blog: Queen Charlotte Track and a painful dilemma

Wellington, Picton, Ships Cove, Picton, Havelock, Nelson – 201km (Total 7137km cycled)
Highlights: Ferry, warmshowers, mountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track, bays, stunning views, broken hands.
Day 321-324 – November 21-24 : Ferry to the South Island
After two days rest up north we took the bus to Wellington, we had heard from other cycle tourers that the last bit into the capital wasn’t the most enjoyable to ride. It was also clear that I needed more time of the bike. So I time in Wellington was spend going around bicycle shops figuring out options for me. This wasn’t too bad since we are not so keen on walking around a big town looking at churches, queuing at museums and window shopping.
The ferry from Wellington to Picton we had booked departed at 8:15am, which meant a 5am wake-up call to give time to pack up and ride to the ferry terminal for a wonderful check-in time of 7:30am. We found a cycle lane that ran between the highway into Wellington and the train line. We didn’t see that as we’d cycled out to the campsite, it could have made a more enjoyable ride for sure.
We had great weather and Peli even commented …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island : Onwards through the centre

Hot Water Beach, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, National Park, Pipiriki, Wanganui – 414km (Total 6895km cycled)
Highlights: Active volcanoes, ice cream, wonderful hospitality, hot mineral pools, rainforests.
Day 309 – November 9 : Bus ride from hell
We had booked a bus to Tauranga to gain a few days and bypass a narrow and busy stretch, which had the nickname “The Suicide Highway”. A wise move, we thought.
The first bus arrived on time and the driver was helpful, nice and drove very sensibly. We changed buses in Thames and the new driver was a nightmare – swore at us, was unhelpful when one of our bags went missing (“I don’t care about your bag! I’ve a bus full of pissed off people and you’re pissing me off with your missing bag!” etc) and drove like a complete idiot. Yet another reason why we didn’t want to do this bit…
But after seven kilometres ride from the bus station in Tauranga peace was restored. We were in the beautiful home of John, Sylvia and Heather, the brother and family of Penny and Paul, two lovely Kiwis we’d met when we visited the South Island in 2010. We enjoyed a delicious meal and …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island – Coromandel Peninsular

Auckland, Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach – 362km (Total 6481km cycled)
Highlights : Wild camping in Auckland, tailwinds, stunning views, new friends, hot water beaches and getting reacquainted with ripio!
Day 309 – October 31 : Leaving Auckland again
We got the bus at eight and pretty much backtracked the route we’d taken up to Kaitaia over the last few days. In Auckland we went via the university where – thanks to the kindness of many friends, and friends of friends – we managed to collect a supply of Peli’s asthma drugs to last her the next three months.
Then we joined the 50km long Tamaki Drive Cycle Path out of Auckland which snaked its way along the bays to the east of the city. The first part will for sure be packed with pedestrians and cyclists on a summer weekend. The path gave excellent views over the CBD (central business district, as they call town centres down here). We had a few hills to climb as we got out of town but spotted plenty of places to do a bit of wild camping in the many parks along the water and bays.
After a little stake-out we …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island – Northland

Auckland, Helensville, Dargaville, Whangarei, Russell, Doubtless Bay, Kaitaia – 569km (Total 6119km cycled)
Highlights: Back in New Zealand, cycling with friends, Boysenberry ice cream, beautiful views and surprisingly good driving from lorries.
Day 293-295 – October 15-17 : Back in NZ
After being in the air for two hours from Portland to LA and then 13 hours to Auckland, where we missed out on October the 15 completely, it’s not really the best time to be spending three hours outside a windy, cold Auckland airport at 8am putting our bicycles together.
We cycled the ten kilometres to the nearest campsite, crawled into bed (we’d booked a basic cabin for two nights) and proceeded to sleep for 18 hours. We even missed dinner time! I know I watched four films on the plane, but can only remember three. We will never get used to long distance flying.
We spent a day pottering around a sunny, windy Auckland trying to find free and working internet access, which turned out to be rather hard. We had become used to free, fast and available wifi in the remotest of places in Patagonia and North America. But New Zealand is still stuck in the stone age of the digital age …

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