March 4, 2002 - Returning To Auckland

It was blowing and raining on Monday morning in Invercargill. I left the Southern Comfort Backpackers early, about 8 am since I didn't know how far it was to the airport. It was only about 5km, but the wind was 65-90kph directly out of the direction I was going--and raining. It was a virtually flat ride, but in the next to lowest gear on the bike most of the way. The Roaring 40's were definitely roaring.

Once I got to the airport, they were vey nice at Air New Zealand. The only preparation that I had to do to the bike was to tape the cranks so they wouldn't rotate. I also turned the front fork of the trailer inside the trailer and lashed it in place. It all arrived in Auckland with no problems.

I am evidently still a United Premier Executive Frequent Flyer, even though I haven't flown on United in at least a year, since that was marked on my ticket and they gave me a pass to the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge as an Star Alliance Gold card member. They treat their frequent flyers much better than United. In Invercargill, they had a full selection of juices, coffee and tea, biscuits, muffins and sandwiches. In Christchurch they also had the fixings for a full lunch: salads, meats, breads, fruit and all kinds of beverages, including fresh espresso and capuccino.

Invercargill airport was interesting, there were absolutely no security checks. I went from the counter to the lounge to the plane. Once I was on the plane, I realized that there had been no security check. I guess they figure that there are so few ways to get to Invercargill that it is highly unlikely that there would be problems. I did have to go through security in Christchurch to get to the gate.

Both flights were uneventful, arriving in Auckland around 4pm. What took me nearly four weeks to ride took less than 8 hours to cover, of which under three hours were in the air. I caught a shuttle van to the ferry terminal, since they had a bike rack, and got there just in time to meet my friend, Mark, and return to his home for the next couple of days.

It is now Tuesday and the bicycle has been repacked in its case, the bag for the trailer and the rest of my stuff has been heavily repaired with duct tape (the airline managed to really tear it up on the way down here) and it is mostly filled. A couple of visits with other friends in Auckland tomorrow and I will be heading home on Thursday. The trip is just about over.

Updated: 07 April 2002