ImageThis has been a long time coming but at last the journey has started.

Those of you who know me will recollect that Brian and I rented BMW 1150R's last Easter and 'rode' to Wanaka from Christchurch. The trip made us both realise how much we enjoyed the two wheel stuff and how horribly rusty we have become, perhaps not too surpising after 40 years out of the saddle?

Yesterday (21 Feb) was the 'big day' with me taking delivery of a brand new BMW F650GS in glorious red. Luckily I'd also decided to buy one of the Garmin motorcycle GPS's, the Zumo 550 and a N-Com bluetooth adapter kit for the Nolan helmet. 

This (Thursday) morning (and in truth yesterday afternoon) saw me excavating my way through a collection of the poorest manuals ever written. Nolan you can to an extent forgive as English is clearly not their first language but is still seems incomprehensible that anything has to be that complicated.

Luckily, Lou at Auckland Motorcycles and Powersports knows what he is doing and fitted the several hundred tiny pieces to the helmet for me. I'd have still been trying to decipher the instructions. The Zumo on the other hand has a manual but it really doesn't tell you very much, luckily the unit is comprehensively equipped, even down to having black top and bottom panels in case you don't like the silver ones (I don't - it reflects in the windscreen in the car).

Anyway with a bit of effort the bits of the Zumo got used except for two tiny screws I could't find anywhere to put. Some more efforts and not a little trial and error got the Nolan bluetooth headset to relay what the Zumo lady was saying and by lunchtime we were almost ready to roll.

The only part that had me stumped was connecting the Zumo to the power. The web is full of dire warnings so the only recourse was to seek help. Enter Darren of Graham Crispe Auto Electrical. He wet out of his way to fit me into his very busy day and, although I had to take off the false tank panels, the lead (supplied by Garmin) was soon plugged into the BMW auxiliary power socket and by as early as 2:30 (pm) I was off. I also found out where the tiny screws are supposed to go, let's hope the power plug stays in.

My partner in crime, Brian, has regrettably pulled out (claims pressure of work) so there was nothing for it but to type Mt Maunanui into the Zumo and toodle off. Even with the panniers fully loaded the bike handles superbly and the Zumo/Bluetooth combination takes a huge pressure off the rider in dealing with negotiating unfamiliar towns. It did give me a bum steer in Tauranga telling me to go left when right was required, a rapid lane change and we were back on track.

The fuel light had not come on at 300km and since by then I was out in the wops I took the opportunity to fill up. 12.21L which I thought pretty good for a 650cc.

The Mount has changed in the years since last I set foot. The baches on the seafront have mostly been bowled to make way flats and expensive real estate, not really much of a step forward. An elderly(ish) couple shared a cup of tea with me and we bemoaned the price of real estate. They also offered that Ohope Beach would make a nice stop for the night and there would be lots of places to stay.

Astoundingly the Zumo knows where Ohope Beach is and by 7pm I was looking for any accommodation with the word 'Vacancy' not preceded by the word 'No'. Finally a very helpful young lady rang the Aquarius Motor Lodge for me and booked their last room. Perhaps a little more than I'd have expected but the BMW is many things but it is not a good place to stay the night.

Dinner and a pint at the local Combined(?) Club (as recommended by a nice man on a bicycle who saw my Scottish t-shirt and stopped for a chat) and so to bed. A perfect day only marred by barking my shins on the coffee table located just inside the door of the Stygian motel.

Photos are yet to come..... I forgot the usb cable :(