Medieval torture device?

Ligamentaxor, rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it, if you are squeamish don’t click that hyperlink, unless you already have.

So previously I wrote of having a broken finger and how it was a story of its own well this is it. As the process is still ongoing this story is not fully finished and potentially will take years to be fully realised.

The crash had badly damaged the joint, in such a manner that had it been dealt with by immobilising it, the position it was placed in would have been permanent and useless so the surgeons decided to fit me with a very simple but effective solution the aforementioned ligamentaxor which is designed to keep the joint separated for mobility but aligned correctly, so during the initial healing process you actually move the joint to encourage the formation of new cartilage which is going to allow the joint to become functional, however it is never going to be as good as it originally was.

So don’t get me wrong, while it would be fantastic to gain full function, this is never going to happen, but the fact that I can move it and use it to grip, although currently very lightly this over time should improve.

I am very thankful to modern medical science, the skill of the plastic surgeons, the time and effort put in by the hand therapists for giving me the ability to move forward.

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Superman can supposedly fly

Without a plane, unfortunately the laws of physics suggest I can’t so there was no need to attempt to prove it, however once again the road conditions conspired against me in my travels and I was ejected from my bike at about 100Kph, while heading north on state highway 1, April 6th 2017.

There was the tail end of a rather nasty storm over the country so the conditions were very wet, certainly not ideal, but nothing to really be to concerned with. That would be if it weren’t for New Zealand’s poor road maintenance and design, chip seal is very effective until the base tar bleeds through in the heat then cools to form a surface with limited traction in the dry, and when its wet well traction is sometimes optional, not a big deal in a car where if one wheel is compromised you have three others that are hopefully stable, on a motorcycle loose traction on one wheel and you have lost fifty percent of your contact with the road, and your stability, which is exactly what happened on this occasion.

After a short flight, of a few meters I impacted with the road, during the flight there was time to think to make the conscious decision not to land with my arms outstretched, which could have lead to broken arms, hands, or collar bones, so I tucked in, (training helps, if you take enough of it, and of course listen), my landing was not pleasant, but thanks to spending on decent gear I was intact but not entirely unscathed, my right glove was shredded but amazingly that hand was completely intact, my left glove looked fine but my pain receptors were telling the hand inside was not in it’s normal state, and when the glove was tenderly remove my little finger was at an odd angle, it wasn’t difficult to tell it was badly broken but that didn’t hurt to badly, my ribs however were my source of pain and causing me difficulty breathing, thankfully I was not far from assistance, the car in front had seen me go down and another was behind fast enough, emergency services were called, in New Zealand when outside of most larger towns, (even close to some), the first responders are the volunteer fire service, and thankfully being just one kilometer from Dunsandal they were onsite in a few minutes and thankfully they had oxygen on board which aided me with my breathing while we waited on the Ambulance to arrive. It was cold and to be honest I was starting to go into shock both from the pain and the cold so things get a little hazy for a while until I was in an ambulance and warming up a bit, until once again the shock took a hold and I passed out briefly causing a little concern to the the ambulance officer so we pulled over and I was attended to by the paramedic who was following in a car behind.

The trip from this point was uneventful, well until the question. I was asked is there anyone I should call? Umm yes I guess we had better inform my wife her number is on my phone under ICE, (hey if you don’t know already have a number on your phone under ICE, which is short for in case of emergency), and well that number was known to Helen, (the ambulance officer), she had kind of just got off the phone to nearly the same number, she had been speaking to the emergency department at Christchurch public hospital , the main section of the number was the same just a different extension so there was very probable Kerry could be there waiting, thankfully by the time we got there Kerry had been and returned to work leaving instructions to be called on my arrival.

Having been in the emergency department a few times over the years for various reasons, (not always related to accidents), I never knew there was a room that looks as if it could be used as an operating theater, things you learn, anyhow there was a full team of folks there prepared and awaiting the arrival of some really messed up person involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, so that wasn’t me right? No cant be, oh it is me. I heard one doctor make a remark that there was no way I had crashed at the speed I had and sustained so little damage, (not quite famous last words but to their eyes I was in nearly perfect condition), x-rays were taken, an ultrasound, and a CT scan, which confirmed my suspicions re the ribs, not broken but fractured, and my finger well that’s a story on its own, and this one has gotten long enough.

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Not forgotten just neglected

Well it’s been a long time since I took the time to post here, and so much has changed as life does for us all over the years. Kerry has not ridden her bike really since we returned from that last trip together, and frankly I have not thought I had any thing decent to say.

Looking back on the ramblings here though and how they refresh the memory of times past both good and near disasters I have come to the conclusion that a few minutes spent recording our history regardless of whether it interests others is probably time well spent. Sure there is plenty of social media out there but they are also full of rubbish, click bait advertorials based upon some algorithm that is supposed to provide you with material that reflects your interests, random “facts” that a moments investigation reveal to be falsehoods and hearsay.

Social media held such promise, sure I still have a Facebook account at this point in time, this may change in the future, but when interacting with friends and family is only done via this or similar platforms something is missing, sure I work stupid hours and it makes it difficult to interact with me, but I have a cellphone, and SMS is fantastic, direct and will not get lost in a swamp of meaningless pictures of cats that were amusing the first time around, or the do you know this person who is a friend, of your friend, of your friend you have not interacted with for so long.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant, hopefully soon I will get back into more interesting journeys around the country, they will possibly be just the South island for the time being, and hopefully Kerry will be back on her bike, or maybe we can find a way to upgrade it to something she will be happier on.

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Riding season and a rant

Well its nearly riding season again, a little of a misconception, there really isn’t a non riding season here, you can ride most of the year with caution in the winter due to ice etc, and spring normally has some high winds which one has to be pay attention to.

So what are the plans for this year, unfortunately no major trip around New Zealand, just a few trips around the South Island, and a couple of rallys.

Rallys are certainly becoming an interesting topic, well more the number of them that are no longer happening due to the legal requirements around alcohol and event organisation making the costs prohibitive for many clubs. At the current rate there might be only two or three left in the next few years. OK that’s my personal opinion, but observation at the ones I managed to attend last year would appear to play this out, many folks saying they feel the numbers are down at some of the major events, it will be a shame. On that note, rumours are around that the Brass Monkey Rally held in the middle of winter is not gong ahead, this was once one of the biggest events in the South Island and the only rally held over the winter.

Another factor that might see motorcycling in New Zealand become a wealthy persons hobby, (I strongly hate the idea it’s a hobby, to me a hobby is something you do on a cold winters night to fill in time), is the potential that the costs are going to rise above the levels most of us can afford due to changes in the ACC system. ACC is short for Accident Compensation Corporation, (it used to mean Accident Compensation Commission but our government changed it into a corporation a few years ago), there is more information in the Wikipedia link. The basic system is now screwed, it’s run as a corporation now, the figures used to cost out some of the data have been proven flawed, with accidents off road being counted as on road, even the in some instances the vehicle involved not even being a motorcycle. ACC claim to have made changes in the way the data is recovered and recorded but they still quote data from prior to this change. While there is an organisation called the motorcycle safety advisory council,(MSAC), and while they are trying to improve some of the things and having minor success, an example of which if the changes in the way data is recorded, they are still back the company line, I guess they kind of have to being funded by ACC.

Here is an example of the way I see the system as faulty, previously I reported here that Kerry and I had a fairly major crash in Kawakawa, Kerry’s injuries were more substantial than first thought with damage to the tendons and ligaments in both her knee and elbow, while undergoing treatment for her knee the elbow had been masked due to the pain relief, but her strength was just not getting better, now ACC covers the cost of treatment and rehabilitation which is what insurance is for and that’s what ACC is. Here is where things fall over as I see it, there were multiple factors in this incident, but the biggest was the condition of the road surface, sure had we been in a car there may have been no issue, but the fact multiple motorcycle crashes had happened at the same place previously over a few weeks indicate there was an issue with the road. According to ACC however, we were involved in two crashes, with no other party involved as no cars hit us, thus it becomes motorcycle at fault, there lays one issue ACC is supposed to be a no fault, no blame system, the other is the fact the road should be considered as a factor, but it is not.

On discussions with other motorcyclists there are many similar incidents, from Diesel/oil on the road, roads not swept after resurfacing, stock/animals on the road, or avoidance of a worse a collision due the actions of other motorists, the examples are endless, but as a group we have limited voice, sure the MSAC is supposed to represent us but discussions with past members lead me to believe they are not interested, and there is no singular political voice, there has been attempts at this in the past with BRONZ, but they don’t seem to act with a singular voice, there is not even a branch in Canterbury where we are based. I would have to suggest motorcyclists are an apathetic lot when it comes to our rights, I guess because for many it is just a hobby.

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Finally a day that goes to plan, almost.

“I love it when a plan comes together”, John “Hannibal” Smith, the ‘A’ team. Well today I almost was able to honestly say this, almost.

Normally I would place the days map at the bottom of the page but for a change it’s right here

Now along the way for this trip there are a couple of important places for all New Zealanders the first must do, stop at the small town of Opononi, the resting place of Opo. Kerry and I both grew up with stories of Opo and Pelorus Jack, and although Kerry has been here before many years previous this was my first visit. It was sadly overcast when we were there but hot, 22 deg C, and it was great to see the local kids diving off the local jetty and generally having a load of fun.

The second was Tāne Mahuta, this five minute walk is spiritual, and if you ever do it I suggest you take ten minutes to take in the smells of this forest.

From there it was off to find the Kauri Museum, and this is where our plan went a little astray, the museum closes at at 17:00 and we arrived on site at 16:30, the staff kindly informed us that 30 minutes  is not enough time to truly take a look around, so a cup of coffee and on the road back to Auckland, and it certainly was an experience cross in the harbour bridge in the dark.

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There are enough hazards without the road being one of them.

Tuesday 7/4/15 21:30 Kaitia. Kerry is bruised, badly, but thankfully asleep. I am bruised around the hip and shoulder, nowhere near as bad as Kerry is. Our bikes are suffering minor damage, but not enough to stop us.

We had a plan to travel from Whangarei to Cape Reinga via state highway 10, however the town of Kawakawa had other ideas. Kawakawa has a historic train that runs through the centre of town, trains have tracks, tracks should never run down the centre of the road, especially where motorcycles have to cross them at an oblique angle in the wet, simply it’s a hazard.

From the several hours we spent in town having crashed at about 10:15, chatting with several locals, the police, and the local councillor, it would appear that in the last week alone about ten bikes have come down in this location, there was one chap dusting himself off and calming his nerves as we slid in sideways. The local councillor, a very helpful lady, who’s name we heard early on in the the days events, and were eventually directed to, has taken on a bold task in attempting to encourage NZTA to fix this road and make it safe.

The issue is simple to fix in the short term, repair the road where it has been compressed due to the volume of traffic, the road surface needs to be higher than the tracks, but given how things work it will take someone to be killed before this happens.

Long term, well Northlands roads have suffered years of neglect, so much so that the current government used repairs to roads and bridges as election promises in a recent by-election.

So once again we missed out on getting to Cape Reinga, last time at least we made the car park. Tomorrow we will travel at a sedate pace to Auckland where we intend to have a couple of days rest, deal with our bruises, and hopefully find Kerry a new jacket as no one in Christchurch sells the jacket she would like to try on.

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Slow speed travel.

Plans go astray, we had plans for a easy day Taupo to Whangarei, should really be a nice easy run, try to stay off state highway 0ne and for the most part it should be a pleasant easy trip. If only that was the truth, Easter Monday means folks have to return home from holidays for work, thus 435Kms which should have taken five to six hours with a stop for lunch turned into eight and a half hours including some very slow travel, there was one chap who decided for what ever reason that travelling at 50-60Kph in a 90Kph zone, completely oblivious to the long stream of traffic behind him, Kerry and I would have lane split of used the edge of the road for about 15 kilometres before we pasted him and into clearer roads as we hit the Auckland motorway. We found a really interesting cafe, which was worth the stop in a place called  Mangatarata. Great toasted sandwiches and a nice coffee.

Mangatarata

Whangarei was and interesting place, the local bar/pub was closed at 1930, we were lucky to get something to eat at a takeaway bar and a bottle of craft beer from the bottle store, other wise we may have had to go hungry, or eat McD’s and our plan is not to on this trip.

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