The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Monday, 27 February 2012

On your marks, get set, go.

And he's off. The last week has been hard. Niel has been stressed to the max. His eyes are glazed and he needed a bourbon in the evening to calm down and so he can sleep. We don't drink much, and the bourbon bought at Christmas to last the year, is greatly depleted.

His nerves and anxiety have rubbed off on me. I've tried to remain calm and steady, but I get teary eyed easily and cried myself to sleep one night when Bob - our critically injured cat escaped outside and ran away. [He returned at midnight].

The Vet bill is now over $3000 which is adding to our anxiety. Yesterday he sent to the vets yet again to get a special Stem cell bandage, that is supposed to grow skin. He doesn't have enough skin left to cover his wounds. The vet told us this special bandage was 200 Euro. EURO. That's $400 New Zealand. - just for a bandage. He's not a race horse worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, we had to put our foot down and refuse this bandage that must be made of gold dust. The vet took pity on us and managed to give it to us for free. Thank God they agreed to me being able to pay this bill off.

In the last week I've had lessons in changing a fuse [ we have the old style ones with fuse wire]. Pages of instructions on what to do if something goes wrong with the water pump or if we get a leak in the house. I've had maths lessons to work out the power bills for all the 3 houses that are on our electrical meter and monthly account. And I've had lessons  in how to download Niel's position - latitude and longitude onto the World Cycle Race site - not easy - as he will be too busy, and I'll always know where he is. We've had the local paper come around to interview him. I've cut all his hair off - all over.  I've had to keep the garden tidy, as there were wedding photos in the neighbouring meadow on Saturday as well as working 6 days a week [ although that's now gone down to 5 days a week].

One last stress has finally been eased with his passport arriving back with his Chinese and Kazakhstan visas stamped in it, less than a day before he was to leave. I'm sure these embassies do it on purpose. One of the other competitors in this event, only got his Indian visa granted and returned to him on his last day before leaving as well. Talk about cutting it fine.

It's been a year in the planning. We've scrimped and scraped some savings together, planned a route and counted kilometres until I felt like I was going blind, and redid it several times.I remember it was Feb 22nd last year that we decided to do this. We were excited and wanted to tell everyone, but we couldn't because there had been that huge earthquake in Christchurch that transfixed and horrified the nation, my own family were caught up in it. So we had to keep it to ourselves and wait for quite a while before we could talk about it. But now it has begun. Niel tried to eat some bacon and eggs for breakfast, while threatening to throw up with nerves, and I couldn't stop crying, and then he was gone.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

The good, the bad, and the frightened.

It's been an incredibly busy few weeks. Bob the cat has been to the Vet twice a day for 3 weeks now, today is his first day off. His leg has been saved from the flesh eating bacteria that's been killing it off, and he is feeling better, and enjoying being outside again. He is definitely sick of being man handled, pricked and prodded and transported on the back of a scary Vespa. He is not the only one to be sick of it all.

Cat on board.

Work has been very busy as the boss is away recovering from a Hernia operation. We are all working 6 days a week to cover his hours. That is a bit stressful with the demands of the cat, and with Niel going around the world in a week. At least it will help with the vet bill which is large enough to buy a ticket to London and back. I did manage to get a lovely 70 km ride in with Niel in the late summer sunshine.

The Moutere [ said: Moo - terry] our cycling playground.

Niels planning is all but completed. The airline tickets are paid for, the savings transferred to cards he can use overseas, US dollars ordered to tie him over in emergencies. visas obtained, although he still hasn't got his passport back from the Kazakhstan embassy yet. Vaccinations had, except for boosters. And the spare bed is covered in his stuff, ready to pack and cull if necessary.

He is very nervous. Actually it's lucky we have been so busy, as we have barely had time to ponder over his leaving, when we do sit down and think about it, it is so overwelming it is frightening.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Stressful week.

It's been  a stressful week.My poor wee cat - Bobby has been badly injured and might loose his leg. Just to clarify to those that don't know - bobby is my child substitute, I adore him and he adores me back. Therefore my heart is breaking seeing him in such distress.

He didn't turn up one morning and I went looking for him. I heard his distressed miaow in the kiwifruit orchard we live in. I found him on top of the vines, with his leg caught in some wire, and in his efforts to escape he had twisted it so tight it had cut right into his leg. When he saw me he tried to jump into my arms and was hanging from his leg and screaming in pain. I put him back up on the branch and ran to get some wire cutters.

Bobby's sprained and lacerated leg.

As you should all know as I have mentioned it more than once, we don't have a car. So the poor wee boy had to endure a trip on the back of the bike trailer to get to the vet. I have never loathed cars and trucks more in my life. The roar of the traffic nearly gave him heart failure and he wet himself in fright. The vet gave him painkillers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and he had an X-ray to check for broken bones. It was determined that he had a severely sprained leg, and lacerations but will be fine in a few days. The next day his leg swelled up to three times the size of his other legs. I kept giving him his anti-inflammatories and waited for the swelling to go down.

Cat on board.

Just to complicate matters, it was a long weekend - New Zealand Day, well it's actually called Waitangi Day. Waitangi being the place that the colonial fore fathers signed a treaty with the Maori people to stop waring each other, to respect each other and to move forward as a united country. The day is characterised by Maori protests about whatever grievance is most in their minds at the time. A lot of these protests are relevant and have a good point, but it would be nice to have a day for New Zealanders that was joyful and happy. Anyway, the cat got worse and the vets was closed for the long weekend.

Last night there was a dead animal smell coming from the cat, it was so strong it woke me up, and I couldn't get back to sleep. The Vets are open again so off he went, this time on the vespa, it's just as frightening for him but it takes a third of the time to get there.

notice the swollen rear paw.

In four days his leg has gone from sprained to so infected it is possibly Gangrene. If the Vet can't get rid of the infection he may loose his leg. Niel is really stressed about going away for 7 -8 months with all this happening, The stress of the trip is bad enough without throwing this into the mix.

The latest news from the vet is that the rapid and extreme infection is from the Kiwifruit vines themselves. There is a notice on the gate saying PSA infection keep out, and that is probably whats infected our cat. So much for living in the peaceful country side where life is idyllic and quiet.