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Brodrick Pass

Brodrick Pass: Day 01 Report

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It turns out that Paul is a real-live flesh & blood human, which is good because we were depending on him to guide us through some of the less/seldom/rarely/never traveled parts of Southern New Zealand. We had our suspicions though; we had not met in real life and it was curious that Skype would never let us utilize the video feature during our many trip planning calls. How were we to know that he was a flesh & blood human being and not just an algorithm cooked up by Tourism New Zealand to lure hapless travelers down to their country? Our suspicions were only compounded by the fact that once we were in-country he didn’t show up to our rendezvous point, Motel on Carroll, until far into the night. The rest of us were anxiously awaiting his arrival and when you get a bunch of antsy travelers together it doesn’t take long for rumors, gossip, and mythologies to spring up, further fueling the question of Paul’s existence.

“Finally he arrived. Walking, talking, and laughing like a person. Paul was real after all, or so it seemed.”

Our goal was to cross the country from east to west traversing the Southern Alps, and in the process we would be going to places where no bikes had gone before. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, though. Our crew: Paul (the guide), Patrick (the coach), Benedict (the face), Erik (the metal), Daniel (the camera) and myself (the support) departed from Dunedin aboard a wizard train that most likely shuttled Harry Potter to his magic school. We crossed high trellis bridges, mugged for the camera, and a took verbal/physical pot shots at one another. Eventually the train dropped us at the end of the line. The wind was trying really hard, and if there is one thing that a cyclist loves its wind. Paul had a surprise for us, “It’s going to be all tailwind from here.” The elation was brief, because what Paul was talking about is a New Zealand Tailwind, or a very strong gusty wind which blows incessantly and from any direction. We left Otago station riding with one of those New Zealand Tailwinds. Much much later that day, after some not insignificant rain, below comfortable temperatures, an almost lost wallet, innumerable sheep, and some very, long very flat, very unpopulated miles we arrived to Danseys Inn at dusk where we would enjoy lukewarm showers, hot meals, and a paint stripping conflagration that was roaring in the inn’s communal fireplace.

The Wizard School Train Station


Dunedin Railway Station in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, designed by George Troup, is the city’s fourth station. It earned its architect the nickname of “Gingerbread George”. Basically this Playmobile® fortress was made to send young wizards to wizard school. If you are a young wizard or an old wizard with a diploma in wizarding then you know what I mean.

WARNING! If you are used to freedom, like USA brand freedom, then use caution when traveling in New Zealand. There is a pinko-lefty-social safety net thing happening here that will take Buckaroos like you and me time to understand. For instance, you can’t just ride your bike around here without a helmet, you can’t just determine your own level of cranial safety. Nope, the people of New Zealand have determined that all cyclists need to wear a helmet, and for those of us set in our Cowboy ways, this ”making sense”, “of course”, “why wouldn’t you”, “rational” approach to public health is anathema, it straight up contradicts our gosh dang personalities. So if you are riding your bike down to the Playmobile® wizard fortress to catch a train to the outlands of South Island New Zealand be sure to wear your helmet, because even a cowboy should do as the Romans when in Rome during the time of the Romans.
There are still people in the world who refuse to bow to the social mores and the strict dictates of fashion. These beautiful unicorns walk among us, populating our world with their ethereal and radiant light. #soblessed
Paul is real! Paul Smith, @inspiringriding, is real! We discovered late the night before our departure that Paul is an actual flesh and blood person. His absence throughout most of the yesterday caused quite a stir amongst our little group: was Paul a bot?, a call center travel agent?, an 11 year old Korean girl who was just playing along, feeding us information? Was Paul a Fight Club type personality of one of us? Daniel perhaps? Even after we met him, talked with him, had 3-5 flat whites* (these are basically lattes but without the cinnamon -- but we don’t do cinnamon in the states any longer, cinnamon went out with FRIENDS and JNCO jeans, so the need for distinction stateside is lost, in New Zealand however there is a vibrant cinnamon culture, that though recently has gone underground, still determines that an actionable distinction be made between cinnamon and non-cinnamon espresso and milk coffee drinks) with him we were questioning the actual nature of his existence. Looking at these photos though puts our doubts to rest, Paul is real, because photos steal souls and if he wasn’t real then he wouldn’t have a soul to steal, and there’s his soul right there, loading a bike into wizard train.
On a train like this, on a day like this, this is what you do, you just do.
These hot little pups were available from the dining car. Upon first trying to make their way to the dining car Daniel and Kyle found that one of the doors, this ancient wooden job, appeared to be locked. Kyle said, “Hey do you have a credit card? I got a move here that I learned from Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley character in the movie Beverly Hills Cop.” Daniel, “Yeah I got one.” You slide the card in between the door and the door jamb by the lock and the credit card pops it open, easy peasy, and of course it worked, just like Axel knew it would, and giddy with the thrill of a little light B&E we walked to the dining car to order up some flat whites and water. Upon arrival we discovered these pre-mixed little jobbers. They are probably old news to some of you, but they were new news to us! On the way back to our seats, as we approached the aforementioned wooden door we noticed that a smallish child just pushed through the door… he seemed too young to have already learned the Beverly Hills Cop trick, what was going on here? Turns on the door was just sticky, and a credit card was not needed for opening and closing. Did this deflate our sense of accomplishment? I would be a liar if I told you that it didn’t, still it was a good to put the technique into practice, you never know when it might come in handy.

What a Beautiful Bridge!


“Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever-changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels through the Southern parts of Dunedin city until it arrives at Wingatui junction where it turns off onto the Taieri branch. From here the train sneaks across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The natural wonders combined with the challenge of man made engineering will leave you amazed, but somehow the railway blends into the natural environment perfectly. It is a wonderful example of the sheer determination of early railway pioneers. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos where you can disembark and stretch your legs and enjoy the best of beauty, peace and quiet that nature has to offer. Stand on the open air platforms while the train moves or enjoy a quiet drink and food from our on board cafe while our train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area in an entertaining and informative live commentary.” — Taieri

A rare glimpse of powerful bilateral symbiotic energy transfer calisthenics.
Name Patrick "Coach" Newell Origin The great state of Texas. Qualifications Un-credentialed coaching certifications across a wide spectrum of important and unimportant life skills and subject matter. Prospective Clients He is very selective and confidential about the clientele that he coaches; interested parties should contact him via his Instagram™ handle (@ultratradition) for available coaching options. About Coach Outside of building some of the world’s top athletes, Patrick’s hobbies include tanning, eating popcorn and breakfast tacos, drinking smoothies, and reading about the various histories of the wild west.
This dude on the right is from Canada, lets call him John. His job on the wizard transfer train was to inform would-be wizards and the rest of us travelers about various points of interest along the train’s route. John wasn’t content to just share this information, he took it upon himself to spice up his schtick with what he would call “humor.” In Yonder Journal’s estimation he was rarely, if ever successful in this endeavor.
Get that #pic!!!!

Pukerangi Station


“Pukerangi opened to coincide with the opening of the Otago Central Branch as far as Middlemarch in April 1891. It was known as Barewood until January 1911. Early in the 20th century the branch was converted to tablet working following a head-on collision in 1902. Pukerangi became a signalling and crossing station, and a hut was built to house the tablet machinery. From this point the station was much added to. A closet and urinal were added in 1903 and in 1912 a “sound-proof” telephone booth attached to a shed (probably the tablet hut) was erected. A ladies’ waiting room was added the following year. In 1930 the tablet hut was removed and a further addition, presumably to house the tablet machinery, was made. By 1966 declining train movements led to the decision to convert it to a Holiday Switch Tablet Station. The station building was used as a gang shelter from then on. In 1980 the stockyards closed, and in 1986 the station closed to freight traffic but was retained for operating purposes. It was restored in 1994.” – Rail Heritage

Name Erik "@helhommus" Nohlin Palmares Specialized AWOL creator. Vegan. Metal. Black Clothes. Sunburns easily. Wearing Here we see Erik in his custom modified Snowpeak Field Suit. This covermost flight suit would be Erik’s staple clothing item for the duration of our expedition. Its utility, function, and simplicity complement his pragmatic nature, its shape and cut allowed him to layer clothing when needed, and it’s black, which is both his favorite color and the only color that he likes.
Summer in New Zealand means packable down puffy jackets.
Well aware that in the coming days he would be in front of the camera many times, on the night before our departure Benedict went through the ritual of giving his hair “the dry look.” Said ritual consists of first wetting the hair to a point of saturation, then utilizing a blow dryer to dry the hair in such away that it will appear as strands of gold that flirt with the ether, radiate in the sunshine, and dance in the moonlight.
“New Zealand Tailwind”: Wind blowing hard from any direction all day long. As in, “Man we just got on our bikes after a vintage wizard train ride and this New Zealand Tailwind is a bit out of control,” or, “Can you believe this New Zealand Tailwind, it’s like trying to ride your bike in a fight-pit where you are circled by vicious cro-mags all trying to push you as hard as they can.”
If you know New Zealand, then you know that they drive on the other side of the road, the side of the road that most of the world doesn’t drive on. It’s their thing, it’s a commonwealth thing. If the US has the imperial measurement system then the UK, New Zealand et. al. have driving on the left side of the road. Yonder Journal can’t confirm but we are pretty sure that the UK must have rolled out a plan in the ‘90s that made it clear they were going to convert to all cars to driving on the right side of the road, known the world round as normalized driver orientation. Much like the USA’s failed roll out of the metric system, the commonwealth has yet to get onboard with normalized driving orientations, the results of which would cause numerous nearly catastrophic incidents with our group of riders, most of whom are accustomed to the normalized driving orientation. Pictured here the crew has a little chuckle after the first such interaction.
Maybe 30-35 minutes before this picture, Paul proved once again that he is real and not a bot when he noticed something take flight off of Daniel’s bike. As it turned out, this something was Daniel’s wallet, a cute little leather zippered number that held our small plastic rectangle meal ticket, our currency key. I am sure that there were other important cards in there, maybe even some green paper rectangles too, who can say? We just know that Paul kinda saved the day with that one. So with the lack of any tree coverage or recognizable shelter, we sat in the lee of this little hill cut, ate our lunch, and did our best to duck the NZ Tailwind that was pummeling the countryside.
This is when Erik really upped the ante. While the rest of us foraged for the salami, cheese, peanut butter, our EXCELLENT Clif Bars, etc., Mr Nohlin quickly produced his camp stove and whipped up a nice little vegan mushroom soup. Take note travelers, if you have the chance and the cooking skills, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the way to go.
You may have heard that New Zealand has a few sheep kicking around. Well, the rumors are true! They are quite literally everywhere. What the country lacks in diverse wildlife it makes up for in its shear (get it?) number of sheep.



Lunch in our stomachs, we were rolling now.
Bikepacking isn’t about your equipment; sure you need a bike and you need to pack it, but what and how you do it is up to interpretation because the spirit of the exercise is simply to use a bike to transport you and your survival necessities from one place to the next.
There you have it: bare bones, brass tacks, bike-packing. This then leaves much up to interpretation and ingenuity, if the will to adventure is strong one can make almost anything work.
That woman in the middle, the one you don’t recognize from any of the previous photos, well she isn’t part of our riding crew, but obviously she is now part of our “crew.” Her name is Ngarie and we recruited this diminutive Kiwi firecracker in Hyde when we had stopped to refuel. She was out cleaning water carafes with gravel from the road, just like her mother had trained her to, when she immediately laid into each one of us, one after another, questioning our character in the way you would expect from someone you are immediately friends with and have known forever. So listen, if you are thinking about buying a pub in Hyde you should talk with her, because she just needs to get out from under this bar owner business and get into this riding bikes, camping, and making jokes business.
The Otago Central Rail Trail is a 150-kilometre walking, cycling and horse riding track in the South Island of New Zealand. A pioneering project for New Zealand, the successful cycle trail joined the New Zealand Cycle Trail umbrella organisation in 2012, having been one of the inspirations for it. The trail runs in an arc between Middlemarch and Clyde, along the route of the former Otago Central Railway. The trail has become a popular tourist attraction, with 10,000-12,000 users per year as a conservative estimate, and yearly (and ongoing) user increases for 6 out of the last 7 years (as of 2011). The trail is also accepted as being, by a large margin, the biggest non-farming economic factor in the Maniototo-Alexandra area. - Wikipedia
For a couple miles we leaped frog back and forth with this guy and his pal. We would stop and take photos, they would pass us smiling and waving, we would catch and pass them, then the cycle would start all over again.
These guys were doing it, whatever it is, they were out in the not so great weather, riding not so great bikes, using not so great equipment and from what we could tell they were doing it because they wanted to, because they needed to, for themselves, or whatever higher or more elevated reason that motivates any of us do anything more than just surviving. They were doing it, and it was rad.
Croakies are the outdoorsman’s necktie. Croakies, if you are reading this, holler at us. We need you, you need us. We complete one another.
See the bomb?, thats the biggest bomb ever made and its bombing meat. Not like all meat, not like you and me, and not all the flesh and blood that exists out there, not that. In fact this representative work signifies the opposite, its meat being turned into meat for other meat that this symbol set is protesting. Side Note: the base layer rolled up and field suit unzipped was how Erik was managed the extreme heat situation we would see in the coming days. Nice to know you can stay cool and look great in a one-piece, highly modified, field suit unit.

Danseys Inn


Lukewarm showers, hot meals, and a paint stripping conflagration that was roaring in the inn’s communal fireplace.

Danseys Pass Inn and the Kyeburn Diggings

By Dr. Rosara Joseph*

Danseys Pass Inn is the last standing evidence of the once bustling community at the Kyeburn Diggings. It was the old coach inn, hosting wagon trains plying trade between the Waitaki Basin and Central Otago gold fields. Danseys Pass was named after William Heywood Dansey, a North Otago run holder who was with three others on an expedition over the Pass into Central Otago in 1855-56.

The Inn was built in 1862, one year after gold was first found in the Upper Kyeburn by a prospector named Leggatt. The original stonework was done by a mason known as “Happy Bill”. Bill was paid in beer – he received one pint for every schist boulder shaped and laid.

The Mount Ida Chronicle in 1870 listed the business places at the Kyeburn diggings as three hotels, three stores, one butchery, and one bakery. And, unofficially, six unlicensed grog shanties. The gold miners on those diggings subscribed to the work hard, party harder ethic. After hours of shovelling, sluicing, and scouring for golden flakes and nuggets, miners would take advantage of those six grog shanties and imbibed freely, which was known as “getting on the spree”. Gambling, brawls, dog-fights, and pig-hunting were the other principal amusements.

The Kyeburn diggings also housed a large Chinese community; one report in 1880 estimated that there were 600 Chinese working on the diggings. The Chinese miners tended to stay separate from the rest of the mining community; their appearance, dress, language, and use of opium set them apart from the rest. The Otago provincial government encouraged Chinese miners, mainly from the Guangdong province in southern China, to come to New Zealand to replace the European miners who had deserted the Otago fields by 1866 for new rushes on the West Coast. Their mining methods were unique: as they had on the Californian and Australian goldfields the Chinese miners preferred to rework abandoned claims as there was known gold there and they knew that much gold was lost in the washing up by the more haphazard European miners.

*Rosara Joseph has both law and history degrees from the University of Canterbury, NZ, she then went on to gain her masters and PhD in constitutional law and history at Oxford university as a Rhodes Scholar. Her erudition applies to the physical arts as well. She raced Cross-Country mountain bikes professionally for eight years, representing New Zealand at the World Championships and the Beijing Olympics before “seeing the light and taking up Enduro” where she competed and podiumed in the Enduro World Series (EWS). She aslo introduced us to Paul Smith, our spirit/physical guide while we were in New Zealand, and when we asked her to help us put together some brief histories related to our trip her response was simply, “I love this shit!”

“Rabies in humans tends to initially manifest as flu-like symptoms that devolve into a nightmare as the brain is slowly destroyed. As things steadily get worse, the body can become paralyzed while the mind revolts with terror, hallucinations, and frenzy. A less frequently reported effect in men is priapism, a condition that results in erections that last for hours, and uncontrollable ejaculation. This can occur up to 30 times per day and has been reported for hundreds of years, at least since the days of second-century Greek physician Galen, whose papers detailed the case of a porter who exhibited the symptom for three days straight prior to his death. The condition has also been found in modern medical reports, such as this 2009 case reported by the CDC in which a 42-year-old male physician who’d been bitten by a dog in India returned home to Virginia only to take ill three months later. The precise cause of the ejaculations are unknown, but it has been suggested that they result from damage to the amygdaloid nucleus in the temporal pole of the brain.” Thanks for that,
Kyle von Hoetzendorff, @newantarctica, is one half of the Yonder Journal in-house staff that was onsite and embedded for the duration of this expedition. Here he is doing his best Big Sue.
Guys, if you are in New Zealand to ride across the country and you forget your AWOL, instead of just giving up head straight to Dansey’s Inn. They’ve got you covered.
It’s a pose like this that leads to the Wheel, the iPhone, the Internet, Smoothies, Corn Dogs and Gravity Bongs. All the creative greats do it, I am sure the Upanishads mentions this move somewhere. It has become a daily practice, because the next iPhone isn’t just going to invent itself.
Game of Thrones, Erik is reeeeeeed-deeeeee.
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