Friday, March 5, 2010

Tour – Day 2 The road is long

Woke up still feeling tired after 11 hours of sleep. Had an OSM for breakfast and then headed a little way into the Ross Goldfields for a look, then a quick stop at the shop for supplies and I was off. Today would be the only day I'd get off the main road during the trip. I made the decision to take the coastal Bald Head Road, which was a smooth gravel road through farm land and forest. There was no traffic and with the sun rising and the birds singing it was great. So great that I broke into song for a while and then I stopped on the banks of a recently excavated stream and had second breakfast in the sun with the birds.

Back onto the main road for a stretch and first stop was Pukekura with its giant sandfly and cute baby thar. I introduced Murphy and then I was on the road to Lake Ianthe and where I stopped for some journal writing. I can tell I'm going to need to get a thesaurus before I finish my tales of this trip as I'm going to be over using adjectives like beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, amazing, breath-taking. Eighteen k's down the road I got to Hari Hari in good time for lunch and found myself a nice dry picnic table to have a wee nap on. On the way out of town my butt was getting a bit tired of Rocky so I had a horsey ride for a bit to give it a change of pace.

I was feeling pretty beat after Hari Hari and then I came to Mt Hercules, which made me laugh, but not in a good way. My first climb of the trip and I learnt a very important lesson. I liked the climbing. I like it way better than the long, straight stretches of road through farm land. I also discovered that a climb isn't that bad once you're on it. I cruised up Mt Hercules, enjoying the forest, and just gently spinning away at a comfortable pace. Before I knew it I was at the top and zooming down the other side. My butt and legs were telling me all about the climb and I stopped at a creek and soaked my feet for a while in the clear, cold water.

Onto Whataroa, where I was going to make the decision about weather to push on for the extra 25km that would see me to Okarito. As soon as I pulled into Whataroa I could almost hear the banjos playing, I was not staying there the night, it was not a nice little town. It did however have a playground from a bygone area, when slides were deadly and swings were 3 foot off the ground. You wouldn't catch me on a slide like that unless I was wearing armour, I shudder to think about it.

Fueled up on ice cream and looking forward to a meal in Okarito (oh, ho ho!) I headed off.
I'd printed elevation maps for each leg of my journey out so I could get a rough idea of what the terrian had in store for me each day and today's map showed me that the last 10kms were all down hill. I was hurting by the turn off to Okarito and mentally hurting a bit more when I saw it was 15kms, not 10 to Okarito. Then I was flying down the hill, happy as a happy thing, until the road suddenly went up and up. Then down a bit, then up some more, then a bit more up and then down. So undulations all the way. Whenever its all downhill, its not, remember that kiddies. I rolled into Okarito around 7pm and was starving and so very tired. Set up my tent and had a long hot shower, and taking a trick from Eleanor Meecham, did my washing at the same time, then explored the town. This took less than a mintue and I quickly realised there was no shop, or pub, or anything. Which meant no hot meal which was very disappointing indeed after my first ever 100km ride and OSMs, bananas and cookies for dinner were not in any way satisfying for all the hard work I'd done. I've never wanted savoury food so bad in my life, but I forced the sickly sweet OSM and a half down. My tastebuds recoiled at the sugary deluge and I couldn't taste the banana I ate afterwards so I saved the cookie.

I watched the sun set on the beach and I was so glad I'd come to this magical place. The birds calling, and the gentle wind swirling made the end of the day perfect. I felt so good that I even went for a walk up a hill through the bush, you know, just for that wee bit extra exercise.
Unfortunately sleeping on the ground was not something my injured chest enjoyed very much and it woke me many times in the night. At one point I was happy to be awake as I dashed to the loo and looked up. The stars were amazing. I haven't seen such a profusion of them since I was up at Mt Aspiring as a kid. There were so many stars that I could even see the black patches where there are nebula in the night's sky. I watched shooting stars for a couple of minutes and then snuggled back into my wee tent.

Ross to Okarito – 105km in 6hrs 37

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