First sunny day since I've been back from NZ. Out Bellfountain to Coon road. Monroe Old River Road to Harrisburg. Peoria road, Irish Bend Loop, and some wandering out Greenback and Kendal Loop.
Also picked January up after school a couple of times.
Once again the rain held off enough to get in a good ride. Meandering route off of Peoria road going out, American road to Peoria road coming back. Increasing headwind going out, mostly tailwind coming back but it was shifting from south to west. Talked with John V about doing the northern section of the GDMBR next August.
5 riders headed out towards Harrisburg. 3, including me, turned around at Peoria. Rain was threatening but held off.
Last ride in New Zealand and last ride on the Trucker, which I sold here.
Took Highcliff Road, which is very well named, out the peninsula. It starts up the middle with great views of Otago Bay and Dunedin, and then bends east towards the ocean, before diving fast downhill back to Portobello on the bay. Pretty steep in places, glad I wasn't carrying a load.
It was very windy and cool. On the ocean side and on top. I went to checkout the castle but they wanted money and I was not about to pay to see a castle. I might have paid to see the Albatros or Penguins but they were at the far end of the peninsula and I was not going to get that far.
I didn't bring much to eat which I was beginning to regret when I got to Portobello and the Penguin Cafe. I could get used to touring with nice little towns with cafes every 20 miles or so. Portobello even had Spark wifi (which was available free in many small and mid-sized towns all across New Zealand).
I took Portobello Road back which follows right along the bay and is pretty much flat. There was a headwind but it was not bad compared to the winds up on Highcliff. It was a lovely ride.
My plan was to hang out as long as I could at camp. It was a beautiful spot but the sun hit it really late and it was cold. I still took it as slow as I could. Sarah the backpacker was packed up and ready to go before I even got up. She was the first one out. The Australian couple dallied a bit but still left way before me. By the time I was ready riders were already coming by heading for Middlemarch.
The only stop along the way was the Hyde Hotel. By now the Adventure South group was catching up with me. I was ready to blow by Hyde when they showed up so I stopped and had some coffee with a few of them. Really nice to be socializing with this tour group. Most of them are from Australia except for the couple from Washington.
By now it was getting hot. Wonderfully hot. I just wanted to soak it all in. Although I was trying to ride slow I still had a tailwind and was making good time. Bas and Fiona had modified the plan several times, but my instructions were to meet the bus in Middlemarch about 4 on their way back from dropping the riders off at the Pukeragi train station. The end of the line came too soon as felt like I could have kept riding on and on. But I had now ridden this trail in both directions, got to know it quite well, and met some great people along the way.
I stopped at the picnic tables at the trailhead to dry my tent. It didn't take long in the heat and lite wind. Fiona said the plans had changed again and I should head over to the Kissing Gate Cafe and join them for lunch. I did and we then loaded my bike on the back of their trailer with all of the tour bikes. We hung out quite a while before leaving. The road to the Pukerangi station is rough gravel and Bas does not like taking the trailer on it, so he unhitched the trailer at the head of the road and I stayed to guard it. If I wasn't there they just would have left it anyhow. But now I had a "role" to play. I said goodbye to the group and thanked them.>
The road from there to Dunedin was amazing. Up and down and around some very steep hills. I would not have been able to ride it. Mostly harsh and bare country until we approached Mosgiel. Now it was green with lots of farms. Very nice. Lots of traffic now as we approached Dunedin. Bas dropped me of at an intersection I was familiar with and I easily found my way back to the Holiday Park where I payed up for 3 nights. Looking forward to a nice beach day tomorrow.
Woke early at my not-so-stealth camping spot on the trail. I wanted to get going before too many riders came along. It was a beautiful morning and I was looking forward to a nice long day of riding. The Tunnels were the first thing up, followed by a long bridge. These were nice tunnels to ride through. No dripping water or puddles. Fairly smooth as well, and fairly short. The landscape changes pretty dramatically on the east side of the gorge. Very dry.
First break was at Oturehua, then on over the top. Some of the tour group were getting to the top about the time I was so I took pictures for them. Then on past Wedderburn and into Ranfurly for lunch. Once again I was hanging out with part of the tour group. I got on the phone to arrange a shuttle from Middlemarch tomorrow, but as soon as I hung up the tour guide Bas offered to give me a ride to Dunedin. So I called back the shuttle and canceled. I was really glad I met these folks on the morning out of Clyde.
When I got to the camp spot it looked deserted, but then I walked down to the river and there were some people camping. John & ? from Australia were on touring bikes There was also another fellow camping further upstream, who I never met. And while I was talking to ?, Sarah also from Australia showed up with a loaded backpack. She is hiking the trail and came all the way from Middlemarch today. That was as long as our first day on the trail when I was riding with Jelle. The river seemed even warmer. I got fully submerged and got a good bath.
It was a lovely warm night. I took a long walk and played my Shakuhachi.