Another Long Day… With Rewards

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Howdy folks. So, another day, and another 86km into the bike ride. Actually, it was a little more than 86km, since I went to the grocery store after finishing my day’s ride. I could’ve just had take-out again, but I decided it would be better to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies to munch on, along with the requisite pizza. However, I’m getting ahead of myself yet again, you’re probably more interested in what happened today anyway. I did in fact change my original plans of heading to the absolute north of the island by bike, and opted instead today to cut across the middle of the Island in order to reach the Bay of Islands, which are a beautiful part of New Zealand, and where I decided to spend at least two days. Read on.

After a very sleepless night in Opononi, I tried to get up at 7am, but didn’t drag my butt off the couch until 7:30. Couch? Yep, I actually slept on a couch in the hostel on account of the fact that my room-mate for the night was a heavy snorer, and was keeping me up. So I went out to the common area and crashed out on the couch. From there, I was able to hear the rain come down all night. Heavy for a lot of the night as welll. I could only imagine what the morning would bring 🙁

Well, actually, when morning broke, the sky had let up somewhat, and it wasn’t raining. It was still overcast, but there wasn’t rain. I set to work packing up my stuff again, which is getting to be a fairly regular ritual for me. I was on the road by 8:40am, a bit late, but still a reasonable time. I really had no way of knowing what the day would bring for my route, because the roads I was taking were not in any of my cycling books. So, I couldn’t check out the profile. I was hoping for not too many hills, but was fairly certain there would be a fair number of them, as always.

I wasn’t disappointed at all. There were a fair number of little hills, as well as a couple real doozies. However, I was also blessed with a fairly long flat section as well, so I could just veg out and spin the pedals for a while. Unfortunately, I was having another off day on the bike, and wasn’t all that happy to be out there. When I finally made it to my lunch stop, I had put on about 53km, and didn’t want to go any further. However, I also knew that I didn’t want to stay in that town, as it had pretty much zero to offer. So, I forced myself to keep going. On the plus side, I did hit a new maximum speed. According to the bike odometer, I hit over 70km/hr on one of the hills. Crazy, isn’t it?

I kept going, and at one point, pulled over to a gas station to ask about my route choice. A nice lady there pointed me to some back roads to make my way to the Bay of Islands. The route she recommended was supposedly the best one for bikes, as it had the least number of hills. I was sold. I didn’t see the other routes, but this one still had its share of hills, I’ll tell you that. However, I got a bit of a second wind, and decided to make the best of a miserable biking day. When I got back onto the main roads, the sign said that there was only 14km to go to Paihia. Hooray! I think the real reason I was looking forward to this stop was that I’ve decided to take a rest day here. Maybe even two. There’s lots to do up here.

Tomorrow, I’m booked on an all-day bus trip that goes up to Cape Reinga, takes us sand-boarding, as well as to another forest, and to a cafe for lunch. From here, I can also take part in any other number of thrill-seeking adventures like jet-boat rides to Hole in the Rock, etc. I’ll make up my mind whether or not to take an extra day or not depending on the weather. Apparently they’ve been having some pretty crap weather here. However, I’ve assured everyone at the hostel that I’d be bringing in the good weather, so here’s hoping to that. Once I checked in to the Pickled Parrot, I met a couple Dutch guys, and we headed to the grocery store to pick up some beer and pizzas. And that leads me here, writing up a hasty blog post so that I can wrap up my laundry.

I’ve now had a chance to shower, shave, clean up, eat and even do laundry, and it’s only about 7pm. Alls well that ends well I guess. I’ll leave you all at that, as I’ve got better things to do than be glued to my tiny laptop. Take care all!

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