Howdy everyone out there in ActiveSteve Land! Let me just start off by saying that this blog post will be short. Possibly really short. I’m just too burnt out right now to write any great stories. Yes, you’ll still get a map, and you can read the statistics, but they, along with the pictures, only tell a bit of the tale of the day that I had today. My journey took me from Wanganui, meandering south through farmland to end up in Palmerston North, a University town. Massey University to be precise. It’s the biggest University in New Zealand, so I thought I’d check it out. High-level impressions, not all that much to see, and surprisingly dead for a Saturday. Maybe it picks up later in the night. I probably won’t be awake to find out. For the brief history of my ride and reason I’m tired, feel free to read the next couple paragraphs 🙂
WIND! F*cking heaps of WIND! Not just any winds. HEADWINDS! All the way. ALL THE WAY! Sustained winds of probably 30km/hr with gusts probably to 50km/hr. The terrain really wasn’t bad at all. Only a few smaller climbs. All through rolling farmland. This ride could have easily been done in 3.5 to 4 hours. It took me over 6! Get the picture? Since it was farm land, there was absolutely no escaping it. My only respite came on a pee break where I stood behind a road sign for relief, and then my lunch break in Bulls. Where did I eat? McDonald’s for the first time. I just didn’t feel like socializing at a cafe. I was totally exhausted and just wanted to eat and be on my way. I still had 30km to go! I tried being positive, but it just wouldn’t work. So I cursed the wind aloud. Repeatedly. And I challenged it to blow me over. It almost succeeded a few times. Sometimes, you just have to accept a shitty day and be miserable about it I guess. Positivity was hard to find 🙁 I decided it was Karma, as I neglected to make a donation at the museum I visited yesterday, which was a complete mistake on my part. I always pitch in a couple bucks.
I also met another Canadian, but he was going the other direction, and crossed over to chat, and comfort me in my time of anger. Easy for him, he had a super tailwind, and was probably rolling along at 30km/hr. However, he was really nice, and said he’d had his share on the South Island. He was from Calgary, and has been on the road for 4 years I think! Crazy.
End of the ride had me in Palmerston North just after 4pm. By the time I showered, changed, and headed downtown, everything was shut tight like Fort Knox. Streets dead, only a few people milling about, along with the usual disillusioned youth. BTW, there are a LOT of these youth everywhere, and they can often be somewhat dangerous. I think my beard keeps the muggings in check. That, or my stench. Either way, I did have one close call in Wanganui, but luckily I was in front of a police station while I was being accosted. Anyway, enough about that. I’m staying in a hostel called Grandma’s Place tonight. And it really is, including the Bourbon-perfume wearing elderly woman who checked me in after I called her from wherever she was. She had summer teeth (some are here, some are there), and was definitely in the middle of whiling away a Saturday with some juice. Nice enough lady though, and she isn’t on-site, so the night should be okay here. I’m the only one in a 4-bed room. The place is decorated like Grandmas too. Everything short of plastic on the couches. Old furniture, old linens, really old fixtures. But, it was only 22, and has made beds, and is virtually empty tonight, so I plan on having a very early and quiet night, so that I can get back on the windy road!
Tomorrow I plan to ride on South towards Otaki Beach, and hopefully camp there if the weather is okay. I fear that the wind may stick with me all the way to Wellington, and if so, will definitely be up for another couple hard days. Oh well, I knew what I was getting myself into, didn’t I? For fun today, I started planning how I’d get back to Auckland later. Rent a Car? Take a bus? Take a train? Bum rides? Buy a Car? I think my best option might be renting, especially if I can do it one way. That way, I still have freedom. One guy I spoke to recently was renting his for only 24NZD per day, including insurance, and with unlimited km! Kinda makes me wonder why I’m biking. I’ve heard tales of other cyclists giving up on their bikes and going that route, and have even met a couple of them. Of course, that just makes me more determined to make it all the way South on my own. It’ll be a great accomplishment, and that way I won’t let any of you down!
Hmm, well, look at that, I wrote up a few more paragraphs than I thought I would! I guess it was just good therapy. I’m off now in search of food, and I think there’s an internet gaming spot not far where I can use a computer. Grandma doesn’t have Internet, as you might imagine, and I have to check mail to see if I have a place to stay in Wellington yet. I’m guessing my tent by the beach will lack Internet tomorrow as well, so that’s another reason to pop over to the local Internet house. Take care everyone, and may the wind always be at your backs!