Back to the Coast for Recovery

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30/01/08
Hi gang. I’m back again, writing a story for you even though I’m still a little under the weather! It’s nothing super-bad, just a sort throat and general tiredness, which as you may imagine does make my 5 hours of cycling each day a little challenging and exhausting. I chose to take a route today that would take me right out to the west coast, to a place called…. Westport. It’s a town of about 4600 people, but has lots of cafes and a supermarket. It was only a 65km ride, and I got in just before 1pm. This gave me the chance to do laundry, buy some supplies, eat a lunch, and then hopefully catch up on my Internet and stuff. I’m hoping to wrap up all my chores by 7pm or so, so that I can maybe just watch a movie, and snack, then hit the hay early. I’m not taking a day off, so I hope the extra rest will give me the boost for tomorrows ride. Luckily, it’s another relatively short day, so that’s in my favour. As usual, I’ve got a little map put together for my faithful followers, and some pictures to amuse you. Today’s ride was good on scenery, but that’s about it. You’ve pretty much seen it all, so I held back on taking too many pictures. Read on just the same…

This morning was an exercise in pure torture. I’d hoped that the bugs would be sleeping in, but I awoke to find literally hundreds hovering between my fly and the tent. I guess my heat and moist breath attracted the throngs all night. It would not be an easy pack-up this morning. I tried to pack as much in the tent as I could, but eventually I had to step out. HOLY CRAP! These guys were unstoppable(well, especially when you have no repellant). I quickly decided breakfast would only be consumed once far from this camp. To pack the tent and trailer up, I had to pick up things one at a time, and do a sort of run and dance in a big circle to keep the bugs at bay. Any time I stopped for more than 10 seconds, there would be about 40 little buggers on my legs and arms. I’m not making this up!!! I’ve got the little red spots to prove it! I was out of there by 8am, but knew I’d be stopping down the road for my muffin, banana, cookie and chips. Yup, chips for breakfast. Why not? It’s food, right?

At first, I thought today would be a little cooler and easier on my body, as it was fairly overcast. However, that turned out it was just in the gorge where I was sleeping. Before too long, the sun broke through and started attacking me once again. It truly is an intense sun down here. I’ve already gone through 1 and a half big bottles of sunscreen on this trip. And I mean big. 400mL size. As a result, I don’t have that deep brown hue that some bikers get, but I’m okay with that.

Today was again a gorge ride, only this time, I would be in the Upper Buller Gorge. There were pretty much no attractions along this route though, so I opted to not stop at all on the road to Westport, apart from the breakfast stop, and another re-salting stop where I chowed down on more crunchy salty snacks. Yum, my favourite. Westport is a pretty nice little spot, and I bought a bag of microwave popcorn even for tonight. Well, that, and a 2L bottle of beer I picked up from a brewery. Oh, and I got them to give me a free bar towel. Once again, my persuasive ways pay off. I told the guy about my bar, and he rummaged around and found me a bar towel from their old brewery name and gave it to me for free with my 2L of dark beer. I also got a slight discount on that. I paid only 9NZD for 2L straight from the tap. Imagine, under $7 for 2L. I don’t even care if I drink it all, it’s still cool to buy. Popcorn and beer, what could be better when you feel like crap? Well, juice maybe, which is what I’m pounding down now in preparation for my beer 🙂

Hmm, I realize this post is pretty much rambling and going nowhere. Can you tell I have a little extra spare time? That and the fact that the day was pretty dull? As a result, I think I’ll cap the post here, because I wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time with my jumbled random thoughts. It’s Wednesday night, why don’t you all go out, get 2L of beer, make some popcorn, and watch a movie too? I think I’ll watch Oceans 12, as I haven’t seen it, and they have it here at my hostel. Cheers!!!

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