Another Century Later…

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23/02/08
Welcome back to my world folks. Well, another day is in the bag, but I’m feeling great today! The ride from Te Anau to Tuatapere was over 100km, but I was happy the entire way today. The road was generally downhill, and there was a nice tailwind for most of the ride. I can’t stress enough just how nice that is. There was only one hill of any concern, a 200m climb called Jericho Hill. Apart from that, it was just undulating terrain the whole way. My little map is up and awaiting your inspection. along with some shots for the day. Overall, I didn’t take too many pictures, as the scenery was generally not that remarkable. It was nice, but nothing out of the ordinary or really different from what I’ve been seeing for a lot of the trip. Farmland and rolling fields with sheep and cows. Yippee. Read on for a little more detail on this great riding day.

I didn’t have the greatest nights sleep to start things off this morning. First, I was up later than I wanted to, in order to get all my latest pictures uploaded, as well as all my posts and maps. So it was around 11:30 before I turned in. Then, the Taiwanese couple in our dorm room were quite late coming in, and made a ton of noise getting things ready for their next morning. To cap things off, the Taiwanese fellow snored up a storm, forcing me to get up in the middle of the night and club him with a pillow. It worked. He rolled over and started the process over again, giving me a window of opportunity to try and fall asleep. These all made me a little draggy in the morning, and I didn’t hit the road till around 8:30. Bob and Maxine also wanted to chat a bit before I took off, and take my picture. Maxine even gave me a nice NZ fridge magnet to take home. I tell you, you won’t find better hostel hosts anywhere in New Zealand. They really made my two nights in Te Anau feel comfortable. I snapped a picture of them as well, and I was off.

Of course, before finally heading out of town, I popped into Miles Better Pies to pick up a Chicken Satay Pie for a snack later on in the morning. Lonely Planet was on the money when they said I should stop in here to get a pie. When I finally did have it, it was divine. The lady at the counter was right when she said I’ll wish I had bought two. Oh well, it was too late, as I was already in Manapouri by that time, 20km down the road. This was the first stop on my trip, as this is where boats leave for the cruises in Doubtful Sound. I obviously didn’t do a cruise, but I did go to the waterfront and the wharf, which was a bit off my path. I was checking into tours of the underground power station at West Arm, only accessible by boat. Sadly, the tour, costing 61NZD, only leaves once a day at 12:30 and doesn’t return until 5pm, making it a touch complicated to bike an additional 80km in the same day!

So with heavy heart, I skipped the ‘electrifying’ tour of the power plant, and got back on my bike for the onward ride. I wasn’t too broken up about it, as I really hadn’t planned on doing it, just thought I’d check. The ride was going so well anyway, that I figured I might as well just keep on rolling. The skies were slightly overcast, keeping the ground level at a great temperature. Not too hot, not too cool. Coupled with that wind, I had no problem just cruising along at around 20+km/hr. I knew that somewhere around km 50 I’d start Jericho Hill, which was the only feature of the day to cause me any strain whatsoever, but even that wasn’t too bad. The work I had done on the bike and trailer were paying off, as it seemed mostly effortless to glide along. People seemed pretty cheerful today as well, with lots of friendly waves and room on the road. It helped that I was travelling the Scenic Southern route, frequented primarily by tourists, and no trucks. I’d be able to go minutes without passing another soul. Perfect time for polishing up my singing 🙂

By the 90km mark, I was in the area of Clifden. I can’t call it a town, as there wasn’t anything really there to qualify it as such, but on the map, it had seemed like a pretty large and significant place. It wasn’t. Luckily, it was only 15km from Tuatapere. It was also the site of the Clifden suspension bridge, which I pulled off to check out. Fairly ancient suspension bridge built in the old days. It was a nice distraction on the trip, especially considering from there I’d have under an hour to my destination. With the good time I was making, I actually arrived in town before 3pm! Pretty good considering the late departure and distance travelled that day. The bad news was that accomodations might be a touch tricky. There was a motorcross thing going on this weekend which had all the rooms booked in town, and at the backpackers, a stupid Stray Bus (annoying backpacker bus) was taking up all the extra space. Well, Big Agnes to the rescue. Since I have my tent, there are always options, and I’m now set up on a grassy spot, waiting for the pending rain. Luckily, I have full access of the backpacker place, a grocery store, bar, and cafe across the street, and I’m right on the road for Invercargill in the morning. All this for only 12NZD. Not bad. Of course, things might get a bit rowdy tonight. I may just adopt a ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ attitude tonight. After all, it’s Saturday night, and I had a great day on the bike. Tomorrow is ‘only’ 86km of riding, and I end up at someones house, so I’m in no real rush.

Hmm, I think that’s really all I have to say at the moment. Sometimes a shorter post is good right? When there’s more to report on, I’ll make a longer post. Awesome, it’s not even 6. However, the motorcross guys are starting to trickle in, so I might as well make myself more scarce around here. Scary people these motorcross types. However, they’re not real bikers. I’m the only real biker in this town tonight, right people? Perhaps I can win their admiration with my excellent abilities to consume beer? Nah, not even worth trying that. Take care all, and talk to you later! Oh yeah, and why a pie picture with the post? Well, Jody was complaining that I’m always talking about these pies, but never take any pictures of them. So now you have one! Two actually. Now I just have to convince her that we should open up a NZ Pie shop in Ottawa. I’m sure we’d be rich, but perhaps not everyone wants to eat two per day like I do while biking here. Ha ha.

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