Enjoying Natures’ Mystery

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05/03/08
Greetings folks. Well, as you’ve already seen by the bonus post added to the site, I started my day with a rather taxing attack on Baldwin Street. Although my cycling day was to be 90km, I still had to give it a go on the way out of town, as it would be my only chance to ride up that street on my bike while in New Zealand. What a way to start my day! I was totally exhausted at the top, but had to bounce back quickly, as the next part of the ride was a rather long climb up to around 500m to get over Mount Cargill, which is the scenic (i.e. torturous) way out of Dunedin heading North. The day was a hodge podge as far as weather, scenery and accomplishments go, so without any further ado, I invite you to browse my little map and to read on for a few more exciting details.

To kick the day off, I was greeted with blinding sunlight in the window. Huzzah! It looked as though I would finally get a day of good weather for biking. I realized that I haven’t had a sunny biking day since Tuatapere! That’s been a little while. Granted, I guess the seasons are changing in NZ, so nights will be cooler anyway, but sun would still be nice to warm me up as I ride out the rest of my cycling tour. Ok, so why am I saying this when I awoke to sun? Simple, the sun didn’t last! It was a dream I think. As I was leaving town after the Baldwin climb, the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped, and I could see rain approaching from behind me. D’oh! At least all of my things were finally dry from the extreme soaking that they got on the way into Dunedin. Unfortunately, the bike drivetrain has suffered a little bit, and the brakes were rubbing as well. Poor Epicus, she’ll need quite a bit of over-hauling methinks before the race season. Stands to reason though, as I’m now well over 3500km on it this trip through varying conditions.

Anyway, back to the ride. Although the weather wasn’t perfect, it was far from the gales of a couple days before. When it rained, it was more of a drizzle / rain, than a full downpour. However, it was cold enough that I had to stop to dig out my overbooties and my gloves to keep me comfortable. However, as usual, I was riding in shorts. Yup, not having rainpants has worked out just fine for me on this tour. Mind you, some people with knee problems swear by leg warmers, but for me, it’s been okay. I had also hoped to stop at an Internet place on my way out of town to post some things, but wouldn’t you know it, they weren’t open, even though it was after 9am? By the time you read this post, I fear you’ll be slogging through a whole pile. Sorry. Technology’s a little behind down here.

The scenic route wound around many hills, and took me back to the ocean to ride along beside it for a spell as well. The chief reason for taking this route was the plain fact that SH1 sucks. Too many trucks, campers and inconsiderate drivers. I’m hoping to avoid it as much as possible till I get to Christchurch. That’s not always easy though, as there are few alternatives, and a lot of them are unsealed. However, the scenic route is both much nicer from the traffic point of view as well as for the scenery. Go figure. The principal stopping point for the day along the route wasn’t until close to the end of the day, at a place called the Moeraki Boulders, which are very interesting spherical boulders, along with some other treasures made by mother nature herself. The bad news there was two-fold. Firstly, while I was there, it was the heaviest rain of the day. Secondly, I was there at high tide, not the best time to explore all the boulders, but at least you can still see some, as the pictures attest to.

I probably should have stopped along the way at a cafe or something as well, but frankly, I was actually enjoying myself on the bike, and just wanted to keep rolling. Besides, I’d made several peanut butter and nutella sandwiches, and still had half a bag of chips, so food wasn’t that pressing. I made an exception when I was about 9km from the hostel. I saw a convenience store, and decided to pop in. A quick inquiry revealed there would in fact be no food or restaurants anywhere near the hostel, so I took the chance to load up on some stuff to eat that night. That was a good call by me, as Rainer, the Swiss cyclist who has been shadowing me several days now, didn’t have that foresight, and had no food on arrival. Luckily, someone else had left a frozen pizza at the hostel, so he had that.

The Olive Grove is a sweet place. Scenery is nothing that special, we’re just nestled in a valley that enjoys drier weather than Dunedin down the road. It’s an organic farm, and the accoms are perfect for a relaxing night. Very quiet and peaceful. Rainer and I even ponied up a few bucks each to get a half hour in the spa pool here, which was just what I needed after my Baldwin bid! Although we have yet to physically ride together, Rainer and I have been doing the same route each day. In fact, I booked a bed for him this time, and we arrived only minutes apart, even though we hadn’t seen each other all day, save for a moment when I was on Baldwin. Too funny. We haven’t figured out the next ride yet, but I’m sure we’ll be on the same route, as we’re both heading to Mount Cook in the next couple days.

Well, I guess that about wraps ‘er up for the day. Dunedin was a pretty great spot, but it was time to move on after three nights and two full days. I’m starting to get that feeling that time is running out, and I still have some things I want to do down here, so rolling on was necessary. Tomorrow, it’s off to see the Elephant rocks, and take some back roads to a spot called Duntroon. Internet looks to be unlikely for at least another couple days, but I’ll do my best! Cheers all, see you in under 4 weeks!!!

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