Welcome to Springfield, NZ

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13/03/08
Hello folks, I’m coming to you live from Springfield, NZ at the moment. I haven’t located the Kwik-E-Mart or Moe’s Tavern yet, but I plan to do some exploration after this post just to make sure they aren’t here somewhere hiding. I must admit, I had no idea where I was going to lay my head down tonight, but as it turns out, I think I made the best decision in the end. So why Springfield? After all, it’s not even close to being on my route, and I had to bike uphill to get there. Well, there are a couple good reasons, first, I can say I stayed in Springfield. But secondly, and most importantly for me, it’s 10km from Sheffield. I remembered someone telling me some time ago that Sheffield has the best pies in NZ, and what better way to spend my last meal on the road then eating the best pies in NZ while rolling downhill all the way to Christchurch on a scenic route? I couldn’t think of any either, and that’s why I’m in Springfield. Another option was Darfield, but I’ve since found out that the backpackers accommodations I’d read about no longer exist anyway, so I would’ve been out of luck. Anywho, read on for the rest of my story, and check out the map too.

I had a great night’s sleep last night, mainly for the fact that I was all alone in the room. No one to snore or make noises all night. Also, the bed was quite cozy, and after filling my belly with pasta and garlic bread, I was ready for the slumber. When I got up, it was pretty overcast, and quite cool outside. It had been raining overnight, but that seemed to have passed, although the forecast said we may get drizzle for the remainder of the morning still. Time would tell. I was lazy getting myself organized, as it was just so cozy there. I had a leisurely breakfast of cereal, toast, a banana and yogourt, and made a quick call home before hopping on the bike. Once again, I made a quick bakery stop, this time for steak and mushroom pie, and a piece of carrot cake for lunch.

My plan for the day was two-fold. Firstly, it was to make my way to my final destination, but also, I was going to spend some time hiking in Rakaia Gorge, where there was a walkway that went along the river and the gorge. Another couple cyclists had recommended doing the track, which had nice views of the river from high above. To get to the gorge, I basically backtracked for about 10km, although on a different road, before joining back up with the road I was on the day before. This was all uphill, and then a steep downhill into the gorge and across two bridges. I locked up the bike and my gear, put on my sandals, and headed off down the trail. I think if the weather had been a bit better, I would have been treated to views of some mountains as well as the river, but due to the overcast day, I was only able to check out the river, which was a brilliant colour just like Lake Tekapo. I’m not sure if I did the whole trail, but I came to a spot where there was a table and chairs on the other side of a fence, and decided to stop there, eat my snack, then return via the same route.

This table was clearly on private land, but it was so tempting that I made myself comfortable. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a truck came through the field and a woman got out. I thought I might be in trouble, but when I asked if it was okay, she said absolutely. She was just dropping off a picnic basket for later. Turns out she guides horse treks down here, and this is where they stop to eat. She made me promise not to eat the food, then left me once again. I didn’t eat anything, but I did pop open the basket to check it out, as you can see in the pictures. Looked tasty and fun, but not mine, so I closed the lid and shuffled back down the trail to my bike.

Of course, the next part was back uphill again, as I had to climb out of the gorge. Then, it was a gentle downhill roll for quite some time, before I had to make a turn once again, and this forced me to start heading back uphill again. All of these grades were very small, but you can still tell when you’re going slightly uphill versus slightly downhill. The general scenery again today was the same as the past few days, so I’ve not snapped too many shots for you to check out, as they would seem a little deja vu. I guess that’s sort of my theme on the bike daily now anyway. It’s all become a bit repetitive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and the eventual ritual disembarking from the saddle in Christchurch. I dare say there is unlikely to be any fanfare, but after over 4200km of biking, I suppose I should feel some sort of sense of accomplishment and finality when I get off the bike.

I find myself with very little else to share with you about my day. It was a perfectly normal day for me, with nothing that really stood out. So with that, I’ll close off this post. I get the feeling my writing has drifted to the more mundane now, but hopefully in my last two weeks I’ll have at least a couple exciting adventures that’ll get my fingers typing again! Till then, adios amigos.

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