Sunday, December 19, 2010
Days 4-5-6-7 in the Rain.
____I’d be a liar if I said the last four days had been enjoyable. It’s been rain, rain and more rain. The tent has stayed packed away and I’ve taken to renting cabins; little huts with just a bed, table and chairs. These have varied in price and standard but are situated on most campsites, motor camps and trailer parks. A lot of places have “residents”; people who live all year in their caravan. These have been an endless source of advice and laughs. At Okere Falls; three guys, on the insistence of a lady, were demolishing a two foot diameter tree stump with a cordless electric drill with a one inch bit. My hut was next door and during conversation whilst the battery was recharging; we all agreed that cycling the length of New Zealand was very similar to what they were attempting.
____Day Four started at Papamoa Beach and soon I was in Te Puke [Tay-Pew-Kay], the Kiwi Fruit Capital of the World. Everything is Kiwi Fruit. Around April there is plenty of casual work picking the little furry buggers; also pruning at other times. Google: Seeka Kiwi Fruit if you want to give it a try.
____Day Five had me back in the volcanic area of Rotorua and down to Taupo on Highway 5. The side road through Reporoa was a pleasant level ride and I found that most service stations sell hot pies and drinks. A pot of tea and a hot sausage roll goes down a treat on a wet and windy day. The thermal baths at the campsites are another good thing; a soak in the volcanic heated water of 34 degrees C helps my body recover at the end of the day.
____Day Six and my regular breakfast is now at McDonalds; of which New Zealand has plenty. But they are split into the normal McD and McCafe; an arty pastry and cappuccino section. What’s all that about? A bit like going to a whorehouse and the Madam saying that they also have books. I go there for sausage ‘n’ egg muffin, greasy hash brown and normal coffee; same as everybody else. An easier day than the last few; just down the east side of Lake Taupo to Turangi. Any further would have left me short on places to stay. But I did have the good fortune to be in the Hungry Trout Café, eating one of their excellent sausage rolls, when a violent thunderstorm passed over head.
____Day Seven, the hardest day so far. 56 kilometres without a town or village, non-stop rain and all on the busy Highway 1. The Desert Road; but more like moor land than arid desert, climbing to 1074 metres beside the mist shrouded active volcano called Mount Ruapehu. A flat plateau area that leads through the army training area of Waiouro, then back into the ups and downs of sheep pastures. Ending the day at Taihape, which rhymes with Die Happy.