Sunday, January 9, 2011

Southern Otago

____A dry day out of Ranfurly, sheep pastures of the Strath Taieri change to the sheep pastures of the Manitoto after the tunnels of Poolburn. The wind then gets up to gale force and progress is slow even though I’m going down hill after Wedderburn. The Commercial Hotel at Omakau is showing the final stages of the Ashes Cricket 5th Test. It seems a good idea to have an early finish.

____Alexandra finishes my Otago Central Rail Trail after a couple of hours down from Omakau. Back on the road, southbound to Roxburgh, where I have two punctures in quick succession. The back tyre had taken a tremendous pounding on the dirt trail and shows signs of broken cords. Alongside the Clutha river are many orchards with picking of apricots and cherries in full swing. The camp site at Ettrick has plenty of casual seasonal workers and the pub next door is buzzing on a Saturday night.

____I change the tyres from back to front; hoping to nurse the bike down to Gore for a re-fit. But another puncture soon takes my last patch. The hottest day of the tour and 15 kilometres from Gore, the tyre goes flat again; now I have to get off and push. After 5kms a pick-up truck stops and a good guy who does plenty of mountain bike riding loads up my bike and runs me into town; right up to the camp site. Thanks Mate, I owe you one.

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