10.30pm a very quiet Neptune Backpackers Greymouth
My reservoir of superlatives is drying up. Today’s cycle was another stunner but different to the Buller river. Here you have the expansive views of what’s ahead, namely outstandingly rugged coast and outrageously steep bush. Your route hugs a narrow strip of flatter (very relative term here) land between them. Another difference was the weather, here there was low cloud and a presence of nature ready to strike if you dare take it for granted. Luckily it held good for me and no more than a sprinkle of rain for a few minutes and at times you felt the sun about to break through. As an cup half full sort of person I thought this was ideal cycling weather, warm enough for a T-shirt , no head winds, so a good day. I managed to recoup the missed milage from yesterday as had set off early enough not to make it feel I was under any pressure (other than on my bruised saddle area). There were a couple of hills but I managed them without stopping although I was wheezing and wobbling at the tops.
Stopped at Punakaiki along with hundreds of others to do the pancake rocks and blow holes, even had an explore of a limestone cavern. I must say the rocks are impressive and it is so good that no one is charging to have a look. I think every other vehicle on this road is a camper van. This is fine and all give us cyclists a wide berth so far. I had a bit of a laugh where there was a queue at a roadworks when I edged to front and then waved everyone on to front again when the light changed and commending the choice of music in the car I’d sidled up against (blame it on the boogie by the Jackson 5 which I have not been able to get out of my head since).
I met my first other cycle tourer at Punakaiki. We had eyed each other at first sighting but didnt say anything at first as had that delay while you assess whether or not you want to engage in conversation which could potentially lead to them becoming your trail buddy from hell or best mate for life. Turned out to be neither. She was an Aussie (guilty as charged) and was having a day off to go horse trekking that afternoon (my buttocks clenched involuntarily at this moment). She is heading south too to Wanaka but has a mountain bike and was doing quite a few off road trails. She had months to do it in so not sure we will see each other. Shared a few stories about of routes down and I introduced Rex and then we wished each other luck as I set off with my pannier bags still open.
I particularly liked Lionel’s thought for the day. “Patience and presence will always overcome grit and determination but perhaps more importantly they will make the challenges we face both more enjoyable and more meaningful”
It may have been the 2 double shot flat whites but i had a hippyish moment and wrote down loads of deep and meaningful thoughts from cards in the shop from this west coast based company.
Stopped to read information about the coal mining town of Runanga and just before Greymouth i came across a local rugby league match including the Runanga team and went in for a watch (Runanga had produced some top international rugby league players and other sporting champions from bowls and marathon running). A fair crowd in there and was a local derby game. Some good players and also a few howlers of mistakes,I resisted a kiwi hot dog ( battered sausage on a stick coated in watties tomato sauce) but had a cup of chips and felt like a real kiwi fan. I then saw couple of girls I’d seen at the camp last night. We had a chat as the game had finished by then and I tried to explain there were 2 types of rugby. I also told them about the challenge I was doing. One girl was from Germany and the other Austrian, they had been in NZ since before xmas, had met here but one was going over to Aussie in a couple of weeks. They were interested in my raising money for cancer so I gave them the web addresses. I was also dying to ask them what the hell they were doing in their car in the middle of the night as when I’d got up for a whizz there were lights going everywhere. They explained they had needed to get rid of all the sandflies that had got into the car as they could not sleep. Aahh that explains it! Hello you two if you are looking at the blog and sorry I didn’t get your names ( at least I remembered one of you is most definitely Austrian!).
So here I am at another backpackers enjoying both worlds of the cosiness of my tent but also free reign of the backpackers.
I availed myself of my first bath for goodness knows how long and it was simply a fantastic way to relax after a tiring day in the saddle. Walked into town along the floodbank (Greymouth has had some major floods in the past) and bought a few supplies including sausage which I’ve had tonight. I am certainly eating more than when I was walking!
So finally to tally up
I only cycled 44km yesterday but managed 82km today
Yesterday and today= 126
Left = 983
Got a choice tomorrow, to head for Hokitika, who’s name I just love saying and stay there, its only 40km away, or continue to Pukekura a full 90km ( or somewhere in between)
Found a good website on the route down to Hasst and beyond
Suppose I better go to bed now.