9pm Lake Paringa campsite
I’ve met my first cycle buddy going South. His name is David and he’s from San José, California ( as in “do you know the way to San José?”).
We hooked up this morning at the backpackers, he’d seen Rex and my tent but hadn’t seen me attached to either until he came back in having set off without his helmet. He’s a nice lad, 24, and has an English mum from Leicester, who introduced him to English stuff as he grew up in what must be one of the most american of states. He loved the Beano comics but threw away his ten year collection when he wanted to be more like his mates who “didn’t get” the beano. His mum had introduced him to English humour and he loves shows like Are you being served and vicar of Dibley. He’d been to Leicester a few times and is not your stereotypical american although he seems at first impression an all american guy.
He’s a bit slow on the cycling but I think this is more his bike which he can’t seem to change to higher gears up the hills, I’ll have a look in the morning. We’ll probably stay together till Queenstown where he wants to spend a few days. Its been nice to have the company but I’ve also been pretty happy on my own so far too.
I’ve met quite a few people today including an older French Canadian guy who is a super dooper cycle tourist having been on his bike since 2011! He has cycled over 55,000km across all continents apart from Africa which he’ll do but this will only be after he goes home to Canada for four months for a rest and catch up with his family. I asked him why he was doing it and he said he was living his boyhood dream which he had not done anything about until he finally got the courage to quit his job, sell his car and live out this dream. He certainly had no regrets and said he would go home asap if and when he stopped enjoying it. His son had joined him for a year before going home to study. Not sure if he has a wife still!
At the busy camp tonight we’ve met Alesyia (from Horsham) and Ashely (from Bradford) plus Sarah from near Plymouth who are travelling south in a car together. We spent most of the evening with them having dinner, sharing our experience of NZ and keeping the French couple whose tent the BBQ bench we were sat on was right next to awake. They have all been in NZ for quite a while working and travelling. They’ve been to other places too, Sarah in Aussie where she temped or worked in outback bars, Ashley and Alesyia met in Cambodia and are now a couple deciding if they’d settle in the south east or “godzone” Yorkshire!
I also met Jack and Lulu who are kiwis cycling north, had a brief chat when I first arrived at camp and we said about having a longer chat later but guess they didn’t when they saw we were in a much bigger group.
Another beautiful day for cycling. A bit cloudy, hardly any wind. The route from Fox or Lake Paringa is lovely as you have mountain views, roads through rainforest and wild beaches strewn with driftwood to marvel at, the roads are noticeably less busy. The beach (Jacobs beach) was full of white stones on which people had written messages, I wrote message for dad and tied today’s piece of blue shirt on.
About 60km in there is a salmon farm with nice cafe and we stopped there for a drink and look round. There were 4 holding tanks from what we could see each with different size fish in them. I bought a nice fresh piece for tea and David bought a cold smoked piece. Very nice too.
We’ve done about 70km today in all but at a really steady pace. I’ve suggested we do similar distance tomorrow and stop at place endearingly called Pleasant Flats which would leave the Haast pass tough climb for the day after.
Couple of Keas (alpine parrots) have been flying around and making a real racket squawking.
Total b/f 789