OMG, a day off and time to do other things than cycling or walking!
There was a lot of rain overnight and this morning. Poor David’s tent got soaked inside and he had to retreat to the kitchen at around 6am. The forecast suggests rain with us most of the day so I’ve decided to take time out and await clearer day to tackle the Crown Range road to Queenstown tomorrow. The views are said to be so good I don’t want to miss them.
David is going to have to find somewhere indoors tonight, he’s also trying to meet up with a French girl he met earlier in his trip who is far better looking than me. We’ll meet up later today to sort out cycling together tomorrow.
I am feeling great! My legs are like cycling machines and just go and go, even my bum is toughening up and the soreness is only underlying not constant. I am almost disappointed to not be on the saddle! However a day off gives me time to do the laundry, get a feel for a place like Wanaka, catch up on the blog (you lucky thing!), plan a bit further ahead than my next day, and be more reflective (as in looking back and taking some meaning from it all, as opposed to being seen in the dark which my floglow top and skully lights already do adequately).
The laundry is done and “drying” in the rain!
On the planning, I’m trying to time my arrival at Bluff with my fiftieth birthday on April 11th as well as ensuring I’ve done the full 3000km challenge. The route I’m looking at doing from Queenstown is Te Anau (via Walter Peak and Mavora lakes) then down southern scenic highway to Invercargill which is 300km. From Wanaka to Queenstown is 77km and I think Invercargill to Bluff is about 23km which all together makes a nice round 400km. This is 122km short of the 3000km target so I will have to add a bit. I’ve found out Bluff is not the most Southerly tip of the South Island, its a place called Slope Point,it looks over 100km from Bluff. Another option is a side trip to one of my most favourite places,Glenorchy, which as a return trip to Queenstown would probably be 100km or so. I’m even looking further ahead and to keep cycling back up the East coast as far as I can. I’ve noted that the most direct route from Invercargill to Nelson is 1000km, with scenic options it will be even longer, now there’s a challenge! I’d have around 13 days to do it and can then claim to have circumnavigated the South Island! Let’s not be too hasty though as there are plenty of other options including walks, fishing, enjoying the most scenic cycles (Otago rail trail) etc
On getting a feel for a place like Wanaka, I’m currently in the library where i was disappointed to find there is no free WiFi as in most other libraries in NZ. Charges to use the library PCs are steep too. Maybe this is an example where places just get too popular and touristy so money and market forces prevail. Not being too hasty today I’ll soak a bit more in and reflect before passing judgement. A redeeming feature was walking in along the lakefront there is a chronology of human history going back to the birth of Christ. Engraved paving tiles on the path into town represent events in any given year.It therefore took me ages to walk to library and I’m only up to Great Fire of London (1666). It is a good effort from the Wanaka Community Millennium Project as it picks out a lot of Maori history and also those from other civilisations, such as India, China, Muslim, Japan, Aztec, Spain etc and so not overly dominated by British events.
The blog is pretty much up to date and becoming an epic of Iliad proportions, I’m wondering how I will keep it for future reference to remind me of my Odyssey on the inevitable cold, dark winter nights to come and eventually into my dotage. I’m hoping it is just Volume 1 and my life’s adventures are not over.
Reflecting is a much more complex and personal process and there are lots of categories to include. My overriding reflection is just how fulfilling the journey and taking on the challenge has been. This has been on so many different levels. My physical health has been transformed by the exercise my body has undertaken, I feel years younger even if I don’t look it and I’ve not been as fit as I am now since my early thirties. I’ve lost so much of the surplus weight which had crept on over the last three years. My legs particularly feel super strong, as you have seen from the calves i keep showing on the blog. I’ve had no feelings of stress or pressure which I now realise I did have more than i thought through work and general living back at home. I’m not naïve to think that my travelling life of just looking at the day to day can be sustainable but there is a clear message being given to simplify and appreciate things more when I get home. Socially, I have loved meeting new people and learning about them, it has been great to share my journey with others and they have enriched the experience for me and for this I am exceptionally grateful. I think i have also enriched, albeit to a small degree, those I have met too. I thought I was more introverted than I now seem to be behaving and i think this is down to doing something I’m really proud of and being more confident as a result. I am also more confident in my own resolve to get things done and can stick determinedly to my goals where I have a strong belief in the outcome, importantly within this resolve is the desire to make it as enjoyable an experience and the “task” is not the be all and end all. I’ve been reinvigorated by the simple kindness, trust and fellowship of people. I think NZ is such a special place for this to manifest itself and everyone coming here becomes more open to other humans during their visit, and I hope this can rub off when I get home too. Spiritually it has been very emotional at times. I’ve had a lot of time to think about my Dad and what he did for me and my family. Its been a source of strength to carry around something as simple as his shirt to reconnect with him and feel he is on the journey too. Sharing the experience with Chris was also really special as we went through some amazing highs and came through some tough physical tests together. Its was great to feel we were there for each other and even now there’s a tear in my eyes as I remember him leaving on the bus! Its also made me appreciate more my own family and the life we already have together and reinforced my wish to be more with them, actually with them as opposed to being in the same house. I appreciate I have been very fortunate to have had the support from my family and my workplace to make his happen and would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who can free themselves to go travelling to do so.
11pm back at camp
Whoa! That bit above was pretty deep, hope you are still with me!
I’ve had a truly relaxing day just sauntering among the people in the area, I don’t know where the time went which I suppose is a good thing. The weather brightened up and it hasn’t rained at all this arvo. Lots of people in town probably because, like me, they put off what they had planned to do and spent day here. Wanaka has a nice feel but I did get an urge to move on, too many visitors for my liking (yes I know I am adding to this) and I sense a lot of the people working here are visitors too. The locals tend to shine through such as the ladies at the Mediterranean market, and the burger bar who you could tell really care for their town (oops I’ve given away what I had for lunch).
I’ve been out on the town tonight. I met David at the BarLuga with his french friend and a few other “young uns” were there in a group so the being a “hip and happening” older guy I pretend to be I joined in seamlessly. There were a couple from the states New York and New Hampshire to be precise, a kiwi girl who’d gone to Otago Uni and an English girl who went to same university Amie is going to go to in September. She’d loved Southampton but had given up her marketing job after 2 years to come traveling and to work overseas. enjoyed telling them about my journey and they seemed moderately interested. Arranged to meet David at the camp site at 8am and reminded him the clocks go back tonight!