Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bikes and Trains DO Mix

Day: 77
Middlemarch to Dunedin
Time: 1:54
Distance: 26.8 km
Avg Speed: 14.1 kph
Terrain: rolling
Location: 45 52’ 36.0” E, 170 30’ 30.3” N

We headed on out of Blind Billy’s Holiday Camp in Middlemarch early this morning. We had train to catch at 11:45 in a town called Pukerangi and didn’t want to miss it. Before I tell you about our ride let me tell you a little bit about life in holiday camps in New Zealand. We didn’t plan on staying in them as much as we have, but due to circumstance we have ended up free camping a lot less than we had planned. New Zealand is set up for camping, but usually it is in DOC (Dept. of Conservation) camps or in holiday camps. The difference between the two is the DOC camp is bare bones with usually a pit toilet and maybe water, whereas the holiday camps are more like hostel for tents and campervans. We have opted for the hostel atmosphere since we can get by with carrying less.
We usually roll into town before the campervan crusade gets there and have the office and the campground to ourselves for an hour or two. You are generally charged the same as a campervan since you are taking up the same space one would. We fail to see the logic in this, but we make sure to take longer showers and use all the free stuff we can. TV has been a favorite as of late (Hell’s Kitchen is particularly intriguing). We get the tent set up and all of our things inside and then take turns hanging out while the other showers. We then either go to the store, the pub, the take-away or the kitchen for first round of food. Leslie catches us up on the pictures and, if we have internet, the blog and picture sites. I usually start dinner around 6:00 or so and this is so we can catch the weather at 6:50 on the news. The sports run from 6:30 to 6:50 every night so we can usually time it just right. Leslie does the dishes, we watch a little more TV and then off to bed where we blog, journal, read, stretch, listen to music or sleep. Anyone bored out of their gourds yet? We sometimes have people who will strike up a conversation with us, but being the introverts we are it is rarely the other way around. All in all very exciting. The morning is pretty much the same in reverse. Get up, get dressed, pack up the inside of the tent, eat, pack our panniers, break down the tent and get on the road. If we are in a hurry, or if the bugs are bad we can do all that in around an hour and a half. We usually aren’t in a hurry, so we take around two to two and a half hours to get on the road. Exciting stuff…but wait there is more. We then pedal for around an hour and a half before we take our first real break. From that point on it is how we feel, or what is available to us in towns. Parks are nice, as are cafés so we usually will stop at those if presented with one at an opportune time.
We ended up getting to Pukerangi on time and caught the Taieri Gorge Limited into Dunedin. It was quite a nice ride along the old rail line through a narrow gorge above the Taieri River. We were several hundred feet above the river, but you could see the bottom of it through the clear water. Leslie and I had the dining car to ourselves (of course it was the dining car) and switched sides every time we crossed a bridge or viaduct. We made it to Dunedin right as the rain let up and got our tent up just as the rain started again. We laughed how we had sunny, nice weather for the past eight days of touring and when we decided to take a day or two off the bike, the rains came. The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s butt every day, but we sure did get our share of rays.
Hope all is well where ever are.

1 comment:

JennSean said...

By the way I put your comment about sun shining on a dog's butt on my myspace page...of course gave you the credit. Sa-weet.