Friday, December 07, 2007

Day 73: Ophir to Oturehua

Time: 2:47
Distance: 34.09 km
Avg Speed: 12.1 km/h
Terrain: dark, high and flat
Location: 45 00 33.0 S, 169 54 48.9 E

We did the leisure tour thing again this morning and rolled out at the crack of 10:00. The town of Ophir is a little old gold mining town whose claim to fame these days is having the oldest post office in New Zealand (1886). All the buildings are old stone houses and there is even a walking tour where the history of each house is pointed out. We stayed at the Flannery Lodge last night. The place has both rooms and a tent area along with the common ablutions area that everyone shares. The owners were extremely nice, along with the property and to top it all off, we had the place to ourselves.
Today’s section of the rail trail contained the longest (110.6 meters) and highest (37 meters high) bridges on the trail along with two tunnels through the cliffs. The tunnels proved to be not as exciting as I had hoped. They suggest that you walk your bike through them, and being the safety conscience crew we are we adhered to that advice on the first one. The second one we threw caution to the wind and rode through without headlamps!! After we descended into the Ida Valley we were greeted with long (and I mean long) straight-aways that lulled us until we pulled into Oturehua.
Oturehua’s claim to fame is recording both the highest and lowest temperatures in New Zealand. In fact they have a big curling tournament on the frozen reservoirs each winter. We had read that there was tent camping site in Oturehua, but to our dismay it was still closed for the season. We ended up inquiring at the tavern if they had any rooms available, but to our dismay they did not. As luck would have it though we were able to get a room at a B&B across from the tavern and next to the general store (hence the name; The Old Shop B&B). Goodbye budget, hello luxury! We bought sandwiches for dinner at the store and spent time in our little oasis of a room. The trail we are on really hits some awesome little towns on the south island. The key word being little. They are the gems that really make a landscape shine, but you really have to plan ahead to make sure you have all you need while you are here. The B&B has a few little characters for pets running around. The collie, Meg, barked a little at us when we arrived, but hasn’t raised her eyebrows at us since. She even lay right by my chair while Leslie and I ate dinner on the lawn. She was probably begging, but she was very subtle and cute about it. The little Persian cat, Elmo, is a glutton for attention and every time Leslie would squat down to take her picture, she would get up to be petted. The tabby cat, Ralph, is like the gray ghost. Now you see her and now you don’t. It is funny how pets can mellow you out and really make the world not seem like such a big place.

1 comment:

JennSean said...

Dakota says hello in her little kitty meow like way! Will send pictures of her in the elf costume I got her...I am laughing right now thinking about it. We dressed her properly for my parents visit last weekend, it was awesome. She didn't care as she was coming off of her catnip high.