Monday, December 10, 2007

Rural Art Deco

Day 74
Oturehua to Naseby
Time: 2:59:20
Distance: 39.40 k
Avg Speed: 13.1 kph
Terrain: Flat
Location: 45 01’ 18.5” S, 170 08’ 29.1” E

Rural Art Deco. It’s so New Zealand.

Day 4 on the Rail Trail. We saw and heard it all today. We left Oturehua at the usual time (10am) with full bellies and minimal cash in our wallets. We came up with a financial strategy for the rest of the rail trail based on the services at our intended stopping point for the day - Ranfurly.
The first part of the ride took us north and south of the 45 parallel in the span of a few kilometers. Being the geography geek that I am, I whipped out the camera and made us pose for a self portrait. Chris, being the wonderful person that he is, has become accustom to this behavior.
From there we passed through Wedderburn, another town on the rail line. I cannot remember the town’s claim to fame. However, I do remember that the word “wedder” refers to a sheep that has been castrated. Ponder that.
We stopped again before Ranfurly at one of the many enlightening kiosks found along the trail. They call them Gangers’ Sheds. We busted out some apples and read through the history of the upcoming towns. After reading the description for a town called Naseby, we decided to extend our day a little bit instead of resting in Ranfurly; assuming that we could get some money.
We arrived in Ranfurly and immediately went on the hunt for cash. It didn’t take long to figure out that the bank was closed and the supermarket wasn’t able to give out extra currency. We tracked down the information center and they directed us to the hotel. Don’t worry, it sounds like we were running all over town, but this all happened within two blocks on the main drag.
We rolled our bikes over to the Ranfurly Hotel and I walked inside to procure some cash. I found the reception desk and asked the question. The man asked where I was from and when I said “Colorado” he was eager to share that he was originally from Indiana. And then, he told me his life story.
He had been in New Zealand for 26 years and came here after serving in the Navy during the late 1960s. He was part of “Operation Deep Freeze” that flew planes from McMurdo Airbase in Antarctica. He flew on a C47 which is like a DC3. Then he explained the structure of the plane and how it needed some sort of apparatus to get up in the air. Apparently, this apparatus was then dropped before flying off on the mission. As he told me his story he went along with my transaction. Somewhere in the middle of all of this he whipped out his Naval ID card from 1967. He paused to give me the money and I took the opportunity to ask him questions. I figured that had to wear down suits while they flew. He nodded yes and then described how they all wore beards and mustaches and how the icicles formed below their noses from breathing. Then he chuckled and shared how “you really had dinner twice, once to eat and then another time from all of the food stuck in your beard”. I didn’t need to try to visualize that.
I loved his story and thanked him for the time and then ran outside to write everything in my journal. I then pulled out the camera and took a picture of the 1930s, rural art deco style, Ranfurly Hotel.
Boy am I glad we ran out of cash.

1 comment:

Class Act said...

Hey, fun to read your story of the Hotel owner...hope he counted your cash correctly with all the talking! Sounds like you are really enjoying yourselves.