Dec. 28, Taumarunui, New Zealand

Because I got such a late start two days ago (12/27), I had stopped in the city of Otorohanga instead of my planned destination of Te Kuiti. This meant that I had a 20 km deficit before even getting on the road. The next official place to camp was 5 miles east of Taumaranui, which was, itself, 83 km from Te Kuiti. In total, then I knew I had to ride 108 km if I wanted to avoid primitive camping. Along this route, there were no services, so I stocked up with plenty of food and water and got on the road early (12/28).
On the ride out of town I passed a sign that said, “Historical Tree.” I love historical trees, and see them whenever I can. (My first experience with such a tree was El Palo Alto, in Palo Alto, CA. As you can imagine, the Spanish explorers were the first to give this tree–and the region–this name. My Uncle, Loren Acton, took 50 seeds from El Palo Alto into space with him, and they are now growing all over the city.) Unfortunately, this picture does not do the tree justice. It is surrounded by lesser trees, making an enclosed area.

Historical tree.

The ride to Te Kuiti was really pleasant. I stopped in a local store to buy a bag of cookies (actually, “Biscuits” here), and then rode out of town for the first of 3 very steep climbs. Fortunately, these were not particularly long–3 km or so–and I did not have to get off my bike and push. But they were really hard. It’s hard to believe, but after biking through Europe and the southern USA, I am actually out of shape! Whew.

Image from http://www.cycletour.org.nz

There were several times yesterday while biking along SH3, where I found myself saying that IF I survive long enough to get to a bus stop, I am going to pack it in. The traffic was deadly. Narrow two lane roads with no shoulder, and multi-trailer trucks with a mission. And me, being handicapped by trying to see it all with my right eye–not yet trained to avoid the cars. But, eventually, I turned off to SH4, leaving most of the traffic behind, and I could relax a bit. The scenery was spectacular.

“What can you see, On the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea, A pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home.”

From then on, it was just a matter of pacing myself to get to the end. I had, in my favor, the fact that the days are pretty long and get markedly longer as I go south. Dark does not come until 9:30 PM. I arrived at the campground around 7:30, taking nearly 12 hours to travel 67 miles. I immediately met a nice couple who invited me to dinner in their camper. Nice folks!
Today I am taking off to do some work and to wait out some rain that is supposed to hit later on. Then, it is a 77 km ride to Whakahoro tomorrow. Until next time,
Scott
Scott

4 Responses to “Dec. 28, Taumarunui, New Zealand

  • Looks like a cross between Oregon and Scotland, beautiful, lush and green.
    Keep peddling safe!

    Heidi

  • Kathy Clucas
    12 months ago

    Amy just about cried when she read your Lord of the Rings quote under that beautiful photo. That’s ‘her song’ 🎶 Glad you met some nice people who fed you dinner. Maybe that will make up for the near death experiences you had, yeesh! Stay safe, Scott. Love you!

  • Praying for your safety Scott. Have fun!

  • Looks beautiful and warm. Looks like you found a great place to spend the winter.

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