New Zealand post 19: A DODDLE OF A DAY – TOOT! TOOT!
I make sure to turn off all alarms before going to sleep. I intend sleeping in if it kills me!
And that’s the last thought I have as I pass clean out, but I wake at 04h30 and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I am totally dehydrated.I only drank 2 bottles of water on the 86km ride and then just beer and wine on arrival. Tsk, tsk, will I never learn? I drain my water glass and stumble into the bathroom for a refill, then back under the covers.
When I wake again at 06h30, I drink some more water and resolutely turn back over. My head is pounding. Coffee will probably sort me out, but I’m staying down for now.
At 08h00 Steve has still not stirred, but I am getting restless. Coffee time! When I look in the mirror, the sight that greets me is grim – puffy eyes with big bags, cracked & swollen lips – not pretty. We definitely need this rest day!
The most we do is laundry & wash the bikes, then take a stroll into the 1-street town, which is all closed up for Xmas. For the rest, it’s eat, chat, snooze, eat some more, watch TV, then back to bed. The wind is howling and it’s freezing out – a perfect day to stay put!
We awake on 26th to absolute stillness. “Hey Steve, check, not a breath of wind!”, “For the moment ja, but it won’t last” – ever the optimist in all aspects of Life, except cycling. Then he’s Mr Doom & Gloom 🤣
I am feeling refreshed and ready to hit the road again. Puffy bags are gone and lips feel much better. I am rearing to go. Amazing what a rest day can do! Steve is digging in under the covers. If he had his way, we’d stay here for a week!
We are served a delicious breakfast at 08h30, as arranged, and I am loaded and ready to leave by 09h00. Steve is still on his 3rd cup of coffee and showing little sign of intent to pack up. We all stand around and chat, as he slowly gathers his stuff. I am doing my best to be patient, but in fact, I am like a puppy dog whose master has just picked up his walking boots. I am practically panting in anticipation…
We do finally get away, as always, and we head directly onto the Otago Rail Trail – an old railway line that has been converted into a dedicated cycling trail. The idea was to bring business back to the small station towns and from all accounts, it’s working a charm. We speak to a number of establishments that say they exist purely because of the trail. We see clear evidence of this when we stop for lunch at a country restaurant and watch the cyclists arriving in their droves. Our host this evening informs us that said restaurant was built specifically to service the trail.
There are plenty of sign posts and historic markers and even spotless longdrop toilets at regular intervals. Courtesy of Murphy though, they are never quite there when you need them. When you gotta go, you gotta go…luckily though, when squatting in the long grass, you don’t need to worry about peeing on a puffadder or raining on a rinkhals!!
Most importantly, you definitely don’t need to worry about your personal safety. It’s inconceivable that anyone would lay in wait with the intent to rob you or cause you harm. This is why we could never have something like this at home. The very best tourism initiatives in the world cannot work unless people feel SAFE. Simple as that…
But I digress. Lovely as the rail trail is, I begin to tire of the sameness after a while and am happy when we turn off after 66km at Alexander and divert onto the River Trail. This takes us on a wonderful forest track alongside the Klutha River. 12km later we finish for the day at Clyde & check into a B&B. We’re just about to hit the shower, when the power goes out! NOOIT! I thought this only happens in SA? Worst is that although it’s gas, the shower needs electric to ignite – go figure! Luckily it’s only about 30 mins and we’re back on, but it’s a starke reminder of how quickly we’ve forgotten what is so common place for us back home.