Oh, I really loved the time in Otago
Another cold night but the sun is out today so I hope to have a good sunny day in front of me. Got up early and thought that there was no need to wait to Timaru to send the stuff to Auckland, surely the post office would be open by the time I had decamped.
I got there at 8:20 and it was opening at 8:30 which left me just enough time to run across the road to countdown (local Tesco equivalent) to get a box to put all the stuff in. The lady at the post office was very nice and sealed it for me, it turns out I’m sending to Adam in Auckland 4.7 Kg of stuff that I think I can do without. I have cut down my toiletries to the bare minimum and the first aid pack too. I have shipped a raincoat I found on the road and a book that I have finished but I want to pass on so need to keep. I also have shipped the ukulele, it turns out I just don’t have time to play it as cycling, picture editing, and collapsing in a heap are all the things I seem to be able to fit in the day.
Done that I had a chance opportunity that I took, I say a hunting fishing shop and went in to get a new camp light, remember I have lost my head light. This one is a cheap thing but it will serve me well until I find another head light that meets my, I have discovered, very demanding requirements.
After that it was going to be cycling and more cycling.
The route today would take me out of Otago and into Canterbury, all the way up the SH1, hoping not to end up flat on the radiator of one of the many truck I’d share the road with.
It was going to be a low photography day so I took the few opportunities I had and the first presented itself in the shape of a plaque marking the mid point between the south pole and the equator. Note that this is not a significant latitude, as the Tropic of Capricorn is currently at 23°26′14.3″ south moving north at a rate of 15 metres per year. Nonetheless it makes a nice picture so I’d say “Bravo!” to the Waitaki counsellor that put forward this idea.
The only other momentous even of the day was crossing the Waitaki river and getting out of Otago and into Canterbury. I truly enjoyed my time in Otago and I have to say it will take a lot for any other region to top the variety and quality of what I’ve seen and experienced there.
After the crossing it was truly a cycling day. There were little or no distractions as the countryside was all the same and the road was pretty flat. The main occupation was keeping an eye on the speed gauge and keep the pace while trying to get into the pedalling zone. The zone, as in most activities is that state in which you become so engaged in your activity that the world around you blurs in the background leaving you free to devolve all of your energy to the one thing. Cycling on state highways this is a state it is difficult but not impossible to achieve, a degree of “not giving a flying f***” about the consequences is sometimes required.
I managed it in places and built my speed to an average of 13 MpH which allowed me to complete the 65 miles of the day in just a bit less than 5 hours.
There were however some stops, driven mainly by need for food and drinks. I also stopped in St. Andrews, a small village before Timaru, where I took a picture of the lovely building above and noticed that the golf course had saltire flags instead of normal yellow flags on the greens.
Then I stopped in Timaru, the first place in New Zealand that I can call a complete dive. I’d like to say that the only good thing about Timaru is the way out of it, but unfortunately they were repaving it so that was hellish too. There is just nothing good about Timaru that I could detect in Timaru.
That said I met a lovely couple of campers in Moeraki that gave me excellent tips on a whole host of stuff that I ought to do and avoid between here and Picton and guess what? they were from Timaru. Perhaps the only good thing about the place are its inhabitants.
Camping tonight in what looks like to be the first reasonably warm night in a while, tomorrow I have another 60 miles going ever so slightly up and the day after I have a 55 descent into Christchurch where I will meet Mary, Hamish and Mike.