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Published: March 5th 2018
Day 7: Mangakino to the Timber Trail Lodge, 95km. The Donkey finds himself back and teams up with Spot
The Donkey felt much better the next morning but just to make sure he took another handful of pills before departing, hoping that it did not contain sleeping pills, as that would be a disaster. Imagine what could happen when falling asleep on your bike. Showpony could give you a list of things of potential disasters and also advice on preventing these from happening including not taking a sleeping pill in the morning. The Donkey missed his friend. Otherwise the Donkey felt surprisingly cheerful, for a donkey that is, as generally donkeys are not know to be cheerful animals, in particular not early in the morning. Perhaps Showpony had put some happy pills in the bag he had handed the Donkey.
That morning the Donkey jumped on Spot without warning, rather than use the usual hesitant and careful mount Spot was used to. Spot was still half asleep and got a real fright. Go easy on me master, we still have a long way to go, he said. Suddenly the Donkey realised that Spot might also not have an easy
time of it and he said to Spot, how are you mate, are you missing your friend Scott? A tear welt up in Spot’s eye (which usually is the front light, but it can also be the bell, if there is one) and he admitted to missing his mate. He said Scott had asked him if he could carry on, without his master, just for company, but Spot had told him that was not possible. That was a good answer Spot, said the Donkey. This whole thing is difficult enough on one bike let alone two. But listen, we are carrying on together which means that neither of us is alone or lonely. Together we will try and get through this. Spot nodded and gave his master a grateful smile, as far as bikes can smile. But the Donkey had ridden a lot of bikes in his lifetime and knew that when the handle bar suddenly points up a fraction it means a smile. Bikes don’t smile a lot as generally they get a bit of a rough time from their masters who take them for granted and swear at them when they break down. Swearing is never helpful, knew
the Donkey, as it does not make you feel good and others easily get offended or upset and it can spoil the whole atmosphere. The Donkey sometimes swore under his breath, which means in silence, at times that he was up against it, which was more often than he wished, it did not really help but it just happened. At least that way others were not affected by it.
The Donkey first followed a narrow track which ran along the shores of Lake Maraetai. It was misty. Nothing is better than a still lake in the mist while the sun is trying to break through. It gave the Donkey a sense of peace. Early morning is often the best time of the day, especially this particular day, the Donkey thought. Perhaps this tour is not so bad after all. A bit later, while his thoughts were running free he suddenly realised that the written course instructions told him something different from what his GPS showed, already lost. He slapped himself in the face, shook his manes and said 'pay attention the Donkey as we cannot afford for this to happen. Showpony is not here anymore to show us the
way' and he turned Spot around to get back to the point where he should have turned off the trail.
Things were good for a while, the sun came out in full and Tailwind was there right at his back. Must still be Showponies influence thought the Donkey. Showpony and the Donkey had agreed that Showpony would be the Donkey’s eyes and ears on the ground for the tour and let him know of any upcoming disasters before anybody else. The Donkey thought this might also mean that luck in the way of no disasters stayed with him a bit longer.
The Donkey made good progress and did not get lost again. Then, suddenly, the instructions told him to veer of the road and cross over a swing bridge. The problem was that the swing bridge looked very narrow and not very safe. It was also a long way down. The Donkey had a fear of heights and suggested that Spot go first but Spot hesitated. The Donkey gave him a wee push and immediately Spot poked his pedals through the wire mesh on each side of the swing bridge. What’s wrong said the Donkey. I have a
fear of heights said Spot. The Donkey did not tell Spot that he had a fear of heights as well. It is a written law in donkey land that if two donkeys have the same fear, one of them will not admit to it. It meant that the Donkey had to keep a cool head to help Spot through the fear. Slowly and gently he pushed Spot across the bridge, untangling the pedals which kept getting caught in the wire netting of the bridge every time when Spot panicked.
The Donkey made up a song to sing. 'We are not afraid as we don’t want to be late (for dinner)' and they sang the song on the tune of God Save the Queen, very loud and not in tune but it did help and get them to the other side of the bridge. For the next 40km they hit serious mountain bike country with rough tracks, rocks, and lots of steep up-hills and down-hills. Both Spot and the Donkey had to concentrate hard not to crash. The track brought them to the point which is called the Centre of the North Island. There is a sign to indicate the spot and an explanation how it had been worked out that that was the exact place. It was all too complicated for the Donkey and he decided to have morning tea right there, at the Centre of the North Island, rather than trying to understand how they worked out the exact spot. The Donkey took a photo of the sign with the explanation, determined to study it up at a later date.
Today was the day of the Timber trail which started not long after the Donkey’s visit to the Centre of the North Island. Other donkeys had told him how beautiful the Timber trail was and not too difficult. The Donkey agreed but the best thing was that it was well sign posted. It must be one of the best sign posted bike trails in the world the Donkey thought and he never got lost while on the trail. The Donkey could finally relax and enjoy the ride.
The timber trail lodge, located halfway on the trail provided him with a meal and a bed for the night. It had been a good day.
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Maria and John Lyftogt
Well done, Donkey - we're impressed!
What a tough time you've been through! We are still addicted, watching your progress on the map lots of times during the day, and seeking out the blogs at night. Glad you have had some support lately - John was wishing he could ride with you a bit while I was dreaming of turning up with a big batch of your favourite Donkey-biscuits! So, even when you are alone, know that you are being thought of frequently and often. Those pills must be darn good - Shingles for goodness sake! Wishing you well!
Go well Donkey!
Oh! Donkey! Your braying is so good - we like hearing your stories every day. Go well Donkey!
je bent toch wel een bikkel, Jan, om zo door te pushen. Fijn dat je een betere dag had. En een prima blog. Ik zat te peinzen hoe het zou zijn als je in de ik-vorm zou schrijven, omdat de donkey-vorm soms wat afstandelijk overkomt. Maar deze vorm geeft wel grappige mogelijkheden, en de ervaringen en overpeinzingen zijn leuk. Fijn dat John weer beter genoeg is om een keer mee te fietsen. Die gordelroos is geen feest, ben benieuwd welke pillen dat zijn, die blijkbaar wel helpen. Mooie dagen gewenst.