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Published: March 25th 2010
At 11.51 am yesterday I reached Bluff. Whew! I shoved the Beast of Burden up a steep hill to a café overlooking that famous sign - the one with all the place names - and sat down to a meal of raw Bluff oysters and blue cod and chips and hot chocolate. Then I rode back the way I’d come to Invercargill, in cold rain and with a fierce westerly.
The Vital Statistics Distance Travelled Auckland, Cape Reinga, Bluff: 4,889 kilometres
Average Speed : About 18-19 kph.
Average Speed in Past Few Days :19.6 kph.
Max Speed : 68.4 kph near Tuatapere
The Last Few Days
From Manapouri (see last blog), I’ve travelled what’s called “The Southern Scenic Route” down through Tuatapere to Invercargill. They may call it “scenic”, but to be honest it’s pretty boring, lots of dairy and sheep farms and not a lot else. It’s been getting cold, and I’ve had to buy an extra layer to wear under my cycling shirt during the day.
Tuatapere has spruced itself up a bit since I was last there. It has a new motel/backpackers place which is
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quite smart and the township seems to be trying to make the most of the fact that it is the nearest centre to the popular Hump Ridge tramping track.
Apart from reaching Bluff, the other highlight has been catching up with a friend I made on the road before Christmas. At that stage, German-born Maria was travelling alone and we made a visit together to Cape Palliser so see the seal colony, etc.
Now Maria has a new boyfriend, Jan, from the Czech Republic, and it was an absolute delight to meet them both at a campground here on the outskirts of Invercargill. Jan turned on a superb dinner in the camp kitchen - steak with all the trimmings - and we chatted until midnight or so and damaged three bottles of wine. Jan had a very special reason to celebrate. He had just heard that he'd passed an important English exam that followed his studies here in New Zealand.
Jan is a geological engineer and has a job waiting for him back in the Czech Republic, so Maria is adjusting to the idea of a few more weeks
travelling on her own before she too, heads back to Europe.
It was a pleasure seeing you again Maria, and meeting you too, Jan.
Could This Be A Whoopzee Moment?
After arriving at Bluff, I expected to feel a bit flat. After all, I’ve achieved my goal. What happens next? Well, at this stage I’m not too sure. Judy and I have a family commitment we are looking forward to this weekend, and then in a couple of weeks Judy is joining me here again in the South Island for a holiday. Some of it will be spent in the company of relations from England - something we are both looking forward to.
In the meantime, I think I’ll do a bit more cycling. Central Otago beckons and so do the Catlins. I’m going to spend the next few days pondering the options.
But feeling flat? I’m not. While I haven’t broken any records or set the world on fire, I’m quietly pleased with my “achievement”. My aim was to have a complete break from work and to have a small adventure. I feel as though I’ve done both. And
Where old ships come to die.
more importantly, I’ve loved it apart from those occasional blips when things go wrong (usually to do with the weather).
This blog was a new concept for me - part journal, part story telling, part company for those nights when there was no-one to talk to. This won’t be the end - I’m sure I’ll find more to write about in the next few weeks. But thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs - it’s nice to know there are people out there who have been sharing my journey with me.
Regards to you all,
Feral Mike & The Beast of Burden
PS: The Beast is getting agitated. Too much waffle, he says. He’s just has his gears tuned and he’s ready to go again.
Tot: 2.982s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 9; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0449s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb