I awoke on Thursday feeling a little off – stomach not right and fatigued. This usually passes after I get on the bike but on this day it dominated. I had to push to keep my legs moving at speed. We had 136K to do with some hills at the end so I just had to tough it out. Out with Q and Bridget then Terry joined us after lunch. It was a cool overcast day which turned into sprinkles in the afternoon. My camera stayed in the front bike pocket. I did see more deer today but they were not the Red Deer we had seen the day before. Larger and with throats like bugling elk, I’m not sure the variety. All of them have been introduced here with hunting now a popular sport among New Zealanders. I could have had several from my bike – they just stood broadside. I couldn’t get the cattle going today. Perhaps they were having a down day too, or maybe they could feel my low energy.
Terry picked up our pace and I took a few turns in front then just ran out of gas and fell back. Q fell back to help me along and I was quite happy to pull into Master’s Hall. I rang the bell then we waited. It seemed more like an institutional building than an accommodation. Finally a thickset man, well-dressed and clean cut, welcomed us and indicated we should proceed around the corner and he would meet us there. Around the corner we found ourselves surrounded by several wings Not sure what door to go to, we just parked in the middle to see which one opened. It turned out that this was a retired hospital and we were being put up in different wings. My room with Bridget and Peter was in Ward One, the dementia wing. Quentin was in the Maternity Ward – this could be a breakthrough in medical science. We told Terry that he was in the sex change section but let that go when we found out that he was just across the hall from us. I’ve never stayed in a converted hospital before but do find that it is just as confusing to get around in as a working hospital. And fewer signs. Terry and Liz made dinner for Peter and I – Bridget decided to go to town as she wasn’t fond of tuna pasta. It was nice to have a visit and hear some of the stories that Terry and Peter share about their bike trip through Eastern Europe a few years ago.
Sam had found me a bottle of Prosecco in town the day before. He knew i liked it when I was looking for a bottle in a previous town. Light and sparkly, it just seemed easier to start out with after a long day’s cycling than even our favorites whites, pinot gris or s. blanc. The bottle proved popular – it didn’t get by Lee, Sam and I before turning up empty. Actually, Horst got the last glass.
The trip to Greytown the following day was just the polar opposite of my low day – I woke up ready to go. We had just 101K’s and very little climbing. The route took us through a long winding valley through the bottoms of big empty hills which reminded one of Mongolia or Patagonia. Sheep abounded while we did come through cattle and a few horses as well. The wind was with us, the K’s flew by. and Bridget remarked to me at one point, “The bikes are singing today.” They really were. We arrived at lunch just as the lunch vehicle with new volunteer, Michael. Q, Bridget and i helped him set up and cut up some sandwich material. Then here came Lee, Scott, Wayne, Trish and a handful of others. We were all singing along today. At the 20K mark we had run into Sam, who was running all the way to lunch at 45K, then grabbing his cycle from the trailer and finishing up on the bike. I handed him my spare water bottle and got a couple of good photos of him running along before we left him. He’s a cool guy and adds a lot to our group. He’s leaving after the end of our North Island section to head home to North Carolina. That’s happening Monday.
Arriving in Greytown, we found our backpackers lodge to be quite nice, we are in the hotel section, and there is a pub on premises as well as a washer and dryer. What more could cyclists want? Q , Bridget and myself arrived too early for our rooms and ahead of the truck so we wandered down a block for a smoothie and soup in a cafe.
My legs are feeling a little weary today after 5 straight days of cycling. We have one more tomorrow then a day off in Wellington. That will be nice. It reached 30C today so I was happy to get done early before the heat of the day was upon us. No wifi here so will post this when I can as well as some photos.