Another night in a motel meant another amazing sleep which we didn’t want to wake from.
Eventually we did and ate some breakfast, I didn’t fancy porridge again, so opted for the leftover rice from last nights Indian takeaway, warmed up with some salt and pepper from the cupboard. A culinary masterpiece if I do say so myself! I lie, it was rank I ate about 3 spoonfuls and just had a coffee for breakfast instead!
We popped to the supermarket to pick up some food for lunch, bars, snacks and a new lighter. Before going in I noticed our SPOT tracker was flashing red, so left James trying to fix it whilst I had a game of supermarket sweep. I was just about to leave and James called to ask me to pick up some batteries, the SPOT tracker now wouldn’t turn on!
We get everything sorted and run back to the bike shop to get another water bottle cage as James’ broke when we were coming down the Timber Trail and his 3rd bottle was being held in “the spare” frame cage.
Eventually we were ready to leave Whanganui, by this time it was about quarter to 10… we’re really not very good at this getting up and ready thing.
We head across the bridge to the Durie Hill elevator (pretty much a lift that takes you to the top of a hill which means another hill we don’t have to cycle – winner!)
The view from the top over Whanganui is beautiful and only gets better as we cycle away from the town and you see all the hills then the mountains in the distance. It’s a shame the place has such a bad reputation because the views here are magnificent.
We remark how our heart rates have changed in the week that we have been cycling. Now even when climbing a hill at max effort our heart rates only get to around 140/150bpm. We can be absolutely out of breath huffing and puffing and the garmin only shows 135bpm, it’s very odd how our fitness has changed so quickly.
Eventually after lots of flowing hills and through valley after valley we make it to Hunterville. Based on the map I was expecting it to be a fairly decent sized town with at least a supermarket. Narp. Lots of little old style wooden houses with beautiful gardens (read: old persons house) a petrol station, two cafes and some tat shops.
We stop at a cafe to demolish a sandwich, ice cream and fizzy, another rider cycled past then circles back and stops in at the cafe.
He started the day after us and has managed to catch us up. We leave him at the cafe and head on for the next part of our day, a 40k hilly ride into another non-town that has “a basic campsite”.
Again, it was hot. James described it when your in the shade then go into the sun like someone is putting an extra blanket over you, just ick hot. But, not rain, so we’re not complaining!!!
The route took us through a gravel road, the worst when our bums were hurting us today. It was supposed to be 11km of gravel, it was a lot more, the book lied. But the views made up for it, they were incredible. Just hills on hills on mountains.
Finally we make it off the gravel onto tarmac, I never thought I’d be so happy to ride on tarmac again. Until about 5 minutes later when our bums were hurting again and it sucked!
The hills came once more, we had a gradual hill then one steep bit, but we just kept on plodding up. Again, helped by the incredible view
We finally descended into a small town, I use the word town very loosely. It’s a few houses. The book told us there was camping here at a hall, so at the distance the book tells us, there’s nothing around just a single house and some derelict looking sheds.
We roll on down the road for a few hundred meters, then decide to turn back.
I go and knock at the door of the house, to find a lovely lady who informs me it’s actually 1.5km down the road, but if we needed anything at all to come back.
After we’d left James remarked on how friendly everyone in the country is and wondered if that invite stretched to a cup of tea and if he could come in and watch the Simpson’s on tv!
We get down the road and I see something that looks like a cassette on the floor. No no, it’s James’ phone that he had dropped in the middle of the road.
We find the hall but there’s nobody around and no instructions on who or how we pay. There is a number to call, but obviously there’s no phone signal.
We walk around the building to find an honesty box and a book. It was $5 a night and they had even left an extension lead out for people to charge stuff.
I start cooking dinner and the guy who we saw in Hunterville cycled past and stopped in to get some water. James and he got chatting and it turned out he too was supposed to start the Tour on 18 February but had his van stolen with his bike and all his kit inside so had to delay his start so he could beg steal and borrow things to allow him to do this trip.
We sat out and watched the sun set eating dinner. It was beautiful.
The adventure continues…