After sleeping through midnight and waking up at 12:40 thinking it was the morning it was a nice feeling to be able to go back to sleep. That was until James decided it was time to get up at 6:30. I think I prefer unenthusiastic James, he slept a lot more.
I recall being a kid and always wanting the first song of a new year that I listened to to be a really good one. Thank god I still don’t care about that as James put on the Eurovision film soundtrack – if you haven’t watched it, I would highly recommend it. The soundtrack is *kisses the air like the stereotype of a French person*
We were up and out the door by 8:30, the threat of rain coming at 2pm was enough to make James move fast this morning. Being New Years Day, the roads were empty. We joked that the only other people who would be out on the road at this time would be drunk drivers on their way home.
Our first climb of the day was up Mount Hercules… the map made it look big and hilly. In reality, it was just another hill with a load of land slips!
We made it to Whataroa, which is where we were supposed to stay last night, but lacked enthusiasm to get there. We stopped for a coffee and a pie and scoffed a Moro bar each. I’m ashamed to say it was my first Moro bar (kinda like a Mars, but better as less caramel) and it was pretty darn tasty.
In the distance we can see Aoraki / Mount Cook or what we think is Aoraki, generic mountain covered in snow in the Southern Alps. We’re surrounded my lush green fields, cows and mountains. It really is a hard life. Every now and again, we suffer the burden (sarcasm) of crossing a bridge with the brightest blue water you’ve ever seen. It doesn’t get old that’s for sure!
The cloud was starting to roll in, and we make it to Franz Josef without getting wet. I get very shaky, apparently a sachet of porridge, an oat milk coffee and a moro bar isn’t enough to fuel you 63km, so grab a sandwich and a red bull and pray the rain will hold off.
Just out of the town is a bridge, James spotted a footpath attached to the outside of the bridge so rather than wait in traffic / hold up traffic, we went across the footpath. Except, we had to manoeuvre in a sort of U shape around a barrier. Guess which dickhead cycled their leg straight into the barrier, slightly ripping their shorts and smashing their leg. Clue: it wasn’t James…
Off we go, the section between Franz and Fox Glacier involves about 600m of climbing in around 17km. Yay. And it’s all on the road with no hard shoulder and moronic imbeciles who apparently haven’t ever safely overtaken a bike before. The most shocking was cars and campers with bikes on the back who still overtook like twats!
We had the speaker on churning out the tunes, at one point Darude – Sandstorm was playing. And anyone who ever went to a spinning class up at Les Quennevais with Sue will know that song as the song she used to end the class with. It certainly brought a smile to our faces.
We rolled down the hill into Fox, completing the mammoth 85km section. We call into a bar for a toastie and a coke, the corner shop for some nuts and set off again.
Our photo point for this section is of Fox Glacier. We last went to Fox Glacier in January 2016, and it was barely recognisable from what we could remember. So much so we had to check our old photos to see that we went to Fox and not Franz Josef glacier.
We were able to cycle up the path to the view point, which is handy as I really didn’t fancy walking 5km! We take a picture and it starts to rain, so jackets on and head back down to crack on with the next section.
The rain eases up to nothing more than a dribble and we try to make the most of a slight downhill.
We’re both sore, tired and feeling unenthusiastic but heads down and keep going. We stop for a roadside stretch and try to work out how far along we are, and how much longer we’ve got for the day but can’t and it’s somewhere between 1 and 13km. Handy when you’re tired.
We see a fire in the distance and joke that if that’s the motel on fire, we’re still sleeping there! As it happens the fire was at the motel, but it was just the farmer burning some stuff. James sorts out everything whilst I stand there completely gormless, absolutely dead, just being eaten alive by a million sand flies.
The kind lady does our washing for us, poor sod having to touch my stinking socks! We have dinner, pasta that’s supposed to serve 5 people per pack. We eat a pack each and James still is hungry after!
I’m absolutely exhausted and in bed by 6pm whilst James watches a terrible, very noisy film and it rains outside. Yay for another day of carrying the tent and not using it!!
The adventure continues…