We woke to the glorious sound of rain. Lots of rain. We had debated just having a tea and grabbing some breakfast at the cafe which was 10km down the road. Decided against it and had some porridge, tea, and packed up.
Jackets on and mentally prepared to get wet. Yippee.
Riding along with arms on the aero bars, the rain was so heavy it was rolling back down my sleeves and gathering at my elbows. Yuuuuck. By this time our shoes were full of water and wiggling your toes made bubbles out of the vents.
In my head, I was planning when we got to the cafe to take my jacket off, pour out the water from my shoes and dry off a little bit. When we eventually made it to the “cafe” it was nothing more than a coffee cart with a leaky gazebo.
We stop for coffee and a muffin anyway, to warm up more than anything. A man arrives in his Mercedes and can’t believe we’re on the bike. He is insistent we should ‘just get a bus’ and doesn’t quite understand what an adventure is clearly.
We get going again to try and keep warm. We head through some pretty thick forest which is very cool. As neither of our phones are waterproof (mine because it’s so old, and James’ because he’d smashes the screen dropping a tool on it at work) there are no photos. But think 50m tall big green trees so thick you can’t see further than 2-3 meters.
On we plod to the photo point of the day, Knights Point which is half way up a 270m climb (yay for having the technology that tells you exactly when a climb is starting, how long it is, what gradient and how long before the next one!) we stop for a sandwich as at this point we’ve managed to do 50km which felt relatively, dare I say it, easy. Cruising along at an average speed of just over 24kph isn’t a bad feat with a 30kg bike.
The left is where we are going, the right where we came from. The direction of the wind (and rain) is right to left, bugger!
After a very quick sandwich stop after being eaten alive by sandflies, we’re back on the bikes up the hill to try and race the rain. It lasts all of about 300m before the rain comes again.
It’s really odd climbing getting really hot, then descending and getting REALLY cold, and it’s all too much flux for captain concussion who doesn’t do temperature changes very well at the best of times. He gets a bit squiffy and he pulls over. In front of a 10m drop (logic isn’t his forte when his brain hurts) after getting him to put both feet on the floor, his brain sorts itself out and we continue slowly up the hill.
We stop at Cross Ship Creek, where there is a carcass of an old ship that sunk. There’s also a million sandflies who want to bite me. James goes for a wonder to look at stuff and I walk around in circles trying to make the swarms of sandflies leave me alone. doesn’t work and I just look like I’ve escaped from an institution.
We make it to the Haast River crossing, which is a really long bridge, we’re coming across the bridge (which is single lane) as a car decides they’re going to try and cross at the same time. No no arsehole, you wait there, so we made him reverse (I had my front light on, so he would have seen us, he just thought he’d do a sneaky!)
We make it past the turn off to Jackson Bay. We once tried driving down there for ‘the best whitebait in NZ’ the road was 58km long so we soon got bored, turned around and went back on out merry way!!
We arrive in town and hide under a shelter for a moment. We’ve only done 85km today, but we’re soaked and cannot be bothered. So call it quits.
To our utter shock (having had no phone signal for nearly 2 days!) there’s actually phone signal!!! We pop into the shop for some snacks, although the shop is half empty and only crap stuff like ‘Gluten Free wraps’ can confirm, they’re as gross as they sound are left.
Googling a place to stay, they’re all really expensive ($150-$170) we pick one, cycle up to it and James says it looks shit, so we turn around and go to another one (to be fair it looks on a par with the last one, but there’s a clean decent bed, laundry and it’s dry!!! Having spent the last 4 hours in the rain I didn’t care!!
After a shower to dry off and sorting out the laundry we mong for a couple of hours. You forget just how nice it is to sit, without having anything to do!
Eventually it’s dinner time and we pop across to the one restaurant in town. We walk in and I have never seen so many deer heads in my life.
I also don’t think they’ve seen a vegan in there before either. The one veggie option is a falafel salad (ooooo how imaginative…) it’s the size of my thumb and still costs $30! James has bangers and mash which is covered in onions, so I get all of those too (as he’s a diva and doesn’t eat onions!)
We retire to bed late, 8pm, hah! And prepare for tomorrow’s fun that is climbing out of Haast… Eww…
The adventure continues…