The day dawned in Balclutha cloudy but calm. Thank Goodness for that. My goal was to ride the 90kms to Dunedin, have lunch and then finish the 100 odd kilometres in the afternoon. That would take me to Oamaru a reasonably large town on the East Coast.
I have to say at this point that not many cycle tourists ride the East coast of the South Island. This is for two reasons. Firstly, because the central road through Lake Tekapo is much more scenic, and secondly because the volume of traffic on the East Coast is heavy. State highway 1 is the main route between all the main centres on the East Coast and carries a lot of traffic. Adi and I lived in Dunedin for 10yrs and we also noticed that the further South you went the worse the drivers got.
|A Cup of Tea in the Botanics.My Bike Patiently Waits.|
All I can say on this particular day South of Dunedin was TRUCKS and lots of them. The road was just thundering with them. Luckily there was a bit of a shoulder or I would have been road kill within 20kms. The hills around Dunedin are pretty big as well. But I got to Dunedin as planned and met Adi in the Botanical gardens for lunch. Botanical gardens are always full of happy mothers pushing their babies and kids throwing things at the ducks. It’s all such homely bliss. Mums checking out whether their friend’s baby is as cute as they know their baby is. In the café Mums were foraging through the toy box looking for the toy that junior liked yesterday. But watching them having fun and reminiscing about how I hated the Botanical gardens as a kid wasn’t getting me up the coast.
So I left and attacked yet steeper hills North of Dunedin. Taking a Breather at the top of one of these buggers and with trucks still thundering past I got a call from the Vietnam embassy asking me questions about my Visa application. But between the noise of trucks shitting themselves up intense gradients and the accent of the Vietnam girl I couldn’t understand anything.
|Truckers. I Fart in Your General Direction.|
By 7.30pm the road was quietening. Truckers must be drinking or watching V8 car racing on TV or something. Without noise parts of the coast were rather scenic. If only NZ had a decent rail system and the truckies were busy loading freight wagons instead.
By 8pm I was in Oamaru (196kms travelled) and the washing, eating dinner, and arranging the tent was under way.