I’m calling this section of my tour the prologue simply because it can’t really be described as a major leg since I’m doing half of New Zealand at the beginning and half at the end.
I thought it would be a good last shake down for the bike and if I was unfortunate enough to forget anything then I could get it before I left the country. The first days riding was pretty uneventful although I did stop when I saw a roadie in trouble trying to fix something on his bike. I was quite surprised to see a roadie because I was more than 40kms from a main town. Roadies I find usually stick close to home. Anyway on enquiring as to the problem he said he had front changer probs and would I have a pair of pliers available. My response to this was to ask if he had a ‘support’ car lurking. Sure enough he did. So call me a bastard but I left him to wait for his team of helpers and I got back on my bike. I’m always conscious of the lack of hours in the day and kms that I still have to ride.
I say the ride was uneventful but in fact it was full of emotions. I might look happy on the start line but five kilometres up the road I was a mental wreck and on the verge of bawling my eyes out. Adi cried a bit before I left which made me even sadder. I pitched the tent in the bush that night and got swarmed by sand flies before I could get it up. Then once up I escaped only long enough to get a breather and I had to go out and bring all the bags in. The hungry buggers banged on the tent for hours trying to get me.
The next morning I rode through heavily drizzle over the Lewis Pass and down the other side to Culverden. Once over the Pass the wind came around to my back and the sun came out. I had told myself I’d freedom camp again but couldn’t when the time came to do it as I knew for ten dollars I could stay at the Culverden camp ground. Over dinner I chatted to a German couple who were touring New Zealand on farm bikes. It was good to chat as it helps with the sadness of leaving home. I went to bed feeling good. And then the storm stuck. Strong winds and rain. Pretty cold for summer.
I awoke to 10 degrees and strong headwinds all the way into Christchurch.
Here I am at the Christchurch motor camp feeling once again really sad. Does it ever go away? Tomorrow I cycle to the airport and leave for South America. O my God!