I never know whether to be concerned or excited when Our Rider pulls out the maps and finds somewhere new for us to adventure. What will we encounter and what will the weatherman deliver? The evening before I find myself in a state of terrified excitement (well not terrified at all).
Jan and I are both securely stowed in the wagon and we head south west to the region of caves and creatures that glow in the dark. At Waitomo Jan is unloaded and I remain with biggest fan. I am a little jealous and fearful of what I may miss out on!
Jan heads off and immediately finds the first of many hills. It was not long before Our Rider was making the astute observation that “New Zealand is jolly hilly.” OK, so the word she used may not have been jolly, but I needed to put some merriment into this tale. The situation was exacerbated by the weatherman deciding to blow very strongly from the west, which was our general direction at times.
With the map loaded into Garmin, Jan was pretty certain there would be a scenic diversion or three. Garmin said “turn right”. It was a dirt road. Ever prepared a good old fashioned paper map was consulted and the decision made to follow the main (well not so main) road. Our Rider did contemplate approaching this home to seek confirmation of direction, but decided that the inhabitants may not be of the human race and may have difficulty comprehending her.
Along while after Our Rider found this sign, indicating that she was indeed headed in the right direction, although via a long cut to reach Marokopa!
As they say, “what goes up must go down,” and after much grumbling the road did indeed go down and a lovely descent into Piopio was enjoyed. The reputation of the Fat Pigeon Cafe, had reached Our Rider’s ears and with nostrils flaring she successfully sniffed it out. She stood at the counter indecision as a smorgasboard of delicacies tantilated her. “Sweet or savoury?” she asked herself unable to decide. “I’ll make the very best nutritional decision for me at this time, just don’t let coach Silas know.”
Our Rider was unable to consume this in one sitting, so it was safely stored in her nose bag and greatly appreciated as the day continued. Although first, a wee stop was required to take in the artistic creativity of Pio Pio.
Back up the hill again into the refreshing westerly wind, after some time Our Rider and Jan met up with Biggest Fan (who was driving the wagon) and me (who was inside the wagon). I had a close up view of Our Rider and Jan as drafting was attempted, not terribly successfully regretably.
After a very long up the road changed to gravel and it was with great excitement that Gordon (adventurous bear who loves mountain biking) and I leaped out of the wagon to take the pump from Jan. My excitement was short lived as I am certain we started on the longest up of the day, which seemed to go for eternity. The Pio Pio information booklet describes this road (Pomerangi) as great for mountain biking! They are right if you are a mountain goat!
The temperature steadily dropped as we not so steadily ascended and then finally we reached as high as we could go. Gordon posed for a photo before the fun began!
Our Rider suffered through around 80 kms of wind and hills for 10km of one of the best downhills I have ridden. She is the best! Narrow gravel road, overhung by native bush, plenty of corners without to much corrugation. As we sent Biggest Fan and the wagon down first there was no traffic either. Sheer enjoyment and I thought I heard Our Rider say “It was almost worth the effort.” We hit the river flats with about 10kms to go and was greeted by the head wind. Oh well such is life.
On arrival the entire population of Kiritehere beach (four temporary residents hunting whitebait) applauded and cheered our efforts. Our Rider graciously accepted the accolades and collapsed into the bath at the Fern and Fosill, while reading these sage words.