Left Marakopa at first light, riding up the valley in the mist. My first 14km took only 50mins.... what a difference NO hill makes. The Marakopa valley has always intrigued me. It's where I tell my bird stories...... This morning it continued to intrigue me. Misty and quiet, and very spooky, with long tendrils of lichen hanging off the Kahikatea and Totara along the road, and only the sound of the magpies, pukeko and occasional cow breaking the silence. Only two cars past me in that first 14km.
The road from Te Anga was new to me. Once again connecting dots. Turns out to be rolling countryside, with stunning views, and very little traffic. Saw two very unlucky hedgehogs. The lack of traffic on the road really meant that their number was up. Also saw a first..... a well
munched frog...... an omen for tomorrow night perhaps. The kms passed quickly, with most of the passing vehicles giving a wave.... country folk. Some amazing views over the various inlets, most of which I never knew existed, and a lovely flat coastal ride weaving along the estuary edge.
15km out of Kawhia I come across the Oparau Roadhouse, and the thought of something warm to eat and drink enticed me inside. I was warmly greeted with a "are you the Prostate Cancer bike rider? What do you want? We are shouting" This is the kind generosity I have been coming across the whole trip. I am not used to it, and it brings tears to my eyes every time. It seems my cause, Prostate Cancer Awareness, is very close to many families. Thank you ladies at Oparau Roadhouse. You made my day.
A sweeping descent into Kawhia, to find a message on the Fire Station door from Fire Chief Callum Stewart. "Ride up to the school, and Bam or Robyn were sort access to the station". That they did, and along with hot pumpkin soup. A hot shower, and warm dry clothes, followed by a wander through the village, and this biker is once again a happy chappie. I am humbled by the generosity of strangers.