Also BIG wind day. Really pleased there was so little traffic, because when you come around a corner and get blown across the road on to the opposite verge, you don't really want to be coping with traffic as well. Was blown off the road at least 4 times, blown off my bike as many times, once so violently that I ended up on my side next to the fence on the other side of the road. I was cycling downhill in Grannie gear and struggling, and a couple of times blown to a complete halt. Riding downhill at any speed was scarey, as you were never sure where the next gust was coming from, and where you would end up. Yep, today I was bashed, smashed and even crashed by the wind.
Got to Pongaroa, and saw a sign that said 9.5km
to a Backpackers. Sounded like a good idea, but then had to wait for the wind gusts to stop to make forward progress. Got to the Backpackers at noon, and was keen to stop...... CLOSED. Oh well, Alfredton it was then.
Two big hills today. Sergent was the first. A local farmer later told me it is the steepest sealed road in NZ. The other was north of Tiraumea, and is where I got bashed by the wind the most. Much more pleasant in the valleys. In fact this road is just lovely. For all my Motorbike mates, this route would be a great ride. Lovely scenery, good road conditions, and nice pubs to stop at for meals and accommodation.
Another prominent feature of today were the birds. No traffic, so the birds seem to be about. Saw several flocks of turkeys, a heap of black swans, huge flocks of paradise ducks and pukeko, and hundreds of the little yellow sparrow like birds, swirling around in the wind. Also a bunch of black crow like birds, making a very crow like squawk, lots of magpies, and a heap of Harrier Hawks cruising the wind waves. At one stage I was followed for a least a km by two Kingfishers that bounced along the fence posts just in front of me.
This part of NZ reminds me of Wallace Footrot country, with a Barry Crump twist. Since I left Havelock North, every farmer seems to have a Toyota Ute or pick up, and almost all of them are white. Keep waiting for Cooch or Checky to give me a wave, and am watching carefully for the two bulls driving the Ute.
So here I am, wrapped up in my sleeping bag, in my tent, hidden out of the wind, waiting for it to get dark so I can go to sleep. Two more days to Wellington and the lap of the North Island will be complete. Looking forward to getting home, catching up with mates, and spending some quality time with my lovely Juliet.