BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 18 - Greymouth to Harihari
In the mid to late 1800s, there was a gold rush in New Zealand. Today we rambled through the heart of the gold country.
After surviving the night in the Queens Room, we had a slightly delayed buffet breakfast at the hotel. I don't know the reason for it, but the person setting up the food was very flustered. We got off at a reasonable hour, though, in a light fog and chilly temperatures. I am proud that I was not the last to leave.
This was my day for cruising slowly at my own pace. It was also my day to experience some new things. The first was a bridge that we had to cross. It was a narrow one-lane bridge with railroad tracks down the middle. When I went over it, I took the left lane so that nobody could pass. I had to watch the surface of the bridge so that I wouldn't get wedged into the tracks. Looking down, I could see lots of spots where the pavement was missing and the boards were showing. It was scary knowing that trains, heavy trucks and buses use this bridge.
The second unusual thing was the town of Hokitika . I had read "The Luminaries" a few months ago in anticipation of this trip. The story took place in Hokitika during the gold rush. I shouldn't have expected old buildings and muddy streets, but I did. Now the town has modern buildings. Instead of trading in gold, there are modern shops making and selling jade jewelry. I took a long rest here at a café while eating a huge blueberry muffin and drinking a large cappuccino.
The ride so far was very flat. I was getting pretty sore sitting in the saddle for so long. I decided to stop in Ross after riding 65kms to eat my PB&J sandwich. Roberta Vallejo was there having her lunch. When we were finished we took off again and finally reached some rollers that took us through several scenic reserves that were heavily wooded. The scenery up to this point was not much. I could spot the ocean from time to time, but that was it. It was much prettier in the woods and the rollers allowed me to vary my saddle position so that there was less soreness.
Harihari is a blip on the road. It has two motels. We are in the less expensive one. After our social hour, we walked over to the other motel for dinner. It was a buffet with potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, corn, some kind of pasta, white rice, well done beef with gravy and popovers. For the Chinese tourists that were staying there, there was sweet and sour pork. The buffet was organized for them, but we were able to talk our way into it for a price. After they left, one of the waitresses gave us all of the after-dinner mints that they didn't eat. We will have them tomorrow at our social hour. Our dinner companions were Jan and Lance James from Tempe and Paul Ciano from Los Angeles.