BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 2 - Pukekohe To Cambridge
We awoke to very cloudy skies and puddles on the street. Not a good omen. Our breakfast buffet was at 7:20. It was very basic. There was no hot food unless toast is considered hot. Coffee was the instant variety that came in little plastic packages that were difficult to open especially with arthritic fingers.
I started riding around 8:30. Nobody else was lingering at the start so I went off by myself. I navigated through the town and eventually got to the countryside on fairly quiet roads. At 21km the route put us on SH1 (State Highway 1), which is a major highway with lots of fast moving cars, trucks and buses. The shoulder was smooth and wide at first, but it became very rough for most of the time.
At 58km, we were routed into Huntly partly because of road construction and partly because it was the only place to get something to eat. I met several people in our group at a market where they were buying some snacks. Most of us had packed PB&J sandwiches and a banana, so I settled on eating mine.
I left the market along with John Gradwell and Michael Blake. John was acting as our navigator because I was having issues with my GPS. We got back onto the dreaded SH1 or a few more kms. Then we turned onto traffic-free (almost) country roads. This lasted until the outskirts of Cambridge when traffic picked up again.
I discovered that John was also having issues with his GPS when we missed a turn or two. That is when I finally figured out how to use mine. So with sublety, I became the navigator for the rest of the ride through Cambridge and to The Riverside Motel.
I learned that this is grazing country (a sign next to the road said so). We saw lots of cows, some horses, and some shorn sheep. One of the riders saw a kiwi farm but we didn't know if it raised fruit or birds. The crops that we saw were corn, potatoes, sunflowers and more that I didn't recognize.
Our ride was over 70 miles. That is the longest distance that I and most others have cycled in a long time.
The Riverside Motel looked like ones that my family and I stayed in in the 50s. It was clean and comfortable, though.
We were able to hold our social hours outside on the motel's picnic tables. It was a refreshing change.
Several of us were driven into town for dinner. Ann and I ate at a pub. We sat at a table with Pam Kane, Roberta Vallejo, Andrea Kneeland and Germain Berube. Ann had a lamb shank (were are in New Zealand after all) with a pint of Guiness. I had chick schnitzel with a pint of Kilkenny ale. Yummy.
We walked back to the motel to settle the our meal.