BAC New Zealand - 2015

February 3 - Cambridge to Rotorua

Our 50's motel had a decent buffet breakfast this morning. There were scrambled eggs and bacon along with the regular breads and juices. We were, however, served see-through coffee. I had enough protein to support my riding in the morning.


When I left the motel, I quickly discovered that I had selected the wrong route on my GPS. It kept telling me to make a U turn. I was lucky to meet up with David Williams who created the routes for this tour. So I followed him until the U turn beeping on my GPS drove me crazy. I turned off the routing feature and starting using my queue sheet.


The weather was cooperating again. It was partly cloudy, but there was no rain. The route took us on a nice cycling path that parallel the main road. The road surface was smooth and fast. This lasted for about 6kms. Then we turned onto a secondary road, went past a dam with its reservoir and started our first climb of the day. I had caught up with a few people in our group at the start of the climb, but I soon fell back when we reached some very steep pitches. A few short years ago I would have kept up with them. But I was too slow today. That was OK because I could stop a take some photos without feeling pressure to keep up.


We were in rolling hills. I saw some sheep and cows. Flowers along the roadside were prevalent.

After 40+ kms, our route joined a series of main roads where we were again subject to high-speed traffic and rough shoulders. We soon began our second and last climb. We passed through some tree groves where the road narrowed, the shoulder disappeared and the sunlight went away. I was very tense in these stretches, fearing the big trucks that had little room to pass. I was told that these areas were Maori territory and could not be arbitrarily widened. We had a bonus, though. In a field next to the road were several totems supposedly carved by the local Maori.


It was a relief to stop at The Roadhouse, a cafe/store where I could rest and get some food. My scone was warm and had butter and jam.


After this break, I was back on the main road. I had another 15kms to climb. The ascent was gradual but the temperature had risen to the lower 80s making the climb a bit more difficult. The trucks were still rumbling past and the shoulder of the road was still rough.


At the top of the climb I stopped to try to help Karin Nelson change a flat tire. She borrowed my pump while Vickie Romo and I watched.


I now had a nice 15km downhill which was a relief. Then it was a slog into Rotorua to reach Alpin Motel.


Here is today's ride:

Our motel is nice. All of the rooms are suites. Each room has a secluded soaking tub in back. This is a thermal area and the water is heated by the steam. There is a lingering smell of sulfur in the air.


We were lucky to have our social hour outside again. Ann and Asbjorn served us fresh fruit. It was a welcome change.


Several of us rode the van into the city center for dinner. We ate in a brew pub. Ann had a pate plate along with a local stout. I had a huge apple stuffed pork chop with potatoes and greens. It was garnished with bernaisse sauce and maple syrup. It sounds strange but was very good. I had a pint of local IPA. The IPAs here are not dry hopped so they are not very flavorful. Our waitress recommended this IPA. She said it was her favorite. When we questioned her whether she was old enough to legally drink, she said: "Well I'm 20, aren't I"? The legal drinking age in New Zealand is 18.


We were back at the motel around 9:30.

© 2016 Robert N Lynn

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