I arrived here last night and set up camp right on the beach in a nice campground. The ride from Opotiki was through a gorge with high hills on either side and a river rushing at the bottom of the gorge. The road slowly climbs up to about 700 meters or about 2100 feet then it is a glide down to the coast. There is a lot of wild country along the road and in some places a few sheep farms or cattle and dairy places. In general it is a good ride not too difficult with the slow grade. The worst thing is the narrow shoulder which disappears when you really need it on the blind curves. If you listen for the big logging trucks and stay out of their way you will be fine.
Here in town I made some food then just went to bed after doing some wifi. In the morning I did a tour riding all over town and talking to people and checking into the tourist information kiosk to see what I should see here. I enjoyed the day. Tonight I am having dinner at a fishing club that invited me to their club after taking to them for a while. All the campers in camp are friendly and entertaining. There is a surf and lifesaving competition here in Gisborne this weekend and it has filled the entire town's hotels and campgrounds. I have to leave tomorrow because I can not find a place to pitch a tent or a room. My plan is to ride fifty clicks down the road to a hot springs and stay there until the big storm approaching blows over. I am not planning on riding in the rain any more. I only took a few pics but here they are, the statue is Cap'n Cook's cabin boy discovering New Zealand or so the legend says...
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
I arrived in Opotiki early since it was only a 2 hour ride from Ohope. I set up my camp and headed around town. The only things open were one pub, Slims, one hotel/restaurant/bar and one market. The main grocery was also open but it was six blocks away.
I ended up going to Slims which was a mostly Maori bar. They were watching the competitions happening in Christchurch for the Maori shows. I forgot the name of the shows so I will try to add that later. The local team got a rousing cheer when they came on performing last, just before final judging started. The locals were talking about all their friends that were in the performance and really were into the show. I enjoyed watching them as much as the show.
I cooked a cheap dinner in camp to make up for the cash I wasted on beers, then sat around talking to the other campers. I enjoyed it. There were some Danish kids and the usual Germans. The kids had been working on Kiwifruit farms and got fired because they were too slow. They told me the work is hard and they just could not keep up with the piece work to make minimum wages so by law they were let go. They complained endlessly about how difficult the work was and how demanding the farmers were. I got a kick out of asking them questions just to keep them ranting. I spent a while talking to a Kiwi guy too that worked at the American Army base down south.
In the morning I packed up and expected to catch the bus out to the end of the cape but the bus was not running. They told me it would run for sure on Tuesday. So I packed up and rode my bike along some bike trails and the coast road to get to Opape where I camped for the night.
Lots of good friendly people in the camp once again. Two Kiwis, a father and son, were fishing with a Kon tiki. That is a remote controlled torpedo that carries a long line fishing line out to sea from shore with 25 hooks on it. I helped them pull in two of the long lines and they caught some nice snappers up to almost 10 pounds, a lot of baby hammerhead sharks, some rays and some other local fish that I did not know the names of. They were enjoying the fishing. I spent all afternoon at the beach trying not to get cooked in the sun. After all the rain I will not complain about the sun. Then we sat around talking in the evening with a French couple, a German couple and the Kiwis. We talked about traveling and why people travel and where they have gone and want to go. I was the like an old salty dog while I was talking with the younger kids. It was entertaining.
This morning I packed up camp and will take the bus in a couple hours out to the end of the cape, assuming it is running today. There is even more heavy rain in the forecast for Wednesday night through the weekend so I will need to find a place to hole up out of the weather. I may take a bus out of the weather since it is such a large storm. We shall see.
The bus showed up with no room for me on it...I took a bus to Gisborne. I gave up on the East Cape for now. I just arrived here in Gisborne and it is already dark. I put my tent up and now am catching up on wifi. Gisborne is still in the rain shadow of the forecast so I may take another bus out of here Thursday. a few pics