Saturday, March 21, 2015

Waipawa to Dannevirke NZ

Today I rode from Waipawa to Dannevirke on mostly flat roads with a few hills thrown in just to keep my heart working. The weather was beautiful again today. In two more days I will be in Wellington and from there I take the ferry over to the South Island. I will be tired by the time I hit Wellington and I might stay there for a couple days if I find some decent wifi just so I can catch up with all my backlog.

There are some bad roads starting in a few hours ride from where I am now and they stay bad all the way to Wellington. When I say bad I mean narrow twisting mountain roads that go up to almost 5000 feet and go up and down most of the way from what other bikers tell me. There is a beautiful gorge I will ride through but I might not even notice it focusing so hard on staying alive. The biggest climb is very dangerous on a bike with no shoulder and heavy traffic. Lots of bikers get hit from what I hear. I need to be extra careful. I will likely miss a lot of pic opportunities due to needing to focus on the road so much to stay alive. There are other options like a train and a bus or even hitch hiking but that is tough with a loaded touring bike. I will start the ride but if I have too many close calls I will abort and take one of the alternates.

The last couple days have been all rural countryside which I have already taken too many pics of so my camera has been staying in my pocket most of the time. I can’t load them anyways so I have sort of been out of the pic mood recently. Hopefully that isn’t a long term situation.

I had a great time at the campground. There were a bunch of Chech and German kids that are working in the apple fields. Just like at my last camp, they were moaning and groaning about how hard the work is and how fast they have to work just to make the minimum wage of $15 an hour. I get a kick out of all these kids that do not know what work is like. We had a good time talking about a wide range of things though. I enjoyed the night. Tonight my camp is empty so far but I am sure campers will show up. Later...

Napier South to Waipawa NZ

I was out of bed by 5:30 this morning eating my leftover Thai food from last night. Then I packed my bags and loaded my bike. I hung around for a while to let traffic thin out a bit then I hit the road.

As I was passing downtown I decided to get a cup of coffee and try to do some more wifi. The coffee was good but the frigging wifi is really pissing me off here. Even at Starbux I was unable to load any pics cause it just took too long. I gave up and hit the road.

Starting on the bike trail along the beach was nice and flat but the wind was blowing hard right in my face. The beach itself showed lots of signs of the big cyclone induced waves that were breaking way past the normal high water marks. The grass area way above the beach was covered in flotsam and gravel that the big waves threw up. The bike path had already been swept clean by the city workers and they were now busy trying to use mechanical sweepers to get the gravel off the grass. It looked like it was working.

I rode on to where the trail joins highway 2 and from that point on I had to pay attention to my riding to stay alive on this dangerous road. The shoulder varied from none to maybe 16 or 18 inches. The worst part though was they had a rumble strip right on the white line. There was not enough room to stay in the shoulder all the time and every time I strayed I ran over the frigging rumble strip. That is teeth rattling hell on a bike. Then the bridges, which were fairly long, were narrow with no room at all for a bike. One of them had a button to push that made lights blink but we all know how drivers ignore that. I would wait at the edge of the bridge for a break in traffic then sprint across as fast as I could.

There were no big hills today just some rollers with a few a bit long but they were all easy grades. I stopped for one more attempt at wifi when I saw a public library in Hastings. It was a mistake to stop. I had to pay $2.50 for 30 minutes of wifi but I did it because the libraries have had the best fastest wifi of all the places. Not this time. I used it for two minutes and the time expired. I went and asked about it and they gave me another voucher so I tried again. Same results…I was annoyed now so I just gave up. I told the worker and at that point she told me there is a 50 megabyte limit or 30 minutes. She never told me about the data limit or I would not have done it. The wifi really sucks in New Zealand, slow, low data limits and expensive to boot. The system must be antique dial up service it is so bad. When I get to Wellington in a few days I hope I can find a good fast wifi.

I am camping in a holiday park which is what campgrounds are called here. There are a lot of young kids from around the world in the holiday parks while they work on the farms here. The pick kiwis, apples, plums and all sorts of other fruits or sometimes veggies. They tell me the work is very hard and if they do not pick the minimum amount the get fired. Quite a few of them end up getting fired.

I plan on riding in the morning as far as I feel like but hopefully at least 60 miles but I hope to do more so that I can get to Wellington by Monday because there is more rain in the forecast for Tuesday on. I am just as tired of rain as I am the slow wifi. After being here a month now it has rained on 22 days for me. Such is the life of a wandering biker. Pics later when I find better wifi.