Things I learned on this first full day in New Zealand:
1) Riding on the left hand side of the road is terrifying. Making right turns in the worst.
2) Roadies in New Zealand don’t wave back. Old guys driving farm machinery on back roads do.
3) It’s windy. Or at least it was today. Oi.
It was pretty much windy from the get-go. Even the campsite host who let us use the air compressor to re-tubeless-ize my tires raised his eye brows when we told him that we were going to head towards Hamner Hot Springs.
‘Ah, straight into the Noreaster,’ he said. Or I think he said, I’m having about a 60% comprehension rate of listening to people here. And it’s always the questions and important things that I can’t understand and have to ask them to repeat three times. Yes, I speak English, but you speak funny English!
Veal and steak? Sort of creepy.
There aren’t a lot of mountains in the immediate vicinity of Christchurch, so we knew that we were in for a fairly flat pedal. With our last minute planning (complements of making Kurt check what time he and Kait’s flight got in, and discovering that he’d told us the wrong arrival date) we didn’t make a huge effort to find a dirt route out of Christchurch, and we knew we were in for a day of pavement and then a gravel route through some mountains to get to Blenheim, where we’d meet up with K&K.
We ended up on some busy roads. We ended up on some quiet roads. We even found a little bit of gravel to grind.
And sheeps. There are a lot of sheeps here. And magpies, which look like a black bird with a skeleton Halloween costume on. Apparently they’re as agro here as in Oz, but we haven’t had any issues yet.
We gave up on pedaling 8 miles shy of where we’d hoped to get to today. It would have been 8 miles straight into a headwind, and we just weren’t ready to emotionally handle that. This is vacation, gosh darn it!
So we found a neat little campsite where the ‘cabins’ are old train cars and random cats wander around looking for attention. Being able to set the tent up in grass and walk around barefoot is pretty nice. And hot showers. And apparently there are a bunch of chickens somewhere on the property and the owner brings the fresh eggs along with hot bread to the kitchen for breakfast.
So in summary, we rode pavement into the wind until we couldn’t stand it any more. And I loved pretty much every minute of it.