Zen On Dirt

New Years Day semi-junkshow

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One of the things that I’ve been working on as a human being is being okay with whatever happens and trying not to force things that shouldn’t be forced. Taking a more ‘go with the flow’ attitude, if you will. I also have been working on trying to take a bigger frame of reference on life when I feel like things are going wrong. Trying to make issues that seem big at the time seem small in the grand scheme of life.

So I guess it’s pretty funny that 2017 started as it did. It was a good practice run at life intentions.

Midnight. When the four ass-hats at the campground, that was filled with tents, decided that they needed to celebrate New Years, loudly. Silent campground, their group yelling, playing drums, being obnoxious. A bit of rain shut them up for a bit, enough to let everyone fall back asleep mostly, and then they came back out again, loud as ever.

But they did go to sleep eventually, so that was awesome.

And it was windy, and our little yellow tent really doesn’t like the wind, so we were woken up at 6am to a centerpole that was trying is hardest to collapse on us.

And the bugs from last night were back, this time wanting to bite. They were swarmers for sure, and we couldn’t seem to cook breakfast and get camp torn down fast enough. The year was off to a good start.

But you know what? It wasn’t raining. So that was awesome.

We continued up the track, we were on a side dirt road paralleling the highway, and knew that cars couldn’t get out the way we were getting out. But the good people at Good Revolutions had posted the GPX, and the GPX went through.


It’s pretty great soaking your feet on a fairly significant river crossing first thing in the morning. We had to hike up our shorts, as the water came up well past my knees.

I didn’t get swept down river, so that was awesome.

Our goal was to get up early, take advantage of empty New Years morning empty roads to try to blast over Lindis Pass on Highway 8 before anyone woke up. It’s on the tourist driving route, and we wanted nothing to do with the traffic going from Wanaka/Queenstown back to Christchurch.


With this, we succeeded, cresting the pass just shy of 10am with minimal traffic. Plus, our feet had warmed up, the scenery was beautiful, the flowers were gorgeous, and it was all downhill to our turn off at the Ahuriri Valley. Things were looking up!


And then the wind. It was supposed to be 21km to a shelter and another 10km to the hut we wanted to stay in. In theory, under 20 miles, mostly flat gravel roads, we should have been able to knock it out in well under three hours and then had time to go for a hike or to ride up farther in the valley.


But the wind. I haven’t fought headwinds that fierce for a long time. We kept thinking it would get better. We took a nap behind a rock to see if they’d die down. We kept pushing. In two hours of pedaling, we’d covered less than 7 miles. And it wasn’t pedaling of the fun variety either.

This is dumb, we eventually decided.

Go with the flow. We were being stupid.


Aside from one hill that we had to pedal up, we didn’t have to pedal all the way back to the highway. I couldn’t stop giggling. How had we been dumb enough to force that situation for seven miles? Madness.

The tailwind continued to blow us all the way to Omarama. We got stopped halfway by Scott, the director of the Kiwi Brevet, and his wife. They’d known we were touring around and saw us pedaling. It was fun to put a face to the name.

Omarama, contrary to our expectations, was awesome. We were able to buy cold drinks, there was a Spark booth for internet, and best of all, we were able to ship a box to Christchurch. Nearly 4kg of weight, adios! Halleluja! And have I mentioned the free camping just outside of town on the banks of the Ahuriri River?

So yeah, we may have junk-showed the shit out of today, but in the end? It all turned out awesome.


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