Today we had a change of plans. We decided we didn't want the stress of riding tomorrow from Kamo (a "suburb" of Whangarei) into Whangarei where we have to catch the bus to Hamilton. So, we rode all the way into Whangarei from Kerikeri. But, I'm getting ahead of myself...
We knew we had alot of kilometers to go today so we got up at 6:00. It is still dark at 6:00. I had to pack up my stuff with my headlamp lighting my work. Once again we utilized the kitchen to fix breakfast. The Kerikeri Holiday Park even had a hot water dispenser in the kitchen! That made for a quick fixing of breakfast.
We managed to head out at 8:30. The hill out of the park was so steep we both just walked our bikes. Even that was pretty tough!
It was a bit foggy this morning, but not overly cold. It made for a quick 15 miles to our first little side trip to Haruru Falls. We walked the track down to the falls and took a bunch of photos. When we returned to the bikes (which we had locked up), we decided to have a snack. A nice couple (Nancy and Graeme from Auckland) stopped and talked to us for awhile. Later another couple of people walked by. We said hi and they stopped and said, "You're American!". Apparently, the gal that was with them is from LA.
We got back on the road and rode to Waitangi and had a look at the Treaty Grounds. Nothing was open so we just had a brief look around. Then we went back the way we came and into Paihia. It was nearing lunch time and we saw a Fish and Chips Takeaway. We decided to "Take away" a couple of orders to the beach. It was pretty darn delicious! As we were finishing, a guy walked by and said said hi. Then he came and sat down and asked us the usual questions. Turns out he used to do sky diving in Queenstown (now in Paihia). He told me I should do the jet boat ride on the Dart River when I get to Queenstown. I just might do that! He said to tell the people in QT that I met "Barefoot Rob with the 3 legged dog". Although, we did not see the 3 legged dog.
After a bit of a search for a potty shack, we found one and then were back on the road. There was a tremendous amount of climbing to get out of Paihia. The traffic was pretty heavy, but we just kept the pedals turning and slogging up the hills. Leandra said the fries we had eaten were sitting in her stomach like a lump. So, maybe fries aren't such good biking food!
After many more ups and downs (sometimes with good shoulders--other times not so much) we were only 20 miles from the beginning of the day. It seemed like we should have been further. I can't remember what time it was, but we figured we would still make it to Whangarei before dark. By the way, Whangarei is pronounced "Fong a ray".
It was really quite warm and we were sweating up a storm! We were running low on water. I was ahead of Leandra when I pulle off near a house that looked like the people were home. I was going to go ask them for water, but Leandra figured we could make it to the next town. We made it to a gas station a little while later in Tomai (I think that's the name). The lady at the station was very kind and filled our water bottles. We also each had a Powerade and I had an ice cream bar. From there we still had about two hours to get to Whangarei.
As we were riding along, we saw our first touring cyclist. His name was Hataka and he was from Japan.
The last few kilometers into Whangarei were on some of the smoothest pavement so far. The bikes rolled silently! Coming into Whangarei we also encountered our first traffic light since we started. Most of the smaller towns just have round-a-bouts.
As we had not planned to stay in Whangarei, we didn't know where the Holiday Park was. I saw a cyclist on the sidewalk (called "footpaths" here) fixing a flat. I stopped and asked him where the park was. He gave us great directions and we rode right to it.
Turns out we are about a 10 minute ride to the bus station in the morning. Tomorrow will not be much riding on the bikes--mostly bus riding.
Today's ride was 107 Betsy kilometers. It was really about 60 miles. Betsy's computer is abit off. Still, this was our longest day so far. We arrived at the park at 7:10. That seems to be our pattern. No matter when we leave in the morning, we get in after 7:00. We did spend a fair amount of time sight seeing and hanging out. Really, that's what it's all about!
The area we are in now is more dry with lots of pasture land (mostly cows, but some sheep too). It looks much like home.
Again, here are some pictures from today.