Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodbye Northland, Hello Waikato!

Our journey by bus from Whangarei to Hamilton (via Auckland) went as smooth as possible. Betsy rode in her bag and Leandra covered the chain on her bike. We decided it would be rather cumbersome to try and manage a bus ride if it was only one of us (that makes me glad I don't have any bus rides on the south island). The coolest thing however, is how nice and helpful people are. As I was bringing my luggage to the bus, I was trying to carry both Betsy and the Chinese Shopping bag. It wasn't working too well. A gal who was also getting on the bus just picked up the shopping bag and carried it for me to the bus. It was pretty heavy! Then when we got off the bus in Auckland, another person helped move the bags. The drivers for both busses were very nice. We have decided the $10 NZ that Leandra has to pay is really just a tip for the driver for loading the bike. Betsy went for free.

As we got off the bus in Hamilton, it started to rain. We put everything back together and pulled out the rain gear. We only had a short distance to go, but it was raining pretty heavily. After we were loaded and ready to go, we had to find out how to get to the Hamilton Holiday Park. Turns out not too many people are familiar with its location. Leandra found a bus driver who was able to give us directions complete with a map. So, we took off. We also wanted to get something to eat. The first place we stopped was called "Flying Burrito Brothers". It was more of a sit down restaurant (read: expensive) and was pretty crowded. We continued on. As we rounded a corner, we saw a Takeaway called Schiff's. Looked good and cheap (not like the liquor store across the street which was called "Cheep Liquor"--I didn't see any baby chicks!). Also, helped that Schiff's was open (it was about 7:15). After we ordered (me: a Hawaiian Burger--ham, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, something that might have been beef and...pickled beets. Leandra: a cheeseburger, garlic fries and a puau fritter {abalone-it wasn't very good}), a bunch of people came up. One guy was new to Hamilton and someone had told him to go to Schiff's. I guess we ran into a good place (can't say we picked it since it was on the way)!

After eating, we made our way, in the now almost dark (headlight and tail flashers on), to the Holiday Park. We arrived at 8:20. We just rang the bell and the guy checked us in. It had stopped raining so we were able to set up our tents without getting more wet. There is another American cyclist in the tent area. His name is Steve. He looks to be late 50s or early 60s (although it was dark). He is not having a good time. He is from Maine so he rented a bike instead of paying $600 to fly his. He is going to cut his trip short because it is too difficult. He did Coromandel Peninsula which is known to be pretty hilly. I feel bad for him, but really he is a bit of a whiner.

We hear there is supposed to be rain tomorrow. Oh well, at least it's not cold.

Total biking km for today: 6
Total Subway Restaurants seen from the bus: 5

Heeeeerrrrrreeeessss more pictures!

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