We made it through the rainy day from Hamilton to Waitomo. It was 103 Betsy km (around 57 real miles). It was really only supposed to be 80km, but we had a little adventure in Hamilton that we called "The Big Hamilton Circle". We needed groceries and rode straight away to the Pak & Save. Then we wanted a McDonald's for wifi. We asked a guy at the store where the nearest McDonald's was. He gave us somewhat dubious directions, but we took off anyway. We ended up going back across the river (last night's park was across the river) then down this one road back toward where we had stayed. We ended up right back at the park without seeing a McDonald's. By this time it was about 10:00. We had gone almost 10 miles and hadn't even left Hamilton yet! We gave up and headed out of town.
It was lightly raining as we left Hamilton. After awhile Leandra took off her rain gear because she was cycling in a sauna. After coming up a hill, I removed my rain gear too. It was plenty warm enough. I kept my helmet cover on and my waterproof socks. I even took my gloves off. I didn't want my short finger gloves to get all wet and it was too warm for my long finger gloves. As we were riding along, Leandra said, "At least we don't need sunscreen today." Well, even though it rained all day, we both got sunburned! I know the sun is stronger here but, even in the rain???
We stopped in the town of Pirongi to use the restroom. Across the street was the Mountain View Bakery and Hot Food. We decided to go over there and have some lunch. I had a Butter Chicken Pie. Leandra had Mince. They were both good. Before going to the bakery we met a guy named Mike. He was out for a day ride on his Surly LHT. He is planning a 5 or 6 week ride across Australia. As a side note, there seems to be quite the rivalry between the New Zealanders and the Aussies. Yet, when the NZers go on holiday, they go to Australia. Apparently, it is pretty cheap for them to go to Australia.
Anyway, we got back on the road and continued on in the rain.
The next big-ish town was Otorohanga. That's where we used wifi at the McDonald's. We were glad it worked as it hadn't in Kerikeri.
As we were leaving Otorohanga, we saw our first Kiwi Bird. Granted it was a big gold bird with the NZ flag painted on it, but...
After we made the last turn toward Waitomo Caves, we saw more birds. This time they were real. They were ostriches and a smaller bird that might have been an emu or rhea? Leandra was going to go pet the one closest to the fence. I told that was fine--I would hang back and take a picture of her getting her eye pecked out! She didn't do it.
Tonight we are staying at the Juno Hall Backpackers. A Backpacker is basically a hostel. There are quite a few people here and I am pretty darn positive I am the oldest person...by a long shot! I could be most of these kids' mother! But, they are all really nice. One kid who had done his laundry before us let us put our stuff in the dryer before him.
This BP has most everything. There is a large kitchen with at least 3 of every appliance. There are even pots and pans and other assorted dishes. The showers are great. There is a large TV lounge where a bunch of people were watching, what else but, "Lord of the Rings"!
Tomorrow we will be at the Black Water Rafting Co. at 8:45 ready to do The Black Abyss Tour!
Here's some rainy day photos.