Friday, March 9, 2012

Pancakes For Lunch...

*(Pancakes not included).

Sometimes the day's ride is about the destination at the end of the day. Sometimes it's about a stop along the way. That was today.

I left my free campsite at 8:45 this morning (I slept great!). I was really looking forward to getting to Punakaiki or, Pancake Rocks. The sun was shining again and I started out in the sun sleeves.

I rode for about an hour and 15 minutes when I came to Fox River. I noticed an old bridge with a picnic table on it. I rode over to check it out. It was a restored bridge for pedestrians. On the other side there was a path that led to a tunnel through the rock. I parked Betsy and walked over there. It was pretty interesting and jungle like.

I had a snack of Scrummy Mix and continued on down (and up) the road.

According to my map, I had a big climb before Punakaiki. Before long I was in Super Granny Gear grinding up the hill. (see Stream of Thoughts on Climbing). At the top I met a son and his parents from Czech Republic. That makes the second group of people from Czech Republic I've met. The son was a cyclist and asked me lots of questions about Betsy and Da Brim. He translated for his parents. There was another Weka bird nosing (or beaking as the case may be) around Betsy.

Next up was Punakaiki. I got there right at noon. There were a couple of tour busses there too. Quite a few people, but it didn't seem overly crowded.

I walked the path out to the rocks. They are very interesting. They know they are made of limestone, but they don't know why they are in layers. There are also blowholes. I didn't see any huge blow hole splashing. I think that is tide dependent. I did see dolphins swimming! Again, they were too hard to get a photo of. Fun to watch though.

When I came back to the beginning, I needed to get some water. I went into the cafe and they had water, favorite pies! This time I had a chicken and mushroom pie (afterall, it was lunch time!). It was delicious! There were more Weka birds trolling for scraps. They act like pigeons (except they don't fly).

After my pie, I was back on the road for the last 40 km or so to Greymouth. Part of the route reminded me of the California Coast around Mendocino. Big downhills followed by sharp turns and immediate uphills. That's what happens when the road follows the coast.

Anyway, I made it to Greymouth. Along the way I met two other touring cyclists from Belgium. Unos and Celine. They were going North. After them, I saw three more touring cyclists, but I didn't stop. One guy was pulling a two-wheel trailer. That's the first trailer I've seen here.

When I got to Greymouth, I stopped to restock some groceries (breakfast stuff and a couple more dinners). There I met two more touring cyclists from...the Czech Republic! I told them I had met 5 other people from there! They were going to Punakaiki tonight. It was about 4:15! They said they got a late start. I said, "Good luck!"

I'm staying at another Top 10 Holiday Park. So far this is the most expensive one--$22! However, it does have a bouncy pillow (unfortunately, just for the kids). It is a full service holiday park. I am doing some much needed laundry. That cost $8 ($4 to wash, $4 to dry)!

Today was another fantastic day to be on the road. I hope the sun continues as it makes the scenery oh so much more enjoyable!

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