Waihi Beach - Orere Point
Dec 18, 2008
|68 miles !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well! What a way to finish the trip (nearly)! 68 miles – a full 10 miles over my previous best (Nick put in an extra 2 miles in Whakatane to bring the tally up to 60, but I had nothing left in me – or so I thought :o)
The hills probably weren't as bad as I'd imagined, but it was tough straight out of the campsite – three miles all uphill, then another 7 or so of very undulating country rodes (nice and quiet from traffic) into Waihi itself. Straight away the wind was pretty gusty too, and that scared me, but my mind and body were tuned in for the long haul (I was anticipating 60 miles – hoping that would be top-end) so I just plodded on. After Waihi the next 10 miles or so were through a gorge (Karangahake), the road was flatter – longer, less severe hills, and less wind too. Some great downhills, and that perked me up a bit. The road was busy with trucks, but the cycle lane was decent enough.
Miles 20 – 40 were dead flat, and straight into the wind. That was hard going. The sun was hot, but fortunately there was good cloud cover. Sometimes the clouds were grey and ominous, but it didn't rain.
We stopped in Ngatea as this was the last town of any consequence that we would go through and there was a supermarket – our least favourite as it turned out, but beggars can't be choosers. Actually, they can, because Nick went in to buy some fresh pasta or something light we could carry the rest of the way, and came out with only a bottle of wine – oh yes, a man after my own heart! Nothing in the supermarket – no meat, no pasta, no veg. Uh-oh. Oh well, we'd had to hope we past a general store or something. I thought that the camp site might have a store on-site. Some of the better ones did, certainly some of the more isolated ones.
After Ngatea we turned north towards the coast and had 5 miles straight and flat - and out of the wind, thank goodness. Then at the coast we turned left, and back into the wind. This was about 45 miles, and it was one of the toughest bits – I hid behind Nick the whole way.
This was highway 25, the same road our journey started out on 13 weeks ago tomorrow (heading east as opposed to west though).
At Waitakaruru we got off the highway and went north into bird country. The road was still flat as it hugged the sandy shore, but inland the hills started to roll up again. This road was dead quiet, and despite knowing we still had 20 miles or so to go, we went pretty slowly, cycling side by side and admiring the gorgeous views across the bay to Thanes and the Coromandel Penninsula.
Then we stopped in Kaiaua in the general store to find out if there was a store where we were headed. We were told there was, but whether it would still be open when we got there was another matter (it was about half five at this point). It was then we found out that we had some more hills to go over. We had thought from the scenery that panned out ahead of us that we would just be following a coastal road to the end of the peninsular. The woman in the store seemed to take great delight in telling us it was still a way to go and started to get pretty hilly. Thanks for that. So we set off with a renewed haste after that, trying to get there before the store shut – whenever that may be. Even the next 10 miles or so were still pretty flat. In fact at one stage we mocked the store-woman's definition of what a hill was because it seemed so tame. We were soon eating our words however when we really hit the hills. They weren't huge, but they were pretty steep. Lots of little ups and downs. I was really hitting the wall. We went through the 60 mile barrier, and with every passing mile after that I became more and more frustrated and dejected. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very goal orientated, and that seems to be true on the road too. I need to know where I am going and how far it is (any probably what the route is like). If I don't have that information, I flounder. I have no drive and no determination.
We past a sign saying that the Orere Point (our destination) General Store was the next turning on the right, and that put a spring in my step. Then there was no 'next right' for about another 4 miles, and believe me by then, if the store had been open, I would probably have killed someone. As it was, we got there at about 19.15 and the store was long-since closed at 18.30. Lucky for them, but not good for us as we had no dinner. We had ingredients, but nothing to gel it all together. Fortunately when Nick spoke to the campsite owner, she offered us butter and milk, so we could use our other supplies to make Macareeny Jones. It was a bit like Ready, Steady, Cook! :o)
Nick was very, very popular for having lugged a bottle of wine over the last 25 miles. I love my wine, but I don't think I could have managed that (or would at least have had to throw something else off).
The campsite was supposed to be a 4 star (Top 10) but was definitely rough around the edges and very old and tired. But it was also quiet and served us very well.
Of course we are exhausted, and after quite a late dinner I think we will sleep very well.