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Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Dec. 16th, 2009

WAITOMO CAVES (40km, 216km total) – Somehow Shad and I have managed to lose each other. Our ride today wasn't long, but the hills outside of Pirongia were massive. He took the lead and kept it. A few of the hills were just too much for me and once I was forced to walk.

We hit a long downward sloping section and Shad took off. I tried to keep him in sight, but was getting a lot of pain my my left knee every time I pedaled. The pain got worse as I went on, forcing me to stop a few times to let it subside. I got to our turn-off down Waitomo Valley Road, expecting Shad to be there waiting for me. He wasn't I stopped there and wondered if he had missed the turn or taken it. He had the map, he shouldn't have missed it. After a minute a road biker came zooming from the other direction. I asked him if he had seen another biker up aead. He said he hadn't so I took this to mean Shad had made the turn.

I took off down Waitomo Valley, fighting through the pain in my knee. The road was gentle, but even so the pain made me stop and walk at one point. A local drove by and pulled over and we had a nice conversation. His son married a girl from Chicago and he was flying in today. He assured me Waitomo was very close. I struggled through to Waitomo Caves, expecting to find Shad there waiting for me at the I-sight. Not so. Now I'm here and I don't have a clue where he is. I've been waiting 4 hours now and still no sign. This was our destination for today, so I don't have any choice but to wait for him. Without a car I really don't have any hope of finding him. I really hope he turns up soon.

During the ride I began to think of alternatives to our itinerary. If my knee keeps acting up, there's no hope of me making it so far so fast. We could take an extra day to get to New Plymouth, making the rides a bit shorter each day. From New Plymouth it's possible to catch a bus to Wellington. We can then bus to Napier from there. That gives us a few more days to get around the East Coast as well. We would lose Taupo and the mountains, unfortunate for sight seeing, but fortunate for my knees. I'll have to run things by Shad when/if he shows up.

I hope he shows up soon. If he spends much more time out there on the road he'll be way to tired to go anywhere tomorrow. Where are you Shad?



Thankfully within an hour after I had finished my last entry I did manage to find Shad. He had been in Waitomo for almost two hours, just holed up in a different building where it was hard to see the main street! We exchanged stories. He had completely misheard me when I explained our route in the morning and had glossed over Waitomo Valley Road. He thought our route was the longer way around on the main highway. When he realized we were separated, he rode all the way back to where he last saw me to look for me before going on. He had a very long day of riding, going at least twice the distance I did. At least on his route he passed the Big Apple market and was able to acquire us some fresh fruit and veggies.

We then headed out to explore The Caves via a walk a few km's out of town. It was a great little walk, but the best part was climbing up into a cave opening and exploring what turned out to be a huge cave system that seemed to go on forever. To get back to town, we elected to try the trail since the road had been so incredibly steep to get there. It was a bit rough. We had to carry our bikes up and down a long set of stairs and over what seemed like a hundred fences (one of which I discovered in a most unfortunate way to be electric), but it was worth it in the end and was a largely successful reroute.

For the night we decided to pay for a campsite in town, complete with a hot tub, showers, and the opportunity to get dinner at Curly's Bar. A few beers and a couple of giantly delicious burgers later (mine had 2 pieces of steak, bacon, beet, tomato, onion, and sauce), we were both happily satisfied and ready for bed.

permalink written by  aeonhunterinnz on December 16, 2009 from Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
from the travel blog: AeonHunter in New Zealand
Send a Compliment

Love you Rory!! Miss you and hope to reconnect with you. We don't have much of a relationship but I hope you have time to visit us and spend some time with your niece, Loryn.

Love you & Merry Christmas!

permalink written by  Heather Hole on December 16, 2009

Take care of yourself, Rory!

permalink written by  Heather Hole on December 16, 2009

just make sure if you run out of food and have to eat weeds and grass, that it's not the poisonous purple kind, like in into the wild...and maybe you should invest in a knee brace just a thought...hope the cave isn't full of bats, because those are gross...and hope you find shad.
btw how are you writing this in a cave? huh crazy....

permalink written by  Ciara on December 16, 2009

Did you sleep under a tree again last night??

permalink written by  Heather Hole on December 17, 2009

I hope you are having a better day! Take Care, Love Dad

permalink written by  Jeff Phillips on December 17, 2009

Rory & Shad:

Wow! I hope you guys figure out a way to link up more often. Less stress and more enjoyment. Thinking of you everyday, hoping everything is good.
Take care!


Chuck Nash

permalink written by  chuck nasht on December 17, 2009

Shad & Rory,

What a great adventure so far. I love reading your updates. Have fun.


permalink written by  Joel Hovdenes on December 17, 2009

Rory--I'm worrying...like a mom..but I'm sure you will be fine. Spend some money and stay in hostels...I'll refurbish your account if necessary. This trip should be FUN, not super strenuous. You want to be able to walk when you are done! Mom's advice...cut your hair and beard so people will be less afraid to let you stay in their homes and so you don't get ticks, lice, etc...just a thought. I love you! MOM

permalink written by  Anne Phillips on December 18, 2009

Shad & Rory,

You sure know how to scare a mom!! Please stick together!! Rory, I hope your knee is better--be sure to prop it up and put a cold pack (and/or warm pack-?) on it every day, especially after 'abusing' it!

I am anxious to see pictures! I am praying for you, so have FUN, be safe, and keep writing.

Love you both, Mom (Patti)

permalink written by  Patti Hovdenes on December 19, 2009

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