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Tauranga, New Zealand

TAURANGA (72km, 1133km total) - I took full advantage of my hungover state this morning and slept well past 11. Shad was up a little earlier and hung out some more with those of last night's guests who were still around. We made a slow morning of it, eating breakfast, cleaning, and packing up. It was just after 2 by the time we left.

The road out of Rotorua was easy enough, although there was about 20min where I was deeply worried we had missed the turn to Tauranga. Luckily we didn't and were soon climbing into the hills. The hills were tough, but not extreme and for the first time on this entire trip I felt the wind helping me up a few of them. About 1/3 of the way to Tauranga we dropped into a massive gorge, only to quickly find ourselves struggling up the long & steep road on the other side. Shad hit some of the gravel on the side of the road as we were climbing and his bike slipped out from under him again. The wounds on his hands reopened and there was a lot of angry yelling into the wild. Fortunately it wasn't too bad of a stumble and we were soon able to continue to the top. At one point near the top it got so steep that I was pedaling slower than I could walk, so I got off and walked the bike up. I don't want to have to go up another hill like that again on this trip.

After the hill the road was considerably easier and more fun to ride. It rolled through the top of a long plateau. We stopped on a side road with a magnificent view and enjoyed some of our poor attempts at cookies. The good news is that they tasted a little better when we were exhausted. From the cookie break it was largely downhill all the way to Tauranga.

We stopped for dinner in Tauranga before going over to our couchsurfing host Melissa's. I found another Turkish to Go and Shad had the New Zealand attempt at sushi. Downtown Tauranga seemed cool enough, just a single strip of shops, cafes, and bars on one side of the street with the open bay on the other side. We didn't linger though, just rode through. The only other thing of note that happened on the ride was that just before we got to Melissa's, as we were climbing a slight hill, I managed to ride straight into the back of a parked car. You have to watch out for those parked cars... they're wily.

Melissa's home had a bright green mailbox and a bright green garage door with kids toys, a kiddie pool, and a little swingset strewn across the lawn. Inside it had all the chaos you would expect in the house of a young single mother. Melissa was making us cookies and a little frozen pizza as we walked in. Once we had the gear off our bikes we sat down and enjoyed the pizza and cookies and got to know our host a bit. She has a 4yr old daughter who is currently on vacation with Grandma. She has dreams of becoming a cop and recently found the motivation and inspiration to get into shape and follow her dream. She's a belly-dancer and enjoys medieval combat reenacting. Fantastic. She invited us to watch the second part of a TV movie about Queen Elizabeth called "THe Virgin Queen". The first part had been on last night and they were showing the second part tonight. After showers, we did just that. I couldn't believe how nice it felt to just sit down and watch a movie at home. It has been a wonderfully relaxing night.

permalink written by  aeonhunterinnz on January 4, 2010 from Tauranga, New Zealand
from the travel blog: AeonHunter in New Zealand
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