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The Wool Shed ~ Wilson's Bay

Kereta, New Zealand

THE WOOL SHED ~ WILSON'S BAY (64km, 1405km total) - It was a day of celebration, followed by defeat, followed by celebration, followed by defeat, followed by celebration.

We woke up early this morning and packed up to leave our stealth campsite before we were discovered. Well... I woke up early. I had to wake Shad up three different times before it finally stuck - and he had been the one who had insisted that we leave as soon as possible! I spent my extra time waiting in the sun where I found a paddock with two huge Clydesdales. They kept me entertained while Shad slept in.

We got out early nonetheless and stopped for breakfast at a hilltop picnic area. There was an unusually high number of cyclists on the road this morning. When we got down to the coastal town of Kuaotunu I discovered why. Kuaotunu had a lovely little cafe with a great view of the beach and there had been some sort of organized bike ride out to meet there for morning coffee. It was so relaxed and peaceful in Kuaotunu, I wanted to spend the whole day there under one of the big shade trees, writing and drinking coffee. Shad wasn't so enchanted with the place though, so before too long we took off again down the road.

My bike made it up the first big hill out of town, but only halfway up the second one before the chain broke again. This time there was no hope in finding the missing link and as we were still without a chain breaker, I was royally screwed. Our only hope was hitchhiking. We walked our bikes up to the top of the hill and miraculously a little blue truck stopped when we stuck our thumbs out. Merv and Janice were an older couple perhaps in their late 50s who were out on a holiday. They offered to take us and our bikes into the next town, and when we couldn't find a mechanic there they drove us all the way to Coromandel Town. We couldn't believe our luck! Merv dropped us off at a garage where they just so happened to have a chainbreaker. We took out a couple of the links and pieced the thing back together. It seemed to work.

It started to spit rain as we made our way through town for lunch at an amazing little cafe on the edge of town that Lonely Planet had recommended. Driving Creek Cafe was fantastic. They had good music playing, very original and warm decor, and free tee with every meal. We spent a lot of time there, Shad on the internet and me writing while we waited out the rain.After it stopped, we spent a little bit of time at the shops in town before setting off to find a campsite. As we left town we still hadn't found a place to do the dishes and refill our water, so we hoped we would come across a stream or gas station or something on the way. We found a little river that we could scrub the dishes in, but the water looked too questionable to drink. Soon we were headed up our second to last huge hill of the entire trip. At the top we found a neat little clearing with all sorts of native plants and trees all labeled. Shad enjoyed digging through the large amount of garbage and bones he found back in the woods. It would have been a decent place to camp, but we still didn't have any water so we had to press on.

The little town at the bottom of the hill had nothing but a school and a few houses, so we dug in and set to climbing the last hill of any reasonable size on our entire trip. We stopped at a panoramic bit that we imagined was the top.

We celebrated and took pictures and did all that sort of thing, only to find when we set off again that we were still a steep incline away from the actual summit. As we were climbing up that, my chain broke again! I was so angry! I just wanted to be done with the hills and this stupid rental bike. We tried pinching the chain back together with pliers, but the links had bent too much to hold. o in defeat, we had to walk the rest of the way to the top. I don't care what Thomas Friedman says, the world is not flat. In New Zealand there are still plenty of hills, and they suck.

At the top I tried again to pinch the chain together, and that time it seemed to hold. We tentatively set off down the hill, but about halfway down the road went up a little incline and my chain broke yet again. I was fed up. I chucked the chain in one of my bags, walked up the rest of the hill, and finally FINALLY coasted to the bottom.

The road came down to the beach at Wilson's Bay and there was a little farm house just where I stopped rolling. People were about, so Shad went to ask for water while I tried once again to pinch the chain back together. Minutes later Shad was back with not only full water bottles but also with Marcus, an avid mountain biker who just so happened to have a chainbreaker and some extra links. My chain was fixed within seconds and Marcus even pointed out a nearby campsite where we could spend the night. We bid him farewell and set off for the campsite, only to find Marcus pedaling speedily after us. When he caught up he told us that the farmer had offered to let us stay in his wool shed where we could be sheltered from the wind and even have a shower. We happily accepted.

The wool shed was fantastic, not much more than an old wooden barn with a few random shearing implements, a dart board (but no darts), and a gold painted fridge. It brought back a lot of old memories of my grandpa and his little hideout "The Corn Crib". We would go there with my dad and uncles and play cards when I was really little. Those are good memories.

Anyways, we got ourselves cleaned off in an outdoor shower cold enough to wake you up from the grave. Then we hung up our hammocks and made a delicious dinner of spicy salmon burritos. There was so much food we both had three huge burritos each. After dinner we headed over to the house to have a beer with our hosts. ob was the owner and farmer. He bred cattle on the hilly 1000 acres of land behind the house. His wife was from Germany and then there were Marcus and Garth who were visiting them. It was great conversation and we laughed and shared stories for a good while. These people were skilled at the art of conversation. I felt like Shad and I were just there to provide fresh material. Eventually we all grew tired and found our way to bed, Shad and I swinging to sleep in our hammocks in the wool shed.

permalink written by  aeonhunterinnz on January 8, 2010 from Kereta, New Zealand
from the travel blog: AeonHunter in New Zealand
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