Day 6 –Taupo to Tokaanu Hot Springs

I woke up still snug in the hotel room in Taupo to a downpour out the window!  This made me not very inclined to get an early start and, besides, I needed to wait until 0830 for the bike shop to open so I could get some spare tubes and groceries.  I wandered around in the rain but saw a bit of blue sky coming through, found a bulk food store (which rocks!  That means no need to carry 2 pounds of pasta!), had a good coffee and an amazing blueberry/lemon muffin, and by the time I was packed up and checked out of the hotel it was 1030 with a blue sky (rain clouds out on the lake) and seeming to be a kind day for riding.
The saddle sore I developed has definitely not gone away and, while it is manageable, the one reasonably big climb I had today made it pretty painful.  I’m heaping on the bag balm at night and chamois butt’r during the day, but I finally realized today perhaps I should just wear two pairs of shorts to enhance the padding and absorb some friction.  That’s my plan for tomorrow – I’ll let you know how it goes!
The riding was mellow, not too long, and beautiful, but not terribly distinct from other rides.  It started to rain at one point, but luckily for me that was right before a café so I went in, had a coffee and an egg/cheese toasted sammie and by the time I was done the sun was out, my jacket had dried, and I was ready to move on!  Nice – and not a drop the rest of the day.
I pulled in to Tokaanu pretty early and had a soak in the hot pools which felt great on my legs.  The saddle sore is really a shame because my legs feel great!
As I went to the kitchen to make dinner, a couple was sitting outside at a table and invited me to chat.  They are local – both born on the shores of Lake Taupo.  The woman is haolie I think and the man is definitely Maori – Angela and Gus.  They gave me wine and drank their own and we chatted away for well over an hour.  The thing of it is, this is the first trip I’ve made outside the US in 8 years where I don’t have to explain GW Bush.  I don’t have to hang my head and try to explain that not all Americans agree with the neocon view of the world.  Angela (or more likely, her wine) got more and more animated in trying to make sure I understood that the US does not rule the world.  Of course not, and Gus seemed to recognize more so that this opportunity for the three of us to talk was evidence of that.  I wasn’t being accused of anything really by her, but as she got more loopy, she got pretty fired up,  Gus finally and abruptly told her they should go since she was lecturing quite a bit.  It was a great opportunity though, and I hope we all learned a little something.
The subject of Barack Obama came up and it made me proud to say I think things will be better.  Gus said, as a Maori, that he believes minorities (like himself) all over the world can set their sights higher since the US has elected a black man as President.  If that is the impact of our election on the world, what a better legacy than the last 8 years have been!
So now, it’s clouding up, the mosquitoes are buzzing and biting, and the German couple trying to set up a tent using their headlights is becoming epic – and epically entertaining!  It’s off to bed and a two-pairs-of-shorts day for me tomorrow.  Let’s hope it works eh?

Leave a Reply