Well . . . . I haven’t been very good about blogging. In fact, I haven’t blogged at all since I arrived. So for those of you (maybe just mom and dad) out there that have been dying of anticipation as to what we have been doing since I arrived in Christchurch two weeks ago, I apologize. But, frankly, we have been too busy biking up and down hills, getting rained on, putting on sun screen, drinking wine, kayaking, gorging on fish and chips, bathing in hot springs, hiking, drinking flat whites in little cafes, laughing, cooking, eating, sailing, splurging, and watching seals, penguins and dolphins to sit down inside and blog about all of it. We did take a fair number of pictures of everything so eventually the full story will be told.
Here’s just the recap summary.
On Tuesday, December 16th, we got out of Christchurch with the bikes. Mind you, we didn’t leave the city actually riding the bikes, but rather rode to the city centre, grabbed a lox bagel, and waited in the sunshine until the shuttle van came and picked us up–bikes, trailer and all. The Canterbury Plains around Christchurch are flat and somewhat of a busy, boring ride, so we (being on vacation) skipped it and hitched a ride to the more scenic starting point of Waipara. From there, we did get on the bikes (mine, a standard nothing special Trek 4300 rental and Mike’s faithful and much beat up upon Kona “Muni” (moon-nee)), fully loaded (which means, really that most of the heavy stuff was in Mike’s trailer, rather than my panniers) and hit the hills. Day one of riding (mind you, I was just over 48 hours from arriving) consisted of 74 kms of riding up and down the inland road from Waipara to Waiau, which takes one through the inner and outer Hamner range. Mike had warned me that there would be hills that first day, so I was mentally prepared (since the time for physically preparing was long past), but in actuality, the hills were neither long nor steep and the riding felt good.
We pulled into my first (not to be last) NZ “holiday park” which is a somewhat strange amalgamation of a KOA and campsite. Waiau was a little hot town, burnt to a brown crisp, that reminded me very much of the T-34 stop in South Dakota on the Big Trip. A quick walk into “town” to the 4-Square (smaller than a real store, larger than a Quik-Trip) to forage for a couple of vegetables . . . but rather than the PBR we had at T34, the 4 Square offered up some cold bubbly . . . so we took it up on the offer and toasted to a successful first day.