Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 8: Wellsford to Parakai

March 4th 2014
Distance cycled: 60 km
Total distance to date: 465 km

I have officially been on the road for a week!

Breakfast was instant oatmeal and instant coffee in Sylvia's kitchen, which was quiet because she was off taking the older boys to school. Although it was my camp food I was eating, it tasted better out of ceramic bowls and cups than out of my plastic camping dishes. And I had a tea kettle to boil water in instead of having to use my tuna can stove. At 9:30, Sylvia and Curtis saw me off to the front gate as I continued up highway 16 for a quiet morning ride. 

Got caught in rain on and off again today, with some big hills to keep things interesting. The rain comes in short bursts, so putting on rain gear is almost not even worth it. I did once, for the heaviest rainfall of the bunch, but the sun came right back out 5 minutes later.

In between rainfalls, I got some great views of Kaipara Harbor. 

Selfie at the lookout point!

I met another retired Dutch couple at the lookout point. Are they all on holiday right now?? These guys had the same granola bars as I did. Always good to have something in common to talk about. 

I also talked to a guy for a while who works for Auckland Council Parks and Rec. He got the job after many years of working at a transfer station (dump/recycling center) and was telling me about all the crazy things he saw people throw away. One person threw out a tractor that only needed new spark plugs. Seeing an opportunity, this guy saved the tractor, installed new spark plugs and resold it. He also mentioned Washington State's legalization of marijuana, thinking it was pretty crazy but also kind of admirable that we were able to pull it off. But he seemed to think Oregon had legalized it too, which I was quick to correct. He also pronounced Oregon badly, like "Ore-a-gone". I'll give it to him since I have such a hard time pronouncing Maori place names. 

He also asked me an interesting question. "Why New Zealand?" I answered with freedom camping and the fact that nothing here on land can kill me (apart from another human being). In hindsight, I knew neither of those things before arriving here. I think I really came because of Lord of the Rings and the chance to possibly run into Bret or Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords. Oh, and that work/travel permit I'm no longer eligible for. Whoops!

In between the rain and uphills today came sun and downhills. I love passing signs like this because for cyclists it means "here comes some fun!!"

I also stopped today to get a picture of these little cabinet things I keep seeing in the fields. They look like filing cabinets to me, and they are often found in the middle of fields or on trucks that are presumably transporting them to and/or from the middle of fields. Do the sheep have offices? What is going on? Does anyone know?

Here's another view of the harbor I was supposed to ferry through, but had to go around instead. At least the view from above was lovely. 

It took me all day to get to Helensville because of the wind. Man, was it unrelenting! There I stocked up on a few essentials for dinner (OK, just a beer and an avocado, I don't feel like cooking tonight) and continued to Parakai, just 2km further, since there is a campsite here. But I got there and it was filled with noisy children. So I'm going to camp by the river landing instead. No kitchen but it's free and the view is much better!

 I wasn't going to cook tonight, anyway. 


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