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Gypsy Wagon

Thames, New Zealand

GYPSY WAGON ~ THAMES (36km, 1441km total) - Today was the best day of biking of the entire trip. It was a stunningly beautiful road, narrow and curvy with sheer cliffs on one side, blue ocean waters on the other, and pohutakawa trees lining the edges. It was also our last day of real biking, since we decided to buy those bus tickets from Thames to Auckland, spurred along by yesterday's constant bike mishaps. We knew we didn't have far to go, so we took a nice relaxed pace all afternoon. Short, slow, beautiful, and it being our last day was just the perfect cherry on top.

The morning featured a slow, unhurried start and a breakfast of toasted museli with honey and nutella. We got out riding about 12:30. We stopped just a little bit down the road at a rare open space with a restroom and a beach. I spent some time writing and Shad busied himself exploring the remnants of the ocean which had washed up on the beach. After a while I explored a bit as well, coming away with two mussels.
I cracked them open and Shad and I each had a little raw snack.
They actually weren't too bad... for being found on the beach.

We biked a little further then, just until we ran across a store where we picked up some cheese, crackers, and wine to go with the smoked fish that Rob gave us. Biking just a bit further, we then pulled off and went down to sit on some rocks to enjoy our quite decadent meal.

After that it was pretty much a solid ride to Thames, with only a short bathroom stop to break it up.

As I was riding today I thought about two things. First I was reminded of my childhood and playing make-believe in the woods around my house and out at Grandma's. I also thought about this whole trip. It's ben a much more authentic New Zealand experience than when I was here last time. Even though it's shorter, we've run into and talked with so many Kiwis. Whereas last time I was mainly around other Americans and travellers the entire time. It's truly been a great trip. Today was probably the best bike ride of my life and one of my top 5 life moments altogether.

Tonight we're couchsurfing with Rosalie - an older woman who lives with her grown son Mark. Her sister and some friends were also in visiting from abroad, and Rosalie cooked us all a fantastic meal with fish, potatoes, salads, and zucchini fritters. Afterwards we staid up late drinking and talking with Mark. He seemed to not have much direction in life, spending all his spare time drinking and smoking. He spends $80 a week on each. He says he's on the verge of giving them both up, and for his sake I hope he does. he was a good storyteller though, and we had a nice long talk between the three of us. Now Shad and I are scrunched in a small gypsy wagon, hoping we wake up in time for our bus tomorrow morning.

permalink written by  aeonhunterinnz on January 9, 2010 from Thames, New Zealand
from the travel blog: AeonHunter in New Zealand
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