12 November 2004


It is crazy to think really that I could be using the word monotonous to describe a trip in such an amazing place, but that’s really what it has become.  I guess it is really my own fault that I have not invested the time or money in doing something extraordinary which has caused everything else to blend together. 

Since I last wrote in Gisborne, I found a restaurant called Burger Wisconsin .  The small restaurant on the main drag in Gisborne instantly caught my attention. Upon walking inside I appreciated the UW Badgers red, white and black colours. I inquired to the staff the reasoning behind this quaint restaurant’s name, but to my dismay the employees had no idea. To top it off the quaintness of the restaurant lost it’s luster as I was informed it was a popular New Zealand chain. Here I had hoped to hear a Wisconsin accent.

The following day I split up from the group I had been traveling with.  The group from MN took a bus to Palmerston North and Sabine took a bus to Wairoa.  I surprisingly found myself enjoying the freedom and time wandering on my own around Gisborne and on my ride out of town.  Following the advice of the local bike shop I set out to follow the back road to Wairoa. Quickly I lost my love of freedom and yearned for someone to draft off. I climbed 1850m that day, had a treacherous headwind, had to walk my bike for 3k due to road construction, and was rained on.  Upon arriving in Wairoa soaked and shivering I set up camp during the brief break between rain showers and headed for a hot shower. Despite the sign which read $.50 for 5 min it lasted about two. I finished my shower in water colder than the rain and wandered around town shivering again. To my dismay I found the lone grocery store closed.  I then proceeded to pace the main street and settled on the only restaurant open in town for dinner.  The food was OK, but the wait staff was amazing. After learning the café didn’t have a newspaper for me to read and the only magazines started with the word “Woman’s….” the waitress brought me a fresh crisp paper. I only realized she went out and purchased it about half way through reading it. She was the only person to receive a tip in New Zealand , her reaction to two dollars made me wish I gave more.

I woke up the following day to more rain and dark clouds surrounding the city. There wasn’t much decision to not ride and hop on the bus.  Turns out from other people that I've talked to that it was a wise decision as the road is quite narrow, corners sharp and cliffs steep.  Not to mention the Magpie attacks.  So $34 and a nap later, I ended up in Napier.  I met a woman from north England at the hostel - the only friendly person there - as she too was only in the hostel for the night.  The majority of the people were staying for an extended time as Napier is popular for seasonal work due to the many fruit farms.  They had already formed their clicks so were not very outgoing people.  Hilly and I enjoyed a couple of beers in an awfully slow nightlife for a Friday night.  Turns out that we had to wait till 12:00 for it to start to get busy.  We were in bed by then.  Anyway Hilly assured me the beauty of the South Island and the less hilly landscape will renew my spirit and make riding more enjoyable than the terrors I have experienced on the North.  Ah only a few more days...

Well I must be off to get some lunch and to the bus station, again. I debated last night on whether to stay another day in Napier, but the lack of character beyond the art deco building style has prompted me to spend $69 to hop on to Wellington today.  I still need to find a hostel that will accept my bike.  Everyone advises against riding between Napier and Wellington due to the traffic, hills, logging trucks and little shoulders. In fact the guys at the shop here in Napier laughed at me when I mentioned riding to Wellington . It didn’t take long to head to the bus station.

I will spend a couple of days in Wellington looking around then head across to the south.  I welcome being able to travel on my bike again.  Hope all is well with everyone.  Take care, I miss you all.

Ride on,






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