We woke up on Day 1 to the sound of rain pouring down on the roof and we were a little bit worried. Rain on the first day is not exactly what we were hoping for. But after checking just about every forecast we could possibly think of, we found one that gave us somewhat favourable news, that it would be sunny for at least part of the day! So we chose to believe that one, and raised our spirits up and started getting ready to get this trip started!
We started by getting a backup plan in case hitchhiking with 2 bikes down to Bluff didn't work. We went to the information centre and realized that we had just missed the bus by 5 minutes... So our backup plan became just biking down and biking back. So we headed off down the road to attempt to hitchhike. When we found a good spot, we gave ourselves until noon to find a ride, or start biking down. 35 minutes later we were pretty keen to bike, as we were cold and there really wasn't much traffic going down, especially ones that would have room for 2 girls and 2 bikes! So we decided to go for it and just do both ways. After all, it was to be just a 26km ride.
Going down was pretty nice. It was very flat, sunny for the most part, and just the right temperature for biking, and we were thinking this was pretty easy! Then the wind came... When it was strongest, it cut our speed almost in half, and that was even still on flat ground! But we made it with our spirits pretty high, and then waited for the newspaper to come and get the photo that they requested from us.
While we were at the Bluff sign, we met a couple of biker dudes who had just come from Cape Reinga, which is where we're going! Their bikes were actually tricycles, and motorized. I'd never seen those things before, but was more interested in the riders, who had nothing but great things to say about the journey they had just taken, and we were about to take! They were very nice, called themselves "Cooks on Wheels" because they were both cooks, and also doing their trip for charity. They made a donation for ours, and we had fun taking photos and watching the whales together :)
After the photo shoot ;), we started on our actual journey from Bluff up north... We went about 30 seconds and my bike started making a horrible grinding noise! We're still not sure what it was (could be a stone caught in the chain) but after stopping and trying to figure it out, it eventually fixed itself. (Thanks Jeff for the great self-repairing bikes!) Then we stopped, had some fish 'n chips for lunch, and then headed back to Invercargill. It wasn't as hard, because the wind was behind us this time, but on the way home we stopped of at a couple shops to pick up some stuff, and when we got back on our bikes, we were both moaning in pain! From now on...when we get off our bikes, we STAY off! Hahaha. So, what was meant to be a 26km ride for our first day became a 67km first day, with the biking both was, and all the running around town and going all the way down to the Southern most point and back... We were tired, but felt good to get this show on the road :)
Another person we met at the Bluff sign was a musician from London named Alf. He was very friendly and he invited us to come to the pub where he was performing at that evening. We decided to come for just one drink, even though we were pretty tired. One of our great hosts, Dawn, joined us as well while Elijah stayed home with the kids. So it was a girls night out! When we arrived, Alf made an announcement to the people in the pub of what we were doing, and dedicated songs to us all night. A couple of dances and drinks (non-alcoholic of course!) and chats later, we had raised about $80 from people's donations! Thanks so much Alf! It was a great encouraging start to our trip!
|Our Newspaper Photo :)|
|Cooks on Wheels!|
|After our First day...|