Thursday, March 29, 2012

Days 44-45: Palmerston North to Apiti, Apiti to Ohakune

Juliet, Sheree, and Lance
It was another Sunday morning, and it was time to hit the road again, but we were happy to be riding with the company of the incredible Lance and Juliet.  It's great when we stay with cyclists, because they not only know the best ways to treat us, but they also join us when we go!  Lance came with us for about an hour or so, but then went back for the car so he and Juliet could drive back.  So it was just the three of us ladies for a while.  We marvelled at the beautiful colors and the leaves starting to fall off the trees, and enjoyed the beautiful views while sharing great company.  It was one of the most beautiful and pleasant rides for the most part, but we all faced a few challenges.  Each of us at some point had a bit of an asthma attack, which was weird because none of us have ever had asthma!  It may have been the altitude or the weather, which was doing weird things by changing from rainy to sunny to cloudy to hot to cold... And Sheree and I had the challenge of keeping up with Super Juliet, who was quite a bit faster than us! 

When we got close to our destination, the paved road turned into a gravel road (or metal road, as they call it here) and we slowed right down but kept on going.  About halfway through the gravel road, Sheree noticed that she had a puncture!  We don't mind punctures so much, now that we know how to fix them, and we feel pretty good about ourselves when we do fix them!  But...we had unloaded our bags into Lance's car, and we had absolutely nothing on us to fix it!  As we started walking the bikes, we feared that rolling to tire over the gravel might not be good for the tire frame, so we hoisted the back of Sheree's bike onto my handlebars, and walked the bikes together the rest of the way.  (Its sounds more complicated than it actually was!)  When we got to the house, it was just about when Lance was about to get in his car and look for us, as it took much longer than they expected for us to arrive there. 

In the Limestone Caves
We stayed there with friends of Lance and Juliet, a lovely couple named Mary and Steve, and their son Pete was there also.  They took extremely good care of us with everything we could possibly imagine...a nice hot shower, tea and muffins, an delicious dinner, and Pete even took us out to explore the beauty of the area.  He was so passionate about the nature and wonder of the area, and is even planning to open a backpackers in the future so he can share it some more.  He took us to the Limestone Caves, where we saw glowworms up in the tops of the caves as the water dripped down the green walls and throughout the cave.  It was amazing!  And then we went on a short hike out to a hut where people can stay the night or go hunting and just enjoy the amazing views over the mountains.  We watched the sunset over the hills and talked about love and just had a wonderful evening! 

With the broken tube...
Beautiful Views along the way...
The next day ended up being probably one of my best and and worst days of this trip!   It started off by Sheree wanting to pump up her tire a bit more before we left, but it somehow broke the tube and we couldn't fix it, so we used our spare, only to find that we ere given the wrong size tubes, so we eventually stretched out the smaller tubes, hoping it would work enough to get us to the next bike shop. We were a couple hours behind schedule but we were moving...then we heard a hissing noise and and realized that the stretched tire had been stretched too much, there was a kink in it, which caused another puncture. That's when I realized that I left the puncture repair kit on the counter at the house! We did have another one but it was packed so far into my bag that I had to remove everything from my bike to get to it! So after a bit of yelling and cursing and crying and hugging, we eventually got it all fixed up and were "on the road again"...still having that song in our heads from watching a DVD that Mary had made, convincing the council to pave the road to their house, which featured that song.  Some of Steve and Mary's neighbors had stopped while we were fixing the tire and they said they'd call them when they got home. When we got back to biking, Peter came up to us in his car to check up on us. I guess he tried to call but we didn't have service so he came, brought us the puncture repair kit, and made sure we were ok. What a great guy! :) After that, it was pretty much uphill all the way to Waiarua, and when we got there we weren't sure if we'd make it to Ohakune because the sun was going down and we were exhausted. By when we stopped to ask about the road, we were happy to hear it was only another 27kms and flat! So we went for it, and we were never so happy to reach our destination as we were that night!! What a day!!

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