There was not even a hint at a suggestion that I was to be sleeping in my tent last night. Ann from Nikau Caves and Cafe showed me to an upstairs room at the cafe. “This is your room for tonight,” she said. I tried to quench my amazement at the beautiful solid rimu countertop in the living room of the upstairs living quarters. It was about 2.5 meters long, at least 10cm thick, and about a metre wide. It set the mood for a relaxing natural feel to the place. I had no trouble falling asleep that night as I gazed at bright stars in the inky sky through the window.
No one was about when I got up at 7am. Ann had told me that she was unlikely to be back at the cafe until after 8am. “Just help yourself to bread and jam for breakfast. There are eggs and bacon there too,” she said as she and Peter left the night before.
I needed no further encouragement, and tucked into the remaining loaf of rich bread from last night. I put it in the toaster, but to no avail. The stuff was so dense it would have taken quarter of an hour to toast. It was good enough without toasting anyway. I ate it slowly as I watched the early morning sun paint the hills (and sheep) orange.
Thanks to Peter and Ann, I was out the door refueled and refreshed by 8am. Thank you so much!
I backtracked a little to pick up another gravel road that would take me most of the way to Hamilton. The hills, like yesterday and the day before, were a fluorescent green, punctuated by a bright blue sky.
Here and there along my route for today I would join Highway 22, but by the looks of the road conditions, it was obvious that it was not much of an arterial highway. Lichen lined the roadside.
I pedaled on to Hamilton, where I met Mike Chernishov at his work on the outskirts of Hamilton. I was keen to try out his strange looking upright bike. So I gave him my bike to ride. In true Chernishov tradition, he was off like a shot on the thing.
I’ve never seen anyone let loose so soon on a downhill stretch before on a recumbent. He was flying. A few close calls, but he made it home in one piece, with me huffing and puffing to keep up. The tyres hanging off the side of the bike are his, by the way.