We often go off the beaten track during adventures.
Getting lost can be both entertaining and entralling. As long as you don’t have to back pedal a heap of kilometres to regain the true compass direction!
Giant oak trees shouldered the road to escort us for most of today’s ride, the distance between varying. At their base, a white Oamaru stone cross. Inscribed on the cross, the names of soldiers who lost their lives during WWI and the year/place they fell. There were so many. The ones that pulled at the heart strings were the crosses with double names of two family members who perished.
Thinking we were lost having gone off the beaten track, we happened upon a monument. It read: ‘The Gallipoli Pine – Planted after WWI from seeds brought back from Gallipoli by Tpr: J.J. Mansfield 57526. (Joe) O.M.R.’ An arrow on the monument pointed in the direction and when we about faced, there on a hill top in the distance was ‘The Gallipoli Pine.’
Back in 2011, we walked from Istanbul to Galipolli to give homage at the Anzac Day celebrations in Turkey. My Maori Poau (Grandfather) had fought and survived the campaign. As Cesare Pavese once quoted, “we do not remember days … we remember moments” giving that exact moment some beauty, significance and feeling humbled.
Carrying on, we regained the A2O route markers. The blustery head wind didn’t deter, nor the threat of a downpour.
There is always extra in the tank when you know the end is nigh. That and us carrying rain gear should we have needed it. Oh, and the great nights sleep in a bed after the light was switched off!
What we thought was a welcoming sign ‘Kia Ora’ was in fact a road sign pointing to a settlement called Kia Ora. Who would have known?!
The Oamaru Public Gardens were in full bloom as we rode from one end to the other. By now, rain was falling. The ride through Oamaru’s new and old township to arrive at the beach was without fanfare.
Except for the hugging of each other to acknowledge our Alps to Ocean adventure before dementia had ended.
301 kms ridden.
A fantastic ride that has us repeat again, “Ya gotta love this country”
And ‘Lest we forget’ to those who fought for such.