Back over the Rakaia River brigde we went today, once again heading south since we returned back to Chch 9 days ago!
Our step-Mum Marlene passed away after a long health battle. To be with family so as to comfort, support, grieve and celebrate her life was paramount. Our original intention to circumnavigate the guts of the South Island by tandem, postponed indefinitely. We simply didn’t have the time to complete the bums on seat distance after the memorial service in the time we had remaining, before we had to return to work.
So, we drove with mountain bikes on the racks back over the Rakaia River Bridge. Destination, Central Otago and a shortened micro-adventure to cycle the Clutha Gold Trail.
It straddles the mighty Clutha Mata-au River. It’s history
is steeped with remnants of a ‘ureka’ gold rush bygone era that once blazened
the river banks. And hopefully no Chinese ghosts who once panned for the
glistening stuff too.
Our way of defragging after the loss of a loved one.
Best intentions were to tent however, we drove into
inclement weather going in the opposite direction so have upgraded to more
We wouldn’t have done this if we were on the tandem. Just
hardened up and canvassed it.
RIP Marlene, loved and will be fondly remembered in our hearts.
At the Picton foreshore, we hung a right to head eastwards and rode beyond Waikawa, Karaka Point and Whatamango Bay, until we reached the summit that over looked Port Underwood.
The blue dot on Google Maps marks the spot of our furtherest point pedaled. Unfortunately, doesn’t show the altitude.
The views were naturally spectacular when you looked up from the tar seal.
Not so much though when I looked up and saw Claire out front, smoking it. On her new 29-inch mountain bike that has a handle bar push button seat post that automatically raises the height of her butt. Pfft!
If one was to relocate to Picton to reside, one would need a water craft of some type here. And then it happened, into the picture frame at Karaka Point, three types appeared.
A – sea kayaks, B – a yacht or C, a motor boat?
Which one would you choose to get out on the Queen Charlotte Sound, and adventure on?
The iconic Motatapu off-road sporting event is held annually in March, traversing Motatapu, Soho and Glencoe Stations between Wanaka and Queenstown.
Known for it’s challenging-yet achievable course, the event snakes its way through stunning high-country terrain only accessible to the public one day a year.
We lined up with other hardie souls – two doing 47 kms mountaing biking; one doing the marathon; and two doingthe 15 kms Miners Trail Walk … and became entrenched where event activity collided with landscape terrain.
And the ache of age collided with ‘we ain’t getting any younger’, as well.
The track did not discriminate between old and young, experienced and novice, fit or fat, slim or fat … there was something for everyone. As long as you stayed on it versus fall off it.
River crossings were inevitable. Stay upright, pedal hard and calculated … adrenalin buzz making it all the way across.
Pedal too soft, miscalculate, fall in, soaked … adrenalin buzz for just making it across!
Coincidentally, as I rode into the final shoot to cross the finish line after the mountain bike blat, BClaire was also walking up the shoot to finish the Miners Trail walk.
The ultimate collision to be doing an event separately and then, finish it by crossing the line together.
To Greymouth we drove to participate in the West Coast Wilderness Trail mountain biking event.
Whether in a one day or over three or four days … take the journey.
You will be not be disatisfied with the road ridden … Ross to Hokitika to Cowboy Paradise to Kumara to Greymouth.
Or just the bits in-between.
The impromptu encounters – priceless.
And, certainly memorable …
… “Are you there?” was the question asked as we sat in the room of our B&B.
“Yes, come in”
It was the B&B operator’s daughter.
“Just wanted to know if you are any relation of a Sonny Ruru?”
“He was my Dad” the reply given.
“What a small world. My Mum went out with him when Sonny used to live in Reefton. Her name is Gladys and she would love to meet you”
And so we did.
Meet and greet and then had the most awesome conversation about my Dad when he lived in Reefton. He worked in the mines and both him and Gladys were an item for the time he lived there. The year, 1948 or there abouts. Gladys was a Nurse Aid and she confirmed Dad’s story about the mining accident where Dad and one other made it out alive – Morris Skilton. Another was unfortunate and was killed. Dad lived with a family by the name of the Lawrences during his time there; and when Dad returned to Christchurch, their relationship ended.
Shortly after our face to face, Gladys had found a black and white photo of her and Dad.
This was an impromptu encounter of the most amazing type. And ironically, it happened on the 17/11/17 (Friday) … which was Sonny’s birthday.
Leaving Greymouth, we back tracked to Ross (the start of my ride) to do touristy thing as the township had pioneer history worthy of a re-visit. Calling into friends Tane, Rachel, Ruby, Ava and Tilly in-between for a nose rub and bounce on the tramp was fun.
Just as priceless as the impromptu encounter.
‘It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you’ – Rumi
All those in favour, say “Ru can be the first rider” It’s what happened when I was taking a leak … to arrive back at the Atlas Gentech corporate tent and be told, “Ru, you are the first rider!”
BClaire and I were making up a team of four from Alarm Solutions to participate in a 6 hour relay mountain bike challenge. The other two riders were Richard Jones & Mike Fairbrother. We each took turns to pedal at speed the 11 km route racing against the clock to complete as many laps as we could in the 6 hours.
With 1,650 others sharing the same track, it was absolute chaos as the the bunch started however, as all shapes of size, weight, fitness or not snailed the first lap, riders spread out in a figure of eight to allow for a much easier pump of the metal between the legs.
The last time we were involved in a corporate team wearing sponsorship was way way back in the dragon boat days of yesteryear. This day flooded back thoughts of those we played, drank and partied with … where ever they are on the planet nowadays!
Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!
Not so the comaradery of fellow bikers today though … it was alive with bragging & banter bullshit like all those in uniform should abide by.
Cheers Gwyneth, Richard, CJ and Mike for allowing the Ru’s to partake.
A great day that tis the start to the adventure season ahead.
There is something to be cherished when one soaks in a hot tub of mineral water, sharing the warmth with mates. Bubble farts rippling the surface top from the crack below don’t stink as the odd whiff of sulphur reminds you that you are in a geothermal longitude and latitude – Hanmer Springs.
The water tide mark was up with all the hordes of other patrons. Tall people, short people, thin people, fat. Kids and olds and different nationalities at that. Bathing costumes to perv at, some not so good, faces with make-up and some that should wear a hood. Tattoos were many and piercings through bits, whether male or female from ears to one’s nipples.
It had been a while since we were last there. New shops have been erected and you couldn’t help wondering if the community were trying too hard to be a micro-tourist mecca the likes of Queenstown or Wanaka.
Beyond the commercial and residential suburbia, the adventure playground traditions still wait patiently for those whom put on either lycra, sweat pants or boots to mountain bike, walk or run or hike.
It was a two-hour round hump up Jacks Pass around then blat of the back country to then free wheel down Jollies Pass and back. The old Connical Hill ascent favourite was not to be missed. It gives one a brilliant 360° panoramic view of valley, mountain range and Waiau River. The white of snow breaks the mountain brown from the sky blue.
It’s worth the 90-minute drive north of Christchurch if traveling to our neck of the woods. So too the hot pools.
Sharing the time spent soaking in the tub with mates Andrew and Cherone Wilson made for some belly to belly catch up time. Togs on beneath the water naturally.