Rabbits breed like rabbits on the landscape ridden today.
The number of white arses that were spooked to scatter in
all directions as we disturbed their morning ritual, possibly more breeding,
However, one had to keep a sharp eye on the dirt infront as
the bike chain was manuvered up and down the back wheel cogs – the Gorge Trail
had the worst ascents and decents giving us the best view at altitude, and at
the waters edge. Don’t be put off by the switch backs (zig zags) because they
made the distance covered enjoyable and certainly a worthy and stunning
micro-adventure to add to your ‘before I die’ list of things to tick off.
The Roxburgh dam was the first major dam and power station
project in the South Island after the Second World War and started it’s
generation of electricity to the grid during 1956.
There is a middle section part of the trail where you need
to be transported by a jet boat due to a land owner refusing access. Once we
reached the jetty from the dam end, we rode back to the car to drive to
Alexandra, get back on the bikes to cycle in from the other end.
It was an easier 20 kms return to Doctors Point jetty. Hot,
sweat and grime added feeling, smell and taste to the experience.
Bikes back on the car and an ice cream reward before we
headed towards the Alps to spend another night sleeping on the ground in the
green Kermit, at Lake Hawea Holiday Park.
A huge camping community where we witnessed kids riding
without helmets, in bare feet, throwing out smiles of salutations to two total
strangers … huh, something we used to see more of back in the 60’s, 70’s,
80’s and late 90’s.
It was a shorter drive from Lawrence to Millers Flat where
we parked up the car to ride the longer distance backwards to return riding
By the end of this adventure and how we are doing it, we
will have ridden both the Clutha Gold Trail and Roxburgh Gorge Trail twice!
Out came the tent for a night under canvas.
Unfortunately, one of us slept deflated and it wasn’t Claire. One of the self-inflated mattresses hissed air after a huff and a puff to blow it up. Pin pricks of holes can do that. Notwithstanding, the thing’s we do for lov e!
I had the better hair do in the morning though!
Already hard to get shut eye from being deflated, I think I did an all nighter because of the snoring that came from the fella in the next door tent. Jeez Wayne!
Except his name wasn’t Wayne (and we know a Wayne from next
door who could snore).
Thinking I was transferring water from a plastic water bottle into my bike drinking bottle, it had a weird smell.
I thought Claire had taken a swig from the plastic water bottle and that her lip balm had tainted the stuff.
I had tipped her vodka into my drink bottle by mistake.
Diluting her vodka in the process.
Lawrence to Beaumont was a lovely meander for 19 odd kms and return. Thousands of sheep dot the landscape, the the trail is easy and the smell of poisonous hemlock abundunt. Meeting a couple of fellow cyclists on our return was very inspiring – the Canadian was cycling on a three speed Raleigh Sports built in 1960 (and she was 57 yrs old); the second couple were a father and son. They were so loaded, we couldn’t lift the dad’s bike off the ground – creature comforts not to be forsaken!
Remember to take a torch though. The Big Hill Tunnel is just under 500 metres in length and, really really dark in the middle. Meaning if you scrap the walls, you have veered off centre.
Just stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and
try not to get too freaked out at what might be growing or living on the walls.
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.
He would have turned 89 years of age except, he passed away during 2017.
I come from a large whanau (family) having four sisters, a brother and a half-brother. A functioning dysfunctional family whereby we have split to take sides with siblings whom are in tune with the values and characteristics we choose to live by.
It is what it is and no amount of time will bridge the water that has gone beneath it.
Sonny sadly, fueled the sparring and separation during his time above the ground. Which was a shame. And a pity. A pity that he didn’t rise up to the brainwashing he received from a sibling who wedged the gap between the clan.
With that, I was grateful to have shared some moments with him that have risen above the angst, hurt and pain we endured in the days, months and year after he closed his eyes for the last time.
Taking him on the back of a tandem to cycle from the east coast of the South Island (Sumner) to the west coast (Kumara) during his seventies, and just hear his positive reflection and see his ear to ear grin – that’s what I carry with me.
We have also carried a game of cards called ‘Five-Crowns’ (that both he and step-Mum Margaret introduced us to during that bike trip), with us, as we have ventured out onto the planet. Many a card game has been enjoyed with strangers to forge bonds of friendship that have been ever lasting. Our new tribe or, whanau (family).
And another dealing of the cards in Reefton too, where we have escaped to explore a location Sonny once resided in when he was younger, working in the coal mines. Before he met my Mum.
A peaceful meander on a couple of trails to reflect and remember Sonny on what would have been his birthday.
Still a candle burns for my old man.
You have made me a better father for you having been mine.
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?