Hilly back roads.

Sunset at Rangiwahia

Sunset at Rangiwahia

I felt like I was back in northern Thailand!!

I felt like I was back in northern Thailand!!

I don't know why either...

I don’t know why either…

Picture postcard views everywhere

Picture postcard views everywhere

Not a great photo, but you get the idea - planes were taking off every few minutes or so...

Not a great photo, but you get the idea – planes were taking off every few minutes or so…

I managed to get off highway 1 at Mangaweka, a place easily remembered for it’s aeroplane cafe (an actual plane) which sits right next to the road. From here I went east along deserted roads taking me to Rangiwahia, a place with about 3 houses, a school a village hall (which doubles as a campsite) and a volunteer fire station. It was a glorious hot day, with not a cloud in the sky, so I had a wee siesta before cooking dinner. Thankfully I managed to not set fire to the place with my slightly problematic petrol stove, even though it would have been interesting to see the response time of the firemen. It’s so dry just now, I dare say the entire valley would go up in flames… I’ve actually started being really careful with it, making sure I am nowhere near grass or anything else flammable for that matter, following a rather close call last week!!

Today I made it Ashhurst via Apiti, along a road that never failed to surprise. There were a series of ravines that the road disappeared into and had me sweating profusely to get out of, back up onto the flat plain. There was also a section of dirt road which was a bit like cycling on snow, so loose was the gravel. Interesting with a fully loaded bike I can tell you. It was easily the remotest road I have cycled on this trip, including everything in Asia. I can’t have met more than 5 vehicles all day, and as a result was the best day’s riding I’ve had in New Zealand to date. In fact, I think I saw more planes than I did cars (they are used for fertilising crops here).

Ashhurst has just hosted an international week of cycle racing according to the bloke I got chatting to in the local chippy. It was made obvious they are cycling mad round here when I went to the local small grocery store and noticed they had seven different cycling magazines in stock. I can’t mention the chippy without saying how cheap it was… (I am Scottish after all) I think it’s the first time I have bought anything where it was cheaper than it would be for the equivalent back in the UK. NZ$7.70 for a HUGE burger & chips. I’ve mainly been cooking for myself since coming to N.Z. but as I didn’t have any petrol for cooking (I used all of that trying to set fire to Rangiwahia), I didn’t have much of a choice. Oh, petrol, that’s cheaper too. Hardly a surprise that though….


3 responses »

  1. I would have thought the ‘Steam’ notice was to warn of steam (from hot springs?) suddenly obscuring vision. I’ve seen exactly the same notice on a road beside the canal in the UK (but not from hot springs!). Great post – keep them coming.

  2. Great recent posts. Looks amazing out there – pretty jealous, particularly of the monster ice-cream. I’d agree with the comment above about ‘steam’ sign. There’s another one out that way on the edge of a railway that says ‘whistle.’ Pretty obvious what that means, but still amused myself by whistling every time I went past it. Enjoy NZ!!

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