January 12, 2006

1/12/06 Murchinson NZ

59.4 km / 280 km total

Still cloudy this morning but no rain last night. We planned on just sleeping in after our hellish day yesterday, but we all still got up early with the birds. Took a few pictures down at Lake Rotocti. By the time we broke camp and reached the road, the rain began.

Morning stillness of Lake Rotocti

But even before you pedaled one stroke, the bike wanted to go with gravity. As we rode down the valley following the Buller River, the bikes just flew. So, even wet, it could have been worse. Sometimes the valley opened up enough for cattle or sheep ranches. Other times, we cycled high above the river rapids. But all with mountain peaks on both sides.

Near Owen River, we saw a bar with 'lunch' in the window and decided to stop early for a bite to eat. By the time we got out of our wet things and sitting down to eat, the rain looked like it would let up. We're not that lucky. [smile]

By now we're back on Hwy 6, what with tons of traffic, including the double trailer trucks and tour buses. Add the slick road and rain and it makes for a white knuckle ride. Not much time to relax and enjoy the view.

Out of the clouds and rains of the mountains

As we rode near Murchinson, we pulled into the motor park along the river. Turns out the area is a hot-bed of kayakers. There must have been 20-30 kayakers camping here. Because the rain was still coming down, we decided to get a cabin instead of tenting. Did laundry, took a shower and then took a nap in the hall next door.

Our campground was along the river

Some nights we stayed in small cabins

Had a good dinner at a cafe in town. I think this trip is different for each of us than we planned. But it's working. Our plan is another downhill day to Westport on the coast.

Beautiful car on Main St

The view of the mountains