January 20, 2006

1/20/06 Haast NZ

125.3 km / 965 km total

Another beautiful morning but it was still very cold. I took a chance and didn't wear any socks with my bike sandals. In the sun, it was fine, but most of the morning we were in the shade so my toes were pretty numb.

Crossing a suspension bridge

Mountains hung over us all morning

Actually made great time, averaging 20 kph all morning. Lots of creeks and river crossings, several on one-lane suspension bridges. Only a few more glimpses of snow peaks but the mountains were still impressive.

We rode along the coast most of the day. Our guide on the glacier said that the mountains were only 20 km from the sea.

The forest barely gives way to the road

It wasn't guidebooks, but we stopped for lunch on the Salmon Farm Cafe. Good homemade food. And you could even feed the salmon. Along side the fishnet pens, you could also see huge wild Brown Trout.

Naturally, after filling our bellies, we had a series of climbs. At the top of one was Knight's Point Lookout. Spectacular view. But the last climb sure was a killer. After that it was only 25 km to town.

More riding up and down the coast

Tomorrow we start to go up through there

Since there wasn't anyplace to camp, we decided to stay at the backpackers. This is only our second try with these private hostels, but this one was another really good one, complete with an atrium lounge.

After dinner, we met Thomas and Rahel from Switzerland who have been cycling New Zealand for two months. They only have ten days left.

Cyclists Rahel & Thomas (Switzerland)

Just as we arrived in town, we saw Dan and Hamish as they were leaving. Hopefully we'll be camping with them in Makarora tomorrow night.

The big news today was I was laid off. Actually my whole department was. My boss sent me an email but I won't know the details of my severance until I go home. Or I could stay. Dan and Hamish said they'd love to have me along with them if I wanted to continue my ride after Mike and George head home. I'll think about it.