FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008
Franz Josef to Hokitika - A long ride to get to tea -36km
The morning ride was supposed to start off at 8:15, so as to arrive at Hokitika earlier than we had been arriving. We were all ready - but apparently the weather didn’t get the word because it started showering about the time we wanted to leave. Our original schedule called for us leaving at 9am and sure enough, we pulled out at 9. So much for trying for an early start.
One of our guides, Rachel, was going off that afternoon to ride in a race of 100kms. It was supposed to be a fun ride with everybody dressed up like Halloween. We convinced Rachel that since she wasn’t going to be finishing the tour with us, then she should at least ride the mornings ride in her costume - a pink fairy. True to her word, we pulled out of town with Rachel cum Fairy and as we turned the corner out of town, an older couple on the corner just stared at Rachel as if they’d seen a ghost. It was hilarious. Unfortunately she changed due to rain and transformed back to a regular guide.
The morning ride of 36km took us through a beech forest and along side Lake Mapourika and Okarita lagoon, with some sporadic rain. The road “undulated” along until we ended up in Whataroa at the Kotuku gallery for morning tea and a chance to warm up. The gallery was owned by a Maori individual we does carving in Jade himself and contracts with others. His work was beautiful - delicate bone combs, large jade symbols and mammoth bones carved with Maori faces. It was fun to look around and I saw a “rock” I really liked, but not at $1,500NZ. It was very upright with one face highly polished and the other side au naturel. Very contemporary.
The Aussies and I skipped the middle ride -17km to Hari Hari after looking at the large uphill it involved. I was saving my strength for the later ride which was on an unpaved road along Lake Kaniere. It was scenic and shaded. We stopped for a group photo using a timer at Dorothy Falls and took turns posing in front of the falls for pics. I’m telling you - at our age, men and women don’t belong in tights and Lycra shorts. I just don’t feel dressed in public like that.
Dinner that night at the Café De Paris seemed strange without Rachel who left us for the following day’s race.