A few days into our cycle journey we had learnt an important lesson and that was to be more prepared and knowledgable about what our route would bring. We now make a very conscious effort to speak with locals about the different townships we pass through and what they have to offer regarding food and accommodation.
After pitching our tent in a complete strangers yard we headed onto Hororata to stay with a host that we’d contacted through ‘Warm Showers’. On the way we’d stopped at a small side street and used our picnic rug like a sail to shield us all from the sun while having lunch. Jay & I were struggling all day against another head wind, so when Carol our host burned up in her car unexpectedly and offered to take all our panniers back to the house, we jumped at the opportunity and it made our last 15km much easier.
Carol and Olive own a beautiful large property and are the proud parents of two gorgeous puppies, Wallace & Amy. They were kind enough to open up their home and cook us a yummy veggie meal and made sure we were well topped up with beer and wine to help the aching muscles. The only problem was that the company was so good and the bed was so soft that it made it a hard place to leave.
We then cycled onto Rakaia Gorge which should have been an easy 35km. With yet another head wind we slowly peddled and arrived at the camp much later than expected. The effort that was needed to simply pedal the bike along was crazy hard and it seriously made us re-think if this trip is even possible lugging the amount of extra weight we have. All we kept thinking was that we haven’t even come across the hills and mountain passes that New Zealand is full of and we are already struggling on the flats!!
We decided to stay two nights at the camp at Rakaia Gorge. Party because we were so exhausted and partly because the only way out of the gorge was up and unfortunately the steep hill was sitting right in front of us. It always amazes me how mentally challenging it is travelling by bike. Sitting at that camp site having far to much time to contemplate whether or not we were going to be able to physically get ourselves up that mountain was very difficult. Its almost like your rational mind is telling you to call it quits but with no other way to get our equipment out, there is no choice.
Jay decided to do a trial walk up the first part of the hill with the girls in the Chariot. I guess he just wanted to prove to me that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. We then decided that our best option was to detach the trailer and Jay pushed the loaded tandem while I pushed the girls in the Chariot. We eventually made it up the mountain with breathtaking views to reward us at the top and it is honestly one of the best feelings in the world when you accomplish something that you didn’t think was possible. Meanwhile, our dear little Sunny & Imani were none the wiser and fast asleep in their comfy Chariot.