Makarora & Cheese
The last two days have been ride-intensive: from Lake Paringa to Haast under a goosedown gray sky, with side trip up the “Ship Creek Walk” (I love pedaling on the chicken-wire covered pedestrian walkways, my hundred poundcyle not wobbling a bit even when the walkway jogs right and left through the trees). Fantastic bush, with Kahikatea trees–the tall, ‘curly’ ones and wind-polished shrubbery lining the ride, and the boggy bits full of tree fern and cabbage tree.
There are tons of bronze-emerald moss upholstered cliffs around here…the ride up the broad Haast river valley is so stunning even the hurryuppies in campervans are pulling over to capture cloud-wreathed snowy peaks.
It’s nowhere near as empty as I thought it would be. In a way, New Zealand feels like an outdoor Disneyland. On the river raft, the guides told us that now and then someone would ask: Is this a salt-water river? Or: Do the rocks go all the way down to the bottom of the river? (Snide answer: no, they just float on top). Best one: “They sure did a good job of hiding the rails on this ride”. (I can’t believe someone really believed that, but that’s what Pat Connel said).
Haast (named for Dutch explorer of yore) is barely a town, just three hotels and a Foursquare grocery with ‘pub’ attached: The Grumpy Cow. That’s the second “grumpy” name for a cafe.
Speaking of which, every day I sail along hoping not to be buzzed to close by a big truck, campervan, or speedster in a passenger car. Today I had only two close calls.
Today, I’m flying down a hill (grateful that the bike is holding up, and the gear hasn’t flown off or tangled in the wheels), and just as I’m finishing my gratitude prayer (to know-one in particular) an eedjit in a “ute” with a trailer bouncing along behind comes round me at 120 kph–in the middle of a sweeping turn (you know what trailers do in turns, right? They veer!)
OY. I wanted to ask the guy (later seen coming back with a boat lashed to trailer) if he’d had an extra helping of Grumpy this morning. Somehow just thinking silly shit like that helps keep me on an even keel.
It’s tiresome thinking I’m gonna get plugged by some
c) look ’em up!
on the road…