New Zealand 2014

Day 15

March 29


Once again I'm up early on the search of breakfast. I figure I'll give the store I hit yesterday a look and see what they have.

  It's a fair distance to it, but the weather is nice and the streets are pretty much deserted.  
  I pass by this sign and it sort of makes me wonder as to exactly what they do besides hassle old fisherman and oil companies.  

My expedition is successful as I score a fresh giant sausage roll, chips and some milk. It's ain't Cracker Barrel, but it will certainly fill the empty spot.

  With breakfast taken care of, the next job is to pack up the girls and get ready to roll further southward.  
  We will be covering some of the same roads that we did yesterday, but they were certainly good enough to enjoy a second time around.  
  Before long, we pass back by the vineyards where the vines are wearing their bird-defying hairnets.  
  But unlike yesterday, we are out early enough to encounter some serious fog.  
  Once we are back down on the flatlands, we are out into the clear and the sunshine.  
  The scenery is again familiar but it's still lovely and enjoyable even the second time.  
  And riding back over the same twisties ain't bad either.  
  But it looks like we may be in for a little liquid sunshine up ahead.  
  When we make our first fuel stop, there's an old BMW that pulls in. It's still in mighty fine shape for it's age.  
  We run into a little rain when we get back on the road, but not enough to stop and put on our 'bags'.  
  It's just another wonderful day in curve paradise with ...  
  curve after ...  
  after curve.  
  And every now and then there are some right pretty views tossed in ...  
  not to mention long, one lane bridges that really make you take a look before proceeding.  
  And the ever present reminder to be careful out there.  
  Which brings home the point that this section of road would not be a good candidate to go off-roading on unless your bike has water wings.  
  The big challenge about riding in New Zealand is trying to focus on the road instead of the scenery. But it's certainly a nice challenge to be faced with.  
  And for those of us with feeble minds, the highway authority sometimes puts down arrows just so we'll remember to stay on the proper side of the road. They really don't like scraping up body parts from head-on collisions.  
  We see a sign that points off to Cape Foulwind, so we decide with a name like that we ought to check it out.  
  We encounter an interesting bird ...  
  who is soon joined by company as they figure out we are passing out a few tater chips.  
  There's a lighthouse on the hill and since Alain and I are lighthouse fanciers, we decide to take a walk and have a look see. The way up lends itself to some beautiful views overlooking the Tasman Sea.  
  This is 'new' lighthouse all full of modern technology.  
  Along the way, we pass the base of the original lighthouse that was constructed from wood.  
  From the picture, it looks much more ornate and interesting than its replacement.  
  And we pass by what looks like an overgrown bonsai tree, shaped and twisted by the wind.  
  But there is a lovely view beneath the boughs of the strange tree.  
  When we get back down the hill, Alain sets out Mr. Happy to see what the birds will do. After close inspection and a lack of more potato chips, they decide he is not worthy of their attention and they hop back into the bush.  
  Since we want to run further north, we head back across the causeway the way we came.  
  We pass the beautiful Bueller Bay just past the booming metropolis of Granity.  
  Then it's through the urban sprawl of Ngakawau (which I will not even attempt to pronounce.)  
  As we run to the end of the paved road, we are treated to some spectacular ocean views...  
  And some interesting other views. I couldn't help but chuckle over this sign being from Nashville where the 'other' Country Music Museum is located.  
  But I soon turn my attention back to the ocean side of the road.  
  There's just something enjoyable about riding along the ocean on the twisty bits that's hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it.  
  I guess it's something akin to the reason a dog hangs his head out the window of a moving vehicle - he likes it.  
  I do have to wonder how cold it gets here in the winter with the wind off the ocean. And I bet the feller that lives in this house could tell me right quick if I asked.  
  Then we come to a really long one lane bridge - it will hold the length record for quite a while. It is really a challenge to see the other end but it appears to be clear so onward we go.  
  From here it looks like the road starts to turn into gravel, we decide that discretion is the better part of valor and turn around back the way we came.  
  And it is certainly as much fun running back over the mountain as it was riding from the other direction.  
  And you get a little different view because you are looking out instead of looking in at the mountain side.  
  The skies are starting to not look friendly but we figure we'll press along for a bit longer.  
  For after all, we were heading right toward Paradise as the sign proclaims.  
  On the way in, I see a memorial to fallen soldiers of W.W.I - men that never made it back to Paradise.  
  Since there's not much to see in Paradise (or at least at this version), we head back south toward our destination for the evening.  
  The sky is growing darker but so far no liquid is falling.  
  Off to our right, we see strange trees whipped by the wind over the years.  
  Looking out to sea, it looks like we are really in for it. I was told that this western side of the South Island is usually very damp and rainy.  
  But we figure we're just keep pressing on along this lovely road until the rain makes us do otherwise.  
  It's still holding off as we head further south, and for that we are thankful.  
  Maybe the train will pull the storm clouds along with it in the opposite direction from where we are headed.  
  The train must have done its job, as the sky begins to lighten up a bit.  
  The run down the west coast to Punakaiki is a wonderful assortment of twisties ...  
  open sweepers ...  
  interesting ocean views ....  
  and sometimes strange rock formations. This one reminds me of a beached whale and is similar to a formation I've seen off the coast of California.  
  It seems like a great place for a calendar shot of RubyRed, so I seize the opportunity.  
  Not to mention another lovely ocean view just up ahead.  
  This run really reminds me so much of the Pacific Coast Highway back in the States.  
  Soon we are approaching our destination for the evening - the town of Punakaiki (and I still don't know how to pronounce it).  
  Where we are staying is a little bit off the beaten path, but we finally figure out how to get to it. You can see the place from the road, but reaching it takes a little bit of maneuvering.  
  We have a very nicely appointed cottage with full kitchen and a very short walk to the ocean.  
  Once the girls are unloaded and we get a few things sorted, dinner is next on the agenda. There are not a lot of options, but this one looks it will work just fine. But just as we arrive, there are fourteen botanists that show up. So it takes a bit before our food to show up as their kitchen is overwhelmed.  
  But when the food does arrive, it's all fresh and good and mighty tasty to say the least.  
  And I guess because we are sitting outside near the ocean, that the air has that same recurring evaporative effect I have already experienced on previous occasions.  

On our way back to our cottage, we see a couple of pretty poochie dogs. They ask me if I have any leftovers, so I explain to them what happened according to my theory about the evaporative 'oceanic' effect. Their response gives me pause -

"Well, we don't trust any human science after that Pavlov fellow."

I can't say that I blame them much, so I wish them a good evening and move on along.

  There are lots of interesting trees and bushes in this area. This one looks just like a giant pineapple to me.  
  As our supper settles, we enjoy watching the sun slowly disappear below the horizon.  
  It waves us a last good-bye as it finally goes out of sight.  
  It's been a great day of riding and relaxation as we travel from a fairly sized city to a not so fairly sized village. With the sound of ocean roaring in my ears, I head back to the cottage with a full stomach and full heart. I'm soon happily traveling in another land that I have been seeking.