New Zealand 2014

Day 23

April 6

  This morning as I make my way over to the restaurant, I finally get to meet the Owner of this fine place. He has taken a watchful position so that he can observe all the comings and goings.  
  But I learn very quickly that he doesn't take questions and he doesn't do interviews, as he is soon off to inspect the facility.  
  They have a killer buffet for breakfast, every bit as good as their supper buffet.  
  It's a tough job, but I manage to deal with it in exemplary fashion.  
  After that fine affair of food, I get RubyRed all packed up and ready to go.  
  I notice that there are some lovely rose bushes that ...  
  grace several of the hotel balconies.  
  But the road is calling and we've got to get to Christchurch, so we settle up our bills with hotel and are off like a dirty shirt.  
  The skies make me think we're going to get more of what we faced yesterday afternoon, but I hope I'm wrong.  
  It's a short run along the shores of Lake Pukaki again, then ...  
  we're headed for the highlands.  
  Before long, we pass the second glacial lake of the trio, Lake Tekapo.  
  I see a bit of blue above the mountains so I feel a little more confident that the rain may be moving out.  
  But feelings can be deceiving when it comes to weather and as we continue eastward ...  
  I can see that we are about to get wet, ready or not.  
  Fortunately it does not last long and for that we are grateful.  
  But one thing I have learned while in New Zealand, this signs are not to be ignored. I do not know what the differences are in the pavement down here, but it really gets slick as snot when it gets wet. This becomes especially true as we make our way over Burkes Pass.  
  Soon we are out of it, but we will play 'in and out' with the rain for the rest of the ride.  
  Soon we are passing through the village of Fairlie, the agricultural hub of this area and it is nice and dry..  
  But on the other side, we head back into the rain.  
  We take a quick opportunity for a break and a refuel before we get into Christchurch.  
  At the trip would not be complete without one more run through the gravel and a construction zone.  
  Soon we are across a long bridge which is at least not a single lane and ...  
  into the outskirts of the city of Christchurch, our destination for the evening.  
  Now it's a matter of negotiating the traffic and getting to the hotel so we can unload our stuff and then return the bikes.  
  On the way in, I see the headquarters of the company whose milk I've grown to love - Meadowfresh. I tried other brands, but I just kept coming back to their 'brew'.  
  Soon we arrive at our hotel and get checked in for the evening.  
  We quickly unburden the ST1300s so we can make a run over to Te Waipounamu's Christchurch terminal.  
  I check our mileage and we have covered over 8,000 KM (or 5,000 miles) in our 20+ day adventure.  
  As we head out for the terminal, we get to pass through some more construction. Christchurch was hit with some very serious earthquakes back in 2011 that killed 185 people and destroyed or damaged many buildings. You can tell the city is still rebuilding three years after the tragedy.  
  We find our way through the construction and manage to bring the ST1300s back in good order to their proper owners.  
  I take a peek into their facility, and it appears that they have pretty much any machine a feller would want to ride.  

John sorts out our paperwork and we check the bikes one more time to be sure that we have all our stuff off of them. He tells us -

"Well. looks like you got proper use out of the new tires."

Alain and I both laugh at that one. With the details sorted, we get loaded up into his van and he runs us back to the hotel. We decide that we'll take a walk downtown to see what we can come across for supper.

  Alain sees this small pizza parlor tucked away and we decide we'll give it a whirl. It is some of the best pizza I have had in a really long time. Fortunately we got in early, as the line to get in starts stretching farther and farther as we enjoy our feast.  
  And I guess we are still in close proximity to the ocean as the pizza evaporates just as the many meals that came before it.  
  It's a slow walk (or more likely a waddle) back to the our room. It's been an incredible journey on two wheels and one that we won't forget anytime soon. Tomorrow we catch a plane back to Auckland, so Alain arranges a shuttle for us to the Christchurch airport. With that business out of the way, I pillow my head and am soon in that blissful place called Dreamland.