Naseby: Day 15

It was foggy when we set out from Ophir. We left Blacks and headed down the main street so that we could cross the historic suspension bridge over the Manuherikia. The bridge was damp and the wooden surface was slippery. There were ridges running the length of it and Dion's front wheel caught in them. He fell, and his ear was badly cut. It was obvious that stitches were required so Ross Falconer, at the drop of a hat, drove up from Alexandra to take Dion and his wife Tash back to town for medical attention. The rest of us rode on in the damp cool morning.

The sun burned away the fog by about 10 and we rode on a slight incline through Lauder and after a very long straight stopped for lunch at the Hayes engineering works, whose various agricultural inventions include the fence strainer which has benefited generations of New Zealand farmers. Today the historic workshop is open to the public and a very good cafe operates out of a small pressed earth cottage nearby. It was a very good cafe indeed: great coffee, sandwiches that must be up there on the best 5 ever list, and, so I am reliably informed, a cook who knows how to make the perfect scone. Over lunch we got a text from Dion telling us he was suitably repaired and on his way back to meet us. We met in nearby Oterehua, where we found that this wasn't Dion's day. The heat from Ross's exhaust playing on his bike on a rack behind the car had blown the front tyre. But it was a quick fix, and the bike rental people were pretty understanding when I phoned them. The tyre has a bit of a bulge but it was OK to ride on and I will replace it in the morning.

The sun beat down and the track rose into the hills but at a leisurely, steam train like rate. We passed through a couple of tunnels and peered down into deep rocky gulleys. There were some beautiful, rugged old viaducts whose wooden surfaces made the bikes clack and clatter like an old train. It was quite a long day, what with one thing and another and as the track climbed slowly higher a couple of us thought walking might be preferable to biking. I walked with them which was actually a pleasant change, but when we reached the highpoint of the rail trail it was back on the bikes for an easy coast into Wedderburn. About 3:30 in the afternoon we were picked up by van and bought the 20 or so km to Naseby where we are spending the night.Over dinner we were joined by three additional people who will be journeying on with us.

Tomorrow we will go on to Hyde, and it's downhill from now on. I'm hoping for a smoother day, although the scenery, the company, the weather and the hostelries today were memorable.


Merv said…
Grahame Sydney & I are right there with you.
We could call this 'March on the Maniototo'.