Taking Our Time in Sleepy Mount Somers

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
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Trip End Aug 21, 2011


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Where I stayed
Mount Somers Holiday Park

Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Monday, May 9, 2011

The wide open spaces of the South Island are mind blowing. We cycled for about 30 miles today without coming across a shop. In that time we passed only a few houses and once again there was very little on the road, despite it being an inland main artery.  It is so relaxing, so relaxing that with only 38 miles on the clock we decided to call it a day and set up camp.  We really cannot understand how we were managing 100+ mile days only a few weeks ago. 

The day started very leisurely again.  The tent pack up and bike loading process was already looking sharper, cutting 15 minutes of yesterday's 1 hour 30.  However, sleeping in late again meant that we did not leave the campsite until 11am.  The old boy on his tractor at the campsite warned us about Rakaia Gorge as we pedalled out of the beautiful Glentunnel Campsite.  He was not kidding, 15 miles into the ride we stopped to look down at a wonderful river running through a wide valley.  As we freewheeled down into Rakaia Gorge we knew that the free fall meant only one thing, a tough climb out.

It was 2 miles before we levelled off, by no means the longest climb we have done (remember China and the 20 miles uphill) but it was certainly one of the steepest.  We struggled with every revolution of the pedals, I hope there are not too many more like that.

After the lung busting climb, things were considerably more chilled out.  With only the 1000s of sheep, cows and deer for company, we skirted around the base of The Southern Alps on flat empty roads.  The mountains were draped in cloud but we enjoyed another clear day with patches of sun and most importantly no rain. 

Cheese and pickle sandwiches have to be one of the greatest things on the planet.  Again today, we collapsed at the side of the road and spent a magical lunch break in absolute peace and quiet.  All this easy riding however is making us very lazy and only 10 miles later we decided that Geraldine, our intended stop, was out of our reach.  Instead we settled in Mount Somers.

Checking in at the local store we found an impeccable campsite which was more like someone's back garden.  The owner was quite strange, insisting that we shouldn’t be camping as it is so wet.  We assured her that we were fine and as long as we were not disturbing her lovely lawn, we would like to camp thank you very much.  The good thing about camping in the winter is that nobody else is doing it.  A cosy TV room with the fire going and another kitchen to cook in means for easy camping.  We are even going to check out the local tavern tonight, after meeting the campsite lady and the general store owner, I think it could be an interesting pint.

Miles cycled: 38, we are really not in the zone
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