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Things Can Only Get Better/Ring of Fire

By in Sports & Fitness Comments Off on Things Can Only Get Better/Ring of Fire

Last night we were struggling to find anywhere to eat in Otaki so, since it was a mild evening and we had picnic tables on a lawn at the back of the hotel, we decided to pick up a take-away curry. Very tasty it was too, though the jhalfrezi was a bit incandescent.

Today was a bit trying. We have to get to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, and towards the southern tip of north Island it all gets a bit busy and built up. I had come up with a rather cunning route that missed all but 8k of the busy Highway 1 using a mix of minor coastal roads and some bike trails but Google Maps let me down rather badly. Queen Elizabeth park turned out not to be all manicured lawns and shruberies but a wildness of dunes and the 'cycle path' turned out to be a mix of mountain bike trails and just plain nothing.

Somehow everyone either got through or found their way to the far side on Highway 1.

The next challenge was a junction where, thanks to two consecutive Welcome to Tawa signs, my route instructions put people into an industrial estate with a dead-end. By pure luck I arrived at this cock-up at exactly the same time as the lead rider so I was able to set her right then put in some chair time to catch the rest as they came through.

Finally I had some fun and games with the ferry. Many months ago we booked on a 2:30 pm crossing for Thursday but they then announced that one of the propellers had fallen of the ferry (oops!). After much uncertainty they chartered a replacement and the only impact for us was a change to 3pm. Today they informed me that the replacement ferry has a problem with the lifeboats and won't operate for several days so they were moving us all to a Friday morning crossing on a different boat. Quite apart from the problem with finding rooms in Wellington for a second night, and having to write-off the rooms booked in Picton which couldn't be cancelled, it would leave us with the prospect of a rather long and rather hilly day to Nelson that couldn't be started until early afternoon. I do feel a bit sorry for the girl who called me with this news.

It seems I was able to convey my dissatisfaction with this situation and eventually she agreed to put us all on an 8pm sailing on Thursday. It is supposed to be a freight only crossing so we will have to get one arm tanned and stock up on Yorkies but at least the timetable remains in-tact.

Aside from all of these it was a reasonable day with some great views as we climbed over the hills from the west coast to Wellington Harbour. We are staying in a nice downtown hotel and it seems very odd to be is a bustling city after 8 days in the wilderness.

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