Taupo to Tongariro

Day eleven

Ominous. The south looked ominous.

I had a warning of rain so planned to be up and on the road by 7am. I joined the road to Napier at 6:50 then turned south onto the East Taupo Arterial towards Turangi. The mountains were gone, replaced by a low cloud cover  growing greyer  deeper in the distance.
It was a crisp paced ride to Turangi. Really very pretty, light traffic and dry up to within 10 minutes of town. Then it was on with the rain gear for the arrival, coffee and muesli. I sat and watched the rain from the cafe, windless, dense and consistent. I had a choice: quit or go for the mountain. I chose the mountain.

I prepared and hit the road. Up state highway one to Rangipo then right towards Tongariro. On the ride up the cloud came down to meet me, eventually enveloping me like a hug from an old friend. From there is was a perpetual climb into consistent rain.

The higher I went, the wetter I got and the windier it became until I reached the intersection of 46 and 47 where that rain got horizontal and bitter. It was time to hold up before things got worse. 400 metres up the road was salvation (well shelter) in the form of the tongarariro holiday park kitchen.

It was the end of my day. I was wet, cold and without connection.

Before long camp filled with wet wayward stragglers. Like a transit lounge for the adventurer. Shared stories, bad meals and wool socks drying on hooks by the door. Each pair weary and resting for another day, just like their masters.

Todays top track: Bob Dylan – Not dark yet

Haunting. I’m Always amazed By this mans abilty to manipulate words around melody.

“I was born here and I’ll die here, against my will.  I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m standin’ still. Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb. I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

I think many a rider has had a day like this!

About the author: Peter Salmon
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