Today was going to be different. It was going to be a short hop over to Miranda to hold up for the day, rest the legs, evalate things and make some calls. It was the preplanned go, no go day!
Well Miranda has a few unique things going for it that makes it a good place to go or no go the next stage of the trip. Firstly it has a thermal pool, ideal for soaking ones poor old legs and bottom in, let alone the rest of me. Secondly it’s pretty well serviced; with laundry; kitchen; and wine and beer fridge. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly it’s the gateway from the north to the Hauraki Plains and that means touring options.
I had always seen it as the go, no go place for three potential routes:
- Go east young man – to whip through to Waihi, then follow the east coast of the Bay of Plenty, then take the Motu to Gisborne, then down (or should I say up and down) the coast to Napier. I always saw this as the route should I get through Northland quickly, was fit, the beastie (bike) was in good order and the weather outlook to the west unfavorable. All up I estimated a seven day gig.
- Napier direct – to basically bolt for Taupo and do the Napier, Taupo highway. This was really the route should things have turned pear shaped up north, or I ran out of time to do the other two routes. All up I estimated a four day gig.
- The big wiggle – to aim central, do the Waikato river trail, then detour from Mangakino around the mountains to Ohakune and Taihape, before crossing the Gentle Annie to Napier. Basically three back to back trails over a seven to eight day gig.
So where am I at?
Well I got to Miranda in the middle of day seven after an unexpected second breakfast (below). That gives me nine days to make Napier for Christmas eve. All routes are go! Physically I’m better than I thought, knees are good and sure my buns have been better, but they are holding up. Mentally I’m as mad as a mad thing, so no change there. The bike is good, with the only point of concern being the rapid wear of the rear tire.
Tires will need replacing at some point, hopefully Napier (which could be a problem considering the holiday period), but if it’s needed sooner that’s really going to impact my route choice. I don’t want my choice of route to be rooted!
I’ve decided on the big wiggle.
I figure with some effort I can get the day count down to seven max, maybe even six. If I can haul a nail tomorrow I could get to Matamata at mid day, swap my current tires around then push on for the Waikato river trial. Trail riding should reduce the wear and allow me to get to Napier by say Thursday of next week.
If I have some sort of major issue (heath, gear, weather bomb, act of God, mother) then I can make a decision to go Napier direct. Ok decision made, now all I have to do is get to Miranda…
An unexpected second breakfast
I left Maraetai at 7:30, a pastal light kind of ride to Clevedon and then a left for Kawakawa bay.
Really the only route to take and besides, I wanted to pop in on friends, Mr and Mrs Healy for a cup of team and to leave a little kit to lighten my load. Unbeknownst to me and what was wonderful good fortune, that today was actually Mr Healy’s birthday and a planned breakfast feast was to about to ensue. My timing was impeccable, which was much more than could be said of the way I looked and smelled after a few festering days on the road.
After a few rounds of coffee and my second breakfast on the patio overlooking the estate, I then disgorging a few unwanted items in the care of the Healy’s and prepared to set off once more. I wasn’t in any particular hurry as Miranda was relatively close and there was the small matter of getting over the Kawakawa Orere saddle, but I pushed on.
It was a lovely day for a ride and I swooped on through to Miranda by two. Just in time to treat my legs and bottom to a good soaking in the thermal springs, and my belly to a fine Merlot. I do think I shall sleep well tonight.