Up and out the door by 7:30 for the ride south from Henderson Bay to Mangonui. Started off well, no rain and good conditions, making the turn off to state highway 10 by 10am. Just in time for a coffee, then I saw him…
Meeting the Dutch spy
Two days ago when I arrived in Kaitaia there was another cyclist onboard. I did my best not to engage, but within seconds of unpacking little beastie he was onto me. He was fizzing with excitement and telling me his grand plans and something about “za stealth camper”.
I quickly imagined he is on some secret mission for the Netherlands secret service (hence the bicycle) and perhaps I should call the authorities, but soon realized he probably meant free camping.
Then came that question, “vat is you average”. Now you could interpret that little gem in a lot of manly ways, but I immediately assumed he meant daily distance for the trip, so I boldly replied (although thinking far less ambitiously) “100 kilometers more or less”. There was a pause… a long pause until he finally responded with a “hmmmmm… ok I vill take it. For me it is vun hundred and tventy kilometres por day.”
Oh god, I haven’t even started yet and I’m already in some kind of alpha male pissing competition with a Dutch spy. So I hurriedly packed my kit, said my goodbyes, then scurried off to my motel to hide.
So today when I got to the Awanui turnoff for highway 10, I saw him. Clad in a orange, white and blue Licra onesee and carrying (yes all true) a huge Dutch flag flapping out the back of his bike. If he is indeed on a secret mission he sure didn’t read the manual on trying to be inconspicuous. He greeted me with a loud “vel ello, ello”. I smiled, waved and immediately ducked into a cafe for a coffee. As I ordered I could see him rolling on into the distance, flag whipping at the stern. I don’t think that will be the last I see or the Dutch spy.
So what about today?
Wet and I mean wet wet. After about 60 km, it started to pour a warmish, tedious kind of rain. So it was on with the wet weather gear and back to humping hills, wet on the outside and a small sauna on the inside.
I got to Mangonui and decided I had a need for a feed. I pulling into the supposedly famous chippy by the bay, unpeeled the raincoat and tucked into some shark and tatties.
after an hour I needed a campground and choose Hihi. On I went into worsening weather for another 40 minutes. I’ve spend the last few hours drying everything out and saying a prayer to the sun god for a dryer day tomorrow. What will she deliver?