Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 48: Kakanui to Dunback

April 21st 2014
Distance cycled: 64 km
Total distance to date: 2920 km

It's Monday but it's still Easter weekend so lots of shops are closed. Caf├ęs are supposed to be closed too, but most cafe owners know that's ludicrous since people on holiday like to have their coffee and a meal now and again. So they stay open, risking a $1000 fine if caught. The cafe I stopped at for lunch had lots of customers, and many more arrived after i did.

I had a nice fish and chips and a coffee before setting on my way. I needed the extra caloric reinforcement because much of the cycling today was done on the dreaded SH1. And though it was certainly a scenic ride - most of it along the ocean front - it was hard to enjoy it due to the barrage of traffic and the occasional narrowing of the road.

However, taking SH1 did allow me to get to see a famous natural attraction: the Moeraki Boulders.

These crazy things have been there for 55 million years!

Once I got nearly to Palmerston, a number of backroad alternatives presented themselves. I knew nothing about them but gladly took them just to get off SH1. The road I took was gravelly and hilly, but not too bad. It emboldened me to take another one out of Palmerston. More gravel and steeper hills. I was ready to ride the paved road again. My map said I was close; just a few more corners to round. This I did and came straight into this:

Giant tree roadblock on the bridge! There was no way I could get around it. The river was too deep and swift to ford. Either I would climb over, or go back the way I came to Palmerston and take the highway. 

I didn't like the idea of doubling back. Too demoralizing. The highway was right there!! I climbed over, testing the roots and branches for stability. To my surprise, climbing over was possible. I would have to take each pannier over individually, then the bike. I unloaded the bike and started the slow laborious process. 

An English couple arrived to take pictures of the bridge. They asked if I needed help or a ride back to Palmerston. I declined both but the guy insisted on at least helping with the lifting. Eventually we settled on having him lift the bike up to me and I would carry it the rest of the way.

Another couple on the other side offered their help, too. They weren't as insistent though, and took my "No thanks" at face value. I loaded up my bike again and set forth on the highway. 

Due to the lost daylight, I had to camp at an unofficial campsite just a few kilometers down the road. Really it was just a roadside picnic area. It worked for me though. It was next to yet another bridge that couldn't deal with the high river, and water was pouring over it. The grass was quite muddy and a nearby sign warned of flooding. A bit of rain in the night gave me a fright - what if the river swelled up again and claimed my tent? - but the night passed without incident. 


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