22/1/16. If we ever have to go back to work (heaven forbid) then we have found ourselves a new profession. Forget this boring accountancy malarkey where you just add up numbers all day (not true but makes a good story!). We will become cowherds!
“Why?” I hear you ask. While sat in our room (we treated ourselves to a very nice B&B in Halcombe (near Feilding which is, in turn, near Palmerston North)) Christine saw two cows run across the lawn. They belonged to our hosts and had escaped. The four of us spent 15 minutes encouraging them to go back to their field rather than munch on the plants in the garden or escape onto the road. It was all rather good fun and was a bit different from pushing the pedals!
With Stephen’s bike now back in working order, we were back on the road again. Having cleaned the guano off the tent (the tree above seemed to be the local bird toilet!), we set off along a cycle track beside the river for a short stretch before joining SH3 heading south east. The highway was as busy as SH1 had been a week or so ago when we went from Taupo to Turangi, which is to say it was not completely insane but enough to be thoroughly unpleasant. We had 20 km on this road for most of which there was a reasonable shoulder in which we could cower as the trucks raced past.
There were a few hills on the way but nothing like as bad as we had encountered elsewhere and the cycling was made easier by a strong tailwind. We had been told that the countryside between Whanganui and Wellington was boring and uninspiring but we found it quite pleasant – perhaps not as spectacular as across the Tongariro national park or down the river road, but still interesting and good to look at.
Eventually we reached our turn off in the village of Turakina which was publicising its forthcoming Highland Games by flying many saltires. There was an antique shop with a sign for coffee so we stopped at a cafe as Stephen needed a fix of caffeine and Christine needed cake as she was still feeling a little under the weather after a sniffly cough and cold over the last two days. We were feeding her “little and often” to avoid her getting a common affliction of cyclists where they run out of energy – a condition known variously as “the hunger knock”, “meeting the man with the hammer” or “bonking” (seriously!)
The road we turned onto wasn’t as quiet as we had hoped but was much better than the highway. Much of it was beside the railway line and we saw quite a few freight trains but no passenger ones. It led through Marton, a sizeable place, where we rejoined SH1 briefly (not as busy as 3 thankfully) before heading off on the Halcombe road and our date with the cows!