Kia Ora Owaka
Owaka 12th January 2013
I’m here a bit earlier than planned due to not routing via Te Anua. Weather! OK, more my lack of inclination for a soaking!
So here we are again; Owaka.
Seems to be a calling of some kind! But, then, it’s a very friendly place. As one guest from Alaska pointed out while here in the camping. He said he’d never felt so safe as here. Why? I enquire.
The chance of being shot is near zero. The chance of being mugged is near zero. The chance of been bitten is zero. You have four respectable seasons. Eden is not far of.
Doug and Ross, native Kiwi hobbit’s with their various forms of trailers. Not sure about the trailer method myself. Bit like Marmite! Mornings spent making beds, cleaning toilets/showers and mopping floors. If I shift, it can all be done by lunchtime.
On the 18th of January I dropped Craig off at Dunedin airport. This is a round trip of two and a half hours. Through Balclutha and Milton.
Right, the place is mine now for nine days. First things first, a brew.
At times you really have to wonder whether it’s winter or summer. Feels just like the summer I left back in Blighty! The hailstones are awesome.
I enjoy the company of other cycle tourists/adventurers as they pass through.
Geoff, an English chap, turned up on a British made Thorn Nomad.
I had my leg over it and cycling round the front roundabout before he’d even had a chance to remove his panniers! A bike loaded is a totally different beast to unladen. A loaded bike rides smoother and with more purpose.
An eccentric bottom bracket.
Craftsmanship in the detail,design and finish.
The speed-dial Rohloff hub has now wetted my appetite for one to.
Gear controls only consist of the single twist-grip. Very tidy flight deck!
To top it all the frame can also be split in-two for transport.
The only downside is a particularly heavy frame. The bike will no-doubt last you a lifetime, but will also see your wallet lighter at over £3000…. ouch! I must say, if you’re serious about cycle touring/expeditions. you can’t go far wrong with a Thorn. Right, where’s my sponsorship!
If it doesn’t rain it pours cyclists.
Stefan (German!), next rocks up on his trusty stead. His route has been epic so far. With a year away from gainful employment, he’d cycled out from New York to Los Angeles. Flight to Perth. Then cycled across to Melbourne.
I’d done the Nullaboor in 2002 on a train. That took two days, not likely to want to do it again. He crossed it in ten days. Long stretches to each water-point. Plus carrying at least ten litres per day to accomplish such a task. As he said I treated each day as a workday, head down for eight hours and cycle. Respect.
Soon it was about time I set about sorting my own stead out.
The snapped eyelet I mentioned in my previous post. Craig pointed me in the direction of Guss, the local can-do-anything-guy!
His workshop sits overlooking the hills. When I rocked-up he was in the throws of restoring an old Wadkin (English made) woodworking machine. I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
Guss and I then duly set about ‘trying’ to weld the eyelet back in to its rightful place. This didn’t start so well! As I was holding the eyelet in place with a pair of pliers, the first attempt to add a spot-of-weld caught, I jumped, Guss jumped, and the eyelet shot off somewhere!
Hmmmm… this might be more tricky than first thought!
I was then re-enacting my impressions of an African squatting in the midday sun over his poorly bicycle with weld-rod in hand!
One thing I’ve learnt from this, welding IS an art form. One that I did enjoy immensely. Thank you to Guss for letting me use your kit. A real human being if ever there was one.
Days would pass peacefully in the land of Eden.
Occasionally stoking the fires of hell to keep the guests water on the boil! While carefully been watched over by the Star of David! Strange indeed.
All this frenetic work interspersed with jollying around on the lawnmower impersonating Forrest Gump!
Some days I’d just run around the property in lieu of no cycling. Run Forrest run!
Having a base for sometime played into my hands too. It meant I could order a new rubber seal for my Trangia stove. I’d incinerated the last one… D’oh! Along with also acquiring another handle for my pots. I’d managed to lose the last one in my first few days in New Zealand… double D’oh!
Trangia is Swedish in design and manufacturer. I wasn’t sure that I’d be available to this side of the globe to acquire spares. But worry not, equipOUTDOORS up in Auckland saved the day. Ordered early afternoon. The following morning a Kiwi post-man cycled across the lawn while I’m having my early morning tea outside. Eden again!
Thank you to euipOUTDOORS. Top-notch service.
The house dog Jett, enjoying the early morning sun too, before the duty of attaching herself to my ankles all day. More a case of dog’n’chain!
I had the pleasure of been invited to Lou’s brai/barbie/knees-up etc, !
A very pleasant time was had. Lots of good food prepared and catered by the good hostess. I enjoyed my first ever Paua or better known as Abalone.
This was made into a burger-pat with onion. And, yes, its green… full of iron. One-a-day of these on my bicycle journeys and I’d soon be Popeye!
One of the oddities in life, not turning down an invitation to an arm-wrestle against a Kiwi sheep shearer. I gave him a good run for his beer, but with him shearing 300 odd sheep a day at near 20 kg each and excellent technique, it was really a fore-gone conclusion.
As the night drew to a close Lou very kindly gave me a selection of teas. Been an English man, she was fully aware of my great tea drinking abilities!
Before leaving Owaka I made a day the cycle out to Nugget Point.
The day was very kind to me, sunny and hardly an wind to talk of. Eight km of gravel off the main tar road had fortunately just been graded.
The clear view over the nuggets was amazing, with seals splashing below.
Sometimes it just best to stop, lie down and enjoy the moment. Why rush.
At times one takes great pleasure in seeing vintage cars still on the roads. And there are many round these parts.
My final night, Lou invited me to my last supper!
Top food and top people. Thanks to Lou, Guss and Dallas for making me very welcome in their town. Also, another thanks to Dallas for the entertainment… LOL!
Good chats with Guss above. And, the other side of the coin, laughing AT Craig most of the other times!
I leave Owaka with a heavy heart as sorry to say cheerio. Or could just be au revoir.
Owaka January 31st 2013 – 47 km’s
Cycle route to Nugget Point.
You can click on each photo in this the post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.