|Journal for 20-Mar-2004 : Tokomaru|
A nice sunny day, but we started rather later than usual. Slight motivation problem.
Back to NZ traffic leaving Gisborne. Dangerous and disappointing.
Great beach front riding next to the beaches.
Stopped for an hour by the road to read the newspaper.
Tolaga Bay really really nice. Ate lunch down by the bay, with the rest of the town preoccupied with Saturday afternoon rugby.
Got stuck behind a tractor for 10ks. As he turned off the driver invited us up to his farm for a drink. We met Roy, his wife Susan, Marie, Zoe and a few others. These are really nice people and we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon exchanging touring notes (these guys are experienced cycle tourists too) and learning a bit about grape farming. Grape farming seems like a lot of hard work, for 1 month a year. Too hard for me. Thanks guys for the tea, lemonade and an a really great afternoon!
Roy and Co were so nice I started to feel guilty about how much I've slagged off New Zealand (almost, it is still my patriotic duty after all), but back on the road the first car that passed nicked us with it's door handles. Then I realised Roy's cockney accent meant a about as Kiwi as Buckingham Palace!
Some (more) savage little hills en-route to Tokomaru Bay. As we rode into town *everyone* (all 6 of them) either waived, said “hi” or “welcome to paradise!”. That last one wasn't wrong! In the late afternoon sun this place looked like we'd rolled into heaven for the evening. The supermarket guy asked us why we didn't look so tired. The reason was simple: we'd been revived with ice cream!
Magnificent fush and chups for dinner. More than we could eat.
Just as I'd finished ingesting more than twice my stomach's volume of food when a siren tore through the night. We looked about wondering what it could be. In Australia it's the bushfire alarm, but surly nothing could burn in New Zealand! My first guess was a tsunami warning. At the back of the camp ground a derelict house was well ablaze, just 10m from where we'd set up our camp! We bolted out to recover every tangible possession we own from being incinerated. Bikes first, then tent (with lots of stuff in still in it), in priority order.
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