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New Zealand 2004

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Journal for 24-Jan-2004 : Geraldine

Left at the crack of 9:20 today. It still feels like I didn't get enough sleep.

After a brief gentle climb to the base of Mt Hutt, we were flying along. I'm still having trouble with New Zealand geography. We always seem to need to climb up to the river crossings, and descend away from them. The rivers carry a lot of fine silty sediment and they seem to build huge natural levy banks at their sides, as well as quickly (in geological terms) raising their base. So the serious rivers that carry the snow melt from the mountains flow at a higher altitude than the surrounding plains.

As we raced along down a gentle slope with the wind at our backs (something to remember - the real mountains aren't too far away), until we saw a sign "Shipley Falls =>". Three hours later (one cycling up a gravelly track, and two walking up and back to the very impressive waterfalls) and we were back on the road.

The Cantebury Plains have (not without reason) lines of trees bordering many of the paddocks to serve as wind brakes. With a tailwind they are a curse, with a headwind they are to infrequent. The roads here are clearly not designed for "warm" weather. At 23C the bitumen started to melt, and on occasions cycling through damp patch instantly wipes of 5ks of speed as the road reaches up and grabs the bike.

Stopped for a break at Rangitati Rv. So why is this in the diary? So I can caption the photos correctly when I get around to it, which will be long after I've remembered where we took them.

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