Ride day 11: The Penultimate ride, Murcheson to Motueka

Yesterday’s rains continued all night and into the morning. The forecast called for mid-morning clearing, so once again we suited up and headed out into the rain. We wouldn’t find out until after the ride just how severe the storms had been.

Five inches of rain fell in 4 hours. Franz Josef, our destination five days ago (with the space-age public toilet), is in a state of emergency. The river flooded its banks, the city’s water supply is cut off, and one of the motels had to be evacuated. Motueka, our current rest stop, flooded overnight. They received about 5 inches of rain in a few hours and the Motueka River (pictures later) overflowed its banks.

Given all that, we’ve been extraordinarily lucky. We changed the routes on a couple of days, and yesterday we cut the ride short. Other than that the only ill effects we’ve had have been from riding in wet cycling shorts. If our schedule had changed a day here or there things could have been very different.

So we headed out this morning, ignorant of all that was going on around us, and grumbled / joked about another soggy day. About 20 km in the rain stopped, the sun shone magnificently, and we had beautiful weather for the rest of the day.

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We headed up a long, pretty mellow climb, and then hit the grunting portion of the day – a 3 km goat hill with a beautiful panoramic view. This was the lunch spot for the day and we just hung out talking to a Canadian couple, enjoying the views, and drying completely out.

Today is the day before Easter weekend so there was a fair amount of truck traffic on the road. One logging truck in particular, followed by a convoy of cars, came rolling through on a tight section of road so I intentionally rode into a ditch just to avoid a possible incident. No harm, no foul…

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We had a coffee stop further up the road and Jos ran into a cousin he hadn’t seen in a couple of years. It’s a small world down here. Yesterday Terry bumped into a cyclist he had ridden with on a trip from Paris to Istanbul.

 

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From here all the way in to town we rode on lightly traveled bucolic roads. At one point I decided to just ride by myself for a while, watching the river rush by, listening to the sounds, and having a Zen-like moment on the bicycle. These kinds of moments are magical, and while they don’t happen very often, when happenstance presents them I try to take full advantage. No pictures here, I just lived in the moment.

We regrouped and rode in the rest of the way on a road described by a friend of Jos and Terry’s and being the nicest road in New Zealand. I have no way of assessing the validity of that opinion, but it really was nice.

 

Click me — Video of the tree tunnel

The river really was raging along. Here are a couple of pictures along the way.

 

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Tomorrow wraps up the cycling adventure!

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