Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12/16/2008 - Rest day, or setback?

Quick note before I start: I am currently in Wellsford, not Wellsville. I have been using these interchangeably over my last post.

Luckily, this morning dawned without the sweet squeak of rats or other vermin. I am still unable to sleep in in any meaningful way, so up at 7AM, walked down to breakfast at Jack's Cafe just a block and a half away for coffee and massive breakfast. My new favorite thing is eggs on toast - delicious. Alas, no picture of this - will have to get this again in the future and photograph the deliciousness. Breakfast was rounded out with hash browns, sausages (big ol' thick ones), something in between bacon and ham, and (for some reason) two quarters of a big tomato, cooked on the grill. Finished with gusto as I read the paper.

Did you know that Sarah Palin's church got burned down? Weird that news from Wasilla can follow me so far.

Checking my watch, found it was time for the post office to open. After assuring that they could take care of it, I carry my backpack full of my wetsuit, wetsuit booties, and dive knife to the NZ Post. It is now shipped down to Masterton with the rest, freeing me of 9 kg of ballast. Again, I can hear Mom and Dad both telling me "I told you so", conscience-style from each shoulder. In stereo. They both questioned some of my packing decisions prior to this trip.

I have decided that today is a rest day. Allow the legs to catch up, relax, maybe watch a movie. On the computer, as there is no movie theater here, but no big. To do this, I am going to take it a step up and cruise over to the Sun Valley Motel, which I am told has wireless internet. They are the kind folks who referred me to the Wellsford Inn as I was too much of a cheapskate to stay there last night. I think that the Wellsford Inn Experience is just too much joy for two nights.

I am greeted this morning by Rob at the front desk. He doesn't have a room free quite yet, but is very kind to give me the bigger room for the lesser price, NZ $85 ($50 US). It has all the amenities. I can come back at 10:00 to claim it.


The day is going swimmingly. The only warning of any negative to some was the sound of rubber squeaking as I rolled my bike out. It wasn't until I had it all the way outside that I realized that my rear tire was completely flat. Gah. After a full disassembly of the wheel and tire, naturally it was the valve stem, where no patch will cover it. I try anyway, with predictable results. No problem, I have the backup tube. Installed and pumped up (after 10 minutes of small pump straining), it lasted exactly 60 seconds before giving a dejected decrescendo whine and going flat, as well.

Valve stem again. Non-repairable. My last tube.

IMGP0793.JPGHappiness and joy exude from all orifices at this point.

As it turns out, Wellsford may not be the capital of extreme sports. No bicycle tubes to be had at all in the town. Another shot in the gut. I have no easy way to get to a larger town at this point.

I stop by a tire store, but just get a "no, we don't carry those, mate." I thank the man (Ellen) and head toward the motel. Maybe I can call someone or take a bus. . .

It's at that moment that Ellen rushes out to find me. "There's a bike store in Warkworth," he says. "I can run you by there." He has absolutely no reason to take me anywhere, yet, here again, New Zealander kindness comes through for me. I'm a little flabbergasted as I agree to drop my bike by the motel and return.

As I walk up to the motel, Helen and Rob (the hosts) are outside and find me. "I saw you carrying your bike, and figured it was a flat," Helen says. "Do you need a ride to Warkworth? I'm heading there to run errands anyway, and there's a bike shop."

Wow. No way. She is serious, though, and I take her up on it. I return to thank Ellen for his offer, get all my stuff moved over, and end up riding the 20km to Warksworth with Helen and her teenage son, David (a very nice guy, going to a friend's house to fix his computer). The two guys at the bike shop are full of belly laughs, made more appropriate by them both wearing full Santa hats. One of them teaches me the fine art of not screwing up a tire change while the other makes jokes (at least partially at my expense, given the two identical flats in one day). Meet back up with Helen, and we drop off David, run by the store (her last errand), and run by the beach for a bit of a walk as it was a beautiful day and she did not have any pressing duties.

IMGP0795.JPGWelcome to my work day.

Helen is a former nurse midwife, and we chat amiably about health care in New Zealand. She has a favorable view overall of it for the same reasons I do - gets basic healthcare to everyone, and if you want more than that, you can pay for insurance.

Return trip is pleasant, and I retune the bike when I get back. It is now spotting rain (believe it or not after the above picture) and I work on figuring out where I am going to spend the night tomorrow.

IMGP0797.JPGMy patient looking good as new and ready to be discharged.

Showered, shaved, packed, and having done some laundry in the shower (everything I own now smells like Irish Spring), my outlook on life is dramatically better. Plan on 34 miles tomorrow, then camping. Hoping to get an early start as I will be heading up Highway 1, mecca for giant logging trucks that apparently get inversely-proportional bonuses based on how close they come to bikers on bridges. Rah, rah.

Just for Mom and Dad, want you to know that I did indeed buy a gift of a bottle of wine (as Helen and Rob would not allow me to take them to dinner or pay them) which will be left with the room key.

IMGP0796.JPGThe view from my room in the evening. Can't see the view due to the beautiful garden in the way.

Good night!


  1. No one has sent a comment yet because THEY ARE AT WORK, not a grain of sand or foamy surfspray on their brows, just this huge grindstone attached to their noses.
    And besides, we are experiencing muscle aches and find it difficult to spring out of bed in the morning because of our sleeplessness due to our burned skin, and counting the sheep outside our tentflap didn't help...NO,WAIT! That's YOU!
    Reading your blog, I was momentarily transported to the 11% grade. No we the faithful (read: dutiful) had a lovely sleep in our own beds, a memorable breakfast prepared playfully with our loved ones, and skipped out the door remarking at the red carpet we were ask to walk on to our place of work.
    Still, that photo with the remark, what was it, something about "Welcome to my office," ( key the beachscene), was hitting below the belt.

  2. Hmmm. As I read your blog from my large overstuffed chair while eating homemade cookies I continue to have mixed feeling of envy and joy that I am not sitting on a bike next to you. By the way, I just got a call from the local hospital in the town you just left. It seems that the couple you left the wine for were recovering alcoholics. It seems your “gift” knocked them off the wagon. In their drunken rage they ran their car off the road killing twelve sheep. This unfortunately was right after they had narrowly missed some crusty old brit on a bike. He was forced off the road in an effort to miss them, causing him to lose control and go off a cliff. All they found was a pair of youth size small bike shorts.

    On a separate note I have updated my blog with directions on geotagging your photos. You can check it out over at http://coxjustin.blogspot.com/ . I am sad to note that I have no one following my blog even though I have told like 2 people about it.

  3. I don't understand "a word" of what my son (the real one) wants us to do in his blog so I will simply stick (for now) with the blog of one of my other sons. You continue to amaze us with your ventures and we appreciate the fantastic pictures you share of your adventures. Some of us (Sandi, David, Justin & Theresa) will have to try to amaze you with our "speedy times" as we traverse the Disney 1/2 marathon in a few weeks. If Justin continues to eat those homemade cookies I may be concerned about his ability to finish that 13.1 mile jaunt. And his father may be too malnourished after having "major" oral surgery last week. But these events pale in comparison to the excitement you share with us. We shall "stay tuned" for the next report.

    Be careful.


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