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.
Happiness 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.
Welcome 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.
My 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.
The view from my room in the evening. Can't see the view due to the beautiful garden in the way.