Well, I leapt out of bed at 6:30AM, a bit nervous. Today I figure out how my years of USAA membership pay off. I pull out the skype, ring up USAA. . . and find out that my renter's insurance will NOT cover damage to my bike if it isn't fire, flood, or vandalism. It would also cover it if it was stolen. Or struck by lightning.
While brief thoughts of leaving the bike unlocked at the top of a hill during a lightning storm in front of a bunch of hoods with spray paint run distantly through my head, I ask my claims rep if she had any other thoughts. Other than the warranty, none.
So the fun begins. I make calls to Specialized and find that the bike frame is under warranty, and in the USA should be covered. A call to the bike shop gives me the exact opposite reaction, as their distributor states they will NOT cover the frame in this case. The US guy tells me that they can't do anything about this, it is in a very gray area, and they do not have any control over their foreign distributors.
In the end, the bike shop tries a different tact with the distributor - it was the derailleur that caused the problem, its warranty should hopefully cover at least some of the damage. Slight hangup: given the new year, I wouldn't get an answer or my repaired bike likely until next Monday or Tuesday.
Wait. . .
This is OK.
Remember how I felt that this trip just "flowed"? I realized that there were a number of things that I wanted to see south of Auckland that I would not be biking past. Taupo, black water rafting, and skydiving are a few of them. This gives me seven bike-free days to go check these out.
Jackpot. I start calling around and manage to set up a totally cheapo car rental. Just to put this place in perspective, its price was about half that of Budget Rent-A-Car for a week's worth of unlimited distance driving. Just have to decide if I want full insurance for NZ$10 more per day. The only negative? Other than the car may not necessarily be from the current decade? I start driving from downtown Auckland and into the motorway (the biggest road in New Zealand). Not such a big deal except for that pesky left-side-of-the-road thingy. Plus, all of my reactions are based on the right-side-of-the-road driving - where to look for danger, which shoulder to look over, etc.
I get the full insurance coverage.
Will jump on the bus tomorrow morning, hop off in downtown Auckland, and drive from there back to the hotel to pick up my stuff. Done and done.
In an attempt to make this day as absolutely boring as I possibly can, I also spend several hours re-filling out my work visa and work permit application.
Really just says it all. At this point, I think I was halfway through denoting the exact start and end dates of every job I have ever had. It was excitement to the awesometh power.
The only thing that got me through this was then setting up blackwater rafting. For those of you not in the know, blackwater rafting is a combination of rappelling, caving, jumping into dark water, and redneck river rafting. You rappel down into a cave, then float it on an inner tube past millions of glow worms in the ceiling, eventually jumping down waterfalls, and squeezing through tight tunnels. I have been told to do this without question. 11AM on Thursday. Sweet.
After all that excitement, I end up napping, then run off some calories - about 4 miles this time, legs still quite sore from 2 days ago. Sometime during my nap, the weather had changed from rainy to sunny.
I thought it would be cool to wave to everyone, but then realized it just looks like I am applying deodorant.
I went south this time. Ended up near a small university with big views. I am going to suggest that as the official slogan of this university. I can see it now:
"Akoranga University. The small university with big views. . . On life!"
I am a marketing GENIUS. Maybe they would be willing to pay for my bike as an appropriate compensation.
Downtown Auckland in the background. I hadn't noticed it until now, but the trees sticking up sort of mirror the clouds above them. No wait - I mean, I planned that.
Another one, because I can.
Headed back eventually. Hadn't eaten much all day, so decided to investigate a little spot next door to the hotel, just with a big sign saying "Hell".
Apparently, a New Zealander's vision of of the less requested part of the afterlife involves delicious cheese over tomato sauce and bread.
The part of the sign covered by my 'fro gives the phone number, with involves the number of the beast. Satan himself took my order, and appeared unto me as a short 18-year old Frodo wannabe. Who was very friendly.
Needless to say, I did read my credit card statement very carefully before signing.
Pizza wasn't bad, but my guess is they save the REALLY good stuff as prizes in a fiddle contest or something.
It is now late, so off I go towards bed.
By the way, big shoutout to little Alex Cox, who has started walking as of yesterday and already dances better than his father.