Wake up early, breakfast, etc. Kris and Erik are gone already, planning to hug the coastline. May meet up with them down the line as we are taking a similar route.
Call the bike shop. They still have not heard from the distributor and agree that we'll just go ahead and build the new bike (using the components from the old one) and refund any money that the distributor agrees is under warranty.
They will get the bike up and running by 3PM tomorrow. No big. I have discovered from another camper (Peter, up here helping his daughter move) that the big botanical gardens for the city is just about a mile away. Excellent!
I end up going for a mid-distance run, and check out the train station (also about a mile away) for schedules as I am planning on using it tomorrow - bikes can ride on the train for just NZ$1. Perfect!
I like this picture. It again illustrates the more self-sufficient nature of New Zealand - when you walk across to the platform, it is YOU that gets to watch for trains. No pedestrian overpass here!!
Head back to the camp and pick up my bag. Time to check out the botanical gardens. Easy walk, and suddenly I am in the forest. Can't see buildings or high-rises, just plants and broad, well-kempt lawns. Flowers in areas of the landscape, but there are a number of hills and it is impossible to get an idea of the size of the place without walking it.
Welcome to the city of Auckland?
This looks more botanical-y. They were also very fragrant.
A very small area of the more well-kempt part of the forests. Other areas are left to natural plant life for New Zealand.
I end up grabbing lunch at a small cafe on one side of the botanical garden, then taking a sweet, sweet pastry out to one of the lawns and do some medical readin'.
I feel a long way from code blues and defibrillators right now, but, dammit, I will be all over the Kiwi ATLS book!
After about 90 minutes of this, it's time for more wandering. I work to follow a long trail that is supposed to take me around the edge of the park, but after about 2km, I find an interesting dirt path leading north out of the park.
Totally Ansel Adams. If he worked in color. And was into point-and-shoot digital cameras. And had ever visited New Zealand. And maybe after he had a small stroke that took out some parts of the brain that regulate "talent".
The path was labeled "lookout". It turns out to be a popular running track, though probably not as popular as the one labeled "flat and easy".
The paths wind about for quite a while, heading up in elevation. Eventually, broke free of the trees and went WAY away from the botanical gardens. Well, when in Rome. . .
Big tree tunnel, but minus something important. . .
Oh, wait, there I am.
The path ends up at a really tall grassy knoll, the highest elevation in the area.
Yeah, I said it. The grassy knoll. Kennedys beware.
The fascinating thing about this was that taking a picture from the top of the knoll toward the West produces this picture. . .
But taking the picture toward the East shows a very different pic. . .
It's done countrified!
Felt like standing on a major dividing line. I know what direction I would want to head. Again, I am not a city boy. But, camp is West, so West I go.
End up grabbing another movie. They have a 3D movie theater showing Bolt (the animated one about the puppy). No excuses this time. The 3D thing actually works pretty well, but loses some frame rate on fast-paced scenes.
Just call me McCool.
Headed back to camp for a bit of sleep. I've run about 3 miles, then walked (with about 20 lbs) for another 6 or 7. Planned out the best way to get the bike here tomorrow.
Looking up toward the grassy knoll, where I took those pictures from.