Slept in to 7AM today. By the time I am up, Don is out to work, but will be back around 10AM. I work on the blog a bit and catch the last few e-mails, fold laundry, and eat an easy breakfast.
Don comes back as planned, and we pack everything in the car and go to retrieve my bike (as the bus I am taking is not the Intercity, so it stops at a different place). He drops me off, we say farewells, and he returns to his day. It has been a really great time with both him and with Kerrie, truly a high point for the trip.
Don and their family dog, whose name just escaped me. I would like to interject a quick story - when Don and his wife were tramping through deep snow and it kept getting deeper, the poor dog couldn't keep up and they had to resort to tossing him forward into the snow, then fighting forward, finding him, and repeating. His description of the look the dog kept giving him was priceless.
I board the bus with all of my gear, no problems. It costs NZ$40 for the 105km trip.
It turns out to be beautiful. The road undulates along the rugged coast, and it is a fantastic day. I click a few pictures, but bus pictures are never as good as still pictures.
My old nemesis, power lines.
I really notice the ups and downs of this particular stretch, and have to admit that it would have been a long day.
Cruising along the coast in my sweet ride. No knee pain today, other than that caused by the very small distance between seats. This particular bus was not set up for people that are 6'6".
We pull into Greymouth, and the trailer behind the bus regurgitates all of my stuff. I put the bike back together and head for the bike shop.
The bike shop is another Avanti place. The only guy who is there is about 18 years old, and I get a distinctive feeling of inexperience, though he was very nice. He did, however, have a long axle, and we were able to get that on without problems. He adjusted my rear cassette (which I was a little nervous about, given his frequent pauses while putting it back together and, once, putting a larger gear on top of a smaller one that even I could see was not correct). Between the two of us, however, we were able to adjust the derailleur and get it shifting properly (after I tested it) and it was running smoothly by the time I left. I did, however, notice a small wobble in the rear wheel. He felt it "wasn't a big deal", but seemed rather shocked that I was going to be taking this another 900km. I decided that he probably was not the ideal guy to take care of this problem - will hope to make it to Queenstown, which has a glut of bike shops, before this wobble worsens. At least all the spokes are intact.
Head to the Duke's Hostel, which is close by. Decide to continue the trend of a bed for the night and splurge on a single. It is an old building right in downtown Greymouth, run by a very friendly Israeli couple. They have soup on the burner every night at 7PM, and toast and jam every morning at 8AM. There is free tea and coffee all the time. It is very clean, and they have a locked room for the bike.
My room is very comfortable, well-worn but clean. Testing the bed, I end up crashing out for about two hours before heading to the grocery store. I am going to really take it easy today and save energy for the next part of the trip. I make some pasta tuna surprise and finish catching up on all of the blogs and everything I missed on the internet.
Plan on just chilling for the rest of the evening, maybe get up really early if I can get to sleep early as well. If the scenery is anything like today, I should have some great pictures. Assuming I don't jump in any rivers between now and then.