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Progress so far!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Life of surprises!!!

They're a friendly old bunch, the Kiwi's. Ask them directions to the nearest campsite, they offer you their back garden!!!

Firstly, we owe a huge 'Thank you' to Marty and Glenda (is every male in NZ called Marty?!). We popped in to their net cafe at the side of the road for some respite from the sun at its peak, they couldn't have been more helpful - calling several nearby campsites to see if they had space for us, drawing us a map and giving us a bag full of scooby snacks for our trip. Glenda makes THE BEST home made sausage rolls EVER!!! (Tee enjoyed her bananas).

We then got to our very luxurious campsite, at Kerikeri, where we met our host, a very red faced Phil and his moped, who proceeded to give us a guided tour of his spectacular facilities, which were clearly his pride and joy. After hearing his life story, and seeing the pristine shower area, we were keen to get out of our smelly clothes and into the showers. Eagerly anticipating a magical shower, we were undressed and ready to go, popped our $2 into the box...NO FREAKING WATER!!! Back into our sweaty clothes and found the 'basic' shower block, with running water :-)

We managed to do our washing at this campsite, but unfortunately Kath couldn't distinguish between the washer and dryer, so our clothes got washed twice! Luckily Phil's Thai employee came running, shouting "Noooooo... don't do that" Ooops! Out they crawled and into the dryer!

After a good nights sleep, we packed up our gear , waved goodbye to Phil and his moped and set off heading to Wangarai. The undulations today were longer with a lesser gradient than the first couple of days, but the sun was still in full force. We are starting to develop a nice 'bike tan' - Tee especially with her Aussie start! We ventured onto the main highway for a few km, before realising that the slower 'B' type roads are much more gratifying not only in terms of scenery, but also flow of traffic. Having almost been blown into oblivion by several trucks (although their wind force was good for a push along at times!)  we came off that road as quickly as we could and re-joined our trusty B roads, along the beautiful scenery. We stopped at the top of a hill for a photograph of the amazing scenery - the ocean in the distance on one side of the road and lush fields of grass and cows on the other.

Tonight we ended up on a beautiful campsite on the beach in Waipu. Upon arrival, a lovely Kiwi lady took a liking to us, and approached us with a bag of fresh Snapper, caught that morning! Tee cast it a look of disgust, while Kath's eyes lit up and accepted it with great enthusiasm, later revealing to Tee that she was full but accfepted out of gratitude for her generosity. At odds with what to do with the mass of lovely Snapper, Kath decideed to hide it in the tent...Tee repulsed by this! An hour or so later, Kath got peckish, so we cooked this fish with the campsite faciulities and it was AMAZING!  Tee also managed to have a conversation with a Londonner, who came over to our tent asking if we had a spliff?!?! No...but Tee's offer of bananas were politely declined!

We headed out the following morning, nice and early. Began riding through Langs Beach coastal region - so beautiful here, then began some steep climbs through the cliffs, with equally steep descents. Unfortunately, road works had been carried out on one particular winding descent, which made it very hard to remain in control of the bike with all the gravel on the ground. Tee was flying down the hill, attempting to slow down at a sharp bend, and flew off the bike. With blood on her arms and legs, the plaster/band aid offered by a passer by was never going to suffice! It was clear that medical help was needed. Kath found a guy with a truck and asked him to take Tee and her bike to the nearby medical centre. He (Shayne) kindly took Tee along, where the nurses quickly took her in. Big thanks to the lovely nurse Heather, who was very caring and kind. Two stitches later, with bandages and ice pack in place, we went for a well deserved coffee across the road.

Having some hours passed by we reassessed our plan, decided to try to carry on and play it by ear.
It was a very long day and Tee was a trojan, she managed to carry on and we covered at least 95km that day. This was amazing considering the injuries, and the hills that were undertaken. Well done Tee!!!

We stayed at Kaukapakana that night, there was no campsite and we had been out of water for what felt like hours, so we pulled into a pub in this village, where we stayed the night. Tee rebandaged her wounds, Kath feeling a bit sick with the dripping gunk. Kath repulsed by the room - slept on her sleeping bag rather than the mattress(!) and was eaten alive by mosquito's. Give me a tent anyday!

Determination and strength pulled us through the following morning...during trying times we were thinking of our charities and the amazing people back home who have sponsored us.

On route to Auckland, following highway 16, we somehow branched off onto the new motorway, where we were quickly escorted off here by the traffic officers! Luckily Kath had experienced this before in Spain, so recognised the flashing arrows and stopped accordingly, while Tee remained oblivious, happily carrying on!

This brings us to today, where we have covered a phenomenal distance. Luckily the weather was cooler and the terrain much flatter, so we were able to catch up on lost km. We are almost at our destination (Glen Massey) and will be absolutley pooped tonight!

Signing off for now, thank you all for your support. Knowing you are thinking of us is a brilliant inspiration!

Love K & T xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Day One (and a half)

We had an interesting journey to Cape Reinga yesterday. Left Paihia at 9am and had a very long journey to the top due to our very laidback driver- Marty from Cape Reinga adventures. Marty had a passion for possum collecting off the side of the road, he received $8 from his friend for every possum collected in order to make a wool blend- apparently the finest in the world. Much to our digust, he left them at his feet whilst driving with us in the front!! With a speedo permanently set at zero and rock n roll music blaring through the speakers, we knew we were in for an interesting ride! About 70km from the Cape, Marty broke the news that he was too tired to drive any further and that we had to take over!! Kath nobly took the wheel and got us to the Cape safely while Marty fell asleep on Tee's shoulder. We finally reached the top and bid Marty farewell, had our photos, did a last wee and began our journey!

Began cycling through breathtaking scenery- lush green hills that go on for eternity, not to mention undulating hills that also go on for eternity!! The sunshine is immense which makes the scenery even more glorious. Cows eyeing us off as we ride past their paddocks... Talking of paddocks, we stayed in a field near Hohoura last night. After trudging through chest high sticks and straw, we made it to the fence with our bikes, not realising this fence was electric until poor Kath got electrocuted (not just once- but she went back for more!!) We then realised the only way to camp in this field (which obviously wasnt meant to be camped in- but we were miles from an official campsite and it was past 8pm by this stage) was to limbo underneath and leave the bikes on the other side.

With tent pitched and sweaty gear remaining on, we collapsed in our sleeping bags with snacks. We fell asleep..till 3am, when Kath decided she desperately needed to wee, she tried to get out of the tent but was unsuccessful, and terrified of possums or creepy crawly insects..so went just next to Tee's feet (extra toasty!) in the porch of the tent! Tee couldnt find her water in the night and slightly disorientated, she began prodding Kath, who panicked thinking she was being attacked by a killer possum..

Woke up this morning at 6.30am (hadnt been trodden on by cows), packed  up the gear and set off at 7.40am.. Had a beautiful day riding, very hilly with the outstanding views making it all worthwhile. Just stopped into a nice little internet cafe while the sun is at its hottest. Have done well so far, heading to Kerikeri for the night, which will take us to around 130km.

So, it's bloody beautiful, extremely hilly, with amazing weather :)

Mum- we're slapping on the suncream don't worry!
Nathan- thank you for reading and commenting, you do make me laugh!
Mick- looks like my training regime finally paid off!!        \
Jay- can't wait to see you when I'm a lean mean cycling machine!
Andy G- i miss you endlessly and thinking about you lots. Love to you and Shona.. Im eating lots of bananas haha- T
Russ- if you are reading this please tell Ted I can't wait to see him


Loads of Love, Tee and Kath. xxxxx  

Monday, 30 January 2012

Hey-y'alll!!!!!

Wowzer!!! Met Tee at Auckland airport yesterday at 2.30pm our time - was amazing to see her after 30 hours travelling! We then had a major rush to get to the bike shop to dump my bike box (bike in perf condition thanks to B&W international bike case!!!!!!) Unfortunately, Kat emptied her pockets onto the floor and low and behold, she had NO KEY!! to get into her bike box... In a mad scramble, we used Tee's bobbypin to try and pick the lock, then in sheer desperation Tee tried to pry the lock off with a screwdriver.. The day was saved as Kat used her lock picking skills (done this before?) to undo the case.. BINGO! pop went the lock.. There was bike oil everywhere and we were sweating up a storm. Now to get the back wheel back on Kath's bike - the 'mechanic' in the bike shop was as much use as a choc fire guard - it would've been better if she had admitted her ZERObike maintenance skills, rather than pretending she knew exactly what to do and MASHING my chain set. ARRRGH!!!!!

Anyway, all set to get there, with time quickly running out we made our way back to the hotel and ordered a maxi taxi to Auckland main city to connect up with our bus.. 40min later we met our charming 'Naked' bus driver (nakedbus.com) who was a little taken aback by 2 girls arriving with bikes and gear.. "Girls, where do you think these are going to go?!" later to tell us "I dont want your shitty bike oil all over my bags." We disembled the bikes yet again and packed them in to the almost empty bag space! Eventually made it to PaiHai 3.5hrs later and checked in at our hotel where we took the bikes up to sleep next to us. Kath had a much appreciated shower (thank god, she was starting to reek- haha i kid) and we conked out. Tee decided to wake me up at 3am with the sound of the kettle whirring as she realised she was thirsty and needed a cup of tea!!!...the water beside her would not suffice. I then thought it was time to go and started to get ready...only for Tee to break the news that I should just return to the land of nod, as we had hours before get up time!!! Glad to report that Kath's sleep talking behaviour has continued on from our Thailand days.. had a little conversation with her last night, and when mentioned this morning, she had no recollection.. Thinking I may have some fun with this ;) hahaha..

About to depart for the Cape - our official; start point, so, lots of love to all. We have both been laughing lots whilst writing this...so should be an awesome trip! Kath & Tee xxxxxxxx