Ashburton to Herbert – 115 miles
Today felt long. I am glad to be snuggled down for bed right now. I had a better start time today, though I am thinking maybe I should hit the road earlier to avoid late afternoon. The is the side of me that’s burned and the heat really feels brutal without shade.
To keep my panniers as light as possible, I am not really carrying any food. I have a bunch of snicker bars and banana chips for snacking. I have been buying breakfast from the grocery the night before. Then lunch and supper are eating out. I feel like this is the optimal way to make sure I am appropriately fed as measured by quality and healthiness over quantity.
I rode a solid 42 miles before stopping to lunch at Bernie’s Bakery HQ in Timaru. Late afternoon I stopped at the lone cafe marking the turn onto SH82 off from SH1 leading to Waimate. Unfortunately their water tank has just broken, so I settled on a cold ginger beer then set back out.
The views been quite pleasant today. I saw the ocean a few hundred meters from the road. The was the closest the road came, but I caught views off and on all day. Beautiful. And peaceful. I had light head winds all day, so I am blaming that for moving so slowly today. Though I am also fighting through some major saddle soreness. I could see the mountains all day! This was a great thing, but briefly around Temuka and continuously passed Oamaru those beautiful mountains turned into a lot of ups and downs. The owner from last night’s campground told me the way was flat until just before Dunedin, so I am definitely not looking forward to hills for tomorrow.
Sights also included lots of farms, sheep, tiny horses, cows, llamas, and, strangely, an abundance of broken bungee cords on the side of the road. Very little roadside litter, but I consistently see broken bungee cables in addition to dead birds and squished (quilled rodent). I saw a sign for wallabies, but I am not I will see any.
After my cold drink break, I rode 31 miles to Oamaru, the steampunk capital in New Zealand, and supped at Cucina Restaurant & Bar. Very high class. I picked the place because I could watch my bike through the window. Fortunately 6pm is somewhat early for the supper crowd so they didn’t scoff at my sunblock glistening legs covered in spattered bugs. I had a lovely meal, but it felt a bit dainty, so I stopped by the grocery and scarfed down a pint of Tip Top’s brand “Saucy Caramel.” Just what my sweet tooth wanted!
I contemplated staying in Oamaru, but my map app led me to think if I got those last 16 miles in, I would be perfectly set up for a 90 mile day tomorrow. Having looked at the numbers in actuality, I am 151 miles from the desired stop. Instead I am going to stop sooner. There is supposed to be a gnarly climb tomorrow! Anyway, I rode 16 miles more to Herbert Forest Camping Ground in the tiny town of Herbert. $12.50 NZD provided me a completely empty upper campground (I missed the main camp somehow), a hot shower (though brilliantly I left my shampoo in the shower last night), and a kitchen. I even plugged my phone in for a charge. New Zealand is incredibly camp friendly!