Current Location: Otaki, Aotearoa

I left Levin a few days ago after saying farewell to Ken and Lorraine having spent a good few weeks there. I’m sort-of proud to say I’ve converted them to wwoofing hosts after having a good experience with me there. Sharon came up to hang out with us over the weekend as well which was fun. We went to a Simon & Garfunkel party hosted by some friends of Ken and Lorainne. The party was preceded by my first All Blacks game, it’s actually the first rugby game I’ve watched from beginning to end and I think I’m in danger of having that become one of my favorite games to watch. It’s a lot more visceral than anything in America. A lot of guys get cut pretty bad and all they do is wipe the blood from their eyes and look on, it’s amazing what they are capable of. All Blacks won, which was good since they lost last week.

I’m glad to say that the Winter (Summer?) Solstice has finally passed me by which means the days start getting longer again! As my aunt let me know it will be a while until I actually see some difference in the amount of daylight, but mentally it’s nice to know that i’m getting more time and not less to cycle. It’s also new years for the Maori (Matariki)

I’m at an apple orchard at the moment, probably for a few weeks as i’ll be making one more trip into Wellington this weekend to cheer on Ellen as she runs a 10k. A fun fact for people out there, if you eat a lot of apples, drink a lot of apple juice and drink a lot of hard cider your pee smells like apples. It’s mundane work as we’re pruning 909 apple trees that haven’t been pruned in 7 years but the time goes by quickly enough. They also raise pigs in the apple orchard and we’ve had some great pork since I got here. I’m trying to get him to smoke some pork using the apple wood we’ve cut down, that would be amazingly tasty.

On the agenda is Max & Janes again, they invited me back to Pongaroa and I had kinda half intended to go back there anyway so when they sent the invite I couldn’t resist. Which ultimately means that it’ll be at least mid July before I really start cycling again. I think once I leave Pongaroa I’ll cycle the remainder of the trip to get some good miles in before setting down to wwoof again.

Living Levin

Current Location: Levin, Aotearoa

Waiting for the shortest day of the year to pass me by has given me a chance to hang out in and around Wellington a lot more than I had expected, which is turning out to be a good thing. I’m liking Wellington as a city, not as much as I liked Christchurch, as it does have a lot to offer. It’s museum has a colossal squid on display which I got to check out, Shaun would have been impressed.

I got to go tramping this weekend with Sharon, Ellen, Bryan, and Cedric. A motley menagerie traipsing through the mountains of the Rimutaka. This being the hill I skipped by catching a ride with Alex back in January. We hiked in 4 liters of wine along with some other food and a deck of cards and had a grand time in the hut. We had a lot of fun playing and drinking in the middle of the woods, and the hiking was fun too. A little wet but not as bad as the Milford track although the track was a little more vertical than the Milford. I think I won the prize for most slips, clay when wet gets pretty slippery.

I’m also sort of wwoofing in Levin with a co-worker of Sharons who mentioned to her that they had some work around the house that needed doing and did they know of anyone. As it turns out I’m left to my own devices and come up with my own chores around the house which is a lot different than usuall. Most of the time the people I’m working with have a specific list of things needing to get done. I probably wouldn’t have stopped in Levin had it not been for Ken and Lorainne, it’s a town thats major feature that I can figure out is it’s in the middle of everywhere. It has a bustling feel to it but not a whole lot going for it.

As Branden commented on my use of strange words theres actually a little more that I’ve picked up in my time here. Although I blame the use of the word posh on hanging out with a bunch of pom’s, it’s not normally in the vocabulary. A kiwi-ism that I’ve been heard using is “sweet as…” I’m sure you can imagine what I thought people were saying the first few times I heard that which caused me a little consternation. But since then I’ve found it used in a lot of different ways such as “Heavy as, Cold as.” So it basically translates to “Cold as [can be], Sweet as [can be]” The other saying I’ve picked up is saying “cheers” instead of “thanks.” I’m not sure how I feel about that one but it feels more sincere than a simple thanks.

As a side note some cousins of mine have set off on a coast to coast ride, good luck to Reuben & Teresa.

I’ve finally got around to sorting through a months worth of pictures, something I hope to not have to put off again as it takes so long to sort through that many pictures. This lot of pictures goes all the way back to doing the Abel-Tasman on through to getting back to Wellington.

Leaving the South

Current Location: Wellington, Aotearoa

First I have to thank the people of Mapua for making me feel so welcome. Ann and Bob for putting up with me for 3 weeks was great and the food was amazing. Graham “Snookie” Snook and Jim at the bar for the laughs and the rest of the regulars there as well, the music and beer was excellent. They even let me join the library there so I could get my fix of books which was mighty nice of them.

Riding into Picton a couple days later it finally sunk into me that the road forever gets shorter. Arriving into Picton after 5 months on the south island the realization came that the road is getting shorter and time is running out. Even though I may have 5 months left in New Zealand it’s not enough time. On the ferry ride over to the north I pulled out the Peddlers Paradise book for the south island and flipped through all the roads I’ve been through. The thought came to me though that theres so many more routes that are left there to do. To put it plainly it was bittersweet coming across to the north again.

In Wellington I met up with some crazy kids that I met on the Milford track who are letting me stay at their place until the end of the weekend. We had a posh dinner the night I arrived to celebrate.

I wrote everything above this past Wednesday when I arrived into Wellington and didn’t post it because I thought I would have time later to finish it up. As it happens Sharon and Ellen (the crazy kids I met on the Milford Track) managed to keep me busy all weekend which is more than I could have asked for. We did cycle rides around the penninsula a few times, some mini golf, a Lithuanian birthday party with lots of Lithuanians, ’twas truly a crazy weekend. Thanks also to Linus (Sharons flatmate and the birthday boy) for letting me crash at the apartment for the weekend.

I had forgotten how much more traffic there is on the North island as compared to the South island, I miss the west coast of the South island where traffic was non-existant at times. Right now the plan is to head to Levin where a co-worker of Sharons needs some help at their B&B fixing things around the house. Hopefully I can stay there for about a week or so and get in some hiking in the hills around here and then off to an orchard back in Otaki for a little while that wanted some help.

Promise to post pictures when I find a computer that can manage it, it’s been tricky as of late.