Lake Paringa - New Zealand 1991 - CycleBlaze

December 20, 1991

Lake Paringa

Our plans for the day were to bike to Fox Glacier (120k to the north) and allow for a rest day tomorrow, but the gods had other plans for us.  It poured, at times torrentially, throught the day; and it is still going strong tonight.

Thinking that we would find no other food for the day, we had breakfast at the motel restaurant.  It was a great spread - their 'hot breakfast' was 2 eggs, 2 large sausage links, 2 large bacon slices, and 3 stewed tomatoes.  That plus orders of coffee and toast left us happily stuffed. The meal had the additional rare treat of including servings of peanut butter!  On the way out I collected four unused slices from the toast rack at the abandoned neighboring table, fearful that we would not have enough on hand to get us to Fox.

As we prepared to go it began pouring again, so we settled into a cribbage game until it let up - hoping for at least a few relatively dry miles.  While we waited, a biker from California knocked on our door to see if we wanted to share the fare of a shuttle to Fox if he could find a fourth.  We weren't too interested, but told him to check out the fare and come back if he was still interested; but he never returned.

We started out when the rains abated to a drizzle.  We were stopped immediately by a BP station, in which we purchased a block of cheese to add to our larder.  At last on the road in ernest, we made a fairly easy though drizzly 5k; at which point we stopped to tighten down Rachael's load and discovered that her rear tire is disintegrating and has developed several bulging deformities - causing a lumpy ride and a probable blowout at some point down the road.  After a brief discussion, we split up and I retraced the miles to the BP station (where, luckily, I had noticed that they stocked a few bike tires) and she continued north to the next motel rather than put more miles on her tire or just stay by the road.  

At the BP station I found an inferior tire but one that would function in an emergency - 27/1-3/8", good to 50 lbs pressure - I'm not really sure it can be used on her rim.  I finally caught up with Rachael at the motel, 32k away, after 15k of drizzle and 17 of steep climbs over headlands against strong headwinds and pounding rain.

We continued along (with her still using her same tire) for 18 more miles to a motel with cabins and a tea room.  By now it had almost stopped raining and Rachael was in favor of continuing, but I was more interested in stopping and limiting our chances of getting sick - we were both thoroughly soaked.  We stayed, and soon were reinforced in the decision by the onset of another deluge.

We spent an enjoyable, snug afternoon in the cabin, listening to the intermittent downpour, dozing and reading.  Wet articles of clothing were draped from every door handle and hook in the cabin,  but they never dried - there was no heat source in the cabin, and our shoes and gloves were still quite damp the next morning.  We were quite low on food so we carefully rationed out our stores, saving what would hopefully be sufficient to carry us to Fox in the morning.

(A note from the present: we still recall this day vividly, and remember it as the day that we carefully rationed saltines all afternoon and evening.  I also can still clearly see the rain blowing nearly horizontal as I headed north looking for Rachael, and remember her waiting sheltered on the covered porch of a motel.)

Disappointingly, this shot of the roadside ferns is the only photo I took in the entire day. I can't believe I didn't at least take any pictures of our clothes drying in the cabin. Maybe I was hoarding film because of our budget issues; or maybe I was just too wet to think straight.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 338 miles (544 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0