To Wanaka - New Zealand 1991 - CycleBlaze

December 19, 1991

To Wanaka

Another day of mishaps and shortened mileage.  We started efficiently enough, riding steadily to Wanaka over fairly level terrain, stopping only for a roadside breakfast (shortbread, cheese, kiwi fruit, dried fruit, juice) and to braid Rachael's hair; to photograph the Southern Alps rising very impressively in the west; and to fix yet another rear wheel flat on my bike.  The puncture was on the seam and awkward to mend, and I was only partially successful at it.  Unfortunately I discovered that I couldn't just replace the tube because I screwed up and brought along a Schraeder insead of a presta spare.

Fortunately though, Wanaka has a bike store and the right tubes, so I was able to restock and also replace the water bottle I'd left behind in Dunedin, and a toe clip strap to replace Rachael's one that had broken.

The town of Wanaka is in a lovely setting, at the end of 40-mile long Lake Wanaka, rimmed by the Southern Alps.  We had delicious meals here at a restaurant that felt like one we might have found on the California coast - we had quiche and pita bread stuffed with lamb - and then headed to the lake to rent a couple of kayaks for a few hours.  The kayaking excursion was unexpectedly challenging - we spent two hours on a short round trip to a small island on the far side of the bay - but without practice, these kayaks are very difficult to steer a straight course.  Rachael in particular struggled with this and spent a lot of time going in circles.  About half-way back to the dock she started getting the feel for it and was much more successful by the end.

By the time we returned and finished shopping for food, it was about 6.  We were still hoping to make some miles heading west toward Haast Pass, but as we left town my rear wheel froze up to the brake.  I spent a very frustrating hour repairing it, in an operation that required truing the wheel, dismantling the brake, and repositioning the pannier rack to allow more play for the calipers.  

By the time I was done it was too late to make any real distance and a strong headwind had built up anyway, so we stayed at a lovely motel Rachael found for us.  When we checked in, I had a delightful encounter with the receptionist.  She was impressed by the way we had arrived, and said we must be very 'foot'.  After repeating it three times to my increasing confusion, she spelled it out: F-I-T, 'foot'.

Time to start tallying up mishaps for the trip so far: lost billfold in Salem; lost book (A Prayer for Owen Meany), in the Honolulu airport; lost water bottle, in Dunedin; lost check that we had intended to send to Rachael's mother as a Christmas present; lost bandana; broken wheel; wrong spare tube; two flats; a ruined tube; brake repairs; broken toe strap; and a lost hairclip from the kayaking outing.

Lake Wanaka
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Kayaking on Lake Wanaka
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Stuck in a loop
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Today's ride: 37 miles (60 km)
Total: 215 miles (346 km)

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