Ophir to Alexandra - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 2, 2021

Ophir to Alexandra

Olde post office, olde bridge, olde riders reach trail’s end.

Ophir to Alexandra 

Breakfast out under the vines with another sunny day on offer. We start the day’s riding by taking the road to the 1880 Daniel O’Connell suspension bridge just out of town. This suspension bridge, named after the national Irish hero, is in a pretty setting of trees and rocky outcrops and spans the  Manuherikia River which, even in late summer, is flowing at a reasonable volume. Again, it’s an attractive looking single lane suspension bridge with stone pillar supports.

Daniel O’Connell Bridge.
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Manuherikia River.
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Back in Ophir we drop into ye olde post office and are given a brief but fairly comprehensive tour by the NZ Heritage woman behind the counter. This building rates as a NZ Heritage site and is still a working post office. We look at a number of the indispensable items required for the smooth operation of mail  receiving and delivery. These include weights, stamps and telegraph Morse key. Though the ‘behind the counter’ look takes us back to the world of our childhood  it’s interesting to see that this method of postal service still works.

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In case of fire...
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The scales of postage.
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On the trail the track is straight and quite fast. We stop at a roadside stall for tomatoes. I pass on the small $15 bags of potatoes. As we follow the Manuherikia River, there’s a brief rise to the Chatto Creek bridge before the sweeping downhill to Galloway. 

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Alexandra lies in the far distance.
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The scenery is quite rocky as we head towards Alexandra; we have the Raggedy Range on our left and across the valley, the Dunstan Mountains. 

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A large group on ebikes making a lunch stop. NZers are supporting local tourism.
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Never far from a tavern.
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Manuherikia River.
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Lunchtime.
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We picnic on the grass beneath a pear tree, near the ladies waiting room  at Galloway, and then there follows a long descent of gradient 1:50 to allow trains to ascend the hill. Soon Alexandra can be seen in the distance.  The city seems to sit at the base of scrubby hills with little growth on them. Although Alexandra is not actually the end (or beginning) of the trail- that honour belongs to Clyde, but we want to cycle the Roxburgh Trail which begins in Alexandra. We hope to do the final 8 kilometres later.

The campground is on the main highway and here we have a newish cabin equipped with most mod cons. We dust off our bags and head down to the river for a splash or two. The fast flowing water is reasonably deep in places and very refreshing. We walk upstream to a deeper pool, then float back with the current.

In the evening we visit friends Bob and Mary for dinner. They are staying on an orchard. The plum trees outside their door are loaded and we feel duty bound to sample them. Several times. We buy supplies at the nearby supermarket and return to cook dinner.

Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 248 km (154 miles)

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