Made the 180 kilometer trek to Hamilton, NZ this am. Lounged around the hotel room until we absolutely had to check out, then we drove south down motorway 1 from Botany. Visited the Hamilton Gardens which lacked the punch I imagine they have in summer and spring when things are in bloom but was still beautiful. We rode our bikes along the river for quite a distance after spending part of the afternoon reading Time and National Geographic.
After a brisk ride we went downtown and conducted some necessary internet business then ate at an Indian restaurant and walked along the downtown area. Hamilton is a surprisingly bustling city for being landlocked on a small island country. Of course it was Friday night so it may have been busier than usual.
Tomorrow we embark for Rotorua, site of the 2006 Mountain Biking World Championships.
Rain, rain, damnable rain all day! Spent the morning driving to Rotorua and walking through the Rotorua Mueseum. The smell of sulphur is persistent in this part of New Zealand and there are many hot springs and geysers. We quickly made our way to a cabin to wait out the rain. A lot of time spent reading and listening to podcasts. Not much else to be said about today.
Finally 4 solid hours of mountain biking in the morning and early afternoon. Overcast but no significant rain today. In fact, at times we actually saw the sun. The mountain biking trails around Rotorua are deserving of their hype. Very well organized with great terrain. As it's Sunday the trails were actually quite busy but by no means crowded. Much fun was had and we soaked our sore muscles in the thermal springs pools when we were finished.
I forgot to bring my camera today but we're going back tomorrow so I may get some pictures then. The forecast is intermittent rain showers for the next 5 days. However, by friday it's supposed to be sunny. I'm hoping we can avoid most of the rain and enjoy three or four more days of good trail riding. Shaleah cooked a delicious stir-fry for supper and we read our books in the van until bed. Obviously it is too rainy for our liking but we're making the best of it.
Today was an exhausting, wet, muddy, cold, bruising, blood-stained, some might say exxxxtreme, outdoor adventure! None of those adjectives sound particularly fun, admittedly, yet fun was had. Awoke early because all weather reports said it would rain all afternoon in Rotorua. We decided to not only bike up the trail but to ride our bicycles all the way to the trail as well. In retrospect this was perhaps not our finest idea. Shaleah and I were both pretty tired halfway up the mountain and Shaleah actually decided to end the day early. If you know Shaleah and her affinity for mountain biking you have some idea of how tiring our day was. We did, however, make it up the grueling climb to the start of the trail and we have a picture to prove it. It seemed that we were the only two mountain bikers on earth with the whole park to ourselves. We didn't see another soul the whole day, although the temperature and condition of the trail might have had something to do with that.
The park with the trails is an amazing place. The best analogy I can think of is that it's like a ski resort except the runs are mountain biking trails (no hikers or horses allowed), admission is free, and (unfortunately) there are no ski lifts. The number of trails is dizzying. After a morning of careening down the hill after a day long rain Shaleah and I (and our bikes) were covered in mud. Luckily there are laundry facilities at the holiday park where we currently reside.
In the evening Shaleah cooked a delicious meal and we spent the evening doing what we do every night, trying to take over the world! No actually, Shaleah reads about Lewis and Clark and I peck out this daily trip journal and peruse a couple of chapters ofThe World is Flat before retiring to bed around 8 pm. I don't know what Ben Bernanke is so worried about, unemployment is awesome.