Friday, April 3, 2009

This One's for You, Bob

Not much walking today, Friday, but a a decent cycle ride. Denise asked us on Wednesday night if we would like her to give us a lift to Chatto Creek (17 kms back along the Rail Trail) so that we could walk or cycle back. Nobody was due to check out of the motel the following day so she had a “free” morning (this is a relative term for a woman who never seems to stop working). We had to decline because we had told Owen we would be at the Clyde Post Office Cafe at 10.

Today was another day of no checking out, so we accepted Denise's renewed offer. The 17 kms became 37 so that we could cycle back from Lauder, and on the way to Lauder it morphed into a 60 kms ride from Oturehua. It is worth visiting this tiny town just to go to the store/cafe. Along with the modern goods on display and for sale, there are shelves and shelves of “ancient” goods from the 50s, things which people of my age had familiarity with long ago, but have forgotten. Recognition is instantaneous, as is the wave of nostalgia and remembrance of times past. For me, it particularly provoked memories of the days when, as a teenager, I had a holiday job working in the Co-op grocery store where many of these things were commonplace.

We had a drink, coffee for me and tea for Gay, before setting off on the journey back. Denise did not have time to join us because her “free morning” involved getting a motel unit ready for an expected arrival.

It was another very cold morning, with a sheet of ice on the car. So we had to dress for it, which made things rather warm when the forecast beautiful day (that's at least two correct forecasts, despite my ranting a few days ago) arrived. We had a super ride back, with a stop for a snack at Omakau, after 30 kms, and a halt for a cup of tea at Chatto Creek, 16 kms from “home”.

We have cycled 200 kms and walked about 100 in the last week.

There is something I forgot to mention yesterday. My old (87) and dear friend ex-Squadron Leader Bob Parry, who lives on the Isle of Skye with his wonderful wife Jackie, has told me they love to read in the blog of the interesting characters we meet as we travel round New Zealand. Well, I wish we had a photograph of this one, Bob.

As we walked along the Rail Trail yesterday morning, we saw what we thought was a cyclist looming out of the mist towards us. Nothing unusual about that, the Trail is swarming with cyclists at that time as they have just left the railhead at Clyde at the start of their epic 152 kms journey eastwards to Middlemarch.

This cyclist appeared to be preceded by dogs. Not so strange. We have met people who take their dogs for a run while they cycle – we even knew one woman in Puivert who drove her car while the dogs exercised in front of the vehicle. We had both moved into the left lane so that the cyclist could do the same (in NZ driving is on the left). But the group continued to plough towards us, on our side, and we had to hop out of the way. As they passed us, we saw that there was no cycle. A bearded man stood on a scooter (non-powered type), and was being towed along by two husky-type dogs!

A few minutes later we heard a cyclist approaching from behind. A woman's voice called “Can you move over, please, to let me pass”. And another (the same one?) two-dog power scooter whizzed past.

To quote John McCain - “What was that all about”?

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