Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Huamoana, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustave Flaubert

Art got up this morning at 7:15 and I slept a few minutes longer till 7:45. We woke up to a stunning day in Napier - just beautiful sunshine and nary a cloud in the sky. It was just a bit cool, maybe mid 60s to start but you could tell it was going to be a great day! We ate some breakfast (Art got a vanilla and almond cereal that was actually pretty good) and had tea/coffee. Looked at maps to plan the day and then Art put the racks on the bikes since he didn’t get to that last night. Finally all set and we pulled out of the spot at 10:30 and went to the dump station in the campground. It was a very nice station; we had to wait on a guy that pulled in right ahead of us but it didn’t take too long. Dumped our grey water and I dumped the toilet cassette. It was messy in the compartment because I think they did not put it in there originally in the correcte position and thusly I had a little mess to deal with...sigh. I was actually pretty mad about it at the time; just one more thing they didn’t really do a good job with before handing us the keys.

Finally pulled out of the campground at 11 and drove a couple minutes down Kennedy Road to the Big Barrel liquor store and parked on the street. Art took a look around and found one bottle of beer to buy: it was a Panhead APA for $8. Back to the camper and we drove further south to a little town called Huamoana. I had come up with the brilliant idea of driving to our freedom camping spot and finding one that had the trail next to it so we would be all set come nightfall. We got to the domain campground which was right on the beach and only 20 minutes from where we were in Napier. It was a lovely big lot right on the beach and there were already several folks there in their rigs; that was a surprise but I guess it is a great spot and it is free so other people might like it just like me! We got the bikes down and packed up the pannier and my trunk (SO glad to have my trunk back on my bike so I can carry my own gear now).

About 1, we pushed off onto the bike trail and followed it along the beach for a while and then through some marshy areas and then along a river towards Havelock North and Hastings. It was a beautiful ride, particularly along the river where we had endless views of vineyards and apple orchards -they were everywhere as far as you could see! The riding trail was on top of a berm for the longest way that I think had been built to prevent flooding; it was great because we were up higher than the landscape and could see better. About 45 minutes into the ride, I had a flat tire - my first! Now I am a true biker….lol. A tiny stone shard had hit my front wheel just right and sliced the tire and punctured the inner tube. Gyp! So since I travel with my bike mechanic, he got right to work and we luckily had a tube and pump with us so he fixed it in about 20 minutes. Then we were back on our way to Havelock North, just outside of Hastings.

When we got into Havelock North, it got busier and we didn’t always have a bike lane on the road. Doesn’t bother Art but I just hate riding with cars; I particularly don’t like negotiating a roundabout driving on the left in a car so I HATE doing it on a bike!! It is so unnerving...But it was about 3 and we were about to pull into a McDonald’s we were passing when I spotted an Angkor Wat Bakery outpost across the street and we opted for pies again. I can get McDonalds anywhere; my pie potential is drawing to a close sooner rather than later so I gotta eat pies while the sun shines!! LOL. I got their award winning mince pie and it was very good; no Patrick’s but still very good. Art got a steak and cheese he was happy with it. Shared a big can of coke and it felt good to get some food. Tab came to $11.

After eating finally, we pushed on down the busy road into Hastings. We saw a farm fruit stand called the Strawberry Patch across the road and it was busy and they had real fruit ice cream! So we braved the crossing which was pretty busy and pulled in. Shared a cone of mixed berry ice cream for $4.50 and paid 50 cents for two Breeze apples, a new variety for me I can’t wait to try. Then it was back on the road into Hastings. This was a busier place than Napier and had a lot of cars; Art will say it was no big deal but I disagree and say there were lots of cars and roundabouts and fuss from me. But we made it into the town and found our way to the Brave Brewery about 4, after stopping briefly at a Salvation Army thrift store where Art did not find anything useful. The brewery’s tap room was small and there were a good many folks there for almost 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. We bought a tasting flight of 4 beers for $12: tried Sauvion Bomb by Liberty Brewing, a Fat Monk Pacific Pale Ale, a Brave Harrie unfiltered IPA and Brave XPA. They were pretty good as a group and we enjoyed the tastes.

Back on the bikes, we were going to try a different trail back home. It ended up being the antithesis of the lovely trail into the town today through fields of fruit. This trail was through an industrial area and just went on and on. Most of it was on a trail on the side of the road (c’mon NZ, it’s a shoulder and we all know you just painted the bike outline on it) and part was really on a part of St. Hwy 2 so cars were going pretty fast. Not a lot of them but enough that I hated that part too. I was VERY glad when we finally got to Clive and the trail went back off the road and to being rural. We had a nice ride along a river and saw a jet boat doing turns and also some rowers practicing. Road along the shore and got back to the camper at 7:00. We rode 27.8 miles today! (That’s MILES people!). Not bad….Art put the bikes up and we got out the chairs and sat facing the beach and sharing his beer from this morning; Panhead was okay and smelled worse than it tasted so I just held my breath when I drank it! LOL. It got dark by 7:30 and was getting chillier so we grabbed our long sleeves and then walked about 5 minutes to the local takeaway shop. There was a pub too but we weren’t in the mood for that so we ordered 2 pieces of fish, ½ scoop of chips and a lasagne topper for Art. Came to $16 and we took it and walked back to the camper to eat.

It was a little after 8 when we ate and it was good fish; I particularly liked what I think was the gurnard - gotta get that again sometime. We ate and then I worked on catching up the journal while Art tried to figure out why the refrigerator didn’t work this afternoon even though we had the camper parked and the gas turned on. Previously, it had worked on the gas only. Big Sigh. I’m hating the refrigerator is still bumming me out and not even dependable one day to the next. I know we are going to go there for milk one morning soon and it will be spoiled….Gyp!

Messed around a little bit on my phone and tried to watch some TV but I was tired. Headed to bed about 10:30.

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