Date: Saturday 23 February 2013
Route: Ashely Gorge to Methven
Weather: overcast and cool, sun coming out late afternoon
Accommodation: The Brown Pub – big room, shared bathroom, good view of town square from window
We left in the sunshine this morning, but soon rode into cloudy weather again. Most of the ride was flat and we made good time – it was so cool we didn’t want to stop and get cold. (this is still better than getting too hot though!) We travelled along Inland Scenic Highway 72 again – through farmland – mostly sheep and dairy.
We gathered some food along the way – some beautiful big apples off a tree by the side of the road and a huge 2.5kg bag of hazelnuts for $10. The nuts were being sold at the side of the road with just an honesty box in attendance. We have our work cut out cracking them all.
The most impressive part of the drive was coming down into Rakaia Gorge – a long steep winding downhill – and crossing the river. The bridge was high and rickety. From up there we could see the river, which was a long way down, large and deep and a strange bright turquoise colour. There were many fishermen down on the river bank which was wide and rocky. The way out of the gorge was just as steep – so much so that we pushed our bikes part of the way (first time this trip!).
Once we turned off on the road to Methven we had a long gentle downhill run – I barely had to pedal – was just pulled along in Kris’s slipstream. The problem with such a cruisey end to the ride was that I got really cold and arrived quite chilled – nothing that a pub meal couldn’t fix though. We had made excellent time – arriving just before 1.30pm.
The hotel we are staying at is at the top of a pub in the centre of town. We spent some time walking around and cracking nuts in the sun on a bench. We met a Swiss tourist called Esther who is touring on her own – this was her first day and she rode from Christchurch. We may see her again as she is also going to Geraldine tomorrow. Kris gave her some nuts (trying to lighten his load!)