Tuesday, November 01, 2011

BLOK 311011, No. Island, N.Z.


311011, Monday, 'Day 4'   'Trick or Treat!' (It's Halloween in the U.S.)

Wow, what a 'treat' in Waipu staying with the Worthy family!  They're in the same class as the Dignam's of Australia, and Jim in Auckland.  This in terms of kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity!  Kathy and Joe can't seem to do enough for me/us.  Of course, Ruth Dignam in Adelaide, the same way.

But, back to the future,' and Wellsford...  I'd had to spend another night in the motel to recover.  Did I ever need it after going 'too hard,' for too long (60KM from Parakai Hot Springs to Wellsford on highway #16).  Later Joe Worthy (in Waipu) informed me that I had done the steepest, hardest hill in all of the Northland.  No wonder I was exhausted, as this was only my second day in three months to go so far with so much weight.  But they say, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'

But, getting to Waipu, on Sunday... an interesting day cycling the world... I was up by 0635.  

The power had failed in the middle of the night, but didn't bother me until the morning when back on again.  The WIFI didn't work, and so I couldn't get online.  I waited until the Innkeepers were up, and told them how to recycle the modem/transmitter.  Then it worked again.

Messages from warmshowers.org hosts, and Alvaro made me feel more secure about having some place to stay at night (rather than expensive motels).

Note, N.Z., unlike Australia, doesn't have a caravan park in every little burgh.  Additionally, most of the land is owned and farmed, so where to camp and/or where to stay?  I can't afford to stay in motels.  The motel in Wellsford, cost $95NZD per night!  But, it was fortuitous as I met a couple who live in Wellington, and invited me to stay with them when there (maybe January).

But, thank God for www.warmshowers.org!

Also, when you travel you meet fellow travelers who, at the very atleast, have good information.  I was about to depart the motel in Wellsford met a man from South Africa who'd emigrated to N.Z.  Young,he was amazed I was cycling the world.  Later when I couldn't find him so I hung my card on his door.   The Innkeeper had distracted me suggesting I take the east coast highway, as fewer demanding hills.  'On highway #1 going north to Whangarei there's a big one,' he explained.  That's all I needed to hear after the 11% grades going into Wellsford. 

Thus, about 10 kilometers north of Wellsford, I turned off highway #1 and headed for Mangawhai.  This took us (James B. Feeney always with me via his helmet) through some rolling, bucolic farmland.  I passed many a picturesque farm, glades, and flowing rivers.  And the trees, the stunning trees of New Zealand I stop to take pictures of when they 'call.'  I'm a tree hugger!  But, this route too the narrow with too much traffic.  I remember a group of boys on 'crotch rockets,' spoiling the quiet with their orgasmic screaming engines!

I stop at Mangawhai deciding whether or not to shop in an open food market (it's Sunday).  I help a woman overloaded with boxes into her motor vehicle.  

It seems modern life dictates we must own a motor vehicle, 'burning oil rather than fat!' 

On the way out of Mangawhai I double back after seeing a charming-looking store advertising organic fruits and vegetables.  I end up eating lunch sitting outside on the wooden ramp for handicapped people.  This of one avocado and crackers called, Lavosh.'   It's sunny, and I'm in no hurry.  Before departing I purchase an apple/raspberry drink in a glass bottle, spending a total of $8NZD.

Out of Mangawhai we start climbing up some hills, but nothing like before Wellsford.  On the left 'The Sanctuary,' a nature reserve of some sort.   There's an 'art de object' in a pond.  This kind of sophistication reminds me of what the 'Nature Conservancy,'  does (buys land converts it into a public 'park').  

Up higher the highway turns curvy and a little dicey cycling with so much traffic.

At one point 'nature calls,' so I lay Mr. Fetes down on his left side, as no structure to lean against (the highway reflectors flimsy plastic).  Pulling him up to take off again I notice the screw holding the left support to the luggage rack missing.  No wonder I felt something amiss,  the weight shifting back and forth as I rode.  What to do, as I have no extra spare screws with me (stupid)?  I move the support onto the external axle, and it seems to hold.  But, I know I can't ride until I find a more solid solution.  I start pushing up the highway.  Fortunate as I always seem to be, there's two signs on two wooden poles up ahead, and not too far.  They turn out to be perfectly situated to lean Mr. Fetes against (on level ground)  I take off all the items on the rear rack, and ponder how to solve the problem. 

The front side racks are connected by a curved rod (for what reason I've never been sure).  But, it's attached on both sides by screws/nuts.  I decide to see if one will fit the hole to reattach the rear rack.  Voile!  It fits, and problem solved!  I then take a plastic cable tie to substitute for the missing on the front.  Feeling smug about solving the problem so easily, I ride off ...  Note, I'm not known for my ability to deal with mechanic things.  

Down on the other side, I stop at Lang's Beach for a respite.  There are picnic tables on the green, an open cafe, and people enjoying their Sunday.  Some are out in the waves, some exploring the adjacent woods, or eating at one of the tables.  A young girl does a split in the mud in the creek flowing into the ocean.  An old man sits at one of the tables.  Soon a teenage boy walks up as if hunting for something in the grass.  Soon a woman arrives to dole out drinks to the boy, and probably her father.  I drink water, eat raisons, and take some pictures before moving on.  I'm not a 'beach person,' but this is a lovely ocean setting.

I'm not 100 meters down the road, when I hear a loud 'bang' in front, immediately thinking 'broken spoke.'  But, it turns out the plastic cable tie has broken, the rod flying out and about, ending up against the rim of the wheel.  Again, no major damage (none of the spokes broken)!  I bend the rod up and into a position where I can ride, and start off again.  But, this time concerned with the 'Law of Threes:'  Note:  If two events happen, you can bet there will be a third, and  similar.

In Waipu, I start looking for the Worthy's place, as she has sent directions (via email).  But, unable I resort to asking the bartender in an open restaurant.  He knows, and directs, 'Just past the bridge, on the right.' 

It's easy to find, and I'm cranking up their driveway by 4P.M. (started from Wellsford at 1000). In front of their house the dogs barking brings a woman I mistake for Kathy.  Turns out she's Nadia, their 20-year old adopted daughter.  Nadia invites me inside, explaining 'mum and dad' will return shortly.

it isn't that long, sitting in the sun, that Kathy and Joe appear.  I'm offered tea, and we sit outside and chat.  We share the usual information, what older people want to know when meeting for the first time.    

I'm introduced to their son Ashly in a wheelchair.  He is afflicted with some genetic disorder (the technical name I didn't remember), but it appears to destroy the flesh of the body).  To his credit, Ashly has started their community radio station, 'Radio Waves1'  He's simply overcome his 'challenge!'  So, we who are so fortunate (not to be wheelchair bound) should not complain!  Right?

Nadia, born in Russia, was an orphan (don't know the details).  But, God was watching over this child, as Joe and Kathy flew to Russia and adopted her.  Now, a fitness instructor, she competes in bicycle races.  And a talented guitar player.

This middle-aged couple maybe an example for other families.  Joe, operates a local construction company.  Kathy, does everything and more a good wife/mother does, besides taking good care of guests (me in particular).  Everyday she visits her 92-year old father in a nearby home for the aged.  I figure out he was born in 1918!  Me, a mere 71, could be his son.

Kathy and Ashly escort me 30 meters to meet the 'radio guys,' this Sunday afternoon's DJs for a two-hour program.

One, with the mein of Zeus and the hair of Samson, is called 'Worzel!'     I'm immediately offered a beer!  Soon, I'm on the air being interviewed by 'Worzel.'   We take to each other as kindred spirits.  The other, Steve, another interesting local with shaved head and goatee (his van reads, 'Coffee Espress).  (Note, pictures at www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/ ).  I feel like a 'time machine,' has propelled me 'back to the future.'  We discuss, life, love and the pursuits of happiness.  Turns out, 'Worzel,' owns a 400-acre pig farm up in the hills. I'm dying to ask...  Time runs out, however, credits roll, and I'm off to eat dinner with the Worthys!

After a wonderful dinner, I'm taken on a tour of the property (beyond the radio station).  I meet the chickens, and Kathy's pet pig.  She, and Nadia, shows me their jetty, where when the tide comes in, they dive off to swim.  There are kayaks on the lawn.

I take a hot bath, and then fall into bed in the 'bicycle room.'  I'm at 'home,' as that's how the Worthys make you feel!  How Jim Berger made me feel in Auckland.  How the Dignams made me feel in Adelaide, Australia.  How Nola made me feel in Perth!  How... The list so long, I would bore you to recant.

How did all this happen, this interesting day cycling in New Zealand?  You may think by chance, but I know better.  It was by the divine grace of my master, lord, and God (the Tao), with the help of my living 'guardian angel,' Rucha in Germany!

Nothing that happens to me is by 'chance.'   I don't believe in Free Will!

P.S.  'Worzel,' finding out I'm a Taoist gave me the name of a New Zealander, Peter Land, who has translated the 'Tao Te Ching,' into English.  Guess who I'll be visiting?  You will think by chance.  I know better!



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