Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Cycling Day Nine

Last day of the trail, another longish one to Middlemarch. We left Naseby early in thick fog as we had no breakfast and there weren't any shops to buy any! We made really good time along the road that we'd slogged up the previous day and were in Ranfurly by 10am. More mousetrap at a cafe and a chat with some people from the day before and we were off again. The fog quickly lifted and it turned into a really hot day. We made an effort to get along today, less chatting as we wanted to get to Middlemarch in time to catch the train into Dunedin. The mushrooms in the fields outside Ranfurly were huge, dinner plate size things.

We did have a couple of snack breaks but arrived into Middlemarch by 3.15pm. This was a strange place, there's not many women live here so the singles ball is all important. As it was a Sunday and warm the local men were all hanging about outside the pub, they'd had some entertainment before we got there with a group of nudist cyclists finishing the trail, Gary missed that one so he was gutted.

We went to the station, no sign of staff, train or timetable so we wandered to the bike shop. There we found out that the train had left at 1pm but there was an afternoon one from Pukerangi (23km down the road) at 4.45pm. The bike shop booked us on a shuttle bus to take us to the station, with our usual Britsh panic we dashed to the pub and downed a pint so that we could get cash out and then with the usual Kiwi casualness we stood panicking until 4.20 when they remembered us and came to drive the shuttle. We got to the train with five minutes to spare, spoke to the train manager who told us to get our bikes on and then meet him in a particular carriage - we got the wrong one so had to be hailed which was a bit embarrassing but in the end so worth it. The train was full of people who's just finished the rail trail so we all celebrated with beers and those more flush, with champagne, the train itself went along a scary gorge with loads of bridges and tunnels, a really fab trip.

Dunedin is hilly, sort of unbelievably, it took us an hour after the train arrived to push our bikes over this unreal hill, we pitched the tent in the dark and gave up until the morning!

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