Very soon after we arrived here, we were overjoyed to be joined on our ride by Swallows who were ridding alongside us. Summer was all around us and this was proof. Thing is, where do they migrate to? Well the answer is absolutely no where. We are used to these little birds doing a multi thousand migration trip, but here the same birds hang around in farmers barns making a nuisance of themselves. Farmers hate them as they turn a nice red tractor to an off white one.
Heading away from Orere Point we went around the Firth of Thames. The usual rolling scenery now went up and down rather more before we descended to the coast. All along there was evidence of the effects of the 140mm of rain that had fallen two nights ago. We had been trapped by landslides in both directions from Orere Point for a day. Here the low-lying field were underwater with silage bales bobbing where they had been cut.
There were numerous landslides and mud wash to ride through as we headed up the coast to the gold mining town of Thames. The estuary is a wildfowl sanctuary and here again was a familiar bird doing things wrong.The Oyster Catcher sounds right and looks almost the same but the wrong colour for some reason which is strange.
The coast road is a great cycle and we found a campsite and pitched the tent in a quiet spot. For some reason when we got back a German Crusty couple with dodgy campervan and just perfect designer travelers looks had chosen to park up 2 meters from us. Latter they put up a tent 1 meter from us. With all the world to aim at they then made food at 9.30 with enough banging and clattering to make sure we could not rest. Esther to the rescue, with the “so sorry man, we will be just an hour”. Loud voices hinted at a poor night’s sleep so we got up and moved our tent as far as possible from the Germans. ” Chill man” I am quite sure they would be saying. Which is fine if you inhabit the parallel world of the designer traveler.
We had found the road ahead to the Coromandel Peninsula blocked by thousands of tons of stuff, and now in the morning it was still very blocked and likely to be so for another two days. Retracing our steps is never an easy decision, but that is what we did, back to Thames and then south to Paeroa. Which was quite tacky, served a nice cup of tea, and had seats that matched my bike.
We ended the day at a place called Waihi Beach. Which does indeed have a lovely golden beach. We camped at the second site that we paid for. Having got a refund from the first site as they tried to charge us a rip off price to pitch a tent in some mud. They were quite nice about it, but con artists of the first order. After we asked fora refund they took us a walk around the site suggesting other areas of mud that we might consider. We are now at campsite two, ” Beachaven”, which has grass. Most of which was underwater just 48 hours ago, so is a nice lush green.
So, what bit of kit has been the star of the show. Well it is our handlebars, which are Alloy ( always that and no carbon on a tourer) FSA compact geometry. Compact, or girl’s bars, as some call them, are shallow drop. This is better for the neck and back. They have long lower bits that run parallel to the ground, all of which is good for pushing and pulling a loaded tourer. They are by far the most comfortable bars I have ever had, oh joy indeed.