February 3, 2002 - A Short Ride and a Lazy Day

I figured that I could either ride 20km to Pedallers Rest or 100km to Kaikoura today. Being that my legs were still awfully tired from yesterday's slog to windward (and being lazy), I chose the former. It was a good choice.

I got up this morning to the smell of baking bread. It seems everyone in New Zealand has a bread machine (and an electric kettle that quickly heats to a boil and then shuts off). Pete had set it up the night before and it automatically turned itself on and baked the bread this morning, resulting in fresh bread for breakfast. Pete came in and made eggs,scrambling about 6 or 8 of them. What a deep yellow. They tasted good too. Afterwards I packed up and left after paying NZ$20 for the night. The rate was $15, but he did feed me dinner, which wasn't included, so I felt that I should contribute an extra five.

The ride today was only about 23km and took about two hours. There were a couple of hills and I was being slow, but there was no headwind. There was no tailwind, either. The only excitement was when I went to put my water bottle back in the cage while riding and missed. I promptly ran over it with both the rear wheel and the trailer. Other than popping open, it seemed to only suffer a small hole in the lid. I'll probably replace it with a water or drink bottle, since they seem pretty sturdy. Not only are they cheaper than special purpose bicycle bottles, they come with an initial filling of the beverage of your choice.

I arrived at the Pedallers Rest Cycle Stop around 10:30, which is absolutely delightful. It is on a 3000 acre farm, run by Jim & Denise Rudd, who seem to be in their early 40's. (I am guessing that, since they have two children, one just graduated from college and the other in high school in Christchurch.) It is the family farm and they are the third generation farming it. They raise sheep (about 3000), cattle (about 350) and deer (just started deer farming) (about 325, plus whatever foaled this spring).

About seven years ago, they decided to convert an existing, unused sheep shearers bunkhouse into a hostel for cyclists. They figured that they were about halfway between Picton and Kaikoura, a good days ride from each, and that there was an unfilled need. The hostel has only six beds, a two bunk room and a four bunk room (beds in the two bunk room cost NZ$2 more). It has a kitchen, sitting area off the kitchen, two heads, two showers and a free washing machine ( my laundry is drying on line as I write). It also has a big covered porch with tables and chairs and a gas grill.

The particulars:

It is absolutely spotless. Denise was just heading down to clean it as I arrived (I was a little earlier than most, since it was only a short ride). It is bright inside with high open rafters above and lots of windows, making it very airy. It is more basic, but nicer overall than the one I stayed at in Picton, which I also liked. I think that it is the size, location and atmosphere.

They also have a little store for guests with basic foods and their own lamb. I got some stir-fry chunks to marinate, grill and have with my rice tonight. They also have nicely made long sleeve, Merino wool cycling jerseys, of their own design and manufacture, but at NZ$160, they are a little beyond my budget (and I have a long sleeve jersey).

Jim just walked by with the five sheepdogs, three border collies, a "beardie" (not exactly like the bearded collies at home, but looks similar) and a short haired black and tan dog (looks a little like a retriever in shape).The latter two are used to hunt down errant sheep and control them by barking. The beardie is 15 and sort of retired. There is also another old border collie, who is retired and seems to be the pet, since she doesn't stay in the kennels with the other dogs.

A German couple arrived in the afternoon, having ridden from outside of Blenheim. They are pitching a tent, so I still have the bunkhouse to myself. He is a programmer who worked for a small company that was developing a CRM product, they seem to have been merged into the big German software conglomerate, SAP. He was working on a Web front end for the product, but it was abandoned after the merger. He then decided to leave. He and his wife are taking a six month tour of SE Asia, where they spent four months and New Zealand where they will be spending six weeks.

Updated: 20 March 2002