February 26, 2002 - Onward to Invercargill - Unintentionally

Well, I've made to Invercargill, not that I intended to do so--a 103 kilometer ride. Zero more miles to Invercargill. 1118 km total on the bike odometer, but that includes Waiheke and Auckland (I guess they count).

When I got to the farmstay last night, I asked Warwick Taylor if I could stay an extra day if the winds continued. He replied that the cottage was booked and it was their first advance booking in the two years they have been open. He said something about the guest coming for the field days. I didn't ask what he meant, but I sure found out today.

When I got to Gore, my intended goal for the day, I went into the Gore Info Centre only to find out that there wasn't an available bed in 50 kilometers. The "Field Days" is a giant trade show that comes to Gore every two years. All of the manufacturers of farm equipment and supplies come and set up booths to show their wares for a two day show. Hence, everything was booked. The next place where ther might be something available was Invercargill, another 60 km beyond Gore.

So off I went. Fortunately, the road from Gore to Invercargill was virtually flat with only two hills in Edendale (a bit of a misnomer). So after eight hours of travel, I made it to Invercargill. An then a bit of panic set in. As I was heading toward the center of town, I passed many motels, all with "No Vacancy" signs. By the time I got to town, I had missed getting to the Info Centre before it closed. Both of the hostels in town were full. So, I dug into my bag and found a B&B guide that I'd picked up in a hostel in a free books pile and started calling. I found one that had a free room due to a cancellation. I turned out to be a B&B Hotel (basically a small motel with breakfast). So that's where I spent the night, The Montecillo Travel Lodge. It turns out that much of Invercargill was also booked due to this trade show.

The ride today, from the farm to Gore, was particularly nice. There was no wind and the road just wound and gently undulated through the countryside. It was sunny and I had the time and energy to look at the scenery as I rode along (and to stop and take pictures, as well). There were lots of farms with rows of very tall skinny trees that reminded me of the farm country of Tuscany, but not quite as steep. It was a very pleasant ride to Gore. The ride from Gore to Invercargill was not quite as interesting. It was basically flat, with the exception of the previously mentioned hills, but there still wasn't much wind, except from the oncoming truck traffic. The traffic was a bit much. Since the road was flat and straight, The traffic really whizzed by. I doubt that anyone was below the speed limit. There wasn't much to see besides big open fields.

The town of Edendale was about halfway from Gore to Invercargill. It was advertised as being the home of the best cheese in New Zealand. I never found the cheese and the only things I saw going through town were two factories of some sort (not cheese) and a big power plant, with an even bigger one being built next to it. Some much for Eden.

Gore was a nicer town, with a pleasant main street and an Oatmeal mill. It also has a Giant Brown Trout, much like the Giant Salmon of Raikaia. I have pictures of both. There is supposed to be good fishing in the area.

Invercargill seems flat. I arrived around 5:30pm and most of the stores were already closed. Compared to Dunedin, it is pretty dead in the evening. I did ride around town a bit. Most of the downtown architecture is British c