The Boxcar District of Christchurch, The Penguins of Oamaru, The Albatross colony of Dunedin, The flats of Bluff, the waters of Doubtful Sound. I didn’t see any of these things… and that’s ok.
Daily I am passing by all sorts of majestic wonders en route to another home. It’s a funny thing to travel to the other side and miss all the sights and sounds that everyone else is coming to see. The germans, the swiss, the japanese, the Canadians they are coming to see this collection of wawaweewa that is New Zealand. I am passing most of it by. Sometimes that feels like a shame, but most of the time I’m quite content with what I am seeing. A lot of beauty smacks you in the face while just passing through. I look around and think “lord of the rings didn’t use CGI for the landscapes. only thing missing is castles and Orcs.”
Beowolf and Wiglaf are holding up. I keep them well oiled and pressurized. I put a great deal of effort into making sure the equipment is not falling apart. Every time I stop I try to check every wheel and screw so a small problem does not become a big problem or a Gid got dead problem. I check all the ties and connections and snaps and clips. I repeat out loud “double check the double check” which is a quadruple check for those of you who were thinking about everything else in math class. (mom please don’t read the next couple sentences) Been on some hairy roads with narrow shoulders and precarious cliffs. For the most part drivers seem pretty safe here, but every now and then a bus will come by and lightly brush against my earlobes. Don’t like those moments. It’s like my ol pappy used to say “if a buss wants its way then a bus gets its way”. Picture is during the road from Kingston to Queenstown. My favorite ride so far. 50 kilometers along Lake Wakitipu. I had a date scone traveling with me, but not for long.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit Milford Sound one of the most sought after destinations in the world. Tourism because of Milford Sound brings in $500,000 a day to the New Zealand economy. I had a limited window because I was trying to make a show in Kingston which was a two day ride from Te Anau where I had just played the night before. I woke up at 5am to drive two and a half hours to Milford Sound with a lovely brit named Alex, had just an hour to walk around, then had to hitch a ride back two and a half hours, with a lovely Indian couple on their honeymoon. I packed up and started a five hour bike ride to Mossburn where I would spend the night.
When I was getting ready to leave for Mossburn I realized I was so tired I couldn’t really stand let along bike. The night before I was very excited about seeing Milford Sound and worried my alarm would not go off. I always can’t sleep when worrying about an alarm, but it always goes off. I took a nap and left in the early evening (sun sets at 9pm). There was a strong headwind which added about 2 hours to my ride. 2 hours in the dark. First night ride. I had my blinkers on and I was pedaling hard enough to stay warm. Every hill, every turn, every approaching horizon I would say out loud “come on town! There is a fucking town behind that hill! come on town! Give me a town with one building….. here we go….. town town town town town!” and there would just be another hill, another turn, another beautiful and endless landscape in the moonlight.
I have instituted my first thou shalt as a result of that evening.
THOU SHALT ALWAYS BE SURPRISED AND DELIGHTED BY ARRIVING AT THE DESTINATION
I have let go of expecting to be somewhere. I give myself more then enough time and just ride. When I arrive it’s a treat. If I’m always looking it never comes. It’s like watching a cookie bake in the oven … agony!
When I got to Mossburn that night at 11pm I found the one lodge in town. There was a bridal party going on. The owner said there were no rooms left and no food either. I was sad sad and dead spent. I told him I was touring an album on Bicycle and he said “oh you the guy with the banjo?” I said yep. He said “come on I got a cabin in the back for ya”. He gave me a room for free and his own dinner. In the morning he sent me on the road with a packed lunch. It pays to be in the paper!