Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cool Night. Whakatane or Ohope? Gale Repeats.

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I seem to be a glutton for punishment and the wind does not abate (a familiar refrain).

The ride today was eventful only in its length. A 70km slog to the coast, ending at Port Ohope.

While having breakfast this morning at the Rotoma Holiday Park. I was talking with the other camper who was there with his son and daughter. The daughter, about 10, was participating in a 1K swimming race on Lake Rotoma later that morning.

After I got packed up and set off on my way, I came across the race, so I stopped to take a look. It was an event with many classes and distances and one of the top class races was in progress at 5K swim. This is definitely an event for racers and family. Much like sailing, as a spectator sport, it is like watching paint dry.

Right after the lake was my first hill of the day, and just about the last until Whakatane. It was on a par with some of the hills on Waiheke, so it was just a long continuous climb.. Since I was now about 250 meters above sea level and Whakatane is on the coast, there was a long downhill following, complete with the 35kph S-curves, but there was a long stretch of flat road to windward after that.

Most of my ride today was on the main road from Rotorua to Whakatane, which was fairly busy, but it really got heavy after it crossed Route 2. But I got into Whakatane around 1pm.

Once I got to Whakatane, it was, as usual, time to find a place to stay. Although Whakatane is a god sized town, it has only one campground. The choice became one of staying at Whakatane or moving a little further down the road to the Ohope holiday park, I decided on the Port Ohope one as it looked better in the guide. I also figured that it would be a bit closer to Opotoki, my next destination. So after sending stopping at the NZ Telecom Hotspot (in a phone booth) to send yesterday's mail I headed to Ohope.

As I parked outside the Whakatane i-site, looking for the Hot Spot, there was a small version of the Kiwi Experience green bus parked. The driver, who was about my age, asked about my trip. The bus was also doing the East Cape, but in four days. I'll probably take longer than that. He asked what route I was taking and I said that Ohope was next, then Opotiki. He told me that there were two routes out of town in that direction, A short steep hill or a 5km longer route with a long no so steep hill.

(At that point, his passengers returned from their break, about a dozen young women, two older women and one young guy. Looks like he picked the right bus)

I decided on the short steep hill, Hillside Road, right behind the i-site. This may have been a bad choice. It was not doable, at least not by me. I pushed the bike up most of it. Once I got to the top, it joined the main road and went up some more, but I could manage that, then the road went straight down and directly into the wind. The last 10km to Port Ohope were directly into a gale.

Perhaps it should be called the Port Nohope. A rather disappointing end to the day. It was at the end of the peninsula, I saw from the map of Ohope, when I got off the main road that there was Dairy at Port Ohope, so I passed up the one in the main Ohope village. A mistake. The one at Port Ohope was just about the worst stocked I've ever seen. I thought about eating at the local restaurant, but it seemed to be closed for Waitangi Day.

The holiday park seems to be in off season mode, with some of the facilities closed. Unfortunately, no one told the visitors. It is pretty crowded. The park also seems a bit worn out after the summer. The most of the sites are pretty dusty. It seems to be in the mould of the Top 10 at Mt. Maunganui, converting to flash rental units. The "end of summer" comes quickly here.

After a 70km ride it is pretty disappointing. Tomorrow it's a hilly 40km ride to Opotiki and then prep for the East Cape. I hope the gale abates.

Not many photos toda:

1 comment:

gus said...

I caught your blog on my google alert for Opotiki ...I have an Email friend there....Gordon Wheeler...he is retired and lives on Church Street....I am in Chilliwack B.C. Canada....I spent time in New Zealand when I was 19...and had some neat experiances in Opotiki....a lllllong time ago.....I just caught your blog and have had some interesting reading.....I have a blog as well....