Monday, February 4, 2008

Slow Travel. The Big Hill. Quick Descent.

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Ellen recently wrote me about Slow Travel, suggesting that it was my mode this trip. An interesting idea, but it seems to have been co-opted as a marketing theme for short-term house rentals. That isn't really all that new a concept. Villa rentals in Europe, at least, have been going on practically forever. We did that in the 90's.

So, my trip has been a different type of slow travel, not moving far each day and taking time. (I guess we'll have to call it the "Travel Slowly" movement as "Slow Travel" is already trademarked.) It has also been going on for a while, since there have always been cycle tourists. Maybe it should involve other modes of transport as well. There's no reason why one has to move hundreds of miles a day when traveling by automobile, but it seems that it inevitably happens, at least when I'm driving. maybe this time the lesson will sink in and the next motorized journey will be a "Travel Slowly" trip.

Off the soapbox and onto the journal.

I tried to start early yesterday, but was lazy about breakfast, much to my chagrin. I'd packed up by about 8am and had decided to go over to the hotel (the Okoroire Hotel) for breakfast. I'd had a good, relatively inexpensive pub dinner there, the evening before. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and they didn't serve breakfast until 8:30. No big deal, I figured, I'll just pull out the laptop and use the excess wireless minutes I'd paid for the night before to send email. Oops, the hotel's ISP expired my prepaid card over night. It was only good for one calendar day, not 24 hours--argh! To add insult to that, I waited around for breakfast. had the continental breakfast and it was $17, significantly more than dinner. They get you at the hotel dining room--oh well, I should have eaten more.

I ate quickly and headed off. The starts always seem really tough and my legs really seemed weary on the first little hills. About 10k into the ride I came across a cafe (complete with an Emu), where I stopped for a real coffee. After that I felt better and then the real climb began. The climb itself wasn't as bad as the traffic. No quiet back roads today, the only route is SH 5 to Rotorua. Fortunately, the really heavy traffic was coming in the other direction. There was a big Reggae concert in Rotorua last night and the returning traffic was just constant.

From OkoroireToRot...

The problem was that this meant that I had to really stick to the left of the shoulder, as the traffic in my direction had no place to go around me and you know how Kiwis drive. It was a bit nerve racking as I was going so slowly, it was tough to not wobble.

From OkoroireToRot...

Although I stopped to rest a few times on the way up, I was able to pedal all the way. It did about 6 kph on the way to the top, but it was a whole lot easier going down. It took over 3 hours going up. On the other hand, it took only a half hour to get down the other side. It was about a 15km coast. I maxed over 50kph, but only at one point. One big hill down, who knows how many to go.

From OkoroireToRot...

I got into Rotorua about 2pm and stopped at the Starbucks for lunch and a well-deserved latte. They also had a Telecom Hotspot, so I took about an hour and a half of free time to update my journal and upload photos, before heading off the the Thermal Holiday Park just outside of downtown. In all, it was another 60km day of (mostly) slow travel.

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