Photos and GPS track from the third leg of summer 2012 bicycle tour of the West with rock climbing stops. We loved City of Rocks, can’t wait to go back!
After some climbing at Smith Rock we cycled east across Oregon. There were some hot days in mid-July and we enjoyed the higher elevations a lot. We had to change route a little bit when I realized we would be on gravel roads. Might have to re-visit that route with some knobbier tires!
PDX to Smith Rock State Park at EveryTrail
Last summer we took off from Portland the day after Jean finished residency and started on a bicycle tour with a few stops for rock climbing at Smith Rock near Bend, Oregon and City of Rocks in Idaho. I blogged about it here at the time but recently I pieced together the GPS tracks I’d recorded and added some photos from the trip to create the Everytrail map above. This is the first section of four. Some of the most beautiful riding of the trip was in the first couple of days and we had great company with Jason and Elvira, hope we get to tour with them again.
A few weeks ago I bought a new road bike which ended about a month’s drought of not cycling. I was happy to be back on the bike. Since then I’ve found there is spectacular road riding right out our door. Mostly because the roads are so empty and the scenery is great, views of the coast with rolling farmland and mountains in the distance. It’s not perfect of course, winds are common and when there are cars they do sometimes pass a little too close for comfort.
Here’s a Google Street view of a spot along yesterday’s ride.
And my new bicycle.
We arrived in our new home of Oamaru last night! Traveling from Wellington was fun but also a schlep with all of our stuff and the transfers we had to make. But we got the beginning of a feel for the South Island and all there is to explore. We were blessed with a fair day for the ferry crossing of Cook Strait. We took the first of many Super Shuttles to the ferry station that morning. They have been great because they have a trailer which fits our bike box and all our other luggage. We brought a lot of luggage, but we are planning to be here a year and it’s very expensive to ship things over.
After the three hour ferry crossing we transferred over to the train from Picton to Christchurch. We ran by lots of beautiful farm country with sheep and vineyards and along the coast where we saw seals. Here’s a very brief clip from the open air viewing car on the train.
We stayed in Christchurch one night and had the chance to walk a little in the Botanic Gardens which were beautiful although we only saw a small part of them. In the morning we drove out and saw Sam in quarantine. We rented a car as it was the cheapest way to get out there and I got some experience driving in New Zealand. After visiting Sam we transferred to a bus in the pouring rain. I think they used to have more of a bus station before the earthquake but now it’s a small container pod that doesn’t fit the people waiting for the bus and their luggage. The bus trip was another four hours and the rain passed and finally we were in Oamaru.
So far, we love it. We were met by the manager at the clinic and also our landlady for the beginning of our stay came and helped us carry our bike box back to our apartment. We had dinner with her and her husband who moved here from England ten years ago. Our place is on a big hill right near town and there’s a great view of the town and harbour.
This morning we looked at several rental houses we might move to over the next couple of weeks. We also got a better sense of where things are in town and saw the old historic section. There are magnificent preserved buildings in Oamaru made with a special kind of limestone. We ran in to a shop called Oamaru Cycle Works and met David Wilson who has toured New Zealand on a penny farthing bicycle. He was very interesting and welcoming and gave us two safety bicycles from the 1920s to use and gave us a suggested route around the Oamaru streets and harbour.
So not even twenty-four hours in and we were bicycling around the town. It seems like it’d be great to get around town in a bike, it’s pretty compact. Jean has her bike here, I will probably have to pick up one sometime soon. And we will definitely go back to Oamaru Cycle Works, he’s turning it in to a museum of penny farthings he’s built and collected. He was teaching someone how to ride one when we were there and I’d like to learn myself. Perhaps so I can ride in the Victorian celebration parade next year.
I’ve updated my blog in preparation for our imminent move to New Zealand. The old stuff is over here. However we are not quite out of the country yet and we managed to escape to sunny Florida for Thanksgiving to see a lot of family. This year we skipped the rental car and just rented a tandem bicycle at the local shop. Most of the area is pretty bicycle friendly, flat with some nice rails to trails. Our longest ride was about twenty five miles from Venice to Longboat Key and we encountered some more aggressive Florida drivers and when we got off the busy roads we sometimes encountered blockages that don’t show up on Google maps.
The day before Thanksgiving we had everyone over to our place on Casey Key and served sandwiches that we transported on the tandem, along with beer and other stuff!
Now we are back in Portland and trying to figure out how to take our bikes and other important stuff to New Zealand.