A New Zealand "Sabbatical"
Permanent link to archive for 02/02/20. Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Daily Digest 20 Feb 2002

  • Cycle Dist: 0km
  • Total Ascent: 0m
  • Ave. Speed: 0kph
  • Riding Time: 0:00
  • Total Elapsed Time: 0:00
  • Spent: NZ$18.00
  • Start: The Asylum Lodge, Seacliff
  • End: The Asylum Lodge, Seacliff

Posted at 8:43:12 PM  

Today's (Wednesday) Photos

Notes From The Asylum.... Lodge, That Is

With the wind still strong out of the south, I'm glad that I decided to stay here an extra day. It is an interesting place. I've been walking around the grounds this morning. There are 5 or 6 buildings still left from the asylum hospital. Aside from the original stone building built in 1879, most are of mid twentieth century origin. Most, except for the hostel itself, are just used for storage. One is a very complete automobile shop where Frank, the owner, is restoring an 1952 Peugeot. Two of the other buildings are filled with the unrestored cars from the twenties to the fifties that I mentioned yesterday. I think that he probably has about 35. There is a lifetime of restoration available. Of the more modern ones are an old Beetle with the small rear window and a Fiat Cinquecento. There is a Morris Panel Van that I'd love to have, if it were restored.
The stone building looks like it was used as a carriage house. It even has a forge in it. Frank is slowly working on converting at least part of it to a hostel for next year. The big room with the forge would make a stupendous great room, if one could convert the forge to a fireplace.
One of the other extant buildings is a wooden block of cells, evidently used for the violent patients. It is in pretty poor condition, but some of the original doors (with metal plate on the inside) and heavily shuttered windows are still in place. The rooms are actually fairly good-sized and the window openings large. With the application of time and lots of cash, the stone building and the cells could be quite a spectacular hostel. Probably won't happen.
Frank is very involved in trying stop the development of a proposed 2600 acre mussel farm just off the Karitane coast. This is still a fairly pristine area, which is why a large company want site it here, and the fear is that the mussels, which are not native to the area, will pollute the waters, the structures and boat traffic will drive away the dolphins and the shell debris will ruin the beaches. I'll be glad to help out. Seems a worthwhile cause.
There seem to be a handful of fairly long term guests here. With the Karitane beaches nearby, with good surfing and Dunedin within easy driving distance. It seems like a good place to stay out of the city. Unless.....it's really a Hotel California. I've stayed at a couple of strange locations, historically, in the last couple of days. First, a campground that was originally a convalescent hospital, now an ex-asylum.

Posted at 3:55:12 PM  

A Killer Hill

It has been a strange day, particularly weatherwise and probably my hardest ride.
It started out gray and raining, which was a drag, since I wanted to get on the road. The campground was okay, but rather boring, and I was out of food for dinner and there wasn't really a camp store. It was a rather depressing morning. By about 11am, the rain seemed to stop, so I packed up my stuff and got on the road.
About 2km down the road it started raining again, so I put on my rain jacket for the first time on the road. About 2km later it stopped. It was fairly rolling country so it was rather slow going, but nothing compared to what was to come. By the time I reached Waikouaiti, at only about 12km out, I was ready for a stop. I stopped for lunch of a egg and sausage quiche (very tasty) and a latte (in a bowl). I also wanted to stop to buy food since I wasn't sure if there would be any more stores before I got to the hostel in Seacliff, beyond Karitane. I wanted to get at least two days worth. When I left Waikouaiti, the sun had come out but so had the wind, a stiff southwesterly, which, of course, was dead to windward.
I headed off the main road towards Karitane, this was probably the most beautiful area that I've seen. The road ran along a salt marsh that was just teeming with birds. There were some white spoonbill type birds feeding in the shallows. It was one time that I wished that I had a zoom lens on the camera. Karitane overlooks a terrific looking bay and is surrounded by hills.
As I headed out of Karitane, the road when up hill, steeply and into the 30kt wind. I had to stop about 10 times before I got up the hill. About half way up, while I was standing there panting, a fellow pulled up in a pickup and asked if I'd like a lift up the hill. I asked him how much more there was. He said about 700 meters, so I demurred. I should have taken the offer.
I finally pulled into the hostel at Seacliff totally drained. I couldn't have pedaled another foot. It was only a 25km ride, but took three and a quarter hours. Just to make the strangeness of the day complete, it clouded up and started raining again shortly after I arrived. The sun returned after about a half hour.
The hostel is pretty nice, in a relatively new building on the grounds of what used to be New Zealand's largest asylum hospital. There is nothing left of the hospital except a few modern outbuildings, but the original hospital was once the largest public building in New Zealand. There are some pictures of it here. It looked like an enormous brick castle, complete with towers and turrets and all of the expected Victorian ornate trimmings. It was torn down in the fifties, since big brick buildings were considered earthquake hazards. What a loss.
Frank, who runs the hostel, is quite the collector. He has a collection of about 50 old cars (mostly 50's British models), but they are unrestored. He also collects architectural details. Several of the doors in the common rooms come from as Art Deco theater that was torn down in Dunedin.
As I have gotten further south, the accents have gotten a little stronger. There have been a couple of places that I've been where I have had to ask people to repeat things before I could understand them. There is a definite Scottish influence, particularly the use of the adjective "wee" for small, but it seems to be used as a general purpose add-in.
I will probably spend an extra day here to recover, unless there is a weather reason to move on. I expect that the next leg will get me to Dunedin. There is just the small matter of a 400 meter hill, Mt. Cargill, to ride over.

Posted at 3:47:31 PM  

Only One Sunny Day At A Time, A Gray Monday

I'm a couple of days behind, but with a day off, I'll catch up. This is Monday's log
After I finished with the computer last night, I stoked the wood stove, shut out the lights and went outside for a look at the sky. It was still clear and it was moonless. The only light was a little glow from the direction of Oamaru, 20km away. The stars were absolutely clear,with the Milky Way standing out.
The clouds have returned, but not the cold, at least for today. It was cloudy and warm and humid when I got started this morning. The route out of All Day Bay goes along the coast for about 5km and then inland 5km back to the main road. On a gray Monday morning it was completely deserted. I met a farmer on a tractor and a woman out with her dog on the entire route. The part along the coast was quite interesting. It continued up above the beach, which still has a pretty good surf. There was one area near the mouth of the Waianakarua River (say that even once, much less three times) where about a half mile of the beach was just covered with huge tree trunks and stumps that had washed up as driftwood, probably from stuff washed down the river at some point.
Once the road turned inland it became hilly again. I had to stop on the first hill. I don't know if I am getting any stronger. It seems just the opposite some times. Once I got to the main road, it continued to be rolling hills until the road ran along Katiki Beach. As I rode along, I was mostly looking out at the beach and the ocean, at one point I looked inland and knew that trouble was coming, since the rail bed, which had been running along side the road, was now 40 feet higher than the road and still rising. I came around a curve to a really big hill. Once over it, with much struggle, the road was fairly level to Palmerston.
At Palmerston, my technique of finding a decent place to stay by looking at the Information Center was foiled. The Info Center at Palmerston was merely a rack of brochures at a gas station. There wasn't much to choose from. I ended up at the Pleasant Valley Camp, about 3km south of town, just off the main road and up a hill, of course.
It is an old fashioned campground with cabins and tent sites and centralized blocks with the kitchen and showers. The cabin I have is pretty nice, with double bed. It is only NZ$15 + NZ$3 for linens. More comfortable than some of the hostels that I've stayed in that cost more. The kitchens are a little more primitively equipped than in most hostel. I expect that people camping and caravaning at these places usually bring their own stuff, but it has the requisite stoves and refrigerators and sinks and hot water.
There seem to be only one other set of guests, a 60something couple from Australia, who are tenting out.
AThe day was not very exciting as rides go. The views were nice, especially along the coast, but there were a lot of hills over the 50km I rode. I didn't even stop anywhere to take pictures. I was considering going further, but was pretty tired after 50km and the next town was another 15km of hills away. I did see two other solo cyclists at Hampden. As I stopped at the store there, for a break, a woman cyclist was coming out and heading south and, as I left, a fellow from Sweden arrived, who was also heading south. I didn't see them again on the road. I also passed a couple heading north with two big two-wheel trailers and the guy was also encumbered with full panniers and bags. I don't know how they pull that much. It must be lower gears.
Tomorrow, I am heading to a place called Seacliff, on the coast south of Karitane. It is a route that is hilly, but supposedly avoids Kilmog HIll, which looks steeper than the Hunderlees that I climbed after Kaikoura. It also has a hostel that seems to be in a spectacular location.

Posted at 3:29:34 PM  

Last update: 2/22/02; 10:27:49 PM
Copyright 2002 - Steven Magnell

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