After spending two restful nights staying with our friend Terry (see last blog), it was time to move on. However, before doing that, we wanted to take advantage of the coolness of the morning and squeeze in another bike ride. To be honest about it, my legs and lungs felt positive about the ride. My backside, not quite so much after the long ride the previous day. When you haven’t been on the bike for a while, as I am sure lots of you know, it takes time for your body to become accustomed to the pressure spots. Anyway, putting on a brave face, I hopped on the bike and led Sarah back towards the bike trail.
Our friend Terry, who lives in the small village of Waikino, is perfectly positioned between two entrances to the Karangahake bike trail. The first is the overbridge by the local pub. The second is a tunnel under the road next to the Waikino railway station, followed by another bridge. From here, we set off along the bike trail towards Waihi. Even though we had only ridden one kilometre so far, my backside was already reminding me of the distance we had covered the previous day. So I was a little disappointed to discover that unlike yesterdays smooth, even path, today’s was rougher with more exposed tree roots. However, the route itself was beautiful.
As we had set off early, the trail was reasonably quiet with very few other cyclists. That allowed us to take our time, stop and admire the views along the river. Or look at the cuttings they had made through the small hills to build the railway. However, I did wonder, with the tourist railway on the other side of the river, why they built two railways, one on each side?
This trip is the first time we have used the bikes since they were both fully serviced. We have been a bit neglectful, having owned them for four years. I must say what a difference it has made to how they operate. No longer do Sarah’s brakes squeal, and the bike rattle whenever she uses it. I must say that the service wasn’t exactly cheap, but it was certainly worth it.
Aside from the trail being somewhat rougher than yesterdays ride, it was also a little less flat. Nothing that a semi-fit cyclist couldn’t cope with, but I must confess to being rather worn out from the previous day’s ride and found myself clicking on the power button a couple of times. Crossing a bridge back over the river, we took several shots of each other, but I neglected to get a decent picture of the river.
When we crossed over the bridge at the Waikino station, I looked at the distance sign to Waihi, which stated it was 6 km. I know that the counter on my bike isn’t entirely accurate, but as we approached the 9 km mark on my bike, I wondered how inaccurate it was. (When we got home, I checked the map, and it showed a distance of 9 km, so that made me feel a lot better.)
We arrived at the trail’s end, which terminates at the Waihi railway station just as the train was being prepared for its first trip of the morning. I noticed that the train has a special carriage to carry bikes and thought this would be the perfect way of experiencing both the train trip and saving my backside a further ride. So, I talked with Sarah about taking the train back to our starting point. Sadly, we hadn’t learnt the previous day’s lesson after being unable to visit the museum as we weren’t carrying masks. So it was that we couldn’t enter the booking office without masks.
We rode back to where the motorhome was parked up at Terry’s place. Including a little bit of exploring, we had ridden over twenty km’s that morning. That’s nothing compared to what this trail offers the serious cyclist, with almost 200 kilometres of scenic riding available. We did pass one lady who had two panniers full of gear and was obviously riding the complete trail.
We both look forward to riding some more sections of the trail around Te Aroha when we attend the national NZMCA rally later this year. It will be our first time attending such a large rally with over 500 motorhomes expected. However, for me, the highlight of this will be the announcement of the successful candidates for the NZMCA board.
We didn’t have to travel far to the next destination. Located directly behind the Waihi Railway Station is an area set aside for camping. It has six powered sites at $15 per night and ten unpowered at $10 per night. Payment can be made either online or at the railway office. With so much sunshine at this time of the year, our solar is producing more power than we can use, so we parked up in one of the unpowered sites and wandered over to the office to pay.
We paid for our site and also to catch the historic train ride. However, I don’t know if the diesel shunt engine quite qualifies as a historic train. As it was such a glorious day, we chose to sit outside in the open carriage on what I thought were some of the most uncomfortable seats I had ever sat on, or maybe I was still suffering from our bike ride. It’s a pleasant journey through farmland and along the river. A moment’s excitement, for everyone as we crossed a bridge over the road to discover an accident beneath us. No one appeared injured, but there was some severe damage to one car—a reminder to everyone to take care on the roads this summer.
Something else that surprised both Sarah and me as the train ran along the roadside for part of the trip was the number of cars tooting their horns at us. The kids on the train just loved it and added another dimension to the ride.
Considering the journey is only around 9 km’s I was surprised that the journey to Waikino took 30 minutes. So we arrived at the station only 15 minutes before the train departed for the return journey. I guess that’s what happens when you take the last ride of the day. That meant that we didn’t have time to sample the wares at the Café. What surprised me was just how busy the Café was at 2.30 pm. A very popular spot and one we would have enjoyed had we had the time available.
It wasn’t long before the train horn sounded the call for all to aboard for the return journey. Initially, I sat outside again with Sarah but started to feel a little unwell and retreated to the enclosed carriage. I am not sure if this was caused by too much sun or just the after-effects of the final infusion to treat my Lymphoma, which had happened ten days prior. It has affected me before, just not this long after the infusion. Whatever it was, it was nice to be sitting on a comfortable padded seat rather than the rock-hard bench outside.
Back at the motorhome, I began to feel progressively worse and, in the end, asked Sarah if she would mind if we went home. So after a quick visit to the dump station, which is located just a short drive from the camp and has potable water on site. We headed back to Auckland, not having stayed in Waihi. A shame because I would love to have explored the town the following day. But, I spent the next two days in bed recovering, so it was probably just as well we went home when we did. The rest of Waihi will need to be enjoyed another day.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can then click the link to read the blog about that area.