463 km! - 5 hrs : 16 min travel time
An epic ride. By far the longest riding day we've had so far. Epic also in the quality of the ride.
Otago - especially the highlands has a wonderful quality to the light and the landscape. As autumn advances, the colours start to appear in the stands of poplars and willows that line the waterways and lake shores. Combined with the still intense green of irrigated pastures and the rolling golden hills and mountains and the big skies and distant horizons - it makes for an intensely visual experience.
The weather was perfect, apart from small pockets of fog as we left St Bathans. Clear blue skies, gentle breeze and relatively warm temperatures. Everything combined to make the ride a total pleasure.
This was the 3rd time we'd done the road from Cromwell through to Rakaia Gorge. But by far the best weather. Having done the route more than once allowed for more time to enjoy the surrounding countryside, rather than concentrating on the road.
The only downer for the day was the loss of a pair of sunglasses. Shortly after we started the day's ride - in perfect sunshine, we encountered a valley full of fog. Stopping to put on an extra layer of cloths, I took off my sunglasses and placed them on top of my rear panniers. Of course I forgot to put them back on and took off down the road. After a few km I realised my mistake, turned back and found them at the side of the road. At first glance the looked intact, but when I put them on I discovered a massive scratch right across the right lens. Bummer! Fortunately I carry a spare pair, and the damaged ones were abandoned at our morning coffee stop!
The campsite at Rakaia Gorge overlooks the river, and we had a pleasant supper with the hot smoked salmon.
An after dinner 'dram' in memory of my father who would have loved doing a tour like this and also a toast to future generations. Plus the bonus of a Skype call with Celeste. Perfect end to the day!
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