Today I finished out the rail trail making it to Clyde (70km). Was quite happy to be done with it. The trail as a whole is a pretty amazing ride covering a lot of very beautiful scenery without having to deal with the typical harshness of New Zealand hills. The downside is that at times it is very rough for loaded tourers. Areas of thick gravel that my bike just sinks into or of very large stones that jam my bike back and forth and deal harsh blows through my saddle. Back to the smooth road full of big metal boxes for now!
I didn't mention this yesterday but warm weather finally seems to be here. Two days in a row of seeing over 80 Fahrenheit on my Garmin. This means short sleeves and finally my forearms can start to catch the tan of my knees and hands.
Everyone knows there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand but its hard to grasp how huge their presence is until you're here. It might be hard to see in this picture but all the white dots are sheep.
Tonight at camp I saw a couple guys roll in with panniers and, as usual, I got excited and ran to chat. Justin and Nathan, a younger guys from Australia doing a shorter tour with some similar routes as me, only reversed. Heading off the other direction on the rail trail then up the coast to likely end at Oamaru. We talked for a while and traded tips about towns to skip and notes on the peddlers paradise routes. Got a lot of good ideas from them for eating cheaply at camp.
They were running on mountain bikes with no front panniers and a massive pile strapped down on the rear rack and backpacks. Said its what they got when talking to someone in a bike shop back in Australia about gear for the trip. Glad I got steered in the right direction at Baer Wheels, thanks Steve!