I realized I don't actually talk about the bike part of this trip very often on here. Most of that is because I've had pretty solid luck with my bike. Between Steve from Baer Wheels and /r/bicycletouring I landed extremely well prepared. I brought pretty much everything I wound up needing and forgot almost nothing. My bike hasn't needed to be touched by a mechanic since I got here (which is good because I haven't found one I'd want to touch it yet). The only work I've done was using pliers to bend my disc brakes back into shape after I put it in a bad bike rack and covering a gouge through the paint on the frame from when the bike fell over. In terms of gear I patched a hole in my tent as well.
I've heard a lot of other cyclists talk about problems that mostly came from low quality tents or panniers leaking water, cheap racks breaking or similar issues. My setup as a whole was probably more pricey than I should have gone with but I like to think its the reason I've had such luck.
I've tossed a few small things along the way and recently bought a cheap stove and pot set to try to keep food costs down. I do wish I brought a stove with me as the selection here wasn't so great but I hadn't expected it would be cheaper and easier to get fuel for gas stoves than alcohol ones. Mostly because the huge number of backpackers that carry these stoves, I guess. I also bought pins to hang clothes, a coffee mug, squishy bowl and more stuff sacks.
Anyways, today was windy, surprise. I saw a German couple packing their bikes at camp when I was getting ready and we talked about whether or not it was worth it to sit the day out. The beach was beautiful but despite the wind it was going to be a beautiful day and I wanted to see more of the Catlins while the sun was out. It was a close call, that beach was pretty incredible.
So I got on the saddle, saw a petrified forest and Niagara Falls (yes, really, they are in the background of the picture below).
I've been getting pretty lazy in the mornings. I started reading before getting out of my sleeping bag which meant today I didn't start riding until almost 11. This meant I got to the place I wanted to camp yesterday (Papatowai) around 3pm. DoC camp ground, so $6 and no shower (again). My mom is afraid I will fall in love with a girl and not come back. I hope she knows how unlikely this is given my ability to practice proper hygiene on tour.
Anyways, the camp site was nothing special and there was no pub so uh, onwards, I guess. Wind has mostly gone away which I appreciate as I climb over Table Hill heading towards Owaka (oh-whack-ahhh). Chatted with a local cyclist about the town on the road until she said bye and dropped me on a hill. Ugh.
I arrive, see there is a pub/motorcamp and head straight there. $5 to pitch a tent and there are showers. Camping behind a bar just means I drank more than I would have, oops.