I left Masterton via the scenic route heading towards the east cape. The books describe this as a practically abandoned country road. Funny that it felt like I was back on the South Island.
I was feeling a lot better on the bike today than I was yesterday. Legs still feel surprisingly sore from walking my bike up/down the Rimutaka but they didn't bother me while pedaling so all was well.
I started feeling a little weird at some point when I realized it had been 8 hours since I had spoken a word to anything other than a sheep. This was a really lonely road I was on. Oh well, I was enjoying the time to think so I kept pushing on towards my goal of a free domain camp at the first town I would see today, a whopping 90km away from camp!
About 6km away from my goal I spot another cyclist, I notice he is rocking rear Arkel panniers as well so we stop to chat about gear. Evan, a Canadian, has got the bigger GT-54's but they are still pretty similar. We had a lot in common on our set ups, as a whole. He was heading to a farm hostel I recently passed so we wound up parting ways.
I get to town and head into the pub. If I'm cooking at camp I at least need to get water so figure I'd get a beer before asking. Wound up getting another monstrous fork-and-knife-sized kiwi burger to go with it. Now that's a good way to keep the good mood rolling.
When I finish I step outside and see Evan. He and two other cyclists took the shuttle in from the hostel. I go back in for another drink with them. Turns out Evan is a web developer as well and the cyclists he was with were actual kiwis, which is still a rare thing for my trip. After our drinks they take the shuttle back to their hostel and I head down the road to pitch my tent for free at the domain.