I had a fairly windy ride getting in to Napier, but it was nothing compared to the endless, gusting, hurricane-force winds I rode through when I left. The worst thing about it wasn’t the huge gusts, but the fact that it could make a 180 degree change in direction at the drop of a hat, forcing me to make a quick change in the angle of the bike to compensate for it and sliding clear across the lane, hoping I wouldn’t be blown either off the road or into oncoming traffic. Mile for mile, I can’t think of a more exhausting day of riding (on paved roads, at least)
A little further south, I passed through Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which apparently is the longest named place in an English speaking country, and translates to “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one”
Near Palmerston North, I took a detour off the main road to check out a dirt track up over a bit of a hill that was covered in wind turbines (and wind, of course).
Not far down the road, I passed a sign stating that the road was no longer maintained, and almost immediately came upon some rather deep puddles.
Despite looking rather muddy, the bottoms were pretty solid, making for little drama…they were maybe even a bit of fun.
So with a head rattled by the wind, arms sore from wrestling with the handlebars for hours, and boots filled with mud, I made it into Wellington…my last stop on the North Island.