11/21/18 – Gravitating Towards Gravel

Part of today’s route seemed like one long and unnecessary detour. Some of it of my own making, most of it from the TA guidebook.
When I turned off the main highway onto a backcountry road, I knew there would be a chunk of gravel road that connected two paved segments, and I was cool with it. When the pavement ended, it was no surprise. Despite the incline on gravel, I calmly carried on. There were logging trucks passing me by; the third truck stopped and the driver asked if I knew where I was going. I was unpleasantly surprised to find out I was several kilometers off target. So I turned around and retraced my steps to the correct turn I had somehow missed. No biggie, but 12-15km of extra mileage.

Back on the correct route, I hit the right chunk of gravel road, again at an incline. 10 km later, I was back on paved road. Wasn’t too bad.

A dozen km further, to follow the TA route, I needed to cycle on gravel again. My gut feeling was to skip it to avoid complications, but the TA guidebook described it as “a quiet and scenic gravel road”. Against my initial inkling, I turned onto gravel again. It was neither quiet (it’s an active logging area with trucks covering bypassers with a thick layer of dust) nor was it scenic (it runs on the back of farms and through cut-down forest). Both Greengo and I were covered with dust; all that cleaning a couple of days ago was in vain. Half an hour later I reached my destination: Tapawera, a small village in the middle of nowhere.

I was quite pissed at myself for not listening to my gut, and at the authors of the guide for contriving this stage of the tour. It seems they needed to add some extra mileage to round up the the whole trip to 3000km and couldn’t find a better solution than to send people on uninteresting and unpleasant roads. Tomorrow I will come back to the same highway I was on this morning, not far from where I left it.
OK, bitching session is over. Tomorrow will be a better day, I am pretty sure.

Today in numbers:

85 km – distance cycled
405 – the population of Tapawera