Goodbye to the South Island

We’ve rested and relaxed and recuperated in Christchurch  for the last three days.  Three whole days without packing up our tents, loading our bikes, and rolling down the road.  Luxury.  This afternoon we’ll take a ferry back to Wellington and the end of the trip will be in sight.

Our basic procedure upon arriving in town seems to be to lose any motivation to be active and sit still for as long as we can.  We move a lot most days, so this approach to resting is understandable.  We’ve caught up on the news, watched Will Smith save the world in Independence Day, eaten tasty pizzas, and generally grown as soft as we could in 72 hours.  That’s the recap for our time in Christchurch.  The recap for the trip from Dunedin to Christchurch is, however, a competely different matter.

As a result of the marvel that is the internet, your requests come to the folks here at with blinding speed and can be addressed at a speed that, though not equally blinding, is pretty quick.  The current wires seem to focus on the lack of coverage Chris is getting in these postings.  There’s a call for more pictures.  Are these calls coming from his multitudes of adoring fans?  Are they sent out by the foundering members of the “Chris Jackson Appreciation Association”?  No, they are not.  Were that the case, were these requests coming from other bloggers, I would not be so moved to act.  No, they come from a mother and so I must comply.  That they come from my mother is a bit of a sore subject.  She also wants to see more pictures of sheep.  I don’t want you to think that I’m jealous or hurt.  I did make the cut and she would like to see more pictures of me, but to know that her favorite son (sorry Sam) ranks below both his cousin and a large flock of sheep is a bit hard to stomach.  So it goes.

So, here we go. .. (Get it, a little parallelism between the two lines, with the “So” and the “goes”/”go”, it’s my little way of being clever, as is this obnoxious explanation)


As we were riding out of Dunedin, we passed a sign that caused us to take a short side trip to further squash the yeastiness of life.  The sign? “Baldwin Street – The Steepest Street in the World.”  We had heard about this on the way down the west coast, but passing it was unintentional.  Needless to say, we started up and up and up.  At the steepest, the road has a 38% grade.  Really quite steep.  I had to drop my rear bags off three quarters of the way up the hill.  Chris, with his lower gear set, had no problem powering to the top.  What a champion.


While in Dunedin, Chris got a nice new cycling jersey.


Located on the east coast, the Moeraki Boulders are unlike anything else in the area and anything else we’ve seen on other beaches.  If someone had requested more pictures of boulders in New Zealand, I’d be able to provide you with pictures of these.  As it, you’ll have to be satisfied with this picture of Chris.


Chris in his tent.  Yeah, it’s not the “Chris in action” shot that you were hoping for, but it’s a picture of Chris.


Though not a picture of Chris, this is further proof of his being a champion.  As we rode into Ashburton, Chris rolled off a curb and busted the wire bead that runs along the edge of his rear tire.  The tire developed a bulge, but he kept riding and made the distance.  The next morning, he was back on the bike and road another 50+ miles into Christchurch on a busted tire.  Not complaints, just determination.  Champion.  Earlier that day he had truly proven his champion-ness, but for reasons of appropriateness and discretion, that story cannot be shared publicly.  Let’s just say that I haven’t pushed myself as hard as Chris has pushed himself.  So that’s three times that Chris has beaten me.  So very ashamed.

And now for the sheep…img_2986





There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand and only 4 million people.  Surprisingly enough, this ratio of 10:1 is down greatly over the last few decades.  Not long ago, there were 80 million sheep and a mere 3 million people.  More than 25 sheep for every person.  Mind-numbing.


This is neither a picture of Chris nor a picture of sheep.  It is, however, the single most confusing traffic sign I have ever seen.  The intent is to convey that the road is curvy, passes over a railroad track, and drivers should be cautious of the four concealed side roads.  I’m not sure how else I would go about conveying this large amount of information.  I’m also not sure that I would be able to interpret all the information if I was passing the sign in a car rather than on a bicycle.  I have the luxury of time when it comes to decyphering such signs.  In a car, what with being worried about the curvy road, railroad tracks, and hidden side roads, I wouldn’t have time to focus on this sign.


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