Had an early start to watch the F1 (04:00am!) then, when the laundry opened at about 8am, did a load of washing. One luxury of car/bike mixed mode touring is no problems carrying lots of gear, but even so I was getting low on clean ride apparel.
It was overcast but stayed dry long enough to nearly get the washing line dry while I dealt with some admin (for the rest of the trip) and wandered to town (not far) for breakfast. A café I'd scoped last night was closed but J's Café was open; the food (eggs benedict and bacon) and service were great!
Got back and the washing in just before light (for Westport) rain arrived, finished off drying it with artful hanging around the room.
Although raining it was not cold and decided to go for a ride as only here for two days. Had some shelter (below) to build the bike, but that just means putting on wheels, Tailfin rack and lights so doesn't take long!
The motel, Bella Vista Westport, was great letting me store it overnight in their utility room as I was staying in an upstairs one.
Explored the new, not yet complete, Kawatiri Coastal Trail. It mostly follows the coast for about 25km from Westport towards Cape Foulwind, then down to Tauranga Bay. By the end of the year this trail will go all the way, another ~30km, to Charleston and be a spectacular addition to the cycle trails on the coast. The road ride it will replace is mostly inland, along flat straight roads through farmland, so a coastal trail (with no traffic) will be a vast improvement.
Although I left in light rain it soon blew away and was mostly dry, albeit on wet road and trail from earlier rain. There's quite a variety of scenery as the trail crossed the river, farmland, wetland, bush glades and coastal cliffs. The trail crosses the Kawatiri (Buller) River before heading back towards the coast
Noticed this Ukraine support flag on a fence by the trail....
Putin in my ear...
I happened to be listening to a [then] recent BBC podcast about the man behind all this, which mentioned visits to New Zealand in his spying days:
To understand what Vladimir Putin might do in the future, you need to understand his past; where he's come from, what he's lived through, what he's done. Jonny Dymond tells the extraordinary and revealing story of Vladimir Putin's life with the help of guests who have watched, studied, and dealt with the Russian president.
You may wonder why the Soviet Union was particularly interested in NZ back in the early 1980s. This episode of the Radio NZ retrospective about the NZ Surveillance Service, 'The Service' (which aired in June 2020), explains:
The Service Ep 03: A Full Court Press from the KGB
In the mid-1980s, New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy is attracting international attention. With the ANZUS alliance in crisis, the KGB see an opportunity.
[This ride was just a few days before the Feb 24th invasion. The BBC podcast is periodically updated as events progress]
These cattle must already be used to cyclists, barely noticed as I passed by.
The trail crosses wetlands and Martins Creek. Impressive boardwalks and bridge but the wet surface demanded respect (even with the overlayed grip matting).
Quite wide for a 'creek', although technically a stream. At what point does it become a river?
This Whare Ngāhue (Shelter) for trail users has interpretive panels to explore while sheltering from rain, or sun!
I wasn't the only one drying damp washing this morning.
Westport Airport for real
Did an off-trail excursion to look at the airport. I stopped to take a call, regarding potential work after the trip, but was distracted by this weka wandering across the road while I talked.
The airport itself was oddly familiar. I've never been there for real but had seen it in NZA Simulations excellent (and free for this airport) Westport scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator!
Looking down the runway, real and virtual.
Terminal buildings faithfully modelled!
Kawatiri (Buller) River Mouth
Also checked out the nearby Kawatiri (Buller) River mouth which all the sea vessels visiting Westport (mostly fishing) must brave. It was a very calm day, for this coast, with just a hint of what they often face.
Navigation aids near the river mouth, again only previously seen in Flight Simulator!
Looking South towards Cape Foulwind.
View back up the river to Westport.
Omau Cliffs (near Cape Foulwind) has eroded pillar formations both created and claimed by the sea. The trail is well signposted, with these signs and trail info along the way.
Cape Foulwind Lighthouse
Did the short climb to the Cape Foulwind Lighthouse. Love the clouds looking North towards Karamea.
The base of an old, long demolished, lighthouse beside the current one.
Was a bit disappointed the bike trail goes inland from Cape Foulwind to Tauranga Bay, but from memory the spectacular coast walk had steps nearer the bay.
We walked the coast in 2006, this trail is still open for hikers.
A bonus of the inland route is another bush glade and nice zig-zag descent to the beach.
There used to be a restaurant (in a converted house) here in 2006. It's now luxury lodge accommodation with the restaurant having relocated to Westport long ago.
Racing the rain...
I took the road back to Westport to beat impending rain, hanging around in the hills, which never actually arrived. It was faster although had a bit of headwind to battle.
If the weather cooperates have another day ride planned for tomorrow, a bit more of a challenge too...
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