I was faced with a difficult decision on Friday evening 17th February. Either push on to arrive at Cape Reinga as I had stated I would to listeners on National Radio and in Media Releases that day, or let logic prevail, and postpone the arrival one more day. I opted for the latta. With just twenty kilometers short of the top, torrential tropical downpours had started just after the National Radio interview round 2.30pm. Coupled with this, the road was greasy, the terrain exceptionally hilly, and light was due to start fading.
Pioneer Spirit is alright on wet roads, but not a lover of them, so I parked up for the night at Waitiki, the last fuel and beds before the Cape. I was frustrated, but upon further advice, from local iwi, my mind was eased somewhat knowing I would not have completed the hill climbs before dark.
It had been a good day. I had arrived in on dark the night before at Lake Waiparera, and camped the night, hitting the road at 7.15am the following day. Good time was made to Hou Hora, where I had reached by mid morning. This is also where cell phone coverage ends in Northland, so I decided not to wait for the 2.00 interview, but to move on. I decided I would find a local resident closer to the top who would let me use their phone. The wheel reached Te Kao round 1.30, in time to cool down, and prepare to speak on air. The Te Kao general store staff were most obliging in letting me use their phone and office. Jim Mora as always is a top interviewer and gave me good air time and sound questions to work on. He really is doing a fantastic job for NZ with his afternoon show – truly a great community builder.
But the wet really was wet. Heavy, and I was soon saturated. So after a sound nights sleep at Waitiki Village, I headed out for the Cape. The weather had cleared, and it was fine, sunny and humid. But hilly. Hill after steep hill for twenty kilometers – and then – I was there. Looking down at the Cape and lighthouse. I was elated, almost relieved. I had had the dream to do the ride in 1998, and tryed to get the time to do it in 2005, and 2007, and now here I was. And the centre of a photographic frenzy for some time. Finally I did the last mount up for the final few meters down the path to the light house. I had left Stewart Island on 14th November 2011, and now, 52 days of peddling, and just over three months later, at 2.32 pm, it was done.
Once all the photos had been taken, the records book signed, and hands shaken, it was off back to Kaitaia for a rest before beginning the journey home to Oamaru in the morning.
Photo – Elation at Cape Reinga. Arrived 2.32pm Saturday 18th Feb 2012.