Hokitika - Greymouth: Another easy day...

Tuesday November 9, 2010, 41 km (25 miles) - Total so far: 858 km (533 miles)

Time: 2:19 Distance: 40.84 km Average: 17.5 kph Max: 34.5 kph Altitude Gain: 120 m
Greymouth is the biggest town on the west coast, but unfortunately lives up to its name - it's depressingly dull and uninteresting, and so is the highway that I rode from Hokitika this morning. Although it runs parallel to the coast, rarely is a glimpse of the ocean afforded, but in any case the road is busy and required my full attention.

Oh, and a warning - nearing Greymouth there is a long, single-lane girder bridge, which is used by both rail and road traffic. You could easily drop a wheel into the track and fall, but worse, the oncoming traffic may not see you crossing against the backdrop of bridge girders. That is what happened to me. Luckily the semi-trailer driver did see me eventually, but only after he had already started to cross. Then he waited and apologized as I squeezed past, but it is quite a dangerous situation and you need to be sure you are seen. The best tactic would be to get in front of some traffic that is going the same way as you are.

I left Hoki at just before 9am by the town clock in the main street. It was another glorious morning and with a good surface, easy grades and the breeze at my back I arrived in Greymouth before midday. My backpacker room is in a beautiful old building, a former monastery, quite near the town centre.

After a stroll around the town and a visit to the Trans Alpine booking office I'm now preparing for the next leg of my journey - inland and across Lewis Pass back to the east coast.

I've had a fabulous run with the weather since that wet day in Haast - apart from some light drizzle entering Fox Glacier it has been fine and cool, with a gentle southerly breeze. I've been very lucky, as I've had fine weather and fair winds for almost the entire trip so far. And to think people have been telling me I'm going the wrong way for the time of year. And the tourists that I've met - well, they have all complained about headwinds.

Rain is predicted in the later this week, which may put me somewhere about the pass, so perhaps my luck is about to end. At least if it does rain I may have the option of a hot spa to warm me at the end of the day.
Whatever, tomorrow will see the end of the easy travelling - it will be mostly uphill, and nearly 80 km to Reefton.

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