Today’s ride was lovely. I rode from Westport to Hamner Springs, about 217 km in total, going over Lewis Pass. I set off at around 10:00 AM, stopping briefly at a local gas station for fuel and air. My front tire was down to almost 25 psi which is a little surprising, considering I started at 35 psi a few days ago. I’ll have to monitor it over the next couple of days and make sure it doesn’t have a slow leak. Filling up air was a marvelous experience compared to the horrible air stations in the US. You set the PSI range you want, stick the tube onto the valve and keep it pressed down. The pump automatically adds the exact amount of air you measured out and you’re done! Plus, it’s free! No need to hunt around for exact change and listen to that awful sound the machine makes while you frantically try to fill air in all your tires before your money runs out.
The ride started off being really windy but after 30 km or so, the wind dropped off and it was calm. My new Sena was acting up again and it simply dropped connection after the first half hour. This time around I just let it be rather than stopping to reset and restart everything. I decided I’d try to ride in silence for a bit and it turned out to be a great decision! For the first time since I started this ride, I wasn’t listening to music and was just alone with my thoughts. It turns out that this was the first step in acquiring motorcycling zen, that elusive state that I’m always in search of. It helped the road and scenery was fantastic too, of course. Lots of twisties over great pavement, and beautiful trees lining the sides of the roads. I don’t know what trees lined the sides of the road. They seemed like birch but without the white bark. Whatever they ever, it was lovely to ride between them with the green light filtering through the leaves, a little like riding through Lothlorien. In fact, huge sections of today’s ride felt like riding through Middle Earth. Unfortunately, there weren’t many spots in which to pull over and take photos.
I don’t know when I crested Lewis Pass because I didn’t see any sign, or I missed it. In any case, after I crossed over onto the Canterbury Plains, I was stunned to see how stunning the vista was. Beautiful golden plains and mountains for as far as the eye could see. It was difficult to focus on the road because I wanted to gaze in every direction and soak in the scenery. What a beautiful magical place! I wonder if the first couple of days of my ride looked like this and I was just too tired and distracted to notice. Or maybe they looked better going west rather than east. Whatever it was, I was glad I got a second chance to notice and admire the plains.
I reached Hanmer Springs early afternoon and checked in to my hostel. Hanmer Springs is very very cold. I had to put on two layers and a wool hat which walking around the streets!
My main reason for choosing to stay in this town had been to try out the mineral hot pools. I spent a couple of hours there trying out the various pools. They were okay. I think it’d have been more fun to do with friends.
I picked up some supplies from the supermarket and made myself a sandwich and salad for dinner. Tomorrow, I ride to Kaikoura.