Drama on the South Island...
It started out as a magnificent day and ended in drama.
After a beautiful day in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, this morning we boarded the ferry to cross the Cook Strait from the North Island to the South Island. The weather was perfect, with sunny skies, warm temps, calm seas and little wind. We passed a pod of dolphins swimming and jumping as we entered Queen Charlotte Sound. After landing, we mounted our bikes and road off into a picture-perfect day. We stopped for a picnic lunch along a cove with sailboats bobbing in the water, ducks snapping up anything we dropped, and children playing along the shore. It's a struggle to keep our eyes on the road as we sweep down beautiful curving roads with the gorgeous water views to the side.
A few of us wanted to do a little extra cycling today as the planned route was short, the day was great for cycling and the road was flat for an extra 30k's ride. The guide suggests we meet him in Rai Valley. There's a pub there, he says. If you get there before me, that's where I'll look for you. Turns out there were two pubs in Rai Valley. He didn't know about the one we found even though there was a giant billboard advertising it just before the town. It was set a little back from the street. We didn't leave a bike near the road to mark our location since we were sure this is where he wanted us to wait for him.
A couple hours and a few beers later, we begin to wonder where Klaus is. Could something bad have happened to one of the other riders? We should call him. No one has cell phone reception. The bar phone is only for local calls. We wait another hour.
Finally, someone goes across the street to another business and asks to use their phone. He comes back to tell us... Klaus waited for us at the other bar, he decided we must have chosen to ride on toward Nelson. He went on and is now in Nelson which is 40k away over mountainous terrain. He is furious with us.
We wait another hour for Klaus to return. Now it's really dark. The barman feels sorry for us and brings out a giant bowl of hot french fries. Klaus arrives. Steam is rolling out of his ears. A few angry words are exchanged. The bikes are loaded. We make a very quiet trip back over the mountains to Nelson.