Today I cycled to Rivendell, Isengard, and the Anduin. The quest would have been done long before if they’d just had bicycles.
Wind continued to scream through the trees. Winds of 40 kph. Not going to get any better all day, so I headed out.
For the first 10 km I kept reconsidering whether I should wait until tomorrow. Wind gusts repeatedly stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to fight to keep from being blown off the road (or into traffic). I had one hope – the Rimutaki Rail Trail would be sheltered enough to break the wind.
Turning onto the beginning of the narrow track, that hope bore only initial fruit. The trail transitioned to exposed mountainside. I can climb 7%. I can fight a headwind. I can deal with loose gravel. I can’t do all three at once. More walking than cycling, I eventually reached the summit. I encountered many cyclists headed the other way. The weather otherwise excelled, and I had no real rush.
From the summit the trail improved and turned downhill, and winds turned intermittent. I reached a crux point, and turned away from Wellington to the Kaitoke Regional Park on the Hutt River, also known as the film location for Rivendell in LOTR. They have a nice presentation about the movie.
A group of kayakers there prepared to paddle the Hutt River Gorge. I thought about camping in the Park, but to Wellington I would have dedicated cycle path, a river at my side, and most importantly this wind at my back!
On the way in to Wellington I stopped by Harcourt Park, the film location for Isengard. Still following the Hutt River, I passed the film location(s) for the Anduin (where Arwen crossed).
From there I had a quick 30 km into Wellington. I already had a reservation at the IYH hostel for Tuesday, and extended it. I also received a significant discount based on travelling in a carbon-efficient way!
I picked up the suitcase I had left in storage with the Red Cross after my class, and repacked in preparation for my flight. I met John from Australia, my roommate. He asked me many questions trying to understand US politics. By the end he decided the US was even more screwed than he thought.
I chatted with John on and off all evening. Sometimes you get mediocre roommates. John’s fun. The classic Australian, he’s traveled for years (decades) all over the world.
Tomorrow I need to take some steps to straighten out my absentee ballot (vote!). Then return the bicycle and play tourist!