KIWI RIDER 10 2018 VOL.1 - Page 29

Sunset at Greymouth WILD WEST COAST At Fox Glacier the clouds parted, the sun came out, and by the time I’d had coffee and a terrible pie, the weather was clear and stinking hot. The weather bomb was behind me and I was racing it up the Island. From Fox I was in the groove, plugged into the T120 which was purring like a well-fed lion. Towns passed. Franz Josef, the Okarito turnoff, Whataroa, Harihari, and at Ross with four kilometres left in the tank, I stopped. I was suddenly tired. Gassed up, I rolled a few quiet k’s to Hokitika. I went to the mouth of the river at the western edge of town where two waterways, and different coloured streams, were fighting and resisting being mingled. This is usually a great spot to cast a lure. For forty minutes I tried. Nothing. I bought an ice cream. And decided to push on to Greymouth. Again the coast road was charming, but a little more populated than the empty southern roads had been. I had seen none of the notorious campervan horrors, except one, outside Whataroa, where a policeman was remonstrating wildly with a bunch of bewildered looking tourists. Their campervan was on its left side, on the gravel, just beyond the exit from the bridge. Flipped – god knows how. No-one hurt apparently, and it didn’t block the road - I went past. Not my problem today. At Greymouth I stopped and got a cabin for the night. No cooking or ablution facilities, but it was good to get the riding kit off, shower and wander down to a revelatory beach scene. Greymouth had always seemed to be raining, windy, cold, sleety, and grim, on every previous visit. But here was a tropical beach scene, a sunset coming, and the looming weather from the south bringing some dramatic colour to the balmy evening. I sat in a wooden bivvy on the beach, nearby to twenty or thirty locals and campers, and watched the same sun that I had seen rise over a mountain pass, blaze orange down a mutinous sky into a darkening, calm, evening ocean. Hell of a day. HELL of a day. Heaven-sent. Still haven’t found a good meal in Greymouth, nice people yes, but culinary excellence, no. KIWI RIDER 29