Rawene, NZ

Day 2

At the Rawene Holiday Park, we could have pitched our tent, and still would have had use of shared (kitchen + bath) facilities. But those facilities had limited lounge space, making it less-than-appetizing to camp in this cool weather. They also have a range of cabins, and the most-basic would have solved that comfort/warmth issue (with an electric space heater), but still would have required going outside to one of the kitchens to cook, and one of the bathrooms for all the rest. So since Rett was feeling pretty exhausted after a nearly-four-hour pedaling-time ride while under the weather, and with a broken seat thrown in at the end, I’d decided to take the most luxurious accommodation, a room with a kitchenette and bathroom contained within (it helped that that “top end” room was only US$84).

The small town of Rawene sits at the tip of one of the many peninsulas pointing into Hokianga Harbor, one of the many teeth in the mouth of a giant crocodile. It may in fact be the sharpest, with the width narrowing down to barely more than 500 feet at the center of town. Our room (really the lower level of the owners’ house) faced west a bit closer to the gumline, but still only ~700 feet from the water, and perched 150 feet up near the centerline ridge. From the deck (or even from the bed looking out the windows), we could look across the water to several of the other “teeth” meshing into each other forward in the crocodile’s mouth. Rett immediately fell so in love with the view, and the comfort of the place, that she asked if we could stay a second night. I had assumed our “splurge” would be in lieu of a multiple-night stay, not a doubling of it, but since that doubling would still be only US$168, and we did have slack in our schedule, why not? We could definitely use the extra rest, and the view was pretty great.

One positive aspect of autumn’s ever-lengthening nights is that the darkness extends far beyond our sleeping needs, so we’re frequently finding ourselves awake early enough to watch the sunrise. And while our room faces west, it’s an easy twenty steps up to the ridge where we can look down to the east.

Mother Nature creating an impressionist painting in the pre-dawn.
Some of the crocodile’s teeth to the east, being flossed with fog.
Almost sunrise…
It is morning in Rawene!
Sunrise light shining us (and Lamby rousted herself out of bed for the event too).
A flip back over to our deck on the western side of the ridge reveals the light shining on this small village (with a big church!) across the harbor.
Rett decided that she wants to live in the white house near the bottom left, the only house on this entire crocodile-tooth.
The tooth neighboring ours on the lower jaw of this crocodile.
The point of the upper-jaw tooth that has the white house on it.
Not another crocodile tooth, but one of the Holiday Park’s A-frame cabins, set atop the ridgeline.

The day off wasn’t all just absorbing the quiet atmosphere of Hokianga Harbor, it also gave a chance to do some “work”. First was taking care of Rett’s credit card that was compromised last night. We have a decent number of cards between us, but with my expired ATM card, and now down a credit card, it does get a little stressful to lose payment methods. Luckily we’re traveling to my parents’ soon, so her bank is having the new physical card sent there, and even better, the new card is automatically updated in Google Wallet for tap-to-pay, which 90% of businesses have here, so we’ve actually lost very little. Still: hackers, fuck off.

Speaking of hacking, I spent the time to see if I could hack together a sturdier (but still completely-unofficial) fix to the broken bolt in Rett’s Brooks saddle. Pictured below, from right to left, I have the end of the broken bolt somewhat lashed in place by the big zip-tie, then the existing nut positioned so another half-inch of the bolt extends to the left. Normally, the bolt would extend the full inch+ to the rounded shiny bit riveted into the saddle, where a special fitting would seat it into the donut-hole (not visible) in the center of the shiny bit. Turning the nut then “pushes” the shiny bit on the left away from the bigger shiny on the right (that the big zip-tie is wrapped around), tensioning the leather and allowing it to support a human. But that special fitting (along with half-an-inch of bolt) is what snapped off.

Field repair of a Brooks saddle with a broken tension bolt.

The strange double-flared white bit is part of a PVC plumbing fitting that I bought in Mexico to use as a fork-spacer when packing our bikes to prevent the front fork from getting bent if too much weight was piled onto the bike box. Using a Swiss Army knife, I “sawed” off a 3/4-inch length off that fitting (gonna need to find a new spacer for packing our bikes when flying out of New Zealand, but that’s a problem for another day!), slipped it over the bolt-stump extending from the nut, and with some heavy grunting, was able to manually stretch the leather far enough to sneak the PVC under the lip of the curved shiny bit, hopefully wedging everything into place. Then for a bit of extra insurance I took an aluminum cylindrical spacer from my random-parts bin, and slid it through the donut hole in the shiny bit, and into the non-bolt-filled end of the PVC, and then held it in with the four small zip-ties. That will hopefully keep the PVC from floating around inside the cup of the shiny bit. The tension isn’t adjustable, and is probably lower than ideal, but it’s certainly better than just flopping loose and having Rett’s butt sinking onto the metal saddle rails. Hopefully it holds for at least a couple days until we can get to a proper hardware store!


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One response to “Rawene, NZ”

  1. Lynwood Avatar

    Wow, just wow! Beautiful pictures, great writing an

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