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Day 10: Pipiriki to Vinegar Hill

The route for Day 10: Pipiriki to Vinegar Hill.

Distance 143km.
Ascended 1964m

A misty morning greeted me as I surveyed my domain from the basic cabin I slept in. I had been invited to an 8.30am breakfast in honour of the Kennett party, but declined as I like to be on the road early to lessen my time in the sun.

The road follows above the river, winding through exotically named places such as Jerusalem, London (Ranana) & Athens (Atene).

Jerusalem previously being the home of James K Baxter, a deceased NZ poet we all had to study at school. Now boasting a convent where the Sisters run a backpackers as a side hustle.

The towering papa cliffs and mist kept the sun at bay for some time and it wasn't until I was about to ascend the hill called  'Gentle Annie' that I shed my beanie & vest. 

Exotic sounding placenames in New Zealand include Jerusalem pictured here.

I don't know who Annie was but I have cycled up 2 other Gentle Annie named hills and I can assure you they are not gentle! This hill also was no different. At least the view at the top made the effort worthwhile. Views of the river,  bush, farmland then Mt Ruapehu against a clear blue sky.

It's great to see local Councils investing in the health of their communities. Whanganui District Council has provided a new bridge and cycle way into town avoiding a busy highway; although one cyclist I saw lying beneath a tree didn't look too good.
"Need help?" I ask;
"Nah, ambo is on its way".
In reality all I could offer would be sage advice or toughen up pills, neither appropriate.

Past Capernwray student, Richard, in Hunterville

After a slow refuel in town I headed to the Durie Hill elevator, part of the route and the easiest altitude gain so far. Built to open up this side of the town for housing, it continues to operate as a commuter option. Next town is Hunterville, 60km away, where I'm meeting a past student.

Richard had already arrived and I needed a cold drink & pie! He was a student from 1994 and now lives locally with his family. It was great to sit down to rest, reminisce and catch up.  He's involved in his family, church and community and is, I'm sure, a blessing to all. I was encouraged as he prayed for me & my journey. 

Balancing a muffin & 2 bananas on the bars, I launched myself onto State Highway 1 for 6km. 2 narrow bridges, 1 ambulance & 2 cop cars (not for me) later, I arrived at Vinager Hill campsite.

Camp for the night, set up in Vinegar Hill | Cycling the length of NZ

Another Random Act of Kindness (RAK) occurred as I set up my tent. A nearby camper asked if I liked paua. Gentle probing revealed that it was fresh, cooked properly and had been given a bashing. I can't risk food poisoning and paua is as tough as old boots unless bashed or minced before cooking. It was great, as was the leftover meat pattie that their dog missed out on.

Nothing left to do but write my blog, which didn't send due to very poor internet. It was subsequently lost when I tried the next day. Hence the late posting.

Fresh paua and a meat pattie, a random act of kindness from a stranger at the campsite