Apologies first .... we've forgotten the USB cord for the camera. So pictures will follow, but possibly not until we get back!
We arrived in Rotorua a few minutes early, at 8:30 am on Monday. If you're trying to figure out the time conversion, NZ is 20 hours ahead of the U.S. West Coast. Here's how I think about - in practical terms, that means that NZ is 4 hours earlier in the day, but a day ahead. So as I write this it's 9 am here, which means it's 1 pm for most of you. But since it's my Wednesday, it's your Tuesday. See? Pretty, easy, right?
Marcello VERY generously offered to pick us up at the airport to help us transfer bike boxes to his home, where he'll store them for the duration of our trip. What a tremendous relief! It's absolutely fantastic that we've been able to get her with our own bikes, but dealing with the bikes and those big boxes for three weeks was going to be kind of a nightmare.
So Gregg reassembled bikes at Marcello & Heide's place. We had a moment of worry when my headset wouldn't work properly. Apparently a seal had cracked (oh no!!), but Gregg was able to put it together without the seal (yay!!!). It's not a permanent solution, but it'll be fine for the amount of riding we'll be doing here. Good enough!!
So we drove a few blocks to meet our Couchsurfing hosts in Rotorua. We spent a bit of time with Ben, and the house dog Flo, and then took off on our bikes to find some lunch, and more generally to find our bearings. Rotorua is a pretty small town, and both Marcello and our CS hosts live very near to both the forest and the center of town.
Once downtown we went straight to Zippy's Cafe. The food was good, the coffee was pretty good, and there were a LOT of Single Speeders there. After all the hype over this place I'll admit that I was expecting more, but I can see why it's a popular place. Among the SSers hanging out in front of the Cafe is Jacquie Phelan! I still owe her $3 for a patch she gave me at the Single Speed World Championships (SSWC) in Durango last year! She says she'll take a beer at the Pig & Whistle. Sounds good to me.
We exchanged some cash (FYI, no fee if you do this at the Bank/Post), picked up a phone, got some groceries, and then took the scenic tour back to our temporary home. There is a lot of thermal activity around Rotorua, and our scenic route back took us through several bubbling mud pools. Have you ever seen the old David Bowie movie "Labyrinth"? Remember the Bog of Eternal Stench?
And to cap off our first day in Rotorua, we spent a fantastic night with ALL of our hosts. Tracy & Ben are officially our hosts, but Ron & Jason have also been great company! And I can't forget to mention Flo & Nick - the dog & cat ... also pretty good company! We probably won't see everybody in the same room again while we're here, and we missed the opportunity to capture the moment on film. But we're really enjoying their company, and we're so glad to be able to spend this time with them rather than in a Hotel!!
And that's a wrap on Day 1!