Day 26 ... Part 1
There comes a point in any journey like this that you have to believe you will make it to the end....
I hadnt reached that point yet when I woke up this morning. Determined to leave early in case anything should befall me or my bike in the last 40 miles... I went for breakfast at 06:45 only to find that it was too early... so instead I got my last bits and pieces together and head out the door....
20 miles to Invercargill then 20 to Bluff
Keep all fingers and toes crossed..
The words of Mike Peters running round my head as they have every day and through every emotion of this ride...
A tailwind to Invercargill saw me there in just over an hour!! Texted Lorraine... 'Get your arse out of bed... Im at Invercargill'.
Invercargill... quite a nice little town... First traffic lights in a while... must remember to stop... Reading cinemas (my town!) ... disjointed thoughts...
Must take everything in... last day on a bike... some tears... some smiles .. all in rememberance of the days I had felt ...
Last Chai coffee of the trip.... back on the road again... winding road with signs to Bluff! And there in the distance... the end of the road....
See a road going up a huge hill... BEG the cycling gods not to send me up it....
A car driving towards me... the word 'PHOENIX' emblazoned across its bonnet ... I couldnt make it up if I tried...
Headwind!! Just to make sure I truly earnt it!
Round the bay... a sign 'BLUFF' ... can it be that I am here??
The song on my Ipod ... The Life you seek does not exist.... what do I seek???
A climb... of course... on smooooooth town tarmac... and up round the corner and over the top and there were the signposts and standing nearby... waving at me ....Lorraine....
Stop... legs stopped... no more pedal turns to take.... I kept on Cycling To The End!!
Just some of the thoughts that rattled through my head... written like they occured to me. Seeing Lorraine there to meet me was like having someone Id known for years to welcome me in and just so happy to see her... Thank you Lorraine
Then the inevitable pictures and minutes to take it in... to store up for later when my brain could process it all better..
Lorraine then said 'Right lets see if the bike fits in the car!!' So funny!! It did fit and I was soon ensconsed in a nice warm comfy car... rattling along at speeds I could only generate downhill ... peddling for all I was worth and with a rocket booster on the back!
After a while my arse hurt!! I couldnt easily perform the two cheek shuffle either... a blanket was dug out to provide some padding... which greatly helped the issue.
We chatted for the three or so hours it took to drive to Andy and Julie's House. Andy and Auden guitars organised the gig tonight but more about that later... for the story now... they had kindly allowed basically a stranger to pitch up at their house... shower... change
.. drink coffee and then bugger off to the gig!
Greeted initially by Andy's mum and then Julie when she got back... I was made to feel at home and welcome. I felt a bit at 6's and 7's... not quite sure what to do with myself. Having showered and changed into the gig clothes I had sent to Andy's house... I felt wierd without my LHS cycle jersey ... so decided to wear that (the clean one) and my gloves to the gig..
Then myself and Lorraine went for a quick tourist stop..... the Steepest Street in the world... average 35% gradient with a section of 38% ... I would like to claim that it was a shame I didnt have my bike!!!!
Then onto Coronation Hall and the gig....
Before I blog about the gig.. there is a huge long list of people I need to thank... so please bear with me.... In no particular order....
Mum,Dad, Paul (bro), Jax, Danny boy, Nath, Banna girl and Nathan.... better family I could not choose. X
My work mothers (Denise and Jilly) and Solder... I am so lucky to have you guys propping me up.. X
Dave Spragg... My inspiration. X
Mike and Jules Peters... for the music and LHS! You have both inspired me to really live life. Mike your music and words have weaved through this journey and once again given me strength. Just so lucky to be a part of it all. Thankyou X
Mickey .. for the bug higs x
David and Nicola... for support... messages and always going with the crazy... Its alright... Its ok! X
Sue O.. for support and encouragement. X
Mark and Sue Hobbs.. for picking me up... welcoming me into this country and becoming instant friends and going above and beyond to help me. X
Roger... for being a kind New Zealander and checking I was ok on the road! X
Mary and Alec... for coming across country to meet a crazy stranger and being that piece of home. X
To everyone who has.. donated... liked... shared... talked about and given words of encouragement... This journey is also yours as I couldnt have done it without you. X
Doug from Auden... for making it possible. X
Lorraine... for being the person to welcome me at the end... for the stories and laughter we shared x
Andy and Julie... for the gig.. but more importantly for the friendship offered and the comfort given when it all became too much... that meant so very much to me. X
So its 2am and I sit here blogging... trying to put my thoughts down on paper but words may fail me...
It was somewhat a daze... dreamworld... adrenaline high...a mixture of all the above that I landed in Coronation Hall to be greeted by a lovely gentleman wearing one of my promo t shirts! Andy from Auden Guitars had been sorting out this evening from the very early days of ride planning and I greatly appreciate his efforts.
3 bands had kindly donated their time this evening... Valley Bluegrass... Melissa Partridge and The Eastern with maybe a surprise thrown in the mix... if I had the balls!
Valley Bluegrass kicked the evening off and the lively tunes got the feet tapping...
Melissa was up next... What a beautiful voice... and some lovely songs of country rock type stuff. Thank you for supporting LHS X
I was a bundle of nerves... determined to sing and attempt to play (with shaking.. slightly numb fingers (thats my excuse anyway) a song that I wrote. The hands were shaking so badly... it all went wrong from a playing point of view at times... okay most the song.. but encouraged by an understanding audience ... I hope I did my Phoenix proud. The video has been posted unreviewed/unedited on my facebook page... www.facebook.com/OneChallengeAtATime
It came from the heart and is what it is.
Then the Eastern... what energy!
And then a song and some words that prompted the tears to flow...
And it all suddenly overwhelmed me and I sat there... head in hands... sutrounded by a room full of strangers but at the same time amongst friends. I cant describe the emotions but they were whirling through head.. heart ... soul. All that I am... all I will ever be ... are words that come to mind. And two friends flanking me... silent comfort... thankyou
And then a song and words that prompted a smile....
And I was sitting there with the thought of how the world can have great beauty in such simple things...
A shared cause... a shared love of music...
This ride and the people I have met along the way and the support from back home have once again renewed... rebuilt... my faith in humanity and the good that can be created.
If just one person from the gig takes on board the message of Love Hope and Strength and shares it around... or one person signs up to GET ON THE LIST...or ... or... then who knows what it may lead to...
LOVE HOPE STRENGTH
three words... put together... Save Lives .. and provide an inspiration and foundation. Check it out... www.lovehopestrength.co.uk
Its now 02:40 and im still awake and buzzin!
Tomorrow I will add thoughts once things have settled.
Fight the fear... Embrace the Randomness and above all Go With The Crazy!