Whangarei > Kawakawa > Kahoe Farms Hostel/Totara North > Waipapakauri > Waihopo

24 Dec

The beginning of the end…

Day 53 – 62.7 km/39 miles later…

Whangarei… This run brought me back inland a bit but other than a few hills here or there, it was pretty laid back. Yes, that’s what it’s come to: A laid back 39 miles.
Rants on this topic will ensue on a later date.

So, I finished the day and did my daily end-of-run grocery store visit. I was returning back to the hostel and a guy by the name of Trim approached me. Trim is a military man through and through. He mentioned that he saw me running that day two times going to and fro his destination. He asked me how far I had gone and where I am from. I told him and he handed me $20. I had not yet told him I was fundraising. After some further chat, he told me why he gave me the money:
Trim had a cousin in New York and has hitch-hiked/ rode a 10-speed bike across the USA twice! He said both times, he was helped by an American at some point or another, who had given him food, money, a place to stay or all of the above. Trim mentioned his favorite word is reciprocity. So he was reciprocating the generosity he received. Way to go America!
As some of you may know, sometimes people don’t think very highly of Americans overseas. But this guy thought differently and I hope that I can help foreigners view Americans in a different light too.

Huge thanks to Trim for approaching, chatting, sharing your story and donating! Cheers to that!

Day 54 – 54.7 km/34 miles later…

This day brought me to Kawakawa, a small township with a small little hotel and town center, where I just hung out and waited for the next day over 2 liters of chocolate milk(excellent for exercise recovery) and a pizza(not as good, but it was cheap and plentiful:-).

This was the day I was interviewed and that was certainly a highlight. Such a cool experience and if you weren’t able to hear and still want to, the link is 2 posts below. Hope everyone enjoyed it:-)

Day 55 – 64.9 km/40.3 miles later…

One of the sweetest stops of the trip for sure! Kahoe Farms Hostel. Hosts: Lyndsey & Stefano. Super cool couple. They’ve had this hostel for over 20 years, and despite it being in the middle of nowhere(of course I mean this in the most endearing way :-), it has been very successful.

Lyndsey was there to greet me with some mint water, a private sponsored room and a shower. The latter item there was desperately needed for the first 2.5 hours of that days run was on a dirt road and I was filthy.

I eventually met Stefano: an Italian by birth, loyalty, and culinary skill. Also a chill and down-to-earth guy, who fiends for a game of football(soccer for you North Americans) and hosts the first soccer game of the year in the world! Every New Year’s Eve, they organize a tournament and the final begins at midnight. Since New Zealand is one of the first places to start each day, Stefano claims his game to be the first in the world.

Stefano and Lyndsey were both very hospitable and genuinely caring people. Their hostel felt more like a home than an accommodation business. It was an absolute great stop and I truly hope to keep in touch with them. Thanks a ton, Lydsey & Stefano, your support was amazing!

Day 56 – 53.5 km/33.2 miles later…

Along I went and finished in a wee town called Waipapakauri(Waipap for short). There I stayed in a OLD hotel complete with casino style carpet, antique furniture, and floral wallpaper. Made me feel real retro. Haha. I was told about this place by a guy named John. John heard me on the radio interview and got in touch with me through Radio NZ. He offered to let me crash at his place in Pukenui on Day 57, but I already had a place to stay. I had told him that I would be staying at the Waipap and so he cruised down to say hi. Cool dude and very knowledgeable about the history of the Far North, particularly how “Gumdigging” was the rage(Wikipedia it, interesting) and how professionalism and money has hurt rugby. To tell you the truth, I can’t really disagree but that discussion is for another forum. He donated $25 and “shouted” (Kiwi speak for buying someone something or covering the cost for someone else) me a beer at the bar in the hotel. Huge thanks for the help and for the donation, John. It was cool chatting, too!

Day 57 – 37 km/23 miles later…

For the second-to-last day of my run I arrived to a house in a tiny township called Waihopo, which is the home to about 15 people. 6 of those people are part of the Rippingale family who welcomed me into their home for the evening and will pick me up from Cape Reinga when I’m done! It was by luck that I got in touch with them. I had met a guy Brad(see Day 52 post) who is hiking NZ and one of the first people he met here was a kid named Jack on a bus to the Far North. Brad gave me Jack’s details and so I messaged him. His family was super generous to host me on Christmas Eve and show true hospitality by taking time out of their Christmas Day to drive 45 minutes one-way to pick me up from the tip of the country. A very chill family with nice and talented kids, the Rippingale’s were a serendipitous find, making my final stop a relaxed and fun one. They even let me play Halo! Big time thank you to Darren, Jane, Jack, Quinn, Ella, and Ty for having me in your home and we will surely be in touch!

So that puts me up-to-date and in massive anticipation for my final 62 km run to finish my journey of epic proportions. Now time for bed to rest up and wake early for the long-awaited conclusion…Just ragin, gumpin, and shufflin! Let’s do this!

Big Cat

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One Response to “Whangarei > Kawakawa > Kahoe Farms Hostel/Totara North > Waipapakauri > Waihopo”

  1. Diane December 25, 2011 at 7:04 AM #

    It’s surreal to me that this time has come. I never doubt your endeavors, no matter how epic there are. But I am still in awe of your accomplishment. I thank God for all the very wonderful and generous Kiwis that he placed in your path and that you safe!
    You Dad is very proud of you and so are we. Love you, see you soon. Amaita

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