Once again, it's been a month since my last ride! This is becoming a bad habit thanks to the crappiest winter weather we have experienced for years.
Anyway, it was decreed that this would be another of our ‘get-away-from-work-weekends’ so weather didn’t enter into the mix and we had been considering a jaunt across ‘The Ditch’ when an opportune thread on KB from Shafty ‘n Gogal inspired us to commit to a long weekend in Nelson. This was great because Nanny Ann has never……I repeat, NEVER been to the South Island so she would now be able to add the likes of Picton, Okaramio, Nelson and Motueka….not to mention Kohatu and coffee at Mapua to her list of ‘been-there’s’, which I might add, already includes names like Frankfurt, Lisbon, Barcelona, Athens, Orlando and Mexico City……Sad eh!!
I booked the ferry and watched the weather in anticipation, to see what the weekend would be like, and it didn’t look too bad until we had to fully kit up to get to get to the ferry, waiting in the weigh bridge hut for our turn to board while it pissed-down. We finally boarded though, tied down then grabbed a seat right at the back of the Aratere to minimize the effects of what promised to be a bumpy crossing, (but wasn’t) and we arrived in Picton at 1730, with overcast skies. The temp was only 7° though.
I had considered doing the Queen Charlotte Drive (QCD) but with dusk and rain threatening, sense prevailed and we took-off for Spring Creek on SH1, cut across Rapaura Rd, then back up to Havelock and over the Whangamoas. We were just sitting at around the usual 110’ish to keep under the ‘radar’ and I was surprised to get to Havelock in 35 minutes, which was exactly the same time that I had done on previous rides along QCD, on my own, on a nice day. That was lucky because so far on the ride we had enjoyed 5-7°C, dry roads, dry strips, damp roads and downpours….and it only got worse. It was now dark and the rain was pretty persistant. Oh well, after a month, any ride is a good ride.
We finally rode into the outskirts of Nelson at 1903, so had made good time for the conditions, doing the ride from Picton in 1hr35mins, found the motel, settled in then went off for dinner with Shafty and Gogal in the comfort of their SUV. It was bloody marvelous.
Saturday was visiting day which dawned with brilliant clear skies and a light dusting of snow on the surrounding foothills, so it was rather fresh as we started by having a coffee with the local Ulyssians along the waterfront at about 1030 before dropping in on a series of old friends, finally having dinner with a couple and getting back to the motel at 2230. It was only 2° but we’d had a great day and finished off with some Olympics and a movie in the comfort of a warm bed.
Sunday was a repeat but the frost had virtually cleared by the time we poked our noses out and I went down the road to fill-up and put a couple of psi in the tyres. Then it was off to Motueka to have lunch with a cousin, but we were a bit early so I had to kill time by riding down the Westcoast road to Kohatu, then cut back on the Mot’ Valley Highway. That was great as it extended the 50Km ride to just over 100Km but we did have to take care at times as parts of the road hadn’t seen any sun for awhile. It was pretty ‘fresh’ but still a nice ride and the Red Thai Curry helped the thaw process before heading back toward Nelson for dessert.
We finally got back to the motel just after 1600 and Ann had a nap while I made one last visit before we joined Shafty, Gogal and a couple of their mates for dinner and a most pleasant evening, before retiring relatively early to pack for the morning ride.
Monday dawned clear again and we were ready to go just before 0700 but the 2° didn’t impress too much and, as expected, we would have to take care on the road as it was down to 0° before we even got out of town and I finally found the ST does have a minus symbol on the temp gauge as much of the trip to Havelock was spent at -2° and even with the liners and Spidi gloves on, I might have been tempted to flick the heated grips on …… if I had any. It did improve as we got through to Renwick though and I showed Ann a couple of the old haunts from my days spent at Woodbourne and Blenheim, then we had a wee look around Picton and Waikawa before heading to the check-in at 0900.
Once again we were the only bike there and it was quite pleasant standing around in the sun, although it did hurt a bit as the blood finally started to flow through the fingertips again.
The boat was late, and it was nearly 1100 before we boarded and finally got underway, heading all the way out of Queen Charlotte Sound via the northern passage due to electrical problems, which added another hour to our already late start. The weather soon closed in and it was pretty miserable as we disembarked at 1500, I dropped Ann at her office and headed for mine.
We had a great time on our Weekend At Shafty’s and next time we might have to add another day or two and head for Christchurch, to further expand Ann’s list of ‘been-there’s’.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.