Today's route is Picton to Nelson
Distance 99km. Altitude gained 1680m. 1 pie in Pelorus, 8/10
After sitting on the ferry for 3 hours then a relaxing evening with Iona, my sister in Blenheim, I'm feeling a bit lazy and today is to be a sub 100km ride too.
Iona dropped me back where she picked me up yesterday. It looks like rain, so good biking conditions. It is also quiet with no ferries having arrived.
The next section winds around the bays of Queen Charlotte Sound with great sea views. I pass above a section of the port, where pine logs are being loaded onto a ship - which I guess will be bound for China. Great we can export them, but a shame we aren't processing them here and adding more value to this primary product.
I was enjoying the road absent from 2 of the main groups of people I had observed on the ferry. The first group were those that the ferry company was set up to serve.
They are the truckers. Now, I got to wondering what the collective noun would be for this group...
On their own, they are a trucker, like my friend TrukaJeff.
2 or 3 of them I thought would be a juggernaut and 8 or more a convoy, which is not often seen as they generally travel alone. I had the opportunity to observe a group of them out of their trucks and I think the collective noun that best describes them then is a 'cafeteria of truckers'.
The other group that I observed were the motor caravaners or movanners. A happy bunch, I think a pair of them are friends on a road trip, 4 of them would be a rolling road block and I decided that the collective noun for this group would be a 'retirement of movanners'. It looked like there is a lower age limit for owning these vehicles. I must say that in my dealings with them on these long bike trips, I have found them helpful, generous & ready for a good yarn.
I made good time to Pelorus and had a lovely chat to 2 couples of movanners before pushing on to a demanding section of track to Nelson. Riding Maungatapu track means that I don't ride the busy highway to Nelson. It ascends from 90m to 740m in about 8km of 4x4 track. After the initial steep section it eased to a gradual grind, I passed 'Murderers Rock' the place where, in 1866 a gang of 4 men ambushed & murdered 5 men for their gold. They were duly caught & executed. Wayne Martin has written a good book detailing the history of this gang and the murders.
I thought that I was going well and my last challenging experience on this track was probably due to being unfit. Not so, my ride came to push as the lose rocks impeded my way, my shirt was drenched in sweat, despite the cool wind as I reached the top. A quick selfie (editor's note: I think PB needs to be in it, to be called a selfie...!) to prove the point, then off for the technical descent that is steeper than the ascent.
Loose gravel & rock made keeping my speed down difficult. The final hurdle of a lose rock garden giving way to decent track as I peddled down the Maitai Valley to Nelson shaking the numbness from my hands.
Nick, a previous student, then ABS staff member and now married to Hannah, (Glenys' niece), runs a business 2 blocks away, so I contact him. We catch up, and he informs me that Nelson city centre starts to close down from 3.30p, so we have to search for that milky sustenance. I end up having the fanciest milkshake I've ever had!
I now have a 20 minute cruise for my nights lodgings, which finishes with a wickedly steep pinch to Mike & Meg's place on the hills above Stoke. Mike is Glenys' nephew and has been really helpful in getting me ready for this ride and is a good place to give the bike a good looking at.
All is good, so now to refuel with a lovely meal and watch an inspiring video of a Scotsman who cycled 18,000 miles around the world in 78 days - that's nearly 400km per day.
And you think I'm mad?
Rest day tomorrow, so a chance to plan the South Island leg, inspect my kit and plan for some anticipated wet weather.