Monday, January 01, 2007

Xmas Trip 2006

Christmas time generally means doing the family thing: catching up with rellies, swapping presents, eating etc. This Christmas (2006) meant going down to my sister’s in Nelson and meeting the newest member of the family – Baby Isla just 5 weeks old – and catching up with her big sister Caitlin (2).

With Nelson being across the ditch and near some of the best bike riding roads in country naturally the bike was the only way to get down there. The bike would also have to double as a sleigh this time too so the luggage was packed to overflowing. With my mother already down in Nelson, the old man was keen to come down on his bike and bring her back on it (sick of propping up Air New Zealand).

24 December 2006
We had an early sailing (8:25) and because the boats were so heavily booked we had to be at the ferry terminal by 6:45am so this meant getting up early and hitting the road. We were gone by just before 5am with the weather playing ball for the meantime. But by the time we hit Shannon the clouds had opened up and it was raining quite heavily. The old man decided that he didn’t want to hang around and get wet so we made pretty rapid progress from Shannon, past Levin and back onto highway one where we buttoned off to cruise on down the rest of the way.

We got to the Ferry pretty early but only had to wait 5-10 mins before we got on. We then had to wait around for ages before the boat finally sailed about 10 mins late. Good crossing all the way and arrived to an absolute scorcher in Picton.

Headed off around Queen Charlotte drive dodging the campers and cars and tried to keep cool. Stopped off in the Rai at my uncle’s for a quick catch up before tackling the Rai & Whangamoa Saddle – a great ride.

28 December 2006
After three days of Xmas celebrations, going to the beach, being lazy etc it was time for a day out on the bike. I’d never ridden the Takaka hill so was keen to head over there. Brother-in-law Dan tagged along on the back of Dad’s beemer and off we went.

Lots of traffic all the way over to Mot – beautiful day and everyone heading for the beach but it thinned out a bit once we hit the hill proper. I took off up the hill and had an absolute blast. I stopped at what I thought was the summit and quickly stripped off my helmet and grabbed my camera to see if I could snap a shot of the BM coming up around the corner. Unfortunately they’d been held up by some cars and when they went past were passing a line of cars so I couldn’t get a clear shot of them. Quickly snapped off a pick of the Bandit at the top of the hill before tearing off after them.

I caught them just as they pulling up at another viewing area just down the other side of the hill a bit. I stopped there and Dad tried to get a few photos of me blasting up and down the hill. Not too successful but he got one decent one.

Once we hit Takaka we headed out around the Coast to Pohara for a coffee and a couple of photos before heading onto Collingwood where we stopped off for lunch.

From Collingwood we headed off basically to the end of the road at Cape Farewell. We walked up the track to take some pictures and watch the seals play in the surf (could not get a photo – too hard to pick the seals up in the surf through the viewfinder). Sweated it up big time walking up the hill in bike gear but view was worth it. Unfortunately it was a bit too hazy to be able to see right out the spit to the lighthouse.

Back on the bikes again, (mind the lady in the car taking to the one lane bridge when we were half way along it) through Collingwood & Takaka before hitting the hill again.

We just got started up the hill when we were stopped due to a truck breaking down on the tightest bend on the road. Had to wait while they let some traffic down the hill before we could go on. This turned out to be good news as I was at the head of the queue and the delay had meant that any cars up ahead could get ahead and I’d have a pretty clear run up the hill. It worked a treat and I didn’t catch my first car until about three quarters of the way up to the summit. An even better ride going this direction!

I waited at the turn off to Kaiteriteri for the others and we cruised down to the beach for petrol and an icecream. As expected the beach was packed out – everyone enjoying sun, sand and sea. Very quiet ride in heavy traffic back to Richmond. Excellent ride – around 340-350 k’s and several litres of sweat all told.

Topped off the day by going for a quick blast in another rellie’s 27 foot launch on Nelson Harbour. Not a bad way to spend the day.
30 December 2006
Time to hit the road again and head back to Picton for the boat back North. This time with even more gear on the bikes and mum on the back of the BM.

Had a very quiet ride over to Picton: stopped off in the Rai again and once around Queen Charlotte drive before having a coffee and boarding the boat. Went on with about 3 other bikes including an old R80GS with about 200,000 miles on it all loaded up. Another perfect sailing although the weather started packing up as we came into Wellington harbour.

Left the boat and headed out into the rain and promptly got held up by some sort of accident in the Ngauranga gorge. It fined up pretty quickly and we ended up catching the old BM up just south of Levin. The rider was pushing her along pretty well even with a pack on his back but had to stop for gas at Shannon so we carried on without him. All told a total trip of about 920k’s.

More pictures here.

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