Thursday, December 31, 2020

Quick Xmas trip

This year for Christmas my family was basing themselves in and around Nelson where one of my sisters is based.  For me this meant a quick trip down on the Tenere.

I left Palmy on the 23rd with my wets on as there was weather coming.  In the end I got to the ferry with only a few spits so promptly removed the wets and put them away.  Of course this was a big mistake...

Within about ten minutes the rain arrived and for a while all the bike riders could fit in the provided shelter - but the bikes kept coming.  I staunchly maintained by relatively dryish place until I recognized a couple of bikes rolling up.

The riders were Chris and Karen who Colin and I did the Dusty Butt with.  It would have been rude for me to ignore them, so I gave up my spot and went out into the weather to chat to them and eventually even put my wet weather gear back on.  We ended up standing around in the rain for quite some time as the ferry was late and they were quite happy for us to get very wet...

Anyway, that's it a bit of the boring stuff out of the way.  After a decent crossing spent yarning with Chris and Karen and enjoying the comforts of the Plus lounge it was time to get back into my wets and head out into a gloomy and damp looking evening.

The ride through to Nelson was pretty boring with the new lower speed limits (soon the powers at be will have us all walking everywhere), and only the wet roads provided something mildly interesting to concentrate on.

The next couple of days were spent doing Christmassy things but on Boxing Day we all broke camp and headed over to the bach in Golden Bay.  A Tenere lead the way...

I got stuck in a bit of traffic at the lights on the Takaka Hill but pretty much got past everything by the summit and had a nice ride dropping down the hill.  Before Takaka I turned off (at my bro-in-laws suggestion) to take East Takaka Road - Dan had mentioned gravel and that was enough to persuade me to go looking.

The road ran into gravel straight away and quickly changed into a quite windy and narrow road with a gentle rise to climb up above the river.  I took it fairly quietly and this turned out to be a good idea when I ran across a big tractor coming the other way.  The driver was great though, slowing up and driving off the road (into a shallow ditch) so that I could use a Tenere sized portion of the road safely.

All along this windy bit of road I'd been noticing some great views out across the valley but it took me a while to find a decent/safe spot to stop for some pictures.  Glad I did.

The gravel only lasted around 6-7km and spat me out onto a long straight bit of seal which helped me cool off a little before stopping in Takaka for elvensees.

Funnily enough I arrived at the batch a fair way ahead of the rest of the family and got the bach unlocked and aired out.  After a few hours of relatively nice weather the rain ended finding us again but luckily the BBQ could be operated out of the weather but unluckily for me the weather wasn't going to be changing in a hurry and I had to get back to Tahuna for my last night in town.

While waiting for dinner, I was checking out my phone and a Stuff article popped up on my phone describing a huge hail storm in Motueka.  The photos were amazing with a huge amount of hail hitting the area and piling up like snow drifts.  This article was the only one I could find and really doesn't show it at its worst.

Anyway, by hook or by crook I had to head out into the weather.  It was pretty wet when I left Pakawau but it eased up a bit by the time I hit Takaka and the hill.  The roads were pretty damn wet though so no speed records were broken.

I hit Mot at around 9pm and was amazed to find that there was still heaps of hail drifts everywhere about 4 hours after the event!  Here's the proof:

I finally got in around 9:30 and set about drying stuff out for the next days ride home.  I had to get a bit radical...

Not sure what the correct temperature setting should be...

In the morning the rain had finally vamoosed but it was fairly chilly riding through to Havelock where I changed my mind on my route into Picton.  I was pretty early so had plenty of time to get from Havelock to Picton via either the main road or Queen Charlotte Drive so I decided to throw in a diversion around Port underwood which involves quite a bit of gravel.

In my mind I had imagined stopping along the way and grabbing some spectacular photos but once again the weather decided to throw a spanner in the works.  This time it wasn't rain, but wind.  At each of the nice little bays that you ride through the wind was howling so the water wasn't it's usual flat calm and it was also cold!

So this wuss just gapped it to Picton and made for the Ferry terminal where an official looking Al had a quick chat to me before I started the line-up of bikes heading North.

After another decent crossing I hit SH1 for a quick trip up to catch up with Colin and to eat some of his tucker and drink some of his coffee.  Adi was visiting too - fresh from completing his first SS1000 so we had a little to talk about...

So that was Xmas and tomorrow a whole new year of riding starts - bring it on!

Happy New Year!


  1. That must have been one heck of a hail storm for the ice to still be around hours after the event.
    Hope you had a great Christmas and happy new year to you mate.

    1. Sure was, the orchards there are history 😣

      Happy New Year to you too Steve!

  2. Happy New Year Andrew! One of my favourite parts of the country and an IAM mate has just bought a beachside cafe at Pohara. Fantastic photos of the hail residue. I read about the damage to orchards in the area but your photos really brought it home.

    1. Happy New Year to you too Geoff. Yep, a great part of the country with easy access to plenty of great riding!