Wellington to Nelson

Trip Start Mar 02, 2008
Trip End Mar 08, 2008

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Where I stayed
Grampian Villa

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Monday, March 3, 2008

I got up bright and early this morning, very happy to find that it wasn't raining.  It was windy, granted, but no rain, which is good.
Ok, I need to correct the above statement.  It was early, but it wasn't bright and neither was I.  I was glad that I had done the majority of my packing the night before.  So it was an un-hurried start to the day, which was pretty much how it the rest of the day went: Un-hurried.
I loaded up the bike, and immediately noticed a flaw in my packing.  I had stuffed my tank bag as full as I could get it, and it ended up towering about 40cm high; which put it high enough that I could easily rest my chin on it while riding along, and made it remarkably uncomfortable to reach around - and obscured half my instrument panel.  Therefore the trip to the ferry was an interesting one, as the absurdly large tank-bag also doubled for a nice sail, catching the wind and blowing me sideways.
My first time on the ferry with a motorbike went well.  I spent ages figuring out how to work the tie-downs I had bought on Saturday, then after much "helpful" advice from passers-by got it securely lashed to the deck.  I was dismayed to find (after we had set sail) that you aren't allowed to go to the vehicle deck while the ship is at sea, which did nothing to alleviate the little anxiety I had over my tie-down skills. But the day was absolutely beautiful, and (contrary to the Met-Services maritime warning, good thing they suck) the Cook Straight was very calm and we had a smooth sailing.  It was very windy however, so there was a decent amount of entertainment to be found from watching children and old-people being blown overboard . . .well, not quite, but there was always the possibility - I had my camera ready, it could have won me $100k on America's Funniest.
So a smooth three hours later, we docked at Picton.  It was then I found out why every other motorcycle had parked the other way around to me (I'm such a newbie).  So after man-handling my bike to point the right way to leave, and after a quick, ad-hoc, repack of my tank-bag I was off.
Heading out of Picton, I took the Queen Charlotte Dr. towards Havelock; a wonderful, narrow, windy road, with little traffic.  Nice steep, tight corners.  And the views along the sound were fantastic. I really recommend it.  It started drizzling almost as soon as I had left Picton, so that took a little of the fun out of it, as it was that drizzle that just made the road slick, but not enough to wash away the grease from the surface.  There were large diesel splotches clearly visible, so that took my attention away from the view.  But there are lots of places to stop and admire the view.
Havelock is about 35km from Picton, and seemed like a nice place.  Apparently they are the Green-Lipped Mussel capital of the world . . . I guess you have to be proud of something.  No oversized Mussel sculptures however, they should really look into that.  There are supposed to be some amazing mussel restaurants there, but I don't like mussels, so there was no real point hanging around there.  But Havelock North now makes more sense as a place name.
I did stop about 19km further down the road (now SH8) at Pelorus Bridge.  I had lunch at a tea-room there.  I had a Wild Pork, Kumara, and Apple pie.  Oh yea!  They had a good range of pies there actually, it was a really toss up what to pick.  They had a "Hawaiian Style Wild Rabbit Pie" which sounded quite intriguing: what exactly is a Hawaiian Style pie? They also had an award winning Chicken and Camembert pie.  They also had the largest Custard-Squares I have seen.  I didn't get one though, in an amazing display of self-restraint.
I've decided that pies are really great.  I mean, if I had seen a Wild Pork, Kumara, and Apple wrap, or Panini, or casserole, I probably wouldn't have been so excited, but a Wild Pork pie . . . fantastic.  Bring on the pies.  Well, maybe a casserole . . . I do like casseroles . . . mmm . . .
The trip from there to Nelson was a nice blend of curvy forest roads, and long flats.  And still not much traffic.  It was a good 87km of riding into Nelson.
The B&B which I have booked into is called the Grampian Villa.  It is a lovely Victorian style house, with beautiful hardwood floors and fixtures. I pretty much collapsed straight into bed, which was a good thing, because it is a great bed.   And naps are cool.
I had dinner at "Nelson's finest Seafood Restaurant" (self-proclaimed) called "the Boat Shed" and it was awesome.  Honestly, the trip to Nelson was worth it for this meal alone.  I had a dish of Blue-Nose fish, which is one of my favourite fish, but what these guys did to it - amazing, with the rosemary infused, crushed roast potatoes, the pan-fried green beans, some sort of smoked fish pate, and a vanilla - cherry type sauce with drizzled truffle infused olive oil.  It is, easily, the best seafood meal I have ever had.  I am so bummed I can't go back tomorrow night to try some of the other things on their menu.
I saw out the day watching the sun-set across the Nelson waterfront and singing.  It was really nice.
Couple of things I need to thing about changing.  I need to re-pack to distribute the weight on the bike better, some of those corners got a little hairy with unexpected movement on the bike.  Also, I need to stop and take in the scenery more.  It is a toss-up, as the point of riding a bike is the joy of the road, but I don't want to do it so fast that I don't see anything, but likewise, I don't want to do it so slow that I miss all the fun stuff.  Also, when I get the urge to take a sort walk at some place, I should do it.  I just have to think of somewhere to stash my jacket and helmet . . . and change into something I can walk in without sweating to death (black leather motorcycle pants aren't exactly tramping clothing).
Oh, I was also sodding impressed with all the people cycling along those roads. With big bags and stuff on their bikes.  Good for them!  You won't ever catch me doing it.
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