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Thread: Nelson

  1. #1
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    Nelson

    6th February 2017

    I wake before the alarm goes off and have a quick look out of the window to see a cloudy and breezy looking day. I need to be at the ferry port (about five minutes away) by 0700, so I get abluted and kitted up then phone home for a few minutes before it's time to go.

    I load the bike up, then drop the keycard in the drop box - Quest Apartments will definitely be on my list for the future - a great place to stay

    I ride the few minutes down to the quayside and wait in the queue to check in...



    I'm given my boarding pass (two large sticks ) and told to go and wait in the area marked by yellow cross hatching and signed 'No Parking'...

    Almost immediately, I am joined by Malcolm McDonald, who has just been up to Auckland to buy this 1984 Honda Interstate 650...



    He's already got a Gold Wing and the earlier model of this Interstate - the 500cc Silver Wing - at home. His plan is to keep them fettled and looking good, then sell them in 10-15 years time. He reckons he'll double his money and I'd not be at all surprised if he does. It's certainly better investment than putting the money in a bank...



    Malcolm's ridden all over the world - including the Road of Bones - and we chat and bullshit as the day gets lighter and the cars gather ready to be loaded. We're joined by another rider on a 800GS, who - when he takes his helmet off - turns out to be a mate of Malcolm's, who he's not seen for a while. Revti has just come back from a BMW Club rally at Napier.

    We board the ferry - which involves riding up a slope that made me very glad the deck wasn't wet , before being directed to park the bikes.



    The crew won't touch the bikes - so it's up to you to tie them down. Being old hands, Revti and Malcolm have brought their own ratchet tie-downs along - I make do with the rope that the crew supply...



    There's a warm wind blowing and today's crossing has the potential to be a bit rough. We leave the bikes and repair to the lounge upstairs, where we get a decent cup of coffee and a scone...



    Malcolm shares his newspaper with me and I singularly fail to complete any of the crosswords...



    The sky has cleared, but there's a very strong wind blowing - so I don't stay on the Observation Deck long.



    I remember being told by the Met Officer on ARK ROYAL that he could tell the windspeed just by looking at the sea - there is apparently a naval tome of information on observations which allow you to learn this.

    He was a boring twat.

    After a couple of hours, we are approaching South Island, so I pop out to take some more snaps...



    We're much more sheltered here - the wind is warm and probably mostly caused by the forward motion of the ship...



    The air is gloriously clear...



    ...making distance hard to judge. I remember similar circumstances in the Falkland Island (*involuntary shudder*), where the nearest heavy industry was hundreds of miles away and the air was crystal clear...



    Pretty soon we're approaching the quay at Picton, and the tannoy is telling us to return to our vehicles. We've obviously done the lashing job right - they're all still standing...

    Malcolm and Revti both live in Nelson - where I've decided to overnight. Malcom is going to lead us over a picturesque route there...



    We disembark and Malcolm takes the lead, turning right and climbing high above the port...



    It's a fantastic road, which coils around the mountainside...



    I have warned Malcolm that I may be delayed bringing up the rear, as I'll be stopping to take pictures - no problem...



    As I drop down the other side of the pass, the cloud cover begins to build up and the temperature drops a little...



    I'm now following the bottom of the river valley, which seems to be mainly used for cattle and sheep farming...



    As arranged, Revti and Malcolm are stopped at a little petrol station in the middle of nowhere, where I fill up with 95 Octane...



    They set off in advance - Malcolm knows of a good restaurant on the quay at Havelock where we're going to stop for lunch...



    Havelock comes into view and Malcolm leads us down to...



    ...the Slip Inn (*snigger*)...

    Havelock displays a sign proclaiming itself to be 'The Green Lipped Mussel capital of the World'...



    Right - we'll have one of each!



    They arrive and are superb...



    And ably served by Charlotte, to whom I may have just said something inappropriate...



    We also have coffee...



    I remark on the artistic pattern on the top - Revti tells me they can put a heart, or a variety of other shapes if you want. This engenders a conversation about what inappropriate things could be created(perhaps for problem customers) - it passes a few minutes...

    We spilt the (very reasonable) bill three ways and Malcolm says goodbye - but not before giving me his business card and saying to give him a ring if I need anything whilst here - what a top chap...

    Revti is going to lead me into Nelson and stop me in the 'motel district' by the beach. We set off on the final hour or so of the trip...



    The weather has improved - on the way into Havelock there was the trace of some rain on the wind, but that seems to have passed...



    We've moved away from the coast for a while and are heading inland...



    These single track bridges (you knew I was going to sneak one in, didn't you?) are apparently a common feature of South Island...



    We climb into what looks like threatening weather, but we stay dry...



    Eventually we come out to the coast again and start towards Nelson...



    Nice mural...



    The sea is a beautiful light blue/green colour - and the beaches are busy (today is a public holiday). Revti takes me to the motel zone and I choose the Tudor Lodge - a little mom & pop operation with free WiFi, air conditioning and a parking spot...



    ...literally right outside the door.

    I'm tempted to stay a couple of days here. Although it's early in the trip, I need to do a major re-org on my gear, as at the moment my packing makes little sense. I also need to catch up on some sleep, as I'm not out of the woods from jet lag yet. It's forecast to piss down tomorrow, so a day here might be the answer - they also have a laundry!

    What a good day...

    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  2. #2
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    Fantastic!

  3. #3
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    great stuff Mike

    enjoying this, and the bike looks Fab!safe riding.

  4. #4
    Destined to come last Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Thanks for taking the trouble to document your trip in such detail Mike, its laying the foundation for my visit later in the year.
    Great narrative and superb pics
    Brian

    GSA Triple Black
    VW 'Triple Black' Campervan
    Zagato Guzzi 950 cafe
    Guzzi Le Mans 2, black and gold Coburn and Hughes.



    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

  5. #5
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    Many thanks for posting this and the others. Did I miss the bit about prepping for the trip Mike? How you got the bike over? Costs etc?

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Very addictive reading, nicely put together. I admit to being totally envious.

  8. #8
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    Another great write-up. Keep it coming Mike
    I've always wanted to ride down there so I'm following this with interest

    The run into Picton between the islands & headlands is beautiful isn't it ?
    Just 'cos you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you !

    Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often.

  9. #9
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    Kia Ora

    And the scenery and roads will only get better. Enjoy
    "You're getting old when you don't care where your spouse goes, just as
    long as you don't have to go along. "

  10. #10
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    7th February 2017

    I sleep well and surface to hear the soft fall of rain. I peek through the curtains and see a mid grey overcast and steady drizzle. I make an immediate decision that my jet lag needs overcoming and go back to bed, pausing only to call reception and extend my stay by another day.

    I sleep until 1000 - when I surface for long enough to stumble along the road to the home of breakfast for the hungry traveller (don't judge me )...



    After a coffee and a BLT bagel (why don't they serve them in the UK?) I feel marginally better and repair to my room. I completely unloaded the bike yesterday and will pack it today in a more logical matter. First things first, I go to reception and buy some tokens for the guest laundry and put the toxic waste I have been carrying about for a week into the washing machine. Whilst I wait for this to run its programme, I take a stroll down the road towards the beach, to see what Nelson has to offer.

    It's looking pretty threatening, although it's dry at the moment. Theres's a good deal of traffic on the main road - this is just an ordinary working day for people after the public holiday weekend.



    I don't know what size 26 converts to in UK sizes, but I think keeping too many bridal gowns in that size in stock would be an exercise in optimism...



    There is an odd mix of vehicles, some familiar and some - like this - less so.



    Then there are cars that are easily recognised from the UK's past - awful ones . Presumably still surviving here because they don't corrode so much in this climate - they should find some other reason to scrap them...



    I walk through a pleasant little park, past some well worn concrete seals...



    ...and down a slatted pathway to the beach...



    More evidence of New Zealand's highly laudable efforts to protect and preserve its environment...



    The beach is almost deserted today, in stark contrast to when I arrived yesterday. Kite surfers are making the most of the brisk breeze - and a chap with a metal detector is strolling along the high water mark...



    I feel the first drops of rain, large, fat and heavy...



    Even the seagulls seem to be battening down the hatches for some bad weather. I decide to head back to the motel to avoid a soaking...



    I stop at a filling station on the way back to buy a bottle of water and spot their Rogue's Gallery of serial fuel thieves on the wall at the rear of the till. One of the offenders is pictured three times in the same car with three different sets of number plates on...



    The threat of rain seems to have passed, so I explore the park a little more - it is dedicated to Charles Yates Fell, a significant Nelson worthy, who died in 1918 - the town erected this memorial to him in 1920...



    I return to the motel...



    ...and transfer my laundry into the dryer.

    It's an exciting life being a motorcycle traveller...
    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  11. #11
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    If in Nelson I recommend Milton Street Sprig and Fern with the Milton Street Chippie next door.
    Great pub, no loud music, no gaming machines and they brew there own.

    Adrian

  12. #12
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    you lucky lucky bastard, was there last year, love the photos

  13. #13
    Really enjoying this...

  14. #14
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    Brilliant Mike

    We were over there in a motor home this time last year from north to south fabulous trip.
    Try HanmerSprings for a good relaxing soak In warm volcanic water.
    Abide with me !

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