Last night I slept the sleep of the righteous, spark out for a solid 9 hours, didn't even hear the rest of the household stirring or heading off to schools etc.
Doug's friend Karin lives on a small hillside rural block out of town, with a great view out over the valleys surrounding Seddon. The only noises out this way are the wind and the livestock, so peaceful. Fresh air & quiet, lovely no wonder I conked out.
Rising all refreshed we bid Karin and her son David farewell (we will drop in again on our way back North on return) and headed back to Picton. Although initially retracing yesterdays' route we are going to follow the edge of the Queen Charlotte Sound to Havelock.
Turning off at Picton the road soon gets clogged with those mobile chicanes of camper vans, there are heaps of the damn things dawdling along nose to tail with the one in front. Occasionally we would get one that did see us behind and would move over, most didn't which required some patience, at least the roads people put in frequent passing lanes.
Just on the subject of roads, they maintain them quite well, when you see a "maintenance" sign there are actually blokes working there and there is something that you need to take notice of. They do advise if there is gravel on the road, which is handy to know on a bike.
At Havelock we stop for quick bite and after scoffing one of the biggest sausage rolls I've ever seen (damn tasty it was too) we beetled off towards Nelson, across more twisty roads (oh yeah and camper vans too) as the highway winds through the Mt Richmond Forest Park. Lots of views of cloud shrouded peaks, valleys winding off into the distance, rivers/streams etc. Very pretty.
Finally we hit the coast and follow it through to Motueka, arriving mid-afternoon. Doug has a plan, after booking into a motel we offload the panniers and he suggests that it might be worth our while to take a run up a bit of a hill outside of town called the Takaka Hill. Okey dokey, that sounds like fun, "you lead" says Doug, "just follow the signs to Takaka/Collingwood, can't miss it".
Things start to look promising when we pass a sign that says "Takaka Hill Road Open", hmm they don't usually put those sorts of signs up unless there is something significant about the place. Soon we are climbing, twisting and turning and ever climbing. Can't see anything of the possible destination as the road is winding through really dense forest but it is quite a workout flicking the bike back & forth. Upwards, ever upwards we go, with tight swoopy bends one after the other, wheee.
Finally we reach the summit with fabulous views off into the distance of the coastline and a tiny little road winding off into the distance, this road. What goes up must come down, so down the other side we go with more of the same except this time the added fun of a downhill run.
Once we reached the bottom, we did what any sane and rational motorcyclist would do, turn around and do it again from the opposite direction, all 22km of it, of course. Oh yeah, although most of the corners are signposted fairly conservatively, there are a couple posted at 15kph, they mean it too, these are peg scraping hairpins, double whee.
Finally we arrived back at the motel after a huge fun day, a quick meal down the road at a small bar (toughest steak ever) and back to type out some words (oh and knock over the mounting washing).
Tomorrow we head to the West Coast to then commence our trek Southwards.