I'm wondering how to start off describing my weekend. I'm slouched in the window seat propped up by big soft cushions. The evening lite is golden & is shining thru the pine trees that shelter the town from our gaze. Some kind of flying bugs are swarming between the branches & are only noticed due to the shimmering way they are silhouetted by the setting sun.I turn away momentarily to the keyboard & when I look back they have disappeared. I notice now the sun is filtering thru a small spiders web just on the deck rail. I once read a great book called The curious incidence of the dog at midnight
about an autistic boy who reasoned that you don't have to go away for a holiday, you just had to shift your perception. There's so much going on close to you that you aren't aware of till you look a bit closer.
This wasn't the reason behind me riding anywhere in particular this weekend however in retrospect the thinking can be quite appropriate.
With a full sun blazing early Saturday morning I rolled up the toolkit, dosed my face with sunscreen & began a ride to Golden bay. I hadn't seen a couple of very good friends for a while so a catch-up was planned. I thought a few pics would break up the ride & provide a bit of purpose to my trip.
The highway was calling
The coastal highway ducks inland bypassing Mapua & the surrounding 70kmh stretches of road. It returns at the estuary where travelling across a causeway has a few surprises.
I'd heard about the kiwi but never seen it due to being the one that has been doing the driving.
This lil spaceship & ET's phone booth has always been a favourite for the kids. It used to have a lil green alien inside at one stage.
Apple growing is one the major industries around this area & has been for many decades. Some technological advances haven't involved genetic modification but a bit of lateral thinking such as white fabric laid under the trees as the apples ripen to reflect lite to the bottom of the apple giving a consistent red colour round the apple. These apple trees are protected from hail by the red netting hung above. There was some discussion that the colour was also able to benefit the fruit however no research has supported that.
A group of whinging poms that moved into the area tried to take the orchardists to the environment court claiming the red was spoiling their views - myself i'd be more worried about the sprays.
The local version of the generic mailbox photo
Riding past Riwaka I was interested in seeing if the brewing hops would be growing at this time of year. It struck me then that it was 20 years ago almost exactly to the day when I first saw these vines strung up in their unique way. Twenty years ago I was travelling in a bright red VW combi with "Attack of the Killer tomatoes" painted across its stern. It was my first trip to the south island.
I recalled the feelings of anticipation & freedom I had had at that time. I was just back from my short OE & the South Island was still a mystery to me & from those I'd talked to overseas, a worthy place to explore.
Between Golden Bay sits the Takaka hill.
It is a motorcyclists mecca. The road surface has had some work done recently & most of the tighter corners on the Nelson side now have smooth cambered tarseal. One doesn't have to ride fast to feel like an IOM TT competitor. I managed to grind the pegs numerous times on Schmidt at a modest speed. Luckily for me the traffic was lite so no holdups by campervans ruined the ride over.
I stopped to take a quick pic of Riwaka & Motueka. Note the red apple shelters
Towards the top of the hill around the 60th or so swirly corner is the limeworks. I admired the way even when it was dirty it looked so clean.
I imagine whoever sits in this office would have the best view in the company
Atop the hill the area is known as Canaan & is characterised by the amazing amount of marble & rock outcrops. It is Karst country where the rainwater running off the limestone becomes acidic disolving rocks leaving great networks of caves & sinkholes.
There are several caves to visit here - Ngarua cave has guided tours whereas you can freestyle it down harwoods hole.
Of course there was a motorbike involved in this journey.
The road carries on along the top for a short while until it begins its' descent into the Upper Takaka valley. This loping hairpin bend is prob one of the popular stops for pics in the area.