Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016 Murchison to Motueka

This morning when we got up there was over 3 inches of rain in the rain gauge which Agnes had but out the day before at 4:15Pm.  Most of the night it had bucketed down but it stopped around 4:00 Am to 5:00Am.  Close enough to say that 3 inches fell in 12 hours.  We were pretty pumped that we were not going to get any rain for today’s rain.  By 8:00 AM when we were ready to ride it was back to bucketing down.  So we put on the full dress rain gear, from shower caps to rain booties. 

The ride to day was a steady 1% grad for the first 45 kms so we started off grinding a way in the pouring rain.  Fortunately the wind which had been forecast to be 10-15 kms in our faces had failed to show up and we made good time.   By 9:30 the rain had disapated and the sun was out and it was starting to get to be quite warm so we stopped an pulled off all of the rain gear.  I kept the booties on as the road was quite wet and I didn’t want my shoes to get soaked. 

At the 45 kms mark we hit the big hill which was 3.5 kms of 9-12%.  It was a big hill and the sun was just baking us.  I was totally panting by the time I got to the top.  There was an old Subaru with the hood up pouring steam out and I sure felt sympathy for the old car.   The view was worth the climb and now we had 80.5 kms of downhill.   I believe we were going from 620 m down to sea level.  The first 15 kms was pretty steep and winding road. I got behind a big semi-truck pulling large tanks of milk and had to ride my brakes to keep from running into him. 

After the really steep section there was a lot of rolling downhill with a lot of sheep farms on both sides of the road.   It was great fun barking at the sheep and watching them scatter.  This one field must have had a thousand sheep and they were all on the run.  There is a saying down here called “going WOFing” which is “Working On Farm”.  I think it means barking at the sheep. 

We stopped at a little café for a coffee.  Tom says “You know we have not had any flats”.  I said “bad Juju saying that” We rolled out to the café and 50 meters down the road Tom has a flat. 

Further down the road we crossed the Motueka River which was in total flood.  There were huge trees going down the river. Jos says he never seen the river so high.   Then on the river road which according to Earnie-pedia is the most beautiful ride in all of New Zealand there were two sections where creeks had flooded across the road.   There are several places where towns have been flooded by the river.

The road to Franz Joseph Glacier where we were a few days ago it closed due to flooding.   A state of emergency has been declared in Franz Joseph where 149 mm fell in 4 hr.  Watching the flooding on TV is hard to believe this beautiful town is washed away.   I cannot believe how lucky we are to have lost only 0.5 days out of all of this rain. 

This was an absolutely astoundingly beautiful day of riding.  The sun was out and the scenery was in full bloom.  Grinding away in the rain turned into flying along in the warm sun.   I think that we covered 129 kms and had a climb of 929 m.  Here is a link:

Terry Bin Barkin

PS:  Tomorrow we ride where no Earnie has ridden.  


Anonymous said...

Actually you rode some that I have never ridden or driven on this ride. I have never been on highway 6 between Kohatu and Kawatiri. I have have always gone through Golden Downs and St Arnaud. I have never seen the Motueka River as anything but a clear flowing, somewhat shallow, trout stream. Glad you were able to get across the flooded road. The west side really is beautiful, especially in the sun. I recognize one of your pictures as the tree tunnel on the road. You are correct, I have never been north of Motueka, but since Jos has told me about that area, it is on the itinerary for the next trip. Later, Earnie

Howard Brown said...

Terry, do any of the locals look at you guys skeptically as you ride along in the wind and rain? They must wonder when you have perfectly good, dry, warm vehicles traveling with you.....he he he. I got a vivid image of a thousand sheep running away from you in sheer terror. It wouldn't have had anything to do with a loud, realistic barking sound emanating from a cyclist, right? You are lucky a sheep herder didn't appear on the scene. Keep up the great narrative!

Gail said...

I always say it is best to ride between the raindrops and that looks like just what you did. The sun goddess was definitely with you. Here's to you and your crew and many more sunny days! BTW, thanks for all the great info on rain gear, going to share it all with the bike club.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Tom angered the tire goddess.

Sounds like the rain has been epic for this region. Lucky to have seen the scenery before it all got closed; something like seeing Washington state on Rockies III before last summer's forest fires.

Calgary Ken C.

Milly Johnson said...

Great storytelling...