The family was all meeting in Blenheim for Christmas this year so I took the opportunity to make the most of the day riding over from Nelson & taking in the sights of some of the best riding in my lil corner of the world. First off was the crossing of the Maungatapu. It was the driest I've ever encountered with the usual muddy bog holes halfway up the track bone dry. Often I've wondered just how deep they would be & with the water dried up out of them it is safe to say they would comfortably swallow a small bike. Made it to the saddle without incident. [/IMG] Cruised along enjoying the great riding conditions & took a detour thru the Queen Charlotte Drive. This windy scenic road connects Havelock with Picton where the Interislander ferry spews out campervans & little hire cars by the thousands. As a result this road often becomes a snail trail of vehicles taking up whatever space they feel belongs to them. Unfortunately this usually causes some ruthless & dangerous passing manouevres by irresponsible bike riders. Luckily this irresponsible bike rider had a clear passage this day as most people were making the most of the pre- christmas sales at Briscoes. It's hard to keep the eyes on the road with the beautiful Marlborough Sounds metres from your front wheel [/IMG] [/IMG] I arrived at Picton far too early which I put down to my bike getting marginally lighter due to the footpegs being ground down a few centimetres, so thought it only fitting I carry on what was becoming the best ride I'd had for ages. If you were to continue travelling North east thru Picton & Waikawa bay the Port Underwood road awaits. This little tar sealed beauty has a very very windy incline to the top of a pass then a windy windy downhill to Hakahaka Bay. The road is generally in pretty good condition as part of an agreement to have the logging trucks passing thru from the many forests. From Hakahaka Bay you can turn toward Port Underwood proper or travel to Blenheim via Rarangi. The latter is on a marbly gravel road. For those inclined a great place to practise a few power slides out of corners. I stopped for a few pics. The first is Oyster Bay. [/IMG] [/IMG] A persistent burning smell hept me looking down at the bike & I worried that the damn KLR curse has hit me - I've got an oil burner! However riding over the brow of a hill I spied this... [/IMG] [/IMG] Being the civic minded citizen I am, I stopped to ask if they needed a hand. The fire fighter very tactfully reassured me they didn't need my help no matter how many how many times I asked. Oh well, I did have another intention however. "Do ya reckon I'd get a ride in the chopper?" I asked polite firefighter. "If you had a couple of hundred dollars you probably could..." He replied. [/IMG] I left them to put out the fire which was at that stage thought to be started by some boaties landing in a bay for lunch. On the homeward leg to Rarangi the road turned to dust. Following a fire truck crawling up the hills I was suddenly aware that a trip thru Mongolia following trucks along narrow single roads might not be that good fun. Either they were contacted by the polite fireman on the radio or finally saw me in their rear view mirror & let me pass. The trip was pretty relaxed back to Blenheim & into the arms of my family after platefuls of pavlova I fell. I relaxed for a couple of days before Bro-in-law Darryl came over from Wellington for a trip thru the Molesworth & Rainbow.