It was still cloudy up in the hills, so I hit the Great Taste Trail again. Rather than follow it explicitly I was heading through Richmond, then Pigeon Valley to the Motueka River Valley. I've ridden there a couple of times, so nice was looking forward to visiting again. Then it would be home via Mapua, Rabbit Island (another swim?) and back to the motel.
Although mostly road riding, I was on my Mountain Bike (see yesterday) which would hardly be challenged by the gravel road and trail ahead.
Heading towards Richmond, the white plume on the horizon is steam from the Goldenpine MDF board factory. It looked a bit 'nuclear' but connection to that would come later in the ride. The finger, a reminder not to cover the wide-angle lens on the phone but it would happen again, and again!
From Richmond to Brightwater the road is flat and straight. Nice views of the hills and river help with the lack of cycling excitement. There wasn't much traffic apart from one section of road works, one lane closed, where stop/go signs had backed up a short queue.
Brightwater and the atom?
The rural town of Brightwater, the birthplace of the "father of nuclear physics" Lord Ernest Rutherford. It has a memorial to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist known for his pioneering studies of radioactivity and the structure of the atom.
Heading out of Brightwater a field full of European cars caught my attention. As am touring in a rare, if not expensive or exotic, European car took a snap in case I needed assistance. My Bravo's Auckland mechanic visits this region, on holidays, but our visits didn't coincide.
Loved this old farmhouse, the ravages of time clearly showing.
I stopped off in Wakefield; the Pharmacy to get a small tube of sunblock, forgot to bring some for 'top-ups', and an ice-cream at the Dairy, before heading into 'the valleys'.
Pigeon Valley is sealed road until near the forest. There gravel was mostly dry, after yesterday's rain, and smooth. I was still carrying around dual suspension which was not needed!
I heard a few logging trucks working, it was Tuesday, but the only one I encountered turned off, down a forest road, before it got to me.
Back out of the forest Dovedale Rd was sealed again. Love the way Alpaca take an interest in the passing cyclist.
A torrential downpour and shelter tree determined it was time for lunch. I was binge listening to Jon Ronson's podcast series "Things fell apart' while riding. Four episodes on "the real people at the heart of America’s most vicious culture wars—from sex education and gay liberation to legal abortion and beyond". Fascinating look at what preceded (formed?) what we see today on social media.
Dovedale Rd is pretty quiet. I was amused to see a road crew marking up tiny potholes, cracks, for repair on this rural road with little traffic. Wish Auckland Council had the same priority on our rural roads. I was held up by inconsiderate pedestrians crossing the road with little regard to oncoming traffic.
I recorded a short report for "Walk The Pod', in the shade with sounds of summer, cicada song, as a background. The short video below just captures the cicada, deafening at times.
On a door in Dovedale, Vale Terry
Riding past this farm shed on Dovedale Rd some 'graffiti' caught my eye. It didn't look random, neither art nor tags, so stopped for a closer look.
It was a beautifully written tribute to the farmer 'Terry', a character plainly much missed.
It was just written in marker, fading in places, so I transcribed it below:
I'm replacing the old 'door'
It had a sag and a bend
There was rot in the middle
And big holes in one end
I'm no swinger
Just very well hung
Built by two men
Neither of them young
I'm holding the shed up
Not thin nor too wide
I hang here all day
Just a bit on the side
You may have seen my sister
She's just along the front ->
I know what you're thinking
But I'd never be that blunt
We've lost our man Terry
He's gone from our halls
But you can still hear his laughter
Bouncing off our walls
Some feared these hills
Their hard steepness a factor
But not if you'd seen our Terry
On his dozer or his tractor
With fert 'n seed he'd crab and slide
Over every ridge and valley
Should have died a thousand times
Sylvie never learned their tally
He'd tinker round in our sheds
Have a beer out here with Ash
Or be sorting out the Fergie
For the next big Dovedale bash
But not one of us is forever
Our Terry's story must have a finish
With Gangies blood in their veins
His Gangies yarns will not diminish
Seems us doors just hang here now
With Terry not running riot
Just that mouse nest in the corner
And the barn owl breaks the quiet
Some say he's left us
But to us Gangies he's still around
Working ground and shifting stock
Or a mission into town
For that funny noise this evening
And that whispered curse after dark
Why that's our Terry with a spanner
Fixing the Fergie for a lark!!
A moving read, someone I'd never meet but now felt I knew.
Bidding Terry's shed farewell I carried on towards Motueka Valley.
Passed this decaying transport collection along the way.
Motueka Valley and River are beautiful. The highway runs down the eastern bank, quieter rural roads on the western bank. I have ridden it twice before, on Adventure South trips with Bas, but so happy to be here again.
Although I could have ridden further on the West bank had to try the little pedestrian (and bike!) Pokororo Swing Bridge back over the river. It's on private property, a working orchard, but the owners have kindly granted an easement to preserve public access.
From Ngatimoti, midway along Motueka Valley, I headed across country to shortcut back to Mapua & the Rabbit Island ferry. It was hillier than I expected, thought the road would stick to the valley, so progress was slower than I had allowed for.
The last ferry had sailed by the time I got sight of Mapua but carried on as needed both water and food.
Seems nature triumphed over this Triumph.
Having missed the ferry, I had to road ride back to join the trail near Rabbit Island. The highway wasn't too busy, and mostly had shoulders, but it took longer than the ferry/island trail combo.
It was after eight in the evening by the time I got 'home'. After ~138km on fat mountain bike tyres I would sleep well tonight!