26 miles, 587 feet of climb, 640 ft max
Sue wanted to call her parents on Thanksgiving so we hung around the hostel until
she figured her brother would be there when she called.
We had a nice conversation with Swampy who gave us some good tips on places to see
around Blenheim. We stopped and bought a couple Christmas presents at a winery
gift shop and sampled the product of the boutique chocolate factory across the road.
With the relatively dry weather, the vinyards and the mountains, the scenery here reminds me a lot of home.
Coming into Blenheim we stopped and did major re-supply at a Fresh Choice
supermarket. While Sue was inside shopping I chatted with an Englishman who was
just leaving on his motorcycle. He owns a small vinyard and was in town to hire
some backpackers to work in the fields.
We stopped in downtown Blenheim for lunch, finally leaving the city at 2:15.
We made a big mistake leaving so late. By afternoon, the "freshening breeze" from
the south had become a gale-force headwind with blustery crosswinds as we crested
the first big climb. Sue was blown completely into the opposing lane of traffic
at one point. We walked our bikes the last 200 meters and continued walking down
the other side. It took us nearly an hour and a half to do the first 9 miles of
the 36-mile trip. We did the math and decided to return to Blenheim. (20 mph on
the flat without pedalling on the way back!)
We are staying at the Koanui Lodge and Backpackers on the south side of town.
It's the nicest place yet, at $30 each per night. We have an "en-suite"
(with bath) twin room with TV and lots of space. (Sue's photos)
We're up the stairs on the second floor above the courtyard. There's a supermarket next door - we had stir fry tonight.
I never was able to get the phone in the hostel to work correctly over several hours of trying. Finally we found a pay phone down the street and I changed our reservations at Cycle Packers hostel to tomomow night.
Early start tomorrow to beat the wind!
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