Thursday -- our first full day of riding. We did a little over 50 miles with about 3300 feet of climbing. We left the hotel in Picton around 8 am in mostly cloudy conditions. 10 am saw the arrival of both the sun and the wind. The sun was in and out most of the rest of the day, but the wind kept picking up, and was quite fierce by the end of the ride at Okiwi Bay.
Basically we rode the main road (Highway 6) that goes from Picton to Nelson. After lunch we had the option of continuing on this road with steadily increasing traffic into Nelson, or veering off on a back road, with an 1100 foot climb, to the scenic Okiwi Bay, and then riding the van to Nelson. We chose the latter, and when we later saw the traffic (and heavy wind) on Highway 6, we were glad that we did. The van trip did have a negative aspect however. We were pulled over because a policeman parked on the side of the road was able to see that one passenger was not wearing her seatbelt. In fact, five of us were not wearing seatbelts, but he could not see that while the vehicle was moving. He gave her (the passenger, not the driver!!!) a $150 ticket. (We'll see that she doesn't have to bear this cost alone.)
The scenery was beautiful for most of the day. The towns are few and far between. Even though Highway 6 is a main road, it is never more than two lanes, and at times it narrows down to one lane for small bridges. We went through the town of Havelock which bills itself as the greenshelled mussel capital of the world. Shortly after that we stopped at a small cafe for lunch. I couldn't pass up the freshly made "mussel fritter." Thats two days in a row for the mussels -- I still have to try the ubiquitous lamb, and the venison that frequently appears on menus.
No picture today because the hotel computer doesn't have an accessible USB port for my card reader.