Picton is 130 kms from Nelson. It's a small town with a busy Marina and Port in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. It's where the Ferry from the North Island docks.
|The beautiful Marlborough Sounds|
Rob, our long lost Nephew, was meeting us there, the ideal chance for Niel to start his training and for me to re-acquaint myself with Vespa riding on the open road. Riding through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the best rides you will find anywhere . Very few cars use that road, as it's too twisty and up and down and nausea inducing, [they use an alternative route,] but on a bike or scooter it's fantastic. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and not a breathe of wind. In Summer it's busy with cycle tourists and camper vans on the tourist trail, but in late winter - it was so quiet only 2 cars passed us, simply brilliant.
Being late winter there was frost on the shady corners, which the council had laid grit on. This was a bit dicey on the Vespa, so I took it slowly and carefully. I had given Niel a 2 hour head start and was astonished that he had done 100 kms before I caught him. I went on after a food stop, got to our Motel in Picton, took our bags inside and 10 Min's later he turned up, I envy his fitness.
It was awesome to catch up with Rob, and with another spectacular day, we headed back through the Sounds again towards Nelson once more.[ Rob joined us for the first bit before heading back to the ferry].
|Niel and Rob leaving Picton|
I realised a few things in the ride. Firstly - having not ridden on the open road since autumn, I'd forgotten how atrocious New Zealand drivers are, particularly concerning scooters. All the car drivers see is a scooter that must be passed. I was thinking that if you had traffic police on scooters that could radio ahead to a patrol car, they could get all their yearly quota for traffics offences in one week. I'm convinced that NZ drivers are the most intolerant and inpatient drivers in the world. I've decided to make a study of it on our big trip, I'd love to be proven wrong.
I've also realised how cold it gets on the Vespa when it's not high summer. A lot of our trip next year will be decidedly unsummery, so I'll need some decent Motorbiking trousers and boots, and I've definitely added a hot water bottle to the 'what to take ' list. This list needs constant refining. If I add something to it, then something else needs to come off it. i don't have and unlimited amount of space.
With views like this, Vespa riding is pure pleasure.