Boomed out of Marlborough country...

Blenheim was very cool this morning and for the first time I set out wearing arm and leg warmers and a gilet. I rode through kilometer after kilometer of vineyards, many with giant harvesters operating, and past more industrial scale wineries, accompanied by the boom of cannon fire - gas cannons to keep the birds away from the ripening crop. Even as I write this post I can hear gas cannons firing in the vineyards around me.

About 10 kilometers out of Blenheim the road began a long steady ascent to the Weld and Dashwood Passes, but the grade was moderate and the passes crossed comfortably enough with the help of a strengthening tail wind.

As I passed by the Awatere Valley turnoff (the Molesworth road) I felt a tinge of regret that I wouldn't be taking it, but my knee though improved is not up to any amount of walking, and I expect quite a bit will be needed. And soon after I met a fellow cycle tourist, a local from Nelson, who confirmed my thinking that the forecast rainy weather made the crossing inadvisable.

In between the green fertile valleys, an odd patch of pink. Huge evaporation pans for that gourmet salt that you pay so much for.

The wind continued to strengthen during the afternoon, and I was climbimg with little effort. The turbines are a giveaway that this is a windy place, but at least they were facing the right direction - towards me. And in the background my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

After what seemed an easy 55 kilometers I found the turnoff to my stopover and pretty soon was settling into the bike packer hostel - a former shearers quarters now surrounded by vineyards. 

Tomorrow I'll have a 75km run down to Kaikoura, and I'm hoping the wind will remain favourable, however a rain-bearing southerly change is expected in the late afternoon, so I must get to my destination before it arrives.

Click here for a Doarama visualisation of the route.

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