Day 15 – Nelson to Blenheim

Today 126 km total 1,000 km (!)
This morning I departed from Nelson on my way back to Blenheim, thence to Picton and the Queen Charlotte Track. Leaving the youth hostel couldn’t have happened quicker for me! It was fine, just loud with a girls volleyball team slamming doors all night and a pretty hot room. Just not my scene methinks!
I talked to Simon (another warmshowers guy) on the phone telling him I would arrive early afternoon and he said I was underestimating the hills and would be later. He was right about that – I had underestimated them for sure! The two major climbs between Nelson and Ria Valley were legitimate mountain climbs of 250 and 250 meters. The grades were mellow though, so I was hopeful to crank them out but I got three (3!) rear flats today. On the third time (which happened right after I asentmindedly hit a pothole) I looked closer and found some really fine glass dust/gravel bits in the tire. I turned it inside out, patched up the tube twice (yeah Chandra, for real!) and got on my way. The first two flats happened right as the two major climbs started – crumbs! I nice couple saw me at the first one and turned around, coming back to lend me their floor pump. It was a really nice gesture, but I think the adapter on their pump resulted in my overpressurizing the tube which blew it out in my hand. In the end, I appreciated their support and had a nice chat, but my new pump I picked up in Welly worked out great!
Once I finished climbing, I had a sick tailwind pushing me most of the rest of the way to Blenheim.

I met Simon at his place and he was super nice, making dinner, giving me a very comfortable place to sleep, and I really enjoyed our conversation and wine. His wife is from Minnesota (a St. Olaf grad, in fact!) and is there now with their daughter. It’s really nice to end a hard day at someone’s home rather than a hostel or motor park.
Meg requested more food pictures, so here are some! Yes, that is a mussel pie, a flat white coffee, and I had kickin’ fish and chips last night with a couple beers at a pub in Nelson. Good times!

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