After a restful night where the wind blew itself into a frenzy until it eventually wearied itself and rested, we continued on northward through more rain (but not wind!) towards Blenheim. The hills were a bit more steep and numerous than we had anticipated (although perhaps the cold rain made them seem that way), but we persevered through the rains and the hills (and I got a flat) and edged into NZ’s famous Marlborough country, with the sheep giving way to grapes growing in their ruler straight lines. We pulled into Blenheim at about quarter to one, soaking wet and looking a bit bedraggled. Mike quickly and efficiently located a warm dry room at a backpacker place called The Grapevine, had the woman there book us on a wine tour van, and we threw off our wet biking clothes, jumped into a hot (but quick) shower, and were on our way to wine country by a quarter past one . . . and, of course, the sun came out.
m!ke’s two cents: Touring with Chandra is so much different tan touring on my own. I found some advantages to being on my own in the month prior to Chandra’s arrival, but they pale in comparison to how we work together. Bad conditions are a perfect example. I can be quite a lightweight when the weather gets foul. I can handle whatever gets thrown at me, but I tend to get a bit whiney. I think Chandra was thinking the whine tour was replacing a wine tour as I got grouchy about being totally soaked going over hills bigger than I thought they would be. Luckily she’s tough and one quick pointing out about my humbug attitude snapped me out of it. As our friend coach said in Alaska, you can’t hate the rainy days. You can like the sunny days better, but you have to like the rainy days too. Does this contradict what I said before about unnecessary suffering? Perhaps. But a slight shift in attitude turned what was kind of les Miz. into another fun experience. We didn’t have to try and dry off in a tent, and the sun came out anyway. The ride over the last mountains of our cycling travels together, dripping with rain (but without wind!!!) will remain in my memory. Fun times….