This weather is definitely making things difficult.
We ended up spending four nights in Nelson, two of them in the campground outside of town, two of them in the Palace Hostel. The first of those hostel nights, the entire place started shaking in the middle of the night. First the doors rattled a bit, then the whole place started moving. It shook long enough to wake us up, me to put pants on, Scott to find his glasses, and both of us to get outside and stand around for a bit.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake had hit just north of Hanmer Springs, the place we’d been about a week ago.
In summary, it scared the shit out of us. There was a Chilean girl who was apparently pretty used to earthquakes, and after we’d all gathered outside after the shaking stopped, she said something along the lines of ‘Oh great, now we have to deal with aftershocks all night.’
And we did. But in all honesty, I slept pretty well after we determined we weren’t in the tsunami warning area.
We actually had a good bit of fun in Nelson. We drank beer at the Freehouse, a funky brewery in an old church.
We had lunch with Chris Bennett who puts together the Cordillera, a story from Tour Divide riders every year. He also said that the quake the night before was just a ‘stand in the doorway’ severity. Stronger than a ‘don’t get out of bed’ but not quite a ‘get outside’. They have an app that people record when they feel an earthquake, they happen so often around here.
We went for a little run.
I watched movies on Netflix while Scott worked, and Kait made us a spectacular burrito dinner while we watched the rain pour outside.
But this morning, while we did wake up to rain, the skies had cleared by the time we were ready to go. I wouldn’t say it was sunny when we rolled south, but it was actually quite pleasant.
We followed the Great Tasting Trail route, put together to go through and near vineyards in the area. I think if you do a supported ride on it, you stop and taste a bunch of wine along the way.
We didn’t, but we did stop for afternoon coffee and pastries at a cafe in Wakefield. The flat whites here are amazing coffee. And they don’t mess around with their cakes either.
It was just the boost we needed to start the climb into the hills. We were on road now, but endlessly entertained by the sheep and cows that dotted the hillside. We even scared a momma sheep (sheep get scared by bikes riding by) who ended up belly flopping into the creek with her babies trying to rejoin the herd.
We couldn’t stop laughing. Which is probably bad karma.
It was pretty late by the time we rolled into St Arnaud. That’s what happens when you don’t leave town till 1:30 and have 50 hilly miles to cover. We’re camped down by Lake Rotoitini, where apparently there are Great Spotted Kiwi birds! We looked in the evening but couldn’t find them.
Weather looks dire for tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.