KIWI RIDER 10 2018 VOL.1 - Page 25

WORDS & PHOTOS: Peter Elliot A JOURNEY IN SOME PARTS (PART 4) t’s black, damn black. A “sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea” kinda black... to steal Dylan Thomas’ great line. Its 6am. I had packed up the night before, so I sling everything quietly aboard the Triumph, secure it with the bungies, down a few mouthfuls of hot tea with my host, and quietly rumble away from the house. Dawn is rising fast and I’m riding into it. It's cold, seriously cold, for only the second (and last) time this trip. As the light creeps up and makes dim outlines solid I am winding my way up the Crown Range. Every corner reveals a waking world of pastoral alpine beauty. I can hardly breathe, it’s so crushingly gorgeous. At sunrise I crest the mountain, and briefly gasp at the blazing orange ball instantly heating me. Down I swirl, into deep dark cold corners, far from the sunlight, knowing that these corners Wanaka-side would never thaw in winter. I’m grateful for the fair weather, and these magnificent Peter’s tour takes him from Queenstown to Nelson up the West Coast. cornering roads, as I roll the Triumph into a thrumming gallop down the hill. Yesss. The REVER app tries to send me on my way to Haast without the aid of coffee. NEVER going to happen, REVER. I switch off, re-route to Wanaka and find an early opening café, packed with tourists who are as excited about where they are and their day ahead, as I am. The night before I had been invited to join the Queenstown riders on a foray today, to Jackson - left at Haast and keep going till it stops – but knowing they were not to leave until 9am meant I would encounter the looming weather bomb off the West Coast ,and it would follow me up the entire west coast of the island as far as Nelson. The Norwegians once again gave me great insight as to hourly forecasts in remote spots, and were uncannily accurate. My early exit from Queenstown meant I could miss the wet, and see the divide in clear weather - but by 10am it would be frightful on the coast. KIWI RIDER 25