Well... I'm on my way... Driving through Molesworth which I am
really excited about after planning it for a long time.
Here's the sign to turn off SH1... And the road is open.
My bus measures exactly 7meters. I have had various comments
on driving through there from "Oh you'll do it, piece of cake!" to
"Oh no you won't get through there without getting stuck."
But I got all the information I needed and found out that
as far as the Molesworth road is concerned it is checked
every day by the DoC rangers so I wouldn't be stranded
more than 24 hours. A puncture? Well that would be an
expensive road side call out!
More information... I have no idea what this 70% restriction is...
Maybe somebody can explain it... But I thought that big cattle
trucks must go through this road... So off I went...
The first few km's of the road is sealed and winds up the Awatere
Valley and river...
On both sides of the road are 100's of acres of grape vines
growing... Lush bunches of grapes hanging. It's nearly harvesting
time... But the vines are changing the face of the landscape.
The rest of the countryside is so incredibly dry from lack of rain.
Any green comes from the autumn yellows and greens of
the trees along the river...
About 20km is my first stop... For coffee!
This is a great camping or parking spot... Lots of green spaces...
But nothing there... The little stream is all dried up. But it was
the last Internet reception for 150km's.
Amazing cliffs, cut I suppose, by the river flow cutting its way
through an old river bed, especially when it's in flood.
Amazing, huge farms on the river flats...
It was a stunning hot day... The cattle huddled in the little
bit of shade they can find.
The last of the green grape vines... And then...
The end of the sealed road. To this point the road had been
stretches of seal and gravel but eventually
no more seal... For 160km!
no more seal... For 160km!
The condition of the gravel roads was good. Very few
corrugations or rocks on the road... Just dust!
My first ford... Which was totally dry and not an issue.
The road had subsided on one side.
Careful driving was needed at all times. There were steep passes
and overall the road climbed in altitude all the way.
The countryside was stunning... The greens and browns, autumn
colours, the river and white cliffs and the beginning of the mountains.
I could see the road winding around the hills in front of me...
For a long way...
And then I saw some dust clouds in front of me... Oh oh...
Oncoming traffic. So I found a wide spot to pull over and wait.
Big trucks towing trailers with big machinery... And
Woosh... The world was obliterated...
And then the second truck and I had another dust experience...
Nothing quite like it!
Onward... There were lots of very narrow one way bridges.
Following the river up the Awatere Valley...
I can't get lost on this road... Nowhere else to go!
And then a bigger bridge...
The Hodder Bridge with the 70% restriction...
Mmm... I thought...The bridge looked bigger and stronger
than me so over I went... To the other side.
Amazing stony river beds and not much water.
A great place to stop... After the first 54 km's!
I had made it that far.
There were a lot of wild briar rose bushes covered
in rose hips, so I picked a bag full in anticipation
of making more 'Angela's Skin Food' concoctions.