Day 4 St Helens – Bicheno

After the novelty of toast for breakfast rode the bag back to camp and had porridge as the others packed up camp. Back to the motel for more of the never ending breakfast and listened to the bikers in the next 5 rooms kick their Harleys into life and headed off to wherever. Heading toward 8.45 by the time I was finally rolling out of town. Perfect morning for riding and several little detours to beaches on the way into Scamander. The swamps that had been burned just prior to our last ride here have not recovered at all, whereas the burnt sections of forest are regenerating nicely.

Quite a few turning off to follow the coast road as we started the lower stretches of Mary’s Pass. VERY humid for the first part of the climb but pretty good after that and generally enjoyable gradient. Can’t say the same for the first part of the climb to elephants pass where the road virtually steps up as it rounds a bend.After that, surprised to get to the top quicker than expected. The day wasn’t getting any younger so skipped the pancakes and headed off on the long descent, a little disconcerted by the ambulance that had gone through with lights a flashing a few minutes previously. Not quite as clear a run as off weldborough pass but a damn fine descent nevertheless. Found the need for the ambulance when rejoined the coast road where someone had gone over the handlebrs on gravel and done a collarbone. Ouch.

A little head wind on the final run into Bicheno but not too bad, and great to see the familiar sights and realize we had a day off the saddle awaiting. Our prime campsite from last visit was swallowed up in the vollies area, but there really aren’t any bad campsites here. After the biggest meal I think I’ve ever seen on a ride – half chickens and good size ones at that – wandered down to the beach and around to the rocks below camp checking out marine life around the tidal zone.

We were starting to head back toward camp when spotted A penguin making its way along a crevice in the rocks trying to figure out a way around a small ledge. We were seaward of it and prepared to wait and see itmove on, but as more people appeared it spent more time hiding under rock ledges and less making progress towrd home. Back to cafe for final drinks as a rare light shower settled in.

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