Enviro News from South Island

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Well, I finally found something I don’t like – irrigating fields in the middle of the day.  At home, I write in the summer about people watering their lawns in early morning or evening to avoid losing half to evaporation. Well, the farmers here haven’t read my column! Some of the rivers are pretty small by the time they get to the ocean because of irrigation so I wonder why they don’t conserve by timing the irrigation better. I don’t really have a chance to meet farmers so I doubt if I will be able to get an answer.  If I do, I will let you know!

Well, I took the wine tasting tour.  They picked me up at my campground and returned me there, so I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving.  The wines here are excellent and they have several different wine growing areas with different climates and different specialties. For a red wine drinker like myself, it was a little disappointing to find out that Sauvignon Blanc was the prime wine on my tour. By the end, I knew it was not my choice of white. I liked the Pinot Gris. On the tour, there was one American, four Latvians, four Australians and one Canadian.

By the way, they have great road signs out here about drinking and driving, speeding, driving when tired. The one today was “Don’t drink and DrIvE.” The DIE was in red and the r and v were in black like the first three words. It was clever. I wish I had a voice activated tape recorder at times so that I could read some of the signs I pass and also make note of comments about things that I see but likely don’t remember when I write my journal each evening. I am taking lots of pictures and each evening I make a folder with the date and put my comments and pictures for the day into it. 

They are certainly catering to bike riders here. All the main highways have at least a metre of pavement outside the line which marks the edge of the traffic lane. There are rumble marks at the edge of the highway on all curves and even sometimes on the straight areas. In a lot of the towns and cities there are bicycle lanes marked. 

I am writing to you now from the South Island. I took the ferry across Cook Strait. By the time you read this, I will have driven across to the west coast through Arthur’s Pass. This will take me up and over the Southern Alps. I will be changing gears a lot on that section. I pull over when I go too slow and let the faster drivers pass me. Likely I will grab some pictures when I pull over in the mountains. They have a lot of passing lanes but since I am quite slow in the hills, it is better to pull over when I can.

Your tanned traveler.

Geographic location: South Island, Southern Alps

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