Queen's Birthday and the Bustagut Gathering came 'round again, with North Island KB'ers converging on Turangi for a weekend of riding and socialising.
Ann & I had decided we were too busy to go this year but after a nudge from Qkkid I thought, bugger it, we're due for another weekend away, so I put the word out to a few mates and in the end, Steve (Twosup) & Sheryl (Chicksnleather) agreed to come and booked us into the Oasis in Tokaanu. We were supposed to stay at the Turangi Cabins but being Old Farts, we decided our limits of 'roughing it' require a double bed, shower & TV in the unit and a hot pool on site. (Perish the thought of ever going to one of these rallys that require a tent).
As per last year, I made up some KB name tags for the Welly Riders so every one would know which ones were the Arrogant Wankers, we loosely planned our trip up, leaving options open for variations in the weather, but keeping the route relatively direct to get more time in the hot pool and I posted it on the KB site in case any other riders wanted to join us, which Ulf (Adulf) & Colin (Tang99) did. Then we waited for the day, keeping a close eye on the Rain Map.
Saturday 31 May, finally rolled up, crisp and clear and Nanny Ann and I departed from home at 0845 to pick-up a couple of things from her work before heading out to the Hutt to meet Steve & Sheryl, then on to Caltex Rimutaka to meet Adulf and Colin and fill up. That was Bloody Marvelous!.......my first purchase of petrol at over $2 per litre and I managed to squeeze $54.50 into the tank.......lucky we ride economically!?
After introducing ourselves and having a short chat, we got away shortly after 1000, with the temperature still hovering between 3-5°, so a careful trip over the 'Hill' was in order and I expected to be able to peel off a layer by the time we got to Masterton. That wasn't the case as, although we had a great day, it just didn't warm up and we pushed on for the Pahiatua Track and a fill-up for Adulf's Buell, before lunch at Cafe Blue in Ashhurst. (160Km, 1205, 9°). The hearty Brunch warmed us up, then it was on to Taihape, via Colyton-Kimbolton-Mangaweka. That was a nice ride which we hadn't done for awhile and although we did have to allow for the temperature and the odd wet patch that hadn't seen the sun, we were soon feeding the Buell (again) and the two 'Busas. (The ST was only down to half a tank at this stage).
The last stage of the day, across the Desert Road, was pretty uneventful except it had clouded over and although the temperature only dropped to 8°, it felt much colder so we dropped the guys off at Turangi at 1600, then headed over to Tokaanu to check-in and thaw out in the pool.....Bliss. It was then back to Turangi to meet up with the rest of the crew over a feed and a few drinks, plan the Sunday Ride, then head back to the Oasis for another soak before bed. (427Kms done at 17 K/Ltr).
The Sunday ride was originally planned to be over the Forgotten Highway, but the weather saw to that and it was more prudent to head east, so we arranged to head over to Napier to meet up with some of the Hawkes Bay crew for lunch.
(After another early soak…) It was down to the Turangi Shell to fill-up and meet before heading through to Taupo at about 1000, the weather was quite pleasant, but still only 10°, and we had 18 bikes regrouping just out of Taupo on SH5 before getting into the ride. I ended up in front of Colin & Adulf as we entered fog briefly, but we were out of it before Rangitaiki and enjoyed a sedate trip through to the summit on good roads which were wet in places where it didn't get the sun, so we had to show a little care. Once we got on the Napier side, the temperature shot up to 16° and the ride was much more pleasant as we caught-up to, then followed three Napier riders into our meeting place at Bayview. At this point we found out that BusaPete had done a tyre so after a repair job, he was escorted back to Turangi by Chanceyy while the rest of us were led by MSTRS, Yungatart & friends, via a circuitous route to Puketapu for lunch.
After lunch, I thought they were leading us on another short ride to BayView before we headed back.........Yeah Right! About 200Km later we had meandered around past Fernhill and Bridge Pa, taking Middle Rd (I think) down to Waipawa, before crossing back to SH50 by Tikikino......and then back to Bay View, where at 373Km so far for the day, at 16.3 K/Ltr (hmmmm....seems a bit low), even the ST wasn't getting back to Turangi on that tank. That was a great ride, but by the time we were ready to leave BP Bayview, it was already after 1600 and we still had 180 Kms to go, back into a front approaching from the SouthWest.
We got away and I took the lead of 6 or 8 bikes at a sedate pace, surprised that no one wanted to go a bit quicker as they all sat in line, (I guess we were all fanged out) but we made reasonable time until we climbed toward Tarawera into fog. The group had split-up going through traffic and we seemed to get an early dusk as the conditions deteriorated rapidly. Fortunately I was able to dial the High beam down on the ST so I got quite good penetration without lots of glare, then I would switch between high and low as I tried to maintain the pace while riding blind, but by the time we were 50Km out of Taupo, I was stuffed and now it was raining as well. Even the headlights of oncoming cars weren't visible until within a couple of hundred metres, then you'd be blinded by great starbursts of light as they passed.....and then it got worse....we descended out of the fog into Taupo at 1735, yet it had been dark for ages and felt like the middle of the night, I had a sore butt and another 30 minutes in the saddle would seem like an eternity. (This was worse than a GC)
We finally made it back to the Turangi Cabins at 1820 after stopping for a few supplies on the way, we checked in to let them know we were accounted for, then headed on to Tokaanu, a hot coffee, some cheese and crackers, a couple of wines, then when Steve & Sheryl got in, another hot pool to thaw out and sooth the tight spots. I tried o watch a bit of TV but by 2130 I was totally shattered and awoke later, just long enough to turn off the TV. (560'ishKms for the day at 16.6 K/Ltr)
Monday dawned with the sound of rain but by the time I dragged myself out of bed for the final soak of the weekend at about 0740, it was clearing up. We had a bite to eat, packed and finally headed over to Turangi at about 0930, only to find everyone had already left, so we carried on to Taihape for fuel and food. Once again the temperature was around 8° and we didn't strike the anticipated fould weather until just before Taihape, but by the time we emerged from breakfast number two, it was clearing up and didn't rain again until a bit before Otaki. We had stayed on SH1 as Ann had to be back before 1500 and with the wet weather, the fun roads wouldn't really be that much fun.
Steve & Sheryl peeled off at Paremata and we finally got home at 1410, 330 Km for the day, 1320 Kms for the weekend and 43,830 total on the bike, and my Storm on the rear looking very tired ideed. Like last year, the weekend was enjoyed by all who attended, we had a great ride on Sunday and it is always good catch up with mates and make new friends over a drink and a ride. Well done the Qkkies.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.