I decided this week, that weather permitting, I would be hitting the road today....and the weather certainly permitted.
I had no real plan and early in the week the forecast was looking marginal, but when it all cleared up yesterday I gave Ken a call to see if he was up for a ride. I really needed to start conditioning for the long rides coming up in October (NI1600) and November (C1KC), but as it's early days and mid-winter, I figured a short foray into the southern Wai'rapa would suffice, so Ngawi and the Water Towers it was.
I packed the bike and checked the tyre pressures last night and both tyres needed a couple of psi, but I couldn't be bothered doing them then, so left it for Z Crofton this morning. I called/checked in and confirmed with Ken at 0900 for a 1000 meet at BP Hutt Rd and things looked sweet...except perhaps for the fresh 6°...and his reports of sheets of ice in Karori?
I was a bit late, had a quick fill and we hit the road at 1017, not a cloud in the sky but as the temp dipped to 4° through Silverstream, it was a good reminder to take care. Traffic on the hill was easy and remnants of icey-snow on the sides of the road near the summit was more evidence that we were in the grips of a really crappy winter, but dropping into the Wai'rapa saw more blue skies and a rising temp that edged back past 8° and onto 10°.
It was a change not to have to bother with any regroups etc and we flitted straight through Featherston out to Kahutara Rd, right towards Lake Ferry and although it was 10° by now, I did resort to turning on the heated grips.....after all, I did have my Summer Darbi gloves on!!?? It was sweet riding though as we clipped along at a steady relaxed pace and interesting through here, that across towards the east coast there were some hills that still had a dusting of snow. I say interesting because there is very little evidence of snow on the Tararuas and as a school kid in the 60's, there was always a liberal dose of snow on them from May to September/October.
It seems to have been awhile since I recall going out to Ngawi and today was a wee gem. There were a few patches that hadn't seen any sun, a wee touch of gravel and a couple of spots where the stock was grazing in paddocks open to the road, but at least they were calm cattle and we made good time....and being gentleman that are exiting from our prime middle age, we both headed for the dunnies as soon as we arrived, then had a chat, took a couple of pix and got back on with it.
I had forgotten to fit the GoPro at the garage, so I took the opportunity to fit it in Ngawi and filmed the ride out, which was slightly more spirited and it was truly magnificent to be slipping along the coast and through the countryside, into a high sun. We scooted into Martinborough, then out on Middle (Ponatahi) Road as I didn't fancy picking my way through what would be a potentially slippery road through the Tablelands. It was quite noticable through here that the area must have had a lot of rain as there were fields with ground water on them, a couple of places where the stock were in mud and some stock yards near the road that were pretty messy.
After a brief pause at the Gladston Tavern for coffee and fries, we finished the day with a scoot around the Water Towers to Wainuioru, into Masterton and home. More mint riding and a jolly good fang over the hill this time, but we got separated and although I slowed down all the way to Melling, that was the last I saw of Ken. Mind you, it's hard once one gets into the lights and I seemed to get a clean run all the way through.
Bloody great day though. I ended up doing 375km at an average consumtion of 17.1Km/Ltr (the ST seems to operate much more efficiently in hot weather) and moving average of 83kph. The temp did make it up to 14° and the bike now has 46,377Km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.