Next week is already this week and I’ve been and had my overnighter in Whangamomona. What a primo ride!
Fourteen bikes, four with pillions, made their way via various routes, to the Republic this weekend. Five dirt-trackers departed from the Plimmerton Weigh Station at 0900 on Saturday to scoot up to Inglewood, where they were joined by another rider from Hamilton, then they meandered to Whangamomona via the Tarata Saddle, two roadies went up the Para’s, across to Taumaranui, then down, one dirt-tracker was late away from Welly and made his own way there and five of us departed from Caltex Rimutaka at 1000, for a leisurely jaunt through the countryside.
It was supposed to be brilliant weather this weekend, but we set out over ‘the Hill’ in calm, overcast and cool conditions with indications that we’ll soon be putting the liners back in the gear. The traffic had been quite heavy when we had been filling, but by the time we got on the road, it was easy going and we made good time up to Eketahuna, where the cool squeeze gave
rise to the first stop for a natural break. After the short pause we cruised over the Track and up to Ashhurst for a fill, then lunch at the Herb Farm.
The cloud cleared as we approached Mangamaire but it didn’t warm up until we were relaxing at lunch, so I took the skivvy off before we moved on through Colyton, Feilding and Halcolmbe. The plan was to divert through Fern Flat to emerge at the Turakina Antique shop but as we were a bit behind time, we gave that a miss and stuck to the main road through Wanganui, Waverley and the next top-up for the wee tanks at Patea. Ann’s cousie, Moana was on duty so I chatted to her briefly before moving on.
As we approached Hawera, we took the turn for Ohangai to save time, but Mike was stuck behind a truck and didn’t see Jude at the intersection until he was passing. Unfortunately there was a stream of traffic, so we lost a minute or two before he made it around and back, then instead of upping the pace, the unfamiliar, narrow roads had us back to 90kph to keep the group together, so by the time we cruised up Turuturu, Fraser & Rotokare roads to rejoin SH3 just short of Eltham….we pulled right in behind the same truck…..Doh!
Not a problem, we were soon all topping-up in Stratford and ready for the good stuff…the Strathmore, Pohokura and Whangamomona saddles…and all the 63Km of sweet curly macadam that links them….although there were a few wet patches that required care! During the day I’d had the economy up to 20K/Ltr and it was 19.8 when I filled. As we scooted out to Whanga’, although we were riding briskly, we were still keeping it economical and I pulled into the pub just along from the horse parked out the front) at 1700 on 18.4K/Ltr. I’d enjoyed 479Km of great riding during the day and once we’d parked up
and dumped the gear in the rooms, we settled in for the night, which included a bit of drinking, a decent feed etc, etc, finally hitting the sack at 2300.
I enjoyed a real comfy bed in the penthouse suite, which I was sharing with Les and Brownie, but fortunately I was in a room by myself, because when I had to get up for a leak at 0400, one of them was fair going to town, chopping the wood, ploughing the field, and generally snoring up a storm….and when I shut the door again, it all went away. Thank God for that! I got up at 0700, cleaned up, stowed the pannier back on the bike, checked the tyres and went in for a continental brekky. We paid up, took a group piccy out the front of the pub and headed our separate ways, three for Stratford, one Hamilton via Ohura and the rest of us for Taumaranui.
I was one of the last away but worked my way to the front in order to zip over the Tahora Saddle, then set up to get pics of the others as they exited from the Hobbit Hole tunnel, the trouble with that was, it put me at the back again to eat dust through the Tangarakau Gorge. Fortunately it was only noticeable in places as the gravel is pretty sparse at the moment, so I didn’t have any problems on the ST.
We were soon pausing at the Ohura junction to farewell Norm, then I got away first to set up for another pic just along the road a bit, then once again, had a ball working my way to the front for another. I was hoping to get a picture of the bikes as they passed along the river but couldn’t find a decent spot, so continued to BP Taumaranui. I guess I had been a bit loose on this leg as the economy was down to 17.1K/Ltr, and I’d made a couple of marginal passing decisions…so from here to Raetihi, I accompanied Chris on his 250 and that got it back to 18.4K/Ltr.
We stopped for an early lunch, then split again as the dirt trackers took to the Wanganui River road while the four road riders left returned down the Para’s. I led out again with the focus on riding economically, which was made easy with a lack of much traffic (and being downhill). This road is pretty good at the moment and although we bikers complain about how the powers that be are wrecking our roads, it is a much easier ride than it was just a few years ago, with a consistent smoother surface and easier corners, so it’s much easier to sit a reasonable and more constant pace….which we did.
We flitted down the Para’s, took Kaimatira Rd to Line 2 and Fordell, to avoid Wanganui, then scooted to Bulls for a fill. We’d done well because my economy had risen a bit further to 18.9K/Ltr and I still had 3 bars on the gauge, so opted to try for Wellington and led out for the last leg of the weekend. We maintained a pretty good pace to Levin then started slipping between cars for the rest of the way, which also improved the economy a bit more, so I finally went on the last bar just before Paekak’, at which time I knew I could get all the way.
I pulled into the G.A.S. Ngaio at 1556 and put 25Ltrs in the tank after travelling 511.5Km from Stratford, having done 927Km for the weekend. It was a bloody good trip!! ….and just long enough because at 114,181Km, the bike is booked for it’s 114K service on Tuesday.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.