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.
With not much riding over the last couple of weeks and a huge week at work to finish the financial year, it seemed that a ride would be in order and the Apiti Scamper was just what the doctor ordered.
An email out to my riding buddies resulted in five of us leaving from Caltex Rimutaka at 0740 on a pre-dawn morning that was a crystal clear sky and rather fresh 7º. I had put a skivvy and the winter gloves on at home but fortunately I put another layer and the glove liners on because the temp later got down to 4º as we cruised over the Rimutakas with Steve leading out.
We scooted up through the Wairarapa and the temp obviously got a bit much for Dennis, the cold squeeze forcing a natural break in Eketahuna before we embarked on the Track. A cage ended up between Steve and Ken through here, but he was sitting on Steve’s tail so Ken was happy to sit in behind through Mangamaire. I, on the other hand, being a bit of a dumbarse, thought I should take Ken and the cage in the passing lane at the foot of the Track proper. All I did though was overcook into the corner when I realized the surface was a little rough and so maintained (got put in) my place.
We were in Ashhurst by about 0935, registered, chatted and took a few pics before being briefed and departing around 1000. By now the temp was rising so I swapped the Spidi Gloves for the Darbis and set myself up at No 3, behind the ride leader Al. I did this ride last year getting stuck amidst a raft of Harleys that were quick on the straights but painfully slow through the curly bits, so this time I managed to position myself where I could sit at the relatively constant pace that Al Daytona maintained. We were soon pulling in to regroup at Apiti and were surprised to find the 1st 40 odd bikes were several minutes ahead of the main group, but apparently a Ducati had lost its chain and I guess the rest had paused until it was sorted.
Off again and we enjoyed a nice pace through the delightful section of road between Apiti and Rangwahia Rd, and then the muppets turned up to play. Some silly tart on a V-Max decided that she needed to pass everybody, which almost included Al, then pulled in behind him, (but almost beside him), then after another regroup pause in Cheltenham, a drongo on a Rocket did the same. It was of no real consequence, but I did drop back a bit to give them both a wide berth as riding is fraught with enough danger without having to ride closely to a loose cannon.
Once back in Ashhurst, we were treated to lunch, a brief on what Ronald McDonald House does, a draw of spot prizes, then an auction of donated items and vouchers. It was worth the effort to attend the ride and well done to Flynn, the Lions and other Palmy guys that helped organise and run the event.
We filled in Ashhurst, then opted to take the gorge and Balance road for the trip back. Once again Steve led out maintaining a brisk pace to Carterton, where we enjoyed a coffee stop at the Wild Oats and Barry shouted Red Cross buns. (He asked for five before realizing that buying six would be cheaper).
We finished with the usual fang over ‘the Hill’ after which I went straight to the Renouf Centre to see how Ann was getting on with her tennis tournament. It was a great day, riding with mates who ride well and are comfortable riding together at whatever pace is set. The weather was kind with little wind and the temp settling to 19º. I managed 533Km for the day at around 18.5K/Ltr and now have 113206Km on the bike. I guess that means another service after next week’s overnighter to Whangamomona.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.