After another couple of quiet winter weeks, we broke the rides drought with a local poker run ride today. Don’s usual format for poker runs includes a bit of orienteering to find innocuous landmarks to obtain answers to trivia we should all know....if we’re drinkers of Tui!....which reminds me....did you know what Henry Wagstaff invented?
Anyway, last week, after a short Rodeo practice session with a half dozen riders, I needed a blowout so I nipped over the hill to visit me mum. That was a pleasant ride and I was surprised at that time to still see a dusting of snow on the eastern hills then bloody great dirty berms of snow littered along the roadside on the rimutakas. The next day I had to fill the bike, so come this weekend I just had to clean it and I was ready to go for this morning. That meant I had a cruisy start to the day, not getting away from home until 0920, getting to Brown Owl at 0950 to find a good collection of bikes already there.
After a short chat, I drew my first card (5 of Diamonds), then got a copy of the ride instructions and questions. I scanned the first few and saw we were to head into town, 1st stop the Central Exchange on Featherston St, so I mounted up and hit the road, first away with Dave just behind. That was easy, W Scott ‘laid the stone’, next was just down the road on Hunter Street, where we found an old style Lamp Post presented by Mayor Sam Brown in 1888...oddly enough, it seems he presented it for ‘lighting the City’...??? Then it was just around the corner and onto Harris St where I was surprised to see a monument advising that Yitzhak Rabin was awarded the , Nobel Peace Prize’ in 1994.
From here we nipped out to Porirua and around to the Colonial Knob carpark on Raiha Street. Did you know that it takes ‘2-4 hours’ to walk to the summit and return and the speed limit in Camp Elsdon is ‘5kph’.....and of course, just down the road by Keneperu Dve, there is a Polynesian Kindergarden with a statue of a ‘Mother reading to her child’. Wow!
From here we scooted around to the Pauatahanui Reserve ...which is in Pauatahanui and we discovered that the reserve occupies '4 hectares', having '4 walking tracks' and of course Dr Stout 'opened the cottage' in 1991. We now drew two more cards which netted me an Ace of Spades & 2 of Diamonds ...bloody marvelous.
We were nearly finished now and just needed to pause at the corner of Moonshine Road to find that farmers used to pay '£30' to lease 205 hectares of land (back in the day), Alfred Judge came from 'Europe' and illicit whiskey was called 'Moonshine'!! After those little gems it was a short hop down to the Belmont Regional Park to discover that Dry Creek Forest is surrounded by 'Podcarps & other stuff' (unfortunately I called it Beech Forest), Boulder Hill is a Block Field and one can do Tramping, Mountain Biking adn Horse Riding' in the park.
By the time we considered who the Minister of Labour was in 1986, what Henry Wagstaff did and who Henry Winkler was best known as, Trev had arrived on his ME109 and as a few others arrived, Dave and I decided to nip down to McDonalds at Silverstream for a coffee, while we waited. That was pleasant and by the time we got back, everyone but Trev had gone, so we went straight to Spyder’s for the ‘aftermatch’, which was a sausage sizzle and ogle at his personal museum. (He even started up the Henderson) Oh that’s right....and I picked my last two cards (which I was supposed to get at the Belmont Park)...9 of Diamonds and another 2 of Diamonds!...One bloody pair...but at least they were twins!!
I helped Cara scrutineer the card hands while Tania marked the quizzes, which resulted in 3 sets of 2 pairs, a heap of 1 pair and another heap of nothings. (What crap hands), and I think one person got all the answers right while a few of us got 2 wrong (so I got a $50 voucher from Motorad). That was cool, and a big ‘Well-Done’ to Don, Jude and their helpers for putting on a pleasant and well run ride. I’m not sure how many turned up but it must have been over 20. I did 155 Km for the day and the bike is now on 117664Km....and have $50 to spend on bike gear....pity Motorad don’t sell ST’s!!??
Today was programmed as a SH2 Claytons Ride. For those who weren’t around in the 1970’s, try looking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytons , so it’s the ride you have up SH2, when you’re not actually riding on SH2!! The plan was to ride through Greytown, then deviate around Carrington, take the Masterton bypass and Loopline through to Mauriceville, cross SH2 again to go around Eketahuna through Nireaha and exit at Mangamaire. From there we would emerge at Balance, then depending on time, head around the North of Woodville to cross SH2 again at Oringi, then take Jacksons Rd to finally turn up for lunch at Mangatainoka. A pleaseant wee pootle that would have resulted in 400’something Km for the day....but the best laid plans.
The MetService rain forecast has looked OK for most of the week, but the media has been talking up some sort of bullshit about a perfect storm...bloody wallies....I saw that movie and there’s no way planes are going to fall out of the sky and people get instant freeze dried in seconds. Anyway, it was call for concern though, so I planned for the worst and hoped for the best. (I’d programmed the GPS, packed my wets, and I packed some ball-cones and gear in case anyone wanted to have a slow session)
No matter what the weather turned on, I was going to have to turn up at Brown Owl because Ken & Jim both had the email list but they were both at the Uly Remembrance Run in Taupo, so I couldn’t cancel the ride (not that I’m ever inclined to cancel). No worries, it had been raining for the couple of hours before I arose at 0800 to get ready, but by this time the weather seemed to be clearing then I got away by 0900 and in some places on the way to Brown Owl, the road was dry.
At Catex Rimutaka, I was still on 2 bars for fuel, so with not expecting to do too many km and with the price for 95 at just over $2/Ltr, I figured $20 would be plenty, so I preset the pump and popped it in. Hmmm...pump stops and I still can’t see anything in the tank....turns on the ignition and I’m only reading 3 bars.....???? Bugger! I go in and pay, then go back and put another $20 in. I can see fuel now, log the fill, go in and pay then head down to the Brown Owl shops....bloody hell, it’s reading full now...oh no, one bar off....no, that’s full again...oh well, I’ve got lots!
As expected, I get to Brown Owl at 0940 and nobody else is there, so I settle onto the back seat, leaning on the top box and listen to my music whilst thinking about my options for the day....and then Steve turns up on the ’Busa. We briefly discuss options (pretty dumb idea with Steve ‘cos it’ll always be the longest one), then Dave turned up on the Beemer. Once again, after he tells us that he only turned up to advise he wouldn’t be riding, I run through the options, (programmed ride except return via the Track and SH1 to avoid the snow to sea level, local ride, or slow session at the Riverbank carpark). He had a funny, sort of incredulous look on his face and says, “But it’s going to snow to sea level”!? so we humour him and decide to go to a cafe at Plimmerton.
I volunteer to go TEC, the others tell me I’m a dick and as we head off, Gavin turns up on the Interstate, increasing our numbers by 33%, we putter down SH2, over Haywards and Grays Rd, arriving at Cafe Vella at 1037, struggle to find a park, so I live dangerously and park on the footpath under the shelter of the Plunket building.....just in case it snowed!?
We enjoyed a coffee, chat and big breakfast then headed off just before midday. Gavin was going up the coast, and the weather had cleared even more, so the rest of (the other 75% of the ride) went back over Grays Rd and had a no-brakes ride up to the summit of the Paekak’ Hill. The road was generally wet and splattered with regular blobs of diesel as well as occasional shades of green, so care and attention was given to the lines but I did have to tap the brakes a couple of times, in order to change the line to take evasive action. We returned with more of the same and once again, I tapped the rear a couple of times after getting stuck behind a car, then I peeled off to take Paremata Rd and head for home, arriving right on 1300, having done 126Km for the day at an average of 17.9K/Ltr and 31kph over the 4hours.
I got short changed because I was looking forward to 400+ Km today! As I write this, it has started to piss down but we could have got away with a decent ride and there’s still no snow. It did get down to 7º but we weren’t getting any ice at those balmy temperatures so....I got short changed....and the bike only has 117,158 Km on it.
.........and having written that, it did start to snow at about 1620. I didn’t notice as first as it turned to sleet and didn’t sound any different, but from the kitchen table I noticed a camera flash from across the road and watched as the sleet turned to snow....a bloody great blizzard of the stuff. At first it just melted on impact, then small amounts started to accumulate and now I’m very pleased I got short changed! It’s bloody white out there.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.