This week's ride was an overnighter to Raetihi. The main push for this destination came from the Dirt Trackers who wanted to sample the Whanganui River road, but of course a road option was also required, so that meant I had to come up with some circuitous route to get us there and with Raetihi not really being on the radar as far as destinations go, I felt we needed to get there via ‘The Road Less Travelled’.
I had the 90K service done on the bike during the week, did a bit of planning and the weather forecast was mint, so come Saturday morning I was packed and ready to leave by 0815, for a fill at BP Mana before meeting at the Weigh Station.
It was quite cool so I had put the liner in my jacket and I opted for the heavier Spidi gloves, but no sooner had we got on the road than the temp rose quite quickly and I knew I would need to change when we stopped in Foxton to meet Royce & Jude. I was forth on the road when we left, but a station wagon passed as I merged onto SH1 so I slipped in behind him and had soon been dragged to the front and as I was a bit warm, I didn’t wait around for the others but commenced slipping through the steady stream of traffic and was soon in Foxton. We couldn’t find the Royce and Jude so after 10minutes, the dirt trackers continued on to Wanganui while we were to wait until 1030 before moving on ourselves. Come that time I went back through Foxton first, found them and we were soon on our way to our first coffee stop in Kimbolton.
To get there we went up SH1 to Sanson, then crossed SH3 on to Cemetery Rd and made our way through to Halcombe, crossing the main road there to make our way to the Cheltenham Rd and up to Hansons Café. By now the temp was rising nicely, the skies were cloudless and one could see Ruapehu from the Sanson area. It was great.
Caffeine fix taken care of, we continued past Peep-o-Day to Pemberton and rather than stay on the Rangiwahia Road, we rode across to Ohingaiti. Both the Rangiwahia & Mangamako Roads had parts that had been resealed so care was required and as is sometimes the case, the absence of signage was a concern. Never the less, we had a pleasant ride and the vista as we came out above the Rangitikei River was spectacular.
It was only about another 30Km and we were in Taihape, stopping at the BP for fuel and another break. I was only down to half a tank so didn’t bother with gas but did enjoy a pepper steak pie and a relaxing chat before embarking on the last leg for the day. Royce and Jude were happy to head straight for Raetihi, but Steve, Warwick and I had some more roads to enjoy and took off on Spooners Hill Rd, where a truck had dumped gallons and gallons of crap extending right across the left side of the road for over a Kilometer or two. We were able to skirt round it, passed the arsehole truck a bit further up the road and skip through Waiouru, taking the Whangaehu Valley Road and Fields Track through to Kakatahi on the Parapara Rd. That was a pleasant ride through a golden Autumn landscape and we finished the days ride with a nice pootle up to Raetihi, getting there just before 1600.
We settled into the cabins then sat in the sun chatting while we waited for the gravel grubs to arrived, then chatted some more before heading to the Cossy Club for a beer and a feed, finishing off with a wine back at the Holiday Camp. It was a crisp, clear night and bloody marvelous.
I was asleep by about 1030 and awake a bit after 0300 but relaxed and dozed until arising at 0615. It was freezing with a coating of frost on all the bikes and by 0800 the temp was barely rising above 0°C, but we were soon back on the road to Ohakune for breakfast. After that, Norm headed back to Cambridge, while Warwick was off for a couple of days touring around Coromandel and the rest of us headed for Waiouru.
The three remaining Adventure Riders peeled off at Tangiwai to enjoy sliding their way to Hunterville leaving five of us to make our way for fuel in Taihape. After that the other three were going to stick to SH1, but Steve and I decided to stick with ‘The Road Less Travelled’ theme, diverting at Vinegar Hill, going through Waituna West then taking Williamson Road West to thread our way across to Ohakea. From there we took Tangimoana Rd to bypass Sanson, then stayed off SH1 again from Himitangi to Foxton, crossing it to make our way to Shannon, for another snack whilst relaxing in the sun.
To finish the ride we took SH57 and Arapaepae Rd to re-emerge on SH1 at Ohau and that was our last diversion until the usual final fang over the Paekak’ Hill. I waved goodbye to Steve at Pauatahunui and got home before 1400, having done 748Kms for the weekend and hitting 90,424 on the bike.
It was a rather pleasant weekend with mint conditions and good company. I might need to do some more overnighters and Ann will need to come next time.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.