Yesterday's ride had been planned for quite a while but had been put off due to average weather again and again so it was nice to get a good weather forecast that allowed the ride to be confirmed.
After a night of very little sleep I finally got up just before 5 and started getting ready for the ride. I was out the door just before six and off to find an open petrol station before heading out to Ashhurst to meet up with the rest of the guys.
When I got to Ashhurst they were all tucking into a decent breakfast before rugging up and hitting the road.
Leaving Ashhurst we pootled over to Fielding and then through to Halcombe. There was a frost all the way through here with my temperature gauge showing a chilly 1 degree. Unfortunately this was a little too fresh for Sarge and he split off heading for somewhere warm while the rest of us lit out for Marton.
From Marton the temperature gradually increased to around 7 degrees and we all warmed up a bit as kept on trucking through Wanganui, finally stopping in Hawera for petrol before popping into the local Suzuki shop for a free coffee (nice one!) and a chat.
Coffee mugs emptied we left Hawera via the Surf Highway and continued on around the mount. The weather was definitely warmer but a cool wind didn't allow the sun to work it's magic quite as well as we would of liked - it's the middle of winter eh?
Another quick pit stop in New Plymouth before heading North to some truly great roads. First up was Mount Messenger which even though damp in places was a blast with little traffic and some fantastic twisty roads. Not far North of Mount Messenger we pulled over at a lay by so someone could have a smoke and were surprised by another Kiwi Biker pulling in and stopping for a chat.
All talked out (yeah, right) we took off for the next great piece of road - the Awakino Gorge. This is a great ride with plenty of delicious curves and not much traffic. Everyone had a great play through here and then it was finally time to stop for lunch in Piopio.
Bikes and riders all feed & watered it was time to start making our way back home. The ride through SH4 to Tamarunui is always a great ride though in places there was grit on the road to stop cars from sliding around on ice and keep things interesting for motorcyclists.
Another quick stop in Tamarunui to discuss the route through the Central Plateau and it was decided to keep well away from the Desert Road and stick to SH4 before crossing over through Ohakune to SH1. Sounds like a plan...
At National Park we hit rain. Rain of the wet and freezing kind. Not mint. It was a very wet and cold ride through to Ohakune, so much so that Cowboyz had to stop and defrost his fingers. It turned out that his woollen inner gloves were stopping the heat from his heated grips getting through to his fingers - he finally sorted that out later.
Leaving Ohakune we again hit rain and the roads were very wet all the way to Waiouru. South of Waiouru the temperature dropped to around 5 degrees and we battled wet conditions nearly all the way to Taihape we we stopped for a hot drink before the last leg home.
Cruising South it was great to finally start getting some dryer roads and it was fantastic to end the day with a good fang over Vinegar Hill in dry conditions. And it was even better to get home and into a hot shower...
A fantastic day out - who cares about the weather...
More pictures here.