Yesterday the weather changed for the better - the rain and wind vanished and the sun came out. Unfortunately I didn't get out on the bike but I managed to well and truly make up for it today.
After a pretty cold night I woke up to a pretty reasonable frost but with the sun shining brightly and not a bit of wind to be felt - perfect. A quick call to Brian to see if he was still keen for a ride revealed that he was already in his gear and just about ready to get some fuel. Ok, so we were definitely going then...
We met up at the gas station at just ofter 9 and I then tucked in behind to follow him over to Fielding and then through to Halcombe. Very frosty through to Halcombe (not unusual) but the day was looking like it was going to truly be fantastic.
It was obviously pretty chilly and I was happy to sit behind my big screen with the heated grips keeping my mits warm and toasty.
We continued on through Marton and then to Wanganui and then got stuck into the Para Paras. I love this road but it certainly required a bit of
caution especially through the shady bits. I stopped just after one frosty corner (see piccy) in the hope of catching Brian coming around the corner but I was a bit slow grabbing the camera.
While stopped we had a quick discussion on where we thought we should be heading. I didn't really care although did mumble something about the Forgot
ten Highway but we ended up deciding on heading to Ohakune for lunch and the home given the chilly conditions.
However, I must have planted a seed in Brian's mind as he pulled up in Ratahi and suggested lunch in Taumarunui and then home via the Forgotten Highway and the 'naki. I, of course took a lot of persuading but was eventually swayed and off we went again.
A nice cooked brekkie (at 12ish), a quick top off of the bikes and we were soon turning onto the great highway 43 and motoring towards the Republic of Whangamomona. The riding was superb and although there was still some frosty bits the road was in good condition with very little traffic. The 16km of gravel was in good nick too although a couple of wet pieces did a great job of getting mud over the bikes.
We had another quick photo stop at the top of the Tahora Saddle and took in the great view of the snow on the mountains before continuing on to Whanga. We didn't stop this time but waved to a few other
bikes before tackling the last stretch to Stratford.
From Stratford it was just a quiet cruise home trying not to get too frustrated with the slow car drivers (who refused to pull over for anyone else) and avoiding any run-ins with the fuzz.
Somewhere south of Stratford one of my headlight bulbs blew but we ended up getting home just after five - well before it got too dark. Another fantastic ride on a perfect winter's day!
More pictures here.