There was actually a few spits of rain as I was getting the bike out but I'd already decided that even if it bucketed down I was still going (really needed to sort those cobwebs). The first destination (after checking out the fuel gauge) was Feilding and a quick stop for gas. By the time I got over there things had cleared up a lot and it was also time for the sunglasses to come out and the vents be opened on my riding gear.
From Feilding I took my usual route through to Halcombe and then across to Turakina before turning off to Fordell to bypass Wanganui by riding through Okoia. This is a handy little diversion as it saves quite a bit of time but you do have to watch the roads a little bit and this time around it was cattle to watch out for - a farmer had his heifers out grazing the side of the road and didn't have a hot wire to keep them from walking out in front of Concours's either...
Having avoided a run in with some beef I then turned back onto SH4 and headed for the Para's. Ok, so I've raved far too much about the Para's so I'll just say that the Para's were fantastic as per usual and instead of carrying on to Raetihi I turned off to take in the delights of Fields Track.
Fields Track is 40+ kms of narrow and winding road that takes you up and over a few delicious hills and eventually through to SH49 between Waiouru and Ohakune. It is definitely the sort of road where you need to take it quietly and look out for all the normal back roads' hazards: damaged roads, gravel, slips, mud, branches, animals, farm and other vehicles on your side of the road. I had a pretty good run through - plenty of road damage and mess on the roads but no stock to deal with. The only issue being a twat towing a horse float that wouldn't pull over for me - I spent at least 5 minutes sitting behind him in 2nd gear at 30km/h getting all hot and bothered. Eventually I got through and it was nice to have a clear road the rest of the way through - I actually only saw 5 vehicles for the entire length of Fields Track...
Off the track and onto 49 it was just a quiet cruise through Waiouru, Taihape and Mangaweka to my next turn-off just North of Ohingaiti (Otara Road). This road takes you down into a very pretty little valley and across the river before eventually you end up at Pemberton and Rangiwahia Road. Once again this is a gem of a road but also subject to similar hazards as Fields Track - although it is much wider and less windy than Fields Track.
The rest of the ride consisted of plenty of corners on the Rangi road to Kimbolton and then the boring straights into Fielding. In Feilding it was finally time to stop for fuel for the rider before a quite pootle home to remove all my hot and sweaty riding gear. Not quite the epic adventure I had planned but a great ride of around 340km and a few of those pesky cobwebs dealt too.
More pictures here.