Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cracker of a day

Last weekend was a long weekend and early on the weather forecast was looking decidedly crappy. I'm not really sure what the forecasters were smoking but in the end it was nowhere near as bad and Palmy actually had a record high for this time of the year on Sunday. As luck would have it I chose Sunday for my wee pootle.

Before I left I had already decided to head over towards Marton and ride the gravel section of Turakina Valley Road and then ride through to Hunterville. At Hunterville I was then going to have to work out my route home...

After a quick stop for lunch (left it pretty late in the day to head off eh) in Feilding I took a few back roads over towards Marton but then skirted the town itself and made my way to Turakina Valley Road.
I knew that there wasn't a lot of gravel on this road (having ridden it a few times - the last time on the Connie) but then the front tyre on the DL is still awaiting replacement and I was just after a nice potter in the countryside.

This section of Turakina Valley Road is pretty short and after the gravel and another small section of tarseal you arrive at a crossroads. Left will take you through to Wanganui and right will get you to Hunterville. This road is another cracker and I've ridden it quite a few times including twice on the Grand Challenge - once in the darkness where navigation did prove a slight issue...

Well, on this occasion there was no excuses for poor navigation but I have to say that the road is a bit worse for wear in places with a lot of road works, including a small section of gravel.
As you'll see from the video the DL was thriving in the conditions and I had a great wee fang to Hunterville.

From Hunterville I decided to ride through to SH54 (Vinegar Hill) and then investigate a road that I thought I'd ridden years before (and accidentally got into some gravel). As it turns out I think I got my roads wrong but boy did I find a goodee!

The road in question was Lower Pakihikura Road and after a few amazing hairpins the road then started to wind itself around the side of hill and offered some fantastic views across the valley. After a while the road did eventually turn to gravel and in places it was a little too "marble-like" for me with a fair bit of caution being required. I'm hoping a new front tyre is going to improve this sort of riding but I'd rather be slow and stay upright than quick and over a bank...

Along the way the road surface alternated between nice gravel, more marbles and even some gravel-less dirt (nice). I also had to make a couple of turns based on instinct rather than stopping to look at the Zumo and decided on following the sign posts to Ohingaiti.

Eventually I popped out onto a familiar road (and one with tar mixed in with the gravel) which took me through to Pemberton. From here I was forced once again to finish off my ride with a glorious squirt through to Kimbolton and then home.

All up I was away from home for about 3 hours and rode something like 220km. I have to say that this really rates as one of the best rides the DL and I have been on so far (Ok, so the Napier-Taihape loop was fantastic too), it was a truly magnificent day and the scenery and the ride were just magic! I hope for many more like this one!

More pics here and a video playlist below.


  1. Great roads Andrew! Is Gentle Annie totally sealed now? Just thinking it might be a nice run with my wife in her MX5.

  2. Good ride report. I'll assume that a "great wee fang" is a good thing? ; )

    Good angle for the camera.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  3. Hi Geoff, yes, unfortunately the Gentle Annie is all sealed now although apparently there is plenty of unsignposted loose metal. It may be fun in the MX5 but the trumpy would be the better choice!

    Dom, a great wee fang is most definitely a good thing - Geoff will back me up here...