I also had a birthday present to get to Napier so why spend $5 on a courier when I can spend so much more on petrol in the bike!
On Saturday night I sat down to look at Google Maps and Mapsource to search for some likely looking roads a way out East. It turns out that you can't really trust E-maps as one of the roads I chose looked on paper (well, screen) to be pretty dodgy looking (it looked like it might peter out and leave me with no option but to turn around) but ended out being superb gravel.
Anyway, route loaded into the GPS, I hit the road at about 9:30. My first stop was a quickee in Woodville for fuel before turning off just before Danniverke to head out to Weber and Wimbledon. This bit of road is normally a fantastic ride but not long after turning off it started raining and the roads were very slippery in places. This made for a through exciting moments but otherwise I was enjoying myself - although hoping for an improvement in the weather. I've ridden this road in all weathers (and the dark of night) so I thought it was time I filmed some of the worst of the road (it has been badly storm damaged for years) from Weber to Wimbledon.
My next wee stop was at Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu to grab a photo of the DL there (already got one of the Connie there) before continuing on to Porangahau.
At Porangahau I abandoned Route 52 and carried on up the coast to find my first bit of gravel of the day. Blackhead Road turned out to be very hard packed gravel, the very first bit having quite a lot of gravel on it but the further North I went the better it got enabling a very good pace at times.
At the end of Blackhead Road I turned right to go down into Blackhead and to check out the beach. Not too many bikini's on display but a nice little settlement with quite a few batches - probably a nice spot in summer.
From Blackhead I headed back towards Waipuk but then turned off to try and keep as close to the coast as possible. This involved taking in Long Range Road, Clareinch Road and Mangakuri Roads. Long Range road was good seal but the other two roads were gravel that was also in very good condition. In fact the gravel was that good that it was not unlike riding on the tar! Heaps of fun and cool to look back at the dust plume in my mirrors!
Once off the gravel it was a short squirt to Elsthorpe and then a great fang up Kahuranaki Road to Havelock North and finally Napier. After lunch with the olds I hit the road again for a nice cruise down SH50 and home to a roaring fire.
Another great winter's ride of around 460km!
More pics here.
(PS, apologies if there is no audio on the video - there seems to be some issue with Audioswap, hopefully it'll sort itself out...)