In Feilding I pulled into the BP to fill up the bike only to find Al there already and getting stuck into one last coffee before the ride. His DR was also sporting a very sensible farkle in the form of a new 18.5L tank which not only gives him a far better range (he rode past several garages without stopping on the ride) but also is see-thru so he can check out the juice situation easily.
From Feilding we took the short and boring (10km and 1 corner) ride to Cheltenham to meet the rest of the riders. After waiting about 15 mins we only ended up with the five of us: 2 V-Stroms (one of each), a DR, a Transalp and of course Graeme on his Beemer.
Right about here I'd like to put in a decent map showing our route but after turning off on Haynes Road and then Beaconsfield Valley Road, Google Maps starts to get a bit lost and refuses to accept that there are roads where we went. The map below is from Google Earth after importing my GPS tracks and unfortunately I cannot get enough detail displayed on the screen to show all the fabulous back roads (mind the moos on the road) we took. This obviously means that we had a ball navigating our way on some great gravel until popping back out onto SH54 (Vinegar Hill).
|Squiggly blue line|
|We shuffled on in here for lunch|
|Onwards and Upwards|
|Yep, still winter|
Now I don't want you to think I'm complaining about this - I was having an absolute ball (sweating in the cold too) and it was some really fun, exciting riding. I only wish the damn camera had been going...
Once out of the snow we were back on good gravel and apparently snow continued to fall of my bike for about the next 10km as we took in Koeke Road. I think it was somewhere in here where I must have given the guys following an interesting show when we rode through some very slippery mud on top of clay. First the rear wheel went out on my (I think it may have locked up under engine braking) and then the front got in on the act. It was a bit of a scary moment as the bike got pretty out of shape but I managed to gently persuade the bike towards some gravel at the side of the road and then all was good again and I tried to ride off like nothing had happened while the old heart also came back to normal.
With my undies still in good condition we then took in Pohonui Road before turning off the gravel and onto Turakina Valley Road and another quick photo stop by a waterfall.
|Water a tumbling|
I finally got home just before 5pm with an empty fuel tank and some great pictures after one really great adventure! An outstanding day out on the mighty DL!
More pics here.