And so, after a few chores I was on the road at 9:30 and making my way towards Wanganui. As per normal I turned off at Mount Stewart to take my normal avoid SH3 diversion across to Marton. I was pootling along Ngaio Road when I had my first little run in with stock. A small mob of sheep came running out of a gateway (yes the gate was left open) and onto the road - luckily they didn't run right across the road and I got around them no problem.
My next detour through Fordell gave me my next run in with stock, this time with some young steers being driven up the road. They gave me the willies a bit as they were a tad stroppy but in the end they chose not to take on the Connie and I snuck past and into Wanganui for fuel.
After gassing up it was time to hit one of my favourite North Island roads - the Paraparas. Over the last few years there has been a lot of work done on the road through to Raetihi and all this work has only improved a great ride. I had a blast although got a bit annoyed when a twanger in a 6L Holden wouldn't pull over into the "slow vehicle lane" for me - I was force to give him an education in power to weight and he was soon left behind.
Turning off onto SH47 at National Park I noticed a wee temperature drop (it was not like it was that warm anyway) as I got closer to the mountains. I ended up turning off again to pop up to the chateau for a few pics.
|The Connie makes any background look great eh?|
By now the morning was getting close to being shot so I was getting keen on finding some lunch and a warm drink. As I carried on along SH47 I had a decision to make: carry on on 47 to Turangi or turn off onto 46 and make for Waiouru. Turangi would offer a food break sooner but making for Waiouru would get me home sooner. In the end I decided to make for Waiouru and it was quite neat that I did. Cruising along I noticed a bit of volcanic activity so it gave me the chance to stop for some more interesting pics.
Out on SH1 I settled into a careful cruise and enjoyed the views along the Desert Road so much that I even stopped for more pics of the mountains - this time from the opposite side.
Arriving in Waiouru I couldn't help but notice that the cafe I was intending to stop at was closed (maybe permanently) and after surveying the other options I decided that I could manage another 30km to check out the offerings at Taihape. This turned out to be a good plan as I ended up having a nice lunch at the Soul Food Cafe before the Connie got her top up and we turned for home.
In Mangaweka I still hadn't had enough riding so instead of the boring SH1 option I went for the Rangiwahia-Kimbolton option. This was a great choice as the road was in good nick and I had a blast (had to deal with more cattle on the road again though).
Before I knew it I was home after 455 glorious kilometers and about 5 hours 20 (including stops) on the road. Great to get out and sort out those cobwebs...
More pics here.