This weekend is a long weekend (for some) and Sunday was picked for the ride - dammit, I was working! A good thing that the weather started looking a bit doubtful on Friday and they decided to move the ride to Saturday then...
Five of us met up in Fielding in nice conditions for the ride up the 'naki to Stratford and the start of the Forgotten Highway. We took it pretty easy as the long weekend meant a lower speed tolerance by the police and we didn't want to encourage them to whip out their ticket writing pens.
We had a wee stop in Waverly on the way up and then another in Stratford to fill the bikes for the 150km trip across the FH to Taumarunui. Not far out of Toko the road starts to get good with a series of brilliant saddles to wind your way up and then back down. The only downer this time around was some seal repairs (no warning signs either) that needed to be avoided. Here's a taste of the last of the saddles before Whangamomona - for some reason it's named Whangamomona Saddle.
After dropping down the saddle (and negotiating a couple of 15 km/h corners) it's just a few kms into the township (republic) itself. As we rolled up we were even greeted by some very light rain- luckily it didn't hang around.
As per usual we stopped in Whanga to enjoy the sights and to feed our bellies at the pub - the Whanga burger isn't cheap - but worth it!
After lunch it was time to continue on our way through to Taumarunui and take in even more good riding. We did however have to stop at the tunnel for a few pics.
Not long after the tunnel the road turns to gravel but it is always in good nick (if a little dusty) so the Concours adventure bike made short work of it and we were soon back onto the seal again.
Somewhere along here we had a nasty little incident when Rob hit a large slump in the road and ended up parking his 250 in a muddy ditch. Luckily he was unhurt and the bike was rideable. Not really what we had planned and it certainly put a bit of a damper on the day.
In Taumarunui we had a brief stop where we said goodbye to Rob as he was taking a more direct home while we aimed for the Para Para's. After a fuel stop in Raetihi we hit the Para's and had a ball on that great bit of road.
North of Wanganui we took our usual turn-off to skip Wanganui and then made our way home via Turakina, Marton, Halcombe and Feilding. 623kms of fantastic riding in perfect conditions - summer is on it's way!
More pics here.