Our gang met up in Feilding and after a coffee and bull session it was time to go looking for gravel. Neil led us out of Feilding to Waituna West via some back roads ashphalt. Turning off onto Waituna Tapuae Road it wasn't too long before we hit our first bit gravel and discovered how dusty the day was going to be. Get a load of those blue skies!
Waituna Tapuae Road eventually ends where a left will take you down Upper Pakihikura Road or a right leads off down Peep O'Day Road. This is a really neat bit of road and this was the first time I'd ridden it in this direction. Some of the tight stuff was pretty slow going on the DL but there was also this great bit of uphill at the end.
A longer edit of Peep O'Day Road can be found here.
A short stretch of tarmac led us into Rangiwahia where we stopped for a bit of a breather.
As we were preparing to leave Rangi I got a nice surprise when Colin offerred me a spin on his 660 Tenere. Prior to the ride we'd been chatting about it now I got the chance to have a spin on it - awesome!
After another short bit of tarseal we turned off onto Karewarewa Road take to take in most of the roads I did on my last gravel excursion. Hitting the gravel the Tenere felt great - a lot lighter than the DL - and it's front knobbly was a bit more confidence inspiring than the worn Heiny on the DL. The big single was nice and smooth and pulled nicely out of the corners. Hmmmm, I was liking this a lot...
Eventually we found our way back out onto SH1 and into Taihape for lunch - it had been hot work so a break and a cold drink was pretty welcome.
After lunch Neil had two little loops either side of SH1 planned for us. The first was Manui and Te Kapua Roads. More great gravel and a good excuse to use up the last of my GoPro's battery.
Just North of Ohingaiti and made for the gravel of Mangamako Road. More dust and a cow on the road got us through Lower Pakihikura Road and out onto Vinegar Hill. Here some of the guys headed to Hunterville for coffee while I decided to tackle the hill (looking out for the hot tar) and make my way home.
I had initially planned to go straight home but when I got near Beaconsfield I decided that I hadn't quite had enough of the dust and turned of to make may way across to Pohangina via Levett Line, Coulters Line, Ridge Road (yes, that Ridge Road) and Finnis Road. From there it was just a quiet cruise on tar back home via Ashhurst. Awesome day out!