I got myself sorted pretty early and was ready to ride off to Mark's when I noticed that my right hand headlight bulb had gone. With the bike parked out on the road I doubled back to the shed to grab some spare bulbs with the plan being to fit them at Mark's place.
Unfortunately when I got there I noticed I'd grabbed some old H7's that probably were in a Bandit at some stage - not very helpful. So I ended up popping the blown bulb back in and fixing both bikes' tyre pressures before we hit the road.
From Palmy we made our way over to Feilding to gas up and then across to Fordell and the turn-off to Okoia which helps cut out a lot of 50km/h riding through Wanganui. The Paras were once again in good nick - winter is coming so this may change at some stage - and we had a good run through to Raetihi with only one sheep and two cattle on the road to give us something to think about.
From Raetihi we cruised quietly up to National Park (may have seen a dodgy Triumph rider there) before turning off to take SH47 to Turangi. The roads were fairly devoid of traffic and we had a nice run up and over the saddle before stopping for a few pics at the lookout. Did I mention that it was a cracker of a day too!
Here we had a decision to make. Mark was low on fuel and wasn't sure if he'd make it around the back of the lake and while taking this route would be a lot of fun it would also not put us back in Palmy until after 5pm. So rather than ride into Turangi for fuel and then back out again to go around the lake we decided to head directly for Taupo for fuel and food.
In Taupo we gassed up and then had an enormous lunch at the Truck Stop prior to our assault on the Napier-Taupo road.
Leaving the diner it was noticeably cooler and the weather was looking a little less friendly. Sure enough, by the time we had crossed the boring plains and got into the more interesting bits we started getting the odd spit of rain and some wet roads. Later on this turned to rain but luckily the road was still magnificent and we had a great run through to Te Pohue.
A bit further South we turned off onto Glengarry Road to take us directly (well, sort of) over to Fernhill rather than riding into Napier and then out through to Taradale. This probably saved us quite a few kms but possibly not a lot of time as it is quite windy and we had to deal with plenty of loose metal on the road and rain at times.
From Fernhill we got onto SH50 for the run home and enjoyed more good riding along with the odd damp spell. On the Takapau Plains we saw our first cops of the trip - there were two of them pulled over on a passing lane (nice) and I'm not really sure what they were getting up to...
With plenty of fuel still we simply carried on home via Dannevirke, Woodville and the gorge and got into Palmy at around 4pm after a nice enjoyable 600 odd km ride. I love autumn riding...