The trip over was pretty boring and I just cruised it with my Ipod on and the Vee pretty much on auto-pilot. I bet Neil to the service station by the time it takes to pump and pay for 4.3L of 91 and we rode across to the cafe for a coffee while we waited for the rest of the crew.
Soon our numbers started to grow but when the appointed departure time came around we were still missing a couple of dodgy characters. Just as we were suiting up Neil's phone went off and the dodgy characters were on the other end of the line wondering where we were. Some quick explanations and they were soon on the way to catch up with us. One of them had even swapped bikes since the last ride so we were forced to ooh and ahh at the 2nd of two brand spankers 800GSA's on the ride.
Finally sorted with all present and accounted for we took off aiming for the Parapara's. But as this was a gravel ride we didn't get to ride all the way through to Raetihi instead pulling off for our first section of gravel on Te Rimu Road.
Te Rimu Road was a lot of fun although we did get held up by a couple of 4 wheeled contraptions and have to dodge a lot of stock. There were also a couple of sections with puddles and small slips to add to the excitement.
Te Rimu road spat us out onto Mangamahu Road which initially was sealed until we hit some really fantastic gravel.
It was so much fun we had to stop to chat about it:
After this wee break there was more great gravel riding up Whangaehu Valley Road but it eventually ran out when we hit Fields Track. A nice squirt on the tarmac took us past the big slip (which I'm guessing was what had shut Fields Track off for a while some months back) and to our next gravel road turn-off - Owhakura Road.
At Bells Junction we rejoined the tarseal for the ride across to SH1 and our ride into Taihape for lunch.
|Shiny new 800 Beemer parked between 2 classic Suzys|
|More blimmin' Beemers!|
Waikakahi Road led us onto the Napier-Taihape proper and another fun section of tar. Eventually though we got to the turn off onto Mangaohane Road. There was a lot less snow around than last time I was up there but the road was still in fantastic condition. Unfortunately my rear tyre is not in fantastic condition so in some of the thicker stuff I was having a little trouble hooking up - it made things fairly entertaining though.
More gravel took us through to Taoroa Junction where we turned and started to make for SH1 but rather than give up on the gravel we turned back again and hit some more on Tuhoe Road.
Tuhoe Road eventually came to an end and we carried on generally Southwards on a mixture of tarseal and gravel roads. It was crossing a little bridge on one of these roads that I had my little bit of excitement for the day.
Luckily we still had some gravel to ride and I seemed to be handling that a bit better than the tar...
Eventually all the fun had to end as we hit the Rangiwahia Road and pootled onto Mangaweka (I shoulda gone left towards Kimbolton instead of right to Mangaweka) where we went our separate ways. A boring stretch on SH1 followed by a squirt over Vinegar Hill had me home just before 5 after a great day out on the Vee!
Oh yeah, and the weather on Monday up Taihape way was probably a bit like the below picture from the Desert Road:
|Stolen from radionz.co.nz|