In the end I hit the road just before 8am and crossed up over the hill to Ohope Beach. The roads were a little suspiciously damp so some care was exercised and then when I accidentally caught up to a cop even more care was exercised...
I ended up stuck behind him for over 30km until he finally leaped into action, all flashing lights and aggressive U-turn to go after a car going in the other direction. I have no idea what they'd done as to me they didn't appear to have been speeding - maybe they were doing a dangerous 105 or something while the Connie was idling at 98...
Arriving in Opotiki it was time for brekkie at the cafe before topping up the tank for the trip around East Cape.
The ride around East Cape is a favourite of mine with corners aplenty and some great scenery. Leaving Opotiki you stick close to the coast for most of the way and there are some really nice spots to stop at for photos.
|Sunday morning, a bike, a road...|
The rest of the ride around the cape was uneventful except for the bouncing off all the usual massive pot holes and bumps that the road is known for - you really need to keep your wits about ya. There were also some damp roads to deal with but all in all, a great ride. The video below is really just a series of snippets from the 2 hours or so that the GoPro captured.
Leaving Te Puia Springs I checked out the sign showing the distances to Tokomaru Bay, Tolaga Bay and Gisborne while also checking my fuel status. It's 330km from Opotiki to Gisborne and this is generally easy within the range of the Connie but with all those corners, lack of traffic and the amount of ummmm, exuberance expended then economy can suffer. Anyway, maths was deployed and this along with close monitoring of the fuel gauge saw me ignoring all the gas stations and rolling into Gisborne for my fuel.
|Nice place for a drinks break|
|Looking out towards South America...|
Bike gassed up and a cold drink down my gullet it was time to make for Wairoa. This part of SH2 is a gem with the best bit being the climb up and over the hills South of Gisborne. I had a great run with very little traffic and no goats all over the road until just before Wairoa...
On the road South of Wairoa there are some other great hills to climb and corners to ummm, corner and I even had some excitement when I got in behind a group of about 10 Porches. They were getting along in places and I think enjoyed playing with a bike for a bit - I wonder how many of them had 142,000km on the clock?
The roads continued to stay dry into Napier and across to Hastings where for a change I took SH2 and sat in some quite heavy traffic all the way South. As I crossed the Takapau Plains the view of the ranges changed from nice snow capped hills to no view at all as they disappeared under some dark looking clouds...
By Dannevirke it was time for one last gas stop and while there the first few spits of rain started to fall. I really didn't like the look of the big black clouds so even changed into my waterproof gloves for the last leg.
Arriving in Woodville, the rain was falling and it was looking like a wet ride over the Saddle to finish the trip. Across the top of the Saddle it was raining fairly heavily and the road surface was like oil in places. A few little slides woke me up a bit so I just idled along down the hill and into Ashhurst. Twenty minutes or so later I was pulling into my drive after a 766km day.
So, with another 1,400km on the odo the birthday ride was over and the old girl definitely still has plenty of life left in her! There is some TLC planned in the near future but still no plans to move the old girl on - what will the next 10 years bring?