Yesterday I'd been trying to chase down a slow leak in the front tyre and didn't really get anywhere so after checking it again this morning I decided that I was good to go.
I'd posted a note up on FB last night to see if there was anyone else out there interested in a ride and my bait hooked me a Rodney again. We agreed to meet in town and when I got there I discovered that his 650 had magically turned into an 800 - nice!
We left Palmy with a little bit of moisture in the air and made for the track. Clambering up the hill we seemed to be climbing up into the clouds and at the top we were having to part them as we rode...
Even the constabulary were concerned with the weather...
|I never even saw him there...|
We carried on through to Pahiatua and then turned Eastwards to make our way onto Pahiatua-Pongaroa road. Here we ate up some tarmac before turning off onto Pori road.
Pori Road starts off as a narrow sealed road before turning into gravel. At about the same time as the road changed to gravel we ran into fog again and visibility was pretty limited. We didn't stop at the normal photo spot 'cos if you've seen one picture of the inside of a cloud you've seen them all...
About halfway down the hill the fog petered out and we got to enjoy some pretty nice gravel before getting spat out on Route 52.
Turning Northeasterly we rode up through Tiraumea, riding around the new roadworks which skirt the slip that took away the road a few months ago, until we got to the next turn-off at Waihoki Valley Road.
Waihoki Valley Road dished out more nice gravel but once again I had to sweep the stock off the road for Rodney - this time 5-6 cattle. The road surface was really nice too and the S10 got a little excited at times with the rear end trying to overtake the front a few times - this seems to becoming a bit of a habit...
Waihoki Valley Road ends right after the above bridge and forces you to go either left or right on Huia Road. Right was our pick as it was taking us further towards the coast and into better and better weather.
Further on up the line Huia Road completely gives up the ghost as it becomes Waiowaka Road but we skipped this by taking a left onto Spur Road. This little road has been a bit messy in the past but today it looked like someone had been through reasonably recently with either a grader or perhaps dropping some gravel. It is a cracker of a road though and takes you up through some nice country before dropping back down the other side and taking you to yet another junction.
Another left onto Marainanga Road and things start to open up a bit more with faster gravel and less of the steep tight turns. A final right turn got us onto the fabulous Coast Road which funnily enough takes us all the way out to the coast and the settlement of Akitio.
Coast Road is always fun and generally really hard, smooth gravel but today there was a short section of recently laid gravel which did slow things down for a little while. Luckily, the truck driver ran out of gravel and there was still plenty of fun to be had on the way to the beach.
By now it was nearly half past lunchtime so we went out and checked the store to find that yes, it was closed on Sunday's. Oh, my poor starving worms...There was nothing for it but to carry on up the road and see where it lead us.
Glenora and Esdaile Roads made up our next stretch of gravel and got us back out onto Route 52 again just West of Wimbledon.
I missed a turn which would have used another gravel road to bypass Wimbledon so pulled up next to the pub to let Rodney know. We decided that rather than stopping there for lunch we would drop into Herbertville and check out the offerings there.
As it turned out there was plenty on offer for the famished Adv rider but a simple fix of fish and chips sorted out us out and prepared us for the next leg of the ride.
We removed a layer or two, remounted and retraced our steps back towards Wimbledon but instead of heading West we went North on Route 52 until our next turn at Birch Road.
Birch Road winds its way through a forestry block and can get a little muddy after rain. We've had a lot of rain...But, a grader has been at work and a lot of the muddy spots had been smoothed out with a layer of metal. Logging trucks have then been through and squished small ruts into this mud/gravel/porridge and the odd spot was a little interesting...it was similar to hitting soft sand.
In the open spots there was a bit of wind to bash us around a bit but it was still better than the fog on Pori Road. Our last bit of gravel took us down Tahuokaretu and you guessed it, back onto Route 52.
With a few spits in the air it was now time to head home and hopefully not get a drowning. We made Dannevirke without getting wet and after topping up the Beemers tank, made our way by various (sealed) back roads and a busy Saddle Road (they've given up on the gorge) to Ashhurst and then finally Palmy.
Ahhh, but it was nice to be out on a decent ride for a change!