Sunday, November 19, 2017

Windy Tag

So after a beautiful sunny week in which I rode the Tenere to work 4/5 times (would have been 5/5 but I needed the car on Monday) the weekend has disappointed somewhat.  Both days have been reasonably fine but with a cold wind a blowing and as I type this it is beginning to look like rain - nice...

Anyway, enough whinging, I did manage a quick ride today to go out and nab Owl's tag.


I got blown around a little but the tag was probably less than 10km from my place...

Who wants a Super Duke when you can have a Super Connie!
My next job was to find the new tag and I took in a few back roads trying to look for something interesting to use.  I somehow found myself in Opiki but rather than take a picture of another school I turned off onto Tane Road where I eventually found a road sign that might prove tricky to find...


When I got home and posted the pics in the Tagorama thread I discovered that someone else was out there tag hunting: https://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/showthread.php/104968-Tag-o-rama!?p=1131072857#post1131072857

Well, at least I bet him eh?  But then:

No flies on Phil...
It definitely must have been a tricky tag then: it took Phil 51 minutes to get it and post up...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Snapping

Righto, so yesterday I was complaining about taking the wrong camera and getting crap pictures again as a result so maybe I need to start looking again...

But first, my current selection.


This is my first ever digital camera and cost a fortune over 12 years ago.  It's a mere 4 mega pixel but comes with a 10x optical zoom and it still takes very good pictures (well, to a very amateur photographer anyway).  It cost me plenty back in the day...


This is yesterday's offender.  I bought it when I started out adventure riding as I didn't want to wreck my little Olympus - either in a whoopsie, bad weather or bouncing around in a topbox.  I think it's about a 12 mega pixel and cost less than half of what the Olympus did.  Oh, and I've dropped the Olympus on concrete and it's survived...

This is my "good"camera and I always take it on my big trips or when I know I want good pictures.  Can't remember how many mega pixels it is but it takes a nice picture and I like the GPS function along with the 42x optical zoom.  And yes, it cost less than the Olympus...

Then of course there are my GoPro's which actually take nice pictures occasionally...

So, I'm sick of the crappy shots from the Fujifilm but still want something small to stick in the tank bag.  And I'd still prefer water and shockproof.

What to get?  Help please!

BTW: I can't quite bring myself to potentially kill the little Olympus doing this job.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Just a short one...

Yesterday I'd been wondering about my next gravel excursion and decided that I wanted to return to the "Badlands" and to also check out another gravel road that I'd only done once, years ago.

The "Badlands" are to be found on Kauarapaoa Road, tucked in behind Wanganui in what most people would call the wop-wops.  On one particular corner there was (now I've given something away) a sign welcoming you to the Badlands and along the fence line used to be various goat skulls and hides - for non-NZ readers, goats are an introduced pest and are very destructive as they will eat anything...

Anyway, I didn't head out Saturday, instead opting for today and before I got ready I messaged Rodney to see if he was keen.  He was busy but when I said it was just going to be short ride he decided that he could make it all of a sudden...

The first bit of our ride was tarmac only across to Wanganui where we stopped for a quick bite before going in search of gravel.

Mmmmm, Pukeko's...

Thirsty pig!
A few kms up the road it was time to turn off the main road and head North on Rangitatau East Road.  I should had the camera going on the seal as I forgot how nice this road is even while on seal as you wind your way through some very nice bush.  Eventually we found the gravel.

Look, there it is, I'm standing on it!
For a fair chunk of the road the metal was fairly loose so we didn't break any speed limits and just took in the neat road and some nice scenery.



There was a surprising amount of traffic on the road too
We stopped just before the turn-off to the Badlands and I attempted to take some photos but my crappy little camera ended up taking crappy pictures - should have used the phone...

It was actually a lot nicer (lighter) than this in real life...

Is that you Rodney?

There's supposed  to be bikes in this picture...
Just before we left I was to see a little VW Golf go past and I think it'd just come out of Kauarapaoa Road.  What?  It couldn't have - it can be a bit gnarly in the Badlands...

Well, it was time to check it out for ourselves.  Dropping down the hill, the road was the driest I've seen it and the road in pretty good condition with a lot less grass growing in the middle of the road...



A particularly tricky bit...
While it wasn't fast riding, it was easy riding with the road in its current condition.  A bit of rain would have made things a little different.




So not quite the adventure it has been in the past and then there was the next disappointment...

Approaching the Badlands I was in for a shock, the sign was gone and the place had been cleaned up.  You could see across the paddock to a nice house in a picturesque spot, the only goats in sight were all very much alive and keen to stay away from motorcycles.

The last of the gravel opened up a bit and allowed the use of a few more gears but then, as always, it ran out and become a nice windy bit of tar.



After pulling over to turn the camera off I asked if Rodney wanted to try out the Tenere and after realising that that meant I'd be riding his bike he decided that it was worth the risk.

I ended up riding his Beemer through Wanganui and Fordell before finally handing it back to him at the little look-out on Kauangaroa Road.  I really enjoyed the little squirt on the Beemer - it's very light and the motor is smooth and willing.

Phew, got it back in 1 piece...




Our next turn-off was onto Turakina Valley road but instead of heading North to Ohakune we went South and took a short (and getting shorter) stretch of gravel over to my next mystery road.  I'd only ridden Taurimu Road once before and that was on a wet day as an Adventure riding noob with the BRR.  Back then it had been wet, muddy, slippery and slightly scary.  Today it was dry and covered in reasonably deep gravel in places.

Once again I should have had the camera on as we rode through some pretty nice scenery - oh well, next time...

Taurimu Road eventually became Galpins road and then sealed again just north of Marton.  But I hadn't finished with my little ride and I took Rodney and another (sealed) deviation just off SH1 just to keep him on his toes.

A little of the Halcombe road (mind the nice policeman)  and then across to Mount Stewart got us back out on the main road for the cruise back into Palmy.  A nice "little" ride of just under 300km...

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Almost 1,000km...

So, I had the GoPro on all day on Saturday with the aim of getting a heap of photos and stitching them all together for a time-lapse of the day's outing.

But I fouled things up in Wairoa by somehow starting the camera in video mode.  And then in Dannevirke the camera gave up - not sure what happened there.

So I ended up with just over 4,000 photos and a couple of hours of video documenting all but about 60km of our 1,040km.  And here it is...


I may have sped up the video from Wairoa-Tiniroto-Wairoa just a little...

Monday, November 06, 2017

The famous Scooter Bob

Well, if he wasn't famous before he is now...Dar has shown him off to the world via her piece on Farkle Garage.  Neat!

(Skip to about 5:30 if you can't wait to see him).

Sunday, November 05, 2017

2017 1KC

Yesterday was the running of this year's NZDR 1KC.  Another great excuse for getting up early and riding all day with like minded maniacs...

The weather forecast had been firmly in the "not great" category leading up to the ride so I'd finally bought some new wet weather gear to hopefully just take along for the ride.  With any luck it could just stay in the topbox for the day...

Because the ride starts in Upper Hutt, the Palmy riders have to be even madder than the others and get up extra early to hopefully meet up with the rest of the gang at around 6:30.  For me, I set the alarm for 4am and then got up at 3:30...

Well, I can quite confidently tell you that there is nothing on TV at that time of the night so I ended up being ready to rock pretty quickly and was first to the gas station where we were meeting.  Not long after I arrived Yod turned up, followed by Meanie and Monie and then Rodney keen for his first NZDR ride.

The Connie knows how to get up early too



With the weather actually better than forecast (no rain, not cold), we headed South with Menie showing the way.  In places the road was wet but there was just the odd spit.  The trip over the Paikok hill got a little exciting for me a couple of times when I hit something that threw the bike a bit sideways before she shook her head and carried on.  Then the idiot rider managed to hit a rock just two corners up the road.  I gave myself a bit of a slapping, dropped back from Monie a bit and settled down.

In the Hutt we were at the ride start for just long enough to sign on and clean visors before taking off again.

Just the 1 photo too
The Rimutakas were a little damp but relatively traffic free with just one unplanned stop at some roadworks.  Off towards the East there was hopeful colour in the sky so we kept the bikes pointed that way.


We got a few showers and were on mostly on wet roads as we made our way up to Pahiatua where we stopped early for fuel.  I'd planned out our fuel stops out with the first being in Dannevirke but two of the crew had been a little doubtful at the 307km first leg so I decided on the earlier stop - as it happened they would have made it easy.

Just before Dannevirke we turned off again and got onto the Weber road.  Conditions ensured that our wet-weather riding skills didn't go wasted.

In the background you can clearly see...not much

Not far up the Weber road we turned Northwards to our first photo checkpoint on the Ormonville - Te Uri roads intersection.  This involved riding a few nice windy back roads in slippery conditions - still fun and there was some nice scenery (when you could see) in places too.


Thinman


From the checkpoint we carried on across more back roads to Takapau where the rain finally gave up the chase and let the sun take over.  The next checkpoint was in Waipawa.




From Waipawa we started off on the way to SH50 with the aim of picking up two more checkpoints along the way.  The first one at Argyll East School was an easy find - I was actually riding Menie's Connie so he could try out my bar risers and even though there was about 200m between us still got my GPS instructions over bluetooth...




After the school the roads flowed through some nice curves and Yod and I broke away from the others for a bit.  We caught up with them again after making a slight little navigational error...

The next check point was supposed to be a sign saying "Somersby" and I had used the street address we'd been given as the waypoint in my GPS route.  It turns out that the Garmin maps are not that accurate in the back roads of Hawkes Bay.  We had a brief chat on the road and carried on a bit looking for the sign but to no avail.  In the end we stopped at the entrance to a couple of properties, took some pics, lost some warm layers and took on water - things were hotting up.


We eventually found SH50 and carried on up (waving to KoroJ along the way) to busy Napier and then Bayview where it was time for another early fuel stop.

The next leg is the wonderful racetrack road to Wairoa and I thought that Yod and I were very well behaved considering...









Just out of Wairoa we decided to stop for lunch at a little cafe by the river.  Unfortunately there was a 45 minute wait and that's not really ideal when you've 1,000km to do so we carried on into Wairoa and had a great lunch at the bakery.


Don't fiddle with the camera!
Before leaving Wairoa I thought I started the GoPro properly again (I was trying to take pictures the whole way for a slide show) but accidentally turned it onto video.  So no pictures until the next checkpoint then...

The next checkpoint was out on the Tiniroto Road and this is another fabulous bit of tar with more corners than you can chuck a stick at - great stuff.  And so the videos...

Me having fun:


And catching some of the other riders - checkout the little Enfield Himalayan:


About 60km in was our checkpoint.





The GoPro was still recording, so here's the Pamy crew and others arriving at the checkpoint.  Notice how dangerous it can be to be a photographer at a 1KC checkpoint...


Now it was time to turn around and head back to Wairoa.  I initially behaved myself and sat behind Monie but she got sick of me and shooed me away.


In Wairoa we stopped for gas and a cold drink before attacking the Napier-Wairoa road once more.





Getting to our next checkpoint meant ducking up the Napier-Taupo road and then turning off onto Glengarry Road to go in search of some letter boxes.  Now, this was one checkpoint I was a little worried about so had used GoogleMaps to locate it and then get the co-ordinates - and this time it worked!






By now we were over the 800km mark and this was the last checkpoint.  But, we hadn't found that fourth one and after asking the troops we decided it was worth another looksee on our way home down SH50.

We crossed over the back of Taradale to Fernhill and then retraced our footsteps to roughly where we thought the checkpoint should be.  In the end we found it by recognising the letter boxes in the ride notes but you may notice a slight difference in the two pictures below...



I that maybe there's been a few changes since Koro took his photo...

Now it was time to abandon the route map and hit home on the GPS.  It turned out that the GPS sent us back past CP3 as well before getting us back onto SH50 and then SH2 to Dannevirke where it was time for one last stop for a cold drink.




It was a fair bit colder by now but the rain stayed away as we finished the ride off with a nice blast over the saddle and a cruise home.  A nice way to spend 15 hours...



I think we must have had a nap somewhere...