Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Taranaki Tunnel Tour - Part 2

So where was I?  Oh, that's right, we'd just popped out of tunnel 2 or 4 and it was time to head for Whangamomona for a late lunch.  But first there was a little more gravel on Junction Road to get us back onto the Forgotten Highway.


Our last little bit of excitement was the Whanga Saddle and all its neat twists and turns before dropping back down into Whanga itself.  As per usual on a weekend we weren't the only bikes there, two filthy trail bikes and an even filthier 1190 were parked up having found some even more interesting scary roads.



Nice day in Whanga

Rose between 2 thorns...


Stephen finally stopped moving...
It took quite a while to get the tribe fed so there was plenty of time for the telling of tall tales and while we were there the heavens really opened up helped me make the decision to put my wets back on for the rest of the afternoon.

We finally got back underway sometime around 3 and next up was the familiar tunnel on the main road itself - I wonder how many times I've ridden it now?

Next up we had a fairly long stint towards Kiwi Road.  One part I really liked was the drop down Okau Road following Reuben on his KTM Supertanker (45L onboard!).


Next up was the scramble up Kiwi Road to Tunnel number 5.  Having done this on the last tunnel tour with the BRR I knew what to expect - narrow, twisty, rough and tricky work.  It was slow going in places with 2nd gear most of the time and even first a couple of times.  The Tenere got a bit hot and bothered but seemed to handle everything pretty well - I reckon that even though she's heavier than the Vee, she is the better bike in all situations.

Here's a few snippets of the climb up the hill:


Out the other side of the tunnel the road improves and I had a blast following Reuben again and even managed to pass him at one stage.  He got me back when there was some fresh (and deep) gravel later on when we hit Moki Road.  There was also a few muddy looking sections which I took nice and easy too.  Still a lot of fun though...


The last tunnel of the ride came just up the road a bit on Uruti Road and then we eventually ran out of gravel as we came out on the coast just North of Urenui.  It looked like a nice day was slowly ending there...


At the bottom of the hill we stopped and then started separating as people either made their way to petrol, motels or in my case home.

Homeward bound

After saying thanks to Phil and seeya later to some of the others I took off and made for Urenui.  The Tenere had been pretty fugal on the fuel during the ride (5L/100km) so when I hit Urenui I still hadn't got a low fuel warning and kept on rolling...only to have the alarm come on at Motnui...

I turned off onto 3A and aimed for Inglewood for my top up but when I hit Inglewood there wasn't a station on the South side of town so I carried on under skies that were starting to look fairly dark and ominous.

By the time I hit Stratford the sky was really black and I managed to squeeze in just over 20L (so theoretically nearly 3L to spare) for the 378km the bike had done - not too shabby.  I also popped on my Goretex gloves and then hit the road.

As it happened I managed to avoid any real rain only had  a few spits coming into Palmy.  It was quite a good and quick (5.5L/100km) trip back and I got to enjoy my Denali's and their motorist zapping potential a few times too.  I rocked up home a smidgen before 8pm and in this order: lit the fire, had a hot shower and then fed my worms - what a great day out on the bike.

So, a big thanks to Phil for organising the ride and leading us around all over the 'naki in search of holes through the rock - it's a cracker route and one I'll be keen to do again sometime.  My GPS decided not to record any tracks for 90% of the day so the map below was created from Phil's GPS route that he sent out and I don't think that we deviated from it.  The Tenere's (except the one in NP) show the approximate location of all the tunnels.


Oh, and finally, here's all the tunnels in one video:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Taranaki Tunnel Tour - Part 1

Over the past month or so I'd been closely watching a thread on Adv Rider where a dodgy sounding bloke called Phreaky Phil was planning a ride taking in the Taranaki Tunnels with a bunch of his mates.  Funnily enough this appealed somewhat to this particular moto-bicyclist and I made plans to tag along - I even took a day off work!

With the ride starting in New Plymouth I decided to ride up on Friday afternoon and stay at my sister's the night but early on in the week the weather really changed and there was even tornado's in the 'naki!  What was it going to be like for us nutters?

As it turned out Friday wasn't too bad at first, just a few spits riding over to Whanganui.  Cruising further on up the road I decided to stop for fuel in Patea and then perhaps do some exploring inland from Hawera/Normanby.  Trouble was some bloke had dug up the forecourt of the garage in Patea so no fuel for me.

Naturally my low fuel alarm came on not long after Patea so I decided that I'd have to break my usual habit and stop in Hawera for fuel.  This ended up being a pretty good idea as it started raining with some vigour just out of Hawera and the fuel stop gave me the chance to put on my wets.

I think the rain cleared again not far out of Hawera but I was still glad to be a bit warmer.  The narrow country road out to my sisters was a little exciting as it was fairly slippery in places and had all sorts of wreckage sprinkled all over it.  My Brother-in-law also failed to run me over with his big tractor too so I was fairly happy about that as I parked up and went in to have afternoon tea with my nephews and niece.

Ride Day

I wasn't quite the first one up in the morning (someone had to milk the cows and it wasn't me) but after a quick brekkie, a sort out of gear and sticking my wets on just in case, I was on my way towards New Plymouth to meet up with the crew.

Gassing up, there were already a few keen ones lined up and waiting patiently for the rest to arrive and in the end we must have had nearly 30 of us including some keen pillions.  I of course got to meet Phreaky Phil and a lot of others but also managed to catch up with a few of the old BRR crew which was fantastic.

Check out the nice sunny day


Once everyone had arrived and had the chance to say gidday Phil got us under control and gave us the word on the plans for the ride.  While a few of us had the route loaded into our GPS's, we also ran the cornerman system and had a TEC - good stuff.

Leaving New Plymouth we took all manner of sealed back roads which got me fairly well lost even though I did have the route...just follow the pink line boyo...

As mentioned in one of the team's write-ups we got to ride over a very neat old bridge on Bertrand Road.  It even had bollards on it to prevent larger vehicles crossing it - the Tenere managed to squeeze through.  I wish I had time to flick on the camera but missed it.  Here's how it looks on Street view:


After a quick regroup it was on to our first tunnel on Otaraoa Road.  At this stage I was sitting behind Phil and there was no stopping for pictures so you'll have to wait for later for the video of the tunnel...

Being the #2 rider meant that sooner rather than later I was going to be corner man and this happened at the intersection of Otaraoa and Tarata Roads.  Some not so quick thinking meant that I was able to get just about everyone on camera as the rode past - shame I was pointing the way and not straight at the riders...


Continuing along Tarata Road we encountered some nice twisty tarmac before finally hitting some nice gravel for the run to the second tunnel.  Here's a little of the action as I sit behind Wayne and another rider.  Shortly after the video ends I managed to squeeze past for a little fun...and then get passed myself by a big Husky...


Tunnel number 2 was just up the road a bit on Mangaoapa Road and this time around we stopped for a few pics and to watch a tractor towing a big ole stock trailer carefully through the tunnel - it was a tight fit...

Do you see the light?



After this quick photo op we hit the road again and made our way to Stratford for a late morning tea break.  I got to be cornerman again and managed to snap off a few quick snaps of some of the riders on my crappy little point and shoot.  There were one or two of us...

Gosh, that's a nice bike!

Big Husky



Here they come!

Stephen missing half of his front wheel...

Outta my way!




KTM supertanker chasing down a wee Trumpy


Nev looking a bit blurry



AT riding TEC looking good
After our refreshments we followed our fearless leader East out of Stratford and took in some more windy sealed roads both on and off the Forgotten Highway until we hit the next bit of gravel on Mangaehu Road.


At Makahu and just short of Tunnel number 3 we stopped for another quick regroup.




Tunnel country


I believe that it was somewhere along here where Night Falcon took a pretty damn fine photo...

Can't let Nev get away on me...
Tunnel #3 ridden we popped out onto the Forgotten Highway again before turning off again and heading towards familiar country...

I got to play cornerman again too...

Disappearing Supertanker




Probably my favourite shot of the day...


Friendly Bemwar rider



Can't seem to get a decent pic of Stephen for some reason...

My camera needs glasses...

BMW make Supertankers too

And still they keep coming...


Not far up the road we entered tunnel number 4 or perhaps it was #2...

Phew, it takes a bit of writing this and Nev says that's enough for tonight...

Nice one Nev!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Scrubbing in

Sunday was a cracker of a day and there were these new tyres that needed some scrubbing.  After the usual dog walking and such I decided to check out the Tagorama thread and go in search of the tag.

As it turned out, the tag was an easy find but a wee bit of a peddle to get to.  I decided to make a bit of a loop out of it and you'll see that on the map further down the page.

The trip over the Pahiatua track was good but I did show a little respect to the new tyres and didn't push them too hard.  They did feel pretty damn nice though - it is surprising what a decent tyre profile does to the handling...

More corners through to Mangamire and then onto Hamua-Rongomai Road, Mangaone Valley Road and Pa Valley Road finally got me onto Route 52 for the trip up to the tag at the Tiraumea Hall.

Tag!

Another crap day on the East Coast
More of the bumpy and windy Route 52 got me to Pongaroa where I needed to stop to remove a layer as I was working up a bit of a sweat.

The rest of the ride took me over to Makuri and then into Pahiatua for a pie before having an even better run over the track and home again.  Somewhere along the way I even found a new tag for the game...

A mystery location
Home just after one and around 200km of great autumn riding.