A route was proposed but on closer inspection it would have taken us down roads overgrown with grass rather than seal or gravel so by Saturday night there still wasn't a plan but Colin L and myself were keen and sorted out a meeting place in Pahiatua.
Come Sunday, the original organiser had to bail (as did Colin F who's arm had been twisted by me), so it was looking like just the one Colin and me for the ride.
With a chilly but fine morning to start the day, I gassed up and started my trip over to Pahiatua. As per the LNI Adv ride, the track was wet and slippery with the last sharp left-hander being especially so. It gave me a bit of a wake-up when the rear end made a sneaky attempt to pass the front - again...
A few minutes later on I was enjoying the usual gravel "shortcut" of Tararua road when I told myself "there's usually sheep on the road near the woolshed". Enter wake-up call number two when an errant ewe made a suicidal dash in front of me - good practice emergency braking on gravel eh?
Ten further but uneventful minutes later I was parked up in Pahiatua where I felt I needed a pick-me-up.
|Not pictured: a garlic sausage roll...|
|A shiny Adv bike!|
|Lazy eye or just winking?|
|I hope they play nice...|
Rodney only got a small coffee so while he downed it we set about working out where we were going on our pootle. We decided to take in some of the roads we had missed on the LNI ride, pick up a few extra ones and then see if the fish and chips were still good in Porangahau...and off we went.
A quick skid up Pahiatua-Pongaroa road got us to our first bit of gravel on Pori Road. This was a hoot but I did manage to force myself to pull in at the usual spot for a quick photo or three.
|See the clouds? Way over there...|
After riding North towards Pongaroa for a while we made a right turn onto Waihoki Valley Road. Initially the road was really good but the further we got in, the more often we got into some soft and slippery bits. Huia and Spur Roads were even more dodgy and I couldn't help thinking that we'd made the right decision to skip it during the the LNI ride - it wouldn't have been a lot of fun in the pouring rain.
Did you spot the ice on the bridge?
Popping out onto the fantastic Coast Road, the pace came up and we made for Akitio where we had a brief stop for some reason or other...
|Not a cafe...|
Back on 52, we carried on up to Porangahau where we hooked into the promised fish and chips. As per usual on a nice weekend there were a few other bikes there and another chap rolled up as we were leaving too.
Unfortunately Rodney was not feeling too flash and didn't think he was up for more adventuring so opted to straight line it home on the seal while Colin and I planned to carry on investigating the gravel. Probably a good idea - couldn't have that dreaded man-flu taking out a tough army boy.
So while Rodney went one way, we went the other and took on Old Hill Road which involves a steep climb (on seal) out of Porangahau until the road turns to gravel. We missed most of the great views due to the direction we were riding in but the riding was great!
Back on the seal again we carried on towards Waipuk until I spotted a likely looking road off to the left. I recognised the tree on the corner as somewhere we'd stopped on a BRR ride but my memory was struggling as to where Wallingford Road went. We found out that it would finally hook us up with Ugly Hill Road - definitely worth checking out...
When we came across Flemington School I finally knew sort of where we were and got the last bit video on Ngahape Road before the battery ran out.
Shortly after that we finally ran out of gravel and we worked on our chicken strips as we took in some great windy sealed roads back to Weber road and then into Dannevirke for fuel.
Wandering into pay for our fuel we ran into a familiar looking BMW rider just getting his coffee...
The ride back to Palmy had me sitting behind Colin for a while until he lost me in Ballance somehow (read: he did a disappearing act) and then one last squirt over the track to home. Yet another great day out on the big Ten.