On the road again we left Wairoa and noticed that the temperature was starting to get a bit more friendly the further north we went - no complaints from us. It was another really great ride through to Gisborne - this road is more open than the Napier-Wairoa but has some great hills and corners to negotiate. Awesome riding though still requiring some care on those damp/shady spots.
Leaving Gisborne the weather was getting better all the time and we were getting nearer to the objective of our ride - the Waioeka Gorge. The road out of Gisborne starts off with some pretty long and boring straights but pretty soon you start hitting some nice corners and small hilly sections. It was about 30km out of Gisborne where we had a bit of luck - we caught up to a white station wagon and no sooner did we than the driver started flashing his brake lights and gesturing for us to slow down. Ok, so I button off and sat behind him. Around the next corner and here's a van in the grass with some expensive photographic equipment in the back of it. Very lucky! The guy in the wagon got a friendly toot and wave as we passed him.
And then hit the picks after coming across 2 cattle - one on either side of the road. Never mind we were starting to get into the really good stuff. After pottering through Matawai you start to get into the Waioeka proper.
Great winding roads with bush all around and the river on the left. Best to keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the ride. Once again we had to take a bit of care with the wet roads and there was still frost in the grass in places so it was better to be safe than sorry. Still enjoyed ourselves immensely and only stopped the once for photos just to prove we'd been there.
Coming into Opotiki along the big long straight I was lucky again to get stuck behind some cars as we tootled past another radar buddy. By 1pm we were stopped again in Taneatua for some more gas before heading to Rotorua. We swapped bikes for this short leg and it was really hard case being back on a Bandit. The bikes feel very different when you swap from one to another but it was a hoot following my bike for a while and then zapping past on one of the winding roads into Rotorua.
We had a quick stop for a bite in Rotorua and then the next little incident happened. We were pottering down a narrow street heading for the main road out of Rotorua when I went over a big judder bar. I must not have been expecting it and the bump made me step on the rear brake. I didn't realise this yet but the bike felt sluggish and was not pulling away cleanly. By the time I crossed the main road and parked I'd worked out that the brake was somehow locked on. On inspection it looked like the lever had gone through all of it's available travel and then jammed under the footpeg. Luckily it popped straight back out and never gave any more trouble. Disc got a bit hot though...
We took it pretty quiet through to Rotorua and then onto Turangi as there was a bit of traffic and the road does attract the odd cop. The Desert Road was really nice and for once no cops around. Another stop in Taihape for our last top-up and then home via Vinegar Hill in the dark.
I pulled up my drive just before 10 past 6 after about 12 hours, 8 minutes away having an absolutely fantastic ride. Can't let the lower temperatures put ya off this sort of thing...
More pics here.