Another surprise was the old man coming down from Napier on Friday night to join Mark and myself on the ride. So it was two twins and a Bandit meeting up at 7:15 for the start - that is, until we were joined by Graeme from Napier on another Bandit.
After signing on we were given the route and basically told that we could take off whenever we wanted. The route was to take us to Wanganui, Raetihi, Tokoroa, Taupo and Napier before returning back to Palmy. We weren't told what route to take but had our odometer readings taken and also had to get receipts at four different stops along the way.
View 2010 CDMTC 800km in Day in a larger map
Leaving Palmy we took a bit of a detour to avoid the uninteresting ride over to Wanganui by riding through to Halcombe and then taking Makirikiri Road across to Turakina. Then there was just a short squirt on SH3 before we turned off the main road again to go to Fordell and then Okoia allowing us to bypass Wanganui and get to the Paraparas sooner.
The ride over the Para's was fantastic (as usual) and it was neat to be riding the Honda through here for the first time. By the time we got to Raetihi (the first checkpoint) things had warmed up quite a bit and I was glad to have the chance to remove my sweatshirt and grab a cold drink.
The next leg of the trip took us across to National Park and then over SH47 to Tokaanu (where Dad departed for home) before climbing up over the delicious Kuratau Saddle. Going up the saddle we did get stuck behind a bit of traffic for a while but once past the cars we had a great run all the way to the turn-off to Whakamaru.
At the turn-off a number of the other riders were parked up having a chat but we continued on behind the lake and thought that we were making pretty good time until the others came whistling past us. Just before Whakamaru we were stopped by some road works for a while and I used the opportunity to put on my sunglasses as the sun was well and truly up and blazing down on all the motorcyclists in their hot riding gear.
From Whakamaru it was just a short 30km pootle up the road to Tokoroa and the next checkpoint. All the other riders were there already and the garage was doing a roaring trade in petrol and pies. We just filled up and set off for Checkpoint three in Taupo.
This short hop is a pretty boring ride down SH1 where we kept the pace down as it's a bit of a happy hunting ground for the boys in blue. In Taupo we didn't need petrol so stopped in at the local Subway for a bite before hitting the Napier-Taupo road.
After pootling across the Taupo plains we eventually got into the hilly, bendy bits which make the Napier-Taupo a great ride and had a blast gobbling up the kms to Napier.
Napier was our last stop for petrol and here Mark and I also swapped bikes for the trip home so he too could also experience the astounding touring capability of the might red Honda. As for myself, well I had to get used to riding a Bandit again and it took me a while to get comfortable - ducking in behind Mark as he took to "the hill" on SH50 helped and I was soon enjoying the charms of a Bandit once again.
We had a great ride over SH50 and then took it pretty quietly on SH2 as we headed for home. After a day of fantastic weather we finally ran into some average weather just before Woodville - not rain but very blustery conditions which continued through the gorge and into Palmy. Back at Breakers we had our odo's checked and then joined the other riders for a quick drink and a chat before making our way home after a great day out in the sunshine. Rumour has it that the CDMTC is going to plan another 800km ride in the new year...
More pics here.