Monday, December 06, 2010

Three Toy Runs in Two days

Yep, it's that time of the year again where it seems that every town has it's Toy Run to benefit those kids not so fortunate. This weekend it was time for the New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington runs. Normally I'd probably miss a couple but when we found out that there was two on on one day (New Plymouth & Palmy) we thought that this might add a bit of a challenge and started planning...

The New Plymouth run called for a 9am sign on and a 10am departure and the Palmy run kicked off at 1pm - could we make it? In the end we decided to give it a go by getting up early and heading up to New Plymouth, dropping our toy off and flagging the run so that we had time to get back to Palmy. Yes we'd miss the actual run but a couple of extra toys made to the New Plymouth charity, we got a badge and got in a good ride anyway.

So after a later night due to our work Xmas function Brian and I got up early and were on the road by 05:30. As always it was a very pleasant time of the day to be riding and we got to see the skies brighten on a very fine day.

We had a great old ride up to Hawera and then followed the Surf Highway through to Opunake where I started looking for fuel (my fuel alert had just come up) and a feed. It turns out that at 7:30 in the morning everyone is still in bed in Opunake...and Rahotu...and Okato! We finally found an open gas station in Oakura with 388km from the tank showing on my trip meter. 22L into the tank and then we were off for the short squirt to New Plymouth where we found a cafe and had a nice breakfast before struggling to find the ride start.

Toys gifted and badges purchased we remounted and after a bit of discussion decided to return the same way we'd come as we'd really enjoyed the run up. It was another great ride back until just before Turakina...

We were in a line of traffic drop
ping down a slight rise when a Suzuki Swift decided that he really, really had to turn right, right now! He'd been waiting patiently in the turning lane and after the car in front of me passed decided that he'd had enough of the waiting and nailed it. Well this is where it got exciting for a bit: I hit the brakes hard, real hard for probably less than a second before throwing the Connie to the right and executing the big weave to avoid the cage. Things happened real quickly but I still
remember looking into the car directly at the passengers and I even had time to give them a real good blast of the Stebel! Brian saw the whole thing and was amazed firstly that the car had turned in front of me (actually it puzzled me too) and secondly that I somehow came out of it intact! It was seriously freaky and I curse that car driver to hades - he needs to be off the road for good!

Anyway it was all over in seconds and we managed to make it to Feilding well before the start of the next Toy Run so refueled the bikes and met up with Mark to fill him in on all the action.

The Toy Run itself took us over to Halcombe and then some more back roads to Cheltenham, Colyton and Bunnythorpe before ending in Palmy with the gift giving and a BBQ.


On Sunday it was time to swap bikes and ride down to Mana for the Wellington Hog Toy Run. This time around I took the Honda while Brian had Linda on the back of his Connie and loaned his Honda to Linda's daughter and her partner.

We left Palmy in some very light drizzle which soon cleared - although it did remain quite cool for the entire ride down. In Mana we also decided to just drop our toys, by a badge and ride home after watching the bikes head off on their run. Obviously Wellington can draw quite a few out and it was good to see that there was plenty of Xmas spirit with bikes of all makes joining the Hog guys on their run.

Once the masses had departed we carried on home after stopping in Otaki for fuel and a lunch. Mission accomplished - three Toy Runs in Two days - not bad going and just one more Toy Run to go...

More pics here.


  1. Does your Connie have ABS? damn cagers, they have no idea of the speed differences. Looks like you guys had fun and good weather :-)

  2. Impressive range on your Connie Andrew and your weekend runs were equally impressive.

    Sorry to hear about your near miss but excellent skills in avoiding a serious one. You can pretty much guarantee that on a ride-out these days, you're going to see more than a few cagers doing stupid things. I'm still pushing with the authorities about the need to incorporate situational awareness training at driver entry level training (in more detail than defensive driving currently covers).