Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BRR Damn the Duke Part Two

So, we left off last night with most of our merry band pulling into "the Duke" for a late lunch.

Here we were reunited with three of our missing riders but were still missing the two who had gone in search of them...

A well deserved lunch was quickly ordered and bike gear removed so we could sit in the sun without melting.  A cold drink was also very welcome after the morning's ride and there was even a new bike to gawk at as Colin had turned up on his new Wee - I forgot to get some snaps of it though, doh!

After lunch it was time to take a really interesting route back to Dannevirke.  First up was a steep climb out of Porangahau on Old Hill Road.  It's a good thing that the first bit of the road was tar as I spent a fair bit of time with my eyes off the road looking at the spectacular views out across Porangahau to the beach.  I'll stop there one day for some pics...Oh and the road did eventually go to gravel...

Old Hill Road eventually spat us out onto Porangahau Road which we followed towards Waipuk only until turning off to take Blackhead Road back to the coast.  After dropping back down the hill the tarseal road then becomes the most delicious gravel that you'd ever find.  I'd ridden it before and enjoyed it and on this occasion it was just as good - I think the video may demonstrate how much fun it was...

At the end of Blackhead Road we went left (instead of right and down to the beach) and made our way back yet again to Porangahau Road via some reasonably nice tar.  But we still hadn't finished with the gravel and turned off again to take in more back roads including some more good gravel.  It's here I get a bit lost with my video recordings - I have some video but can't remember which road is which so we'll just skip the video and carry on with the action.

It was now getting later in the afternoon and the low sun was a bit of a pain when trying to pick a line through the gravel so I definitely dialed it back a little and tried my best to duck down so the peak of my helmet blotted out the bright sun.

Our next bit of excitement was a certain Triumph coming into difficulties about oh, 15km from Danniverke and the nearest petrol station...Luckily we had a Kawasaki petrol tanker with us and were able to transfer some petrol between bikes.  Also luckily, the battery on my camera was not completely flat so I could document the operation...

How embarrassing!
Arriving back in Dannevirke we all went our separate ways, some stopping for coffee and others (including me) high-tailing it for home.  I did have one more stop for fuel in Woodville as my fuel gauge dropped to it's last bar immediately on leaving Dannevirke...I probably would have made it home ok but I didn't have a KLR accompanying me so played it safe.

In the end I got home just before 6pm after what was a reasonably eventful back road ride but a very enjoyable one.  Where are we going next Neil?

More pics here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

BRR Damn the Duke Part One

Yesterday was our monthly Back Road Riders Adventure ride and this time around Neil had planned an excursion over on the East Coast that would lead us to lunch at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel in Porangahau.

First up though we had to meet in Pahiatua and take in as much gravel as possible between there and Porangahau.  I started by heading over the track and then getting my eye in on the short bit of gravel that is Tararua Road.  Then with plenty of time up my sleeve I stopped for a few pics just above Pahiatua.

While there a few of the boys started rocking up - or was that blasting past?

I wonder what the rear tyre on that beemer is like?
Our ride proper kicked off we a wee tar-sealed scoot through to Makuri where we turned off onto Coonoor Road and our first nice stretch of gravel.

Just before the climb up past the lime works we paused for a regroup and to discuss what we thought of graders and the work that they'd been doing (for the record I'm not a great fan of them or their work).

After the catch up it was time to climb that hill and make our way towards Waihi Falls.

Somewhere on our way to the falls there was a little miscommunication which resulted in our party splitting up a bit as some riders went one way and the others took off on their own adventure elsewhere.  The main group stopped before the falls to scratch their heads and wonder what had gone wrong.

Rather than ride down to visit the falls we back-tracked a little and made our way to Route 52 via Horoeka Road.  Somewhere along here we were reunited with a few of the other guys but when we stopped for a count up at Route 52 we were still missing 1 or 2.  Now it was time to lose a couple more as they volunteered to ride into Pongaroa to see if the others were waiting there - Pongaroa/Porangahau mix up?

With that Neil led the rest of us out to the turn-off to Weber but we carried on right on Route 52 for all of a couple of hundred metres to Tahuokaretu Road and then disappeared in a cloud of dust while we pulled over to try to fix a puncture in a Beemers rear tyre.

After trying a screw-in plug we ended up removing it and going for a string repair and while doing this Neil turned up just in time to help pump the tyre up.  Tyre sorted it was time for a great ride along Tahuokaretu and Birch Roads.  More great gravel with just the odd slippery bit to keep us on our toes.

Birch Road eventually dumped us back out onto Route 52 just South of Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu and leaving us just a short squirt on tarmac to our lunch stop in Porangahau.

Part Two tomorrow night...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shame about the finish

Another fairly nice day today - by winter's standards anyway - so we managed to round up 5 of us to take in the Apiti-Rangiwahia-Mangaweka-Vinegar Hill loop (ARMVHL?).

Mark had had a little pre-WOF issue earlier on and once that got sorted and he had his warrant we rode out to Ashhurst to meet up with Brian, Lloyd and Roscoe.  By 10:15 I was leading the guys out around the Pohangina Valley.

The riding was great but there was plenty of evidence of weather at work - slips on the road, dirt, mud and metal in places too.  There were also plenty of kamikaze magpies out and about too and I'm afraid one of them took on something a little bigger, faster and harder than it was...

At the top the hill we turned right onto Rangiwahia Road and made our way through to Mangaweka.  Once again there was plenty of road hazards to avoid but it is always a great ride through here.

Just South of Mangaweka we pulled into the Flat Hills cafe for an early lunch and the chance to yabber about the great ride we'd had so far.

After lunch it was time for the short ride home via Vinegar Hill.  This is where things went fairly badly wrong.  Brian, Lloyd, Mark and I were enjoying ourselves and ended up getting away on Roscoe.  We pulled up at a turn-off we had planned to take and set about waiting Roscoe.

While waiting I felt a vibrating in my pocket but didn't make before the call went to answerphone.  The message revealed the worst - Roscoe had come off, unhurt but not going anywhere.  We quickly remounted and started to retrace our steps.

We eventually found Roscoe near his poor wee GSX.  He had been avoiding a nasty patch in the road and ended up a fair bit too far left...once he was in some soft stuff he was just along for the ride...

Luckily he was fine but unfortunately the lovely little GSX was a bit worse for wear.  Brian and Lloyd took off home to fetch a trailer while the rest of us got the bike down off the hill to a flat area where it was a bit better for parking and loading the bike up.  An hour or so later Brian and Lloyd were back and we quickly had the bike loaded.

Mark and I ended up doing Vinegar Hill three times but the incident definitely put a damper on an otherwise great day out on the bikes.

The good news is that Roscoe is ok and not too down after the whoopsie and already there are plans on the first steps to get the bike sorted and back out on the road - good stuff!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Meandering to Martinborough

Cripes, it's Tuesday and I haven't written up Saturday's ride yet!  Best get amongst it then...

Last week was fairly dreary weather wise and Brian and I had both been hoping for a bit of a nicer change for the weekend so that we could escape on the Connies.  Come Friday night and the weather man was telling us that East was the way to go so we decided that lunch in Martinborough was on the cards.

With Roscoe piking on us we ended up leaving Palmy a bit earlier than we'd originally planned and made our way up over a wet Pahiatua Track to the Mangamire turn-off.  Great conditions for Brian to scrub in his new tyre...

There was a bit of fog just before we got to the turn-off but once on Nikau Road the mists parted and the GoPro was pressed into service.  Almost instantly we ran into stock on the road - this seems to be becoming a bit of a recurring theme...

From Mangamire we rode a short way down to Eketahuna before leaving SH2 again for the lovely run through to Mauriceville.  During the week there had been a bit of flooding over this side of the ranges so I wasn't quite sure whether we'd run into any issues.  In the end there was only wet and dirty roads taking us through to Mauriceville and then into some more fog.

Back out onto the main road we cruised into Masterton where we got fuel before the last leg into Martinborough.  We took a slightly different route down to Martinborough that actually took us out onto my planned return route but it was still a nice ride and the closer we got to Martinborough the more bikes we saw out and about enjoying an improving day.

Food porn - Corn beef hash, mmmmmmm...
After lunch it was time to head home and we took our normal back road route via Wainuioru and then turned off to take our old favourite Route 52 to Alfredton.

View 20-07-13 Martinborough in a larger map

Route 52 was fairly dirty and slippery in places (even the odd remnant from some slips) but we pretty much had the road to ourselves except for a few other bikes heading South towards us.  It was along here that the GoPro decided to have a hissy fit and produced these two photos five seconds apart - can you spot the problem?

Of course I didn't know this was happening I was too busy enjoying myself on a great wee ride.  From Alfredton we simply rode through to Pahiatua (dodging a slow moving hawk) and then back home over the track.  Back home about 2pm after a neat little ride with no rain to speak of!

Some of that stuff is dirt...
More pics here.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Picasa Autobackup weirdness

It seems that Bob is not the only one who has experienced some Picasa weirdness that's resulted in some interesting animated pics.  Picasa picked some good subject matter though:

The beautiful Mosquito warming up
And flying with it's stable mates
757 wiggling it's bum
Brian and I crossing the bridge at Haast

Sunday, July 07, 2013

On/Off Update

Righto, so yesterday was my first outing with the new wireless back-pack and remote for the GoPro so I thought I'd do a little update.

So, what do I reckon?  Well, it's pretty damn good.  Using it carefully it's allowed me to make far more use of the battery - I shot nearly 10 gigs of non-HD video on one battery without it going completely flat.  No more leaving the camera on and hitting the record button when you want to film or take a picture.  It does make the procedure a bit more complicated but is well worth it:

  1. Turn the wireless back-pack on.  I can see it's on by checking the little LCD screen on it's back.
  2. Turn the remote on.  This then links with the back-pack and we're ready to go.
  3. Select the shooting mode.  Ok, so this is a bit tricky - you need to know what each little (as in very little) icon on the remote's screen means.
  4. Press record.  Away laughing.
To stop recording and turn off the camera:
  1. Press the record button again to stop the recording.
  2. Hold down the on/off button.  It does the normal GoPro flash, flash, flash and then switches off.
  3. Switch the back-pack off.  Now everything is off and none of the batteries are discharging.
Pretty simple and it just works.  Far easier than pressing the buttons on the camera and wondering if it's actually on or recording.

Now to just work out what all those icons on the remote mean so that I can select continuous photo shooting (one of my favourite modes) instead of burst mode - spot the differences...

East is best

Recently Roscoe from work has picked himself up a nice little GSX650F and is enjoying getting back into riding.  During the week we'd been hatching plans for a group of us to go for a ride on Saturday.  We kept a close eye on the weather and kept a few options up our sleeves depending on the weather forecast.

In the end Saturday was forecasted to be pretty average here with wind and rain on the cards.  Two of our possible destinations were quickly discarded and we set our sights on a trip up to Hawkes Bay.

Patient Connie waiting at the Rendezvous
After leaving home I made my way up to a local cafe to meet the others.  Roscoe had planned to have his brekkie here but was denied due to us being a bit early for the cafe...As he pulled in also gave me the news that were on our own as Daniel had also decided to give the ride a miss.

With a disappointed Roscoe in tow I made my way up and over the track to Pahiatua.  The morning was still a little cool (especially the brisk and sometimes blustery wind) but the sun was definitely out even if it was a bit low in the sky at times.

From Pahiatua I took Roscoe through to Oringi via Jacksons and straight into that low sun.  It was still a nice little ride and Roscoe must have felt a bit more relieved when I pulled up outside a cafe in Danniverke - and the cafe was open...

Worms fed, we carried on up SH2 to Matamau where we turned off to take the back roads through to Ormonville and Takapau.  In Ormonville I waved Roscoe through on me and settled into pootle mode behind him.

Eventually we made our way back out onto SH2 just South of Waipuk and cruised through to Waipawa where we made our next turn-off.  I led through to River Road and then waved Roscoe through again to take us through to Patangata and then up Middle Road to Havelock North.  By now the day had really sorted itself out and was turning into a beaut of a winter's day.  There was also some excitement to be had at times on Middle Road...

In Havelock North nature called and while stopped we couldn't help but notice someone's nice little toy for getting to Saturday brunch:

It's red - shocker!
From Havelock we cruised onto Napier via Clive and the waterfront and then stopped in at Ma and Pa's where Dad whipped us up a quick bite and we managed to twist his arm a bit and get him to join us for a bit out trip back home.  Before you could say "Bayerische Motoren Werke", his bike was out of the shed and he was ready to go.

The trip down SH50 was a lot of fun but at Ongaonga Dad pulled over to say goodbye before he took off towards Waipawa and Roscoe and I continued South.  In Danniverke the predicted weather had arrived and by the time we hit the gorge we had absolutely said goodbye to the sunny HB skies.

We did however beat the really heavy rain and it was good to hear that arrive through roofing iron rather than my helmet.