Monday, October 26, 2015

Wading through the Waioeka

It's a long weekend over here (bringing with it a 4km/h speed tolerance) and during the week I'd decided that I needed to go somewhere.  The idea was that I would make tracks on Saturday, perhaps stay somewhere on the road for the night and return home on the Sunday with a spare day up my sleeve.

My plan was to cruise up the East Coast and take in the Waioeka Gorge and then home via somewhere else.  As the week progressed the weather went to crap (more wind and rain) and the weekend's forecast wasn't looking very good either.  I decided to pack my gear up on Friday night and then to just see what Saturday looked like once the sun was up - with no real time constraints I didn't care what time I got away or where I ended up for the night.

In the morning it had stopped raining in Palmy and the forecast was saying that the weather would clear up a bit on the East Coast later in the day.  I decided I was going regardless and was soon pottering out towards Ashhurst.

Not very far up the road I did a pat down of my jacket and decided that perhaps it would be better if I went back for my wallet before I needed fuel - doh!

Wallet recovered I retraced my steps back out to Ashhurst and into a very wet Manawatu Gorge.  Splashing through the Gorge I caught up with a few classic cars and in Woodville I noticed more of them parked up getting coffee etc.  When I stopped in Dannevirke for fuel I discovered that there was a hot rod show on and on my way up into the Bay there were plenty of classics, hot-rods and old muscle cars heading South - nice to see them out on the road.

The road was wet all the way up to SH50 and somewhere just South of Hastings I finally started to get rained on - damn, was this what it was going to be like for the rest of the day?  In Fernhill I decided to stop and put on my "waterproof" gloves and then got a surprise when I turned the key back on - "Low transponder battery" said the dash.  I decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to get a replacement so went into Taradale to pick up one before carrying on out of Napier.  All this mucking around at slow speed got me a bit wet and my left glove was already full of water...

Turning the heated grips up to 75% I carried on SH2 towards Wairoa.  Climbing up the hill I started catching up to the odd group of cruisers who were taking it pretty easy in the wet.  I passed them easily but got stuck behind a Mercedes (who didn't believe in slow vehicle lanes) for a while.  Eventually I got past him and continued picking off cruisers all the way to Puterino where there was a big bunch of them parked up at the pub.

My next stop was in Wairoa where it was time for lunch and some fuel.  Getting my lunch I chatted to a lady who had I'd passed somewhere along the way and she reckoned I'd been getting along nicely - it sounded like she was a biker or pillion.  She asked me where I was heading and I had to say - dunno, somewhere up the road some more...

The ride through to Gisborne was another cracker, even if it was still pretty damn wet - the Connie was just eating the road up and the PR4's were doing their job superbly well.  No stopping in Gisborne as I headed into the wet Waioeka.  This was not the first time I'd been through here in the wet so I kinda knew what I was in for.  The road was in good nick but there was more than one corner where there were rocks across the road from recent slips - sharp, tyre-puncturing looking rocks too.

By the time I popped out the other side of the Gorge I was pretty wet and decided that Whakatane was going to be my stop for the day so that I could dry out.  After picking up some food in town I went searching for a motel - the one I usually stay at had no vacancies and neither did the others I went past (long weekend eh?) so I just kept on going...

Turning South for Rotorua the weather finally started playing ball and the roads were even dry in places but I probably should have fuelled up in either Whakatane or Awakeri - when I finally fuelled up in Rotoma I was shocked at the $2.10 per liter price - it's $1.87 here in Palmy at the mo.  What made it was was that I put in over 20L...

Just before Rotorua the Connie turned over her 130,000th km so I saved the spot in the GPS and gave her a pat on the tank.  I stopped briefly again in Rotorua to try to charge up my intercom - no success, the Sena charger is dead after only one use!  The next 350km were going to be fairly silent then...

Rather than take the main road to Taupo, I turned off and went through Reporoa and Broadlands where the average speed tends to come up a little and then followed the lake around to Turangi.  In Turangi it was time to stop for a slash again so I ended up getting some horrible takeaways as well.

Time for the Desert Road then!  It was a really lovely ride (if cool) across to Waiouru as the sun went down and I even remembered to turning on the GoPro.

I had one little scare on the Desert Road when Mr Plod flicked on his fancy lights as a warning.  I was only puddling along so can't have been much over 104 at all...

The rest of the ride down SH1 was pretty boring and it was pretty dark when I hit Vinegar Hill.  By now the Connie was getting low on gas too so I rode fairly sensibly and got home ok with about 368km on the tank - good girl!

I was home about 9:20 after just over 12 hours and 1,000+km for the day and the bad weather nearly forgotten...I love this bike!


  1. Saturday was nice and sunny were I live...

    1. It probably was in Palmy too..ok when I left and ok when I got back...

  2. Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a cool loop. Dun it a few times now - once in the middle of winter...

  3. You must have found the only rain in the country Andrew. Nice warm up for C1K in 2 weeks :)

    1. I actually found quite a lot of it Phil!

  4. Sounds like a good ride in spite of the wet conditions at times.

    You wrote: (bringing with it a 4km/h speed tolerance), does that mean anything above 4km/h above posted speed limits is a mandatory ticket if you're caught?

    1. Yes, because if you go 5km/h over you will die apparently...

  5. 4 kph is a really low tolerance level. Here you can get away with at least 10 mph or 16 kph as a general rule.

    I am surprised you venture the roads on a long weekend. Here we pretty much stay home on long weekends because of high traffic and drunk drivers. Risk assessment and all that.

    Looks like a great route though.

    1. Yep, it's a stupid idea. People end up watching speedos instead of the road...

      By going Saturday I missed out on all the Friday night Ï'm going on holiday" traffic and the Monday night, "I'm tired, let's just get home" traffic. The busiest traffic I had was around Whakatane/Rotorua, otherwise all good and not too many cops out and about...

  6. Nice ride Andrew it seems you guys have stupid speeding laws too