With the sun shining and the washing hitting the spin cycle, I wheeled out the Tenere and started getting ready for action. By the time I had hung out the washing and geared up it was raining...Never mind, I was going!
After topping up the bike I pointed it North and made for Vinegar Hill. Along the way I managed to shave a little bit of weight off the bike (unintentional but man, E-07's are not bad kit) before catching up to a big fat Volvo SUV. He was obviously an awesome driver as he floored it when he noticed me sneak up behind him and then demonstrated his superb technique by using all of the road regardless of whether he could see around the corners or not - nice.
From Hunterville I took Ongo and Turakina Valley Roadz as far as Pohonui Road where I turned off for my first bit of gravel. I took this as far as Okaka Road which I then took down to Papanui Junction.
Dropping down the hill the gravel changed as I hit stretches that had either been graded or had a bit more metal dumped on them recently. Turning back onto Turakina Valley Road the gravel conditions stayed fairly similar but with the roads a bit more open the speeds increased and I started to get a bit more into the grove. The S10 was loving it and I think its heft actually helps in this sort of stuff.
Further North there was a very short bit of seal before I hit the best conditions of the day - beautiful hard packed dirt with just a delicate sprinkling of stones! This is definitely where whales love to play and after avoiding a couple of dozen sheep on the road the hammer was dropped. You gotta love hooking top gear on the gravel! Magic!
Popping back out onto the seal near Tangiwai I made contact with Neil and then hooked up with him for lunch in 'kune. Another coffee at his place and it was time to head home.
A bit of SH1 took me South almost as far as Taihape before I'd had enough and turned off again to go in search of gravel. Some good back road tarmac got me a fair way further South and finally onto Watershed Road for that last little bit of gravel.
Watershed Road was a lot of fun but I have to say by the end of it I was feeling a little jaded so a quiet cruise home back over Vinegar Hill was the order of the day rather than more twisties or gravel - shake your head if you must...
Anyway, I pretty good day out on the bike and I certainly enjoyed the feel of the E-07's on the gravel - great Adv rubber!