Sunday, January 29, 2017

Return to the valley...

...and that Forgotten Highway.

This Saturday's weather was certainly an improvement over the last few weeks' - nice and sunny with very little wind.  And I had unfinished business carrying over from the previous weekend - a trip up Turakina Valley.

I didn't leave home until nearly 2pm as I was also on another mission (which may come up at some stage) and was looking forward to a nice relaxing ride without worrying about the time.  In Marton I stopped for fuel and also had to remove the waterproof liner from my jacket and open up the vents in the sleeves - yep, she was a warm one.

A quick skid on hot slippery tar on Makuhou Road got me to the very first bit of Turakina Valley Road.  For most of the length of the road it alternates between windy, narrow and bumpy tarmac to good gravel and back again.  A bit of everything and some great views too.

This guy was fairly slow lifting off, I had to brake and avoid

Road about to be getting better...
Some of the gravel sections had a few rough corrugations on them and along the way the right hand mirror worked its way loose and was getting close to abandoning ship so a quick stop was called for take care of it and to take on some water.  Crap views though..

Dry and dusty Tenere
Further on up the road there was actually some traffic.

The above guy was nice and polite but I decided that discretion was the better part of valour when this next guy hove into view...

Is there anybody out there?
By now I was really enjoying the ride, taking it pretty quietly and just enjoying this fantastic bit of back country road.

Nearing the end of Turakina Valley Road the mountain became visible, it always looks good but particularly so on a nice clear day.

A quick stop in Ohakune discovered that a certain ex-Triumph owner wasn't home so I pressed on.  Trundling up SH4 I noticed a gravel road heading off to the left.  I wondered if it was one that Neil had taken us on at some stage so set out to find out.

It turns out that Middle Road wasn't one I'd done before and it ended up taking me in completely the wrong way back towards Raetihi.  Once I hit SH4 again I turned North and got to re-ride some of it for the second time that day.

As I was in no hurry, when I hit Owhango I turned off to ride down Whakapapa Bush Road just for a nosey.  This road ends up becoming the 42ns Traverse and there was no way I was tackling that one on the Tenere (even if I hadn't been alone I wouldn't) but I did stop to take a few pics and some video of the ride back out.

My next stop was in Taumarunui where the bike was refueled again and I went in search of a burger to destroy while I contemplated where to next?

As I was still in no hurry I had options up the wazoo I finally decided to hit the Forgotten Highway as the sun set and then cruise home via the 'naki.  The FH was fantastic - it was finally getting cooler and there was next to no traffic on it.  After the gravel section I even stopped for more piccys...

Whangamomona wasn't exactly busy when I rode through and I didn't stop, preferring to carry on destroying my E-07's on the fantastic curvy saddles.  I arrived in Toko just in time for a quick snap of the sunset and that we hill.

Sleeves zipped back up and turning South at Stratford, I ran away from the setting sun and into the coming night.  By the time I was the other side of Hawera the light was nearly gone and I was getting plastered by bugs as I engaged cruise mode.  I finally parked the bike at about 10:45 after a fantastic pootle racking up about another 630km - primo day, I hope it isn't the last...

More pics here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2016 Highlights

Ok, January is nearly done for but this is getting to be a bit of a habit:


Well, I test rode a Honda and didn't buy one...

Wrong colour?
But did manage to get a ride in during a patch of weather the likes of which we have yet to see this year...

Beach Babe

In February a certain V-twin departed to become an Aussie's NZ bike.

And of course there was the yearly pilgrimage for a little ride down South.

Munching miles is where it's at!

Looking back at my posts it looks like not much happened in March.  Having only one bike was a bummer, must have been waiting for something...Still got out for a nice little scoot on some favourite roads.

Smile for the camera darling

In April I was a little disappointed when the Connie's battery died...

Batteries these days...
and also got all nostalgic...

I miss that bike...
Before finally fixing that 2nd bike problem...


With a new bike in the shed there was farkling to be done (and it still continues)...

And looking back, the poor old Connie got a bit ignored when the new horse was taken on the BRRBT ride...

Seems to go alright.

The Connie finally got a run in June and it was up to some of the other guys to bring along their new and exotic machinery...

"Keep this end pointing forward"
"It's crap in the mud"

But the Tenere also got a couple of rides in, one slightly unplanned.

A bike, a bridge and some sun

In July I tried to sort out the recent favouritism and got both bikes out on the same day...

Tag hunter extraordinaire

Gravel eater extraordinaire

Oops, it looks like that in August I reverted to favouring the new bike again with a couple of outings to test the newly fitted E-07's.  One ride was frostier than the other.

I like heated grips and I cannot lie

We had a better summer during winter

The Connie got some loving in the form of new tyres and a service and even got treated to a little exercise for a change.

Ain't she lovely!
And the blog even passed a milestone.

Dang that means I'm 10 years older too...

In October I wimped out on the NI1600 and instead hung out at the HQ while others got sore butts.  At least the Connie got a run up to Turangi and back - teasing her?

Nev, Graeme & Phil

Colin finishing just after Glen (go Yamaha!)

And the Tenere went on her first big adventure.

Favourite pic of the trip

November means another wee ride that the Connie always enjoys.

Team Kawasaki out there doing it!
And the Tenere got to sample a Forgotten Highway.

How could I forget the Forgotten Highway?

Usually there's a few Toy Runs/Charity rides on in December, but last year I only managed to take in the Coast to Coast.

Everyone needs a Kawasaki!
And the Tenere was teased with a short trip South...may have to make it up to her...

Dang gates spoil all the fun...
Now, if the weather could just play ball so I can get amongst it again...