Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hooning around Herbertville

Well, it seemed like forever since the poor old Tenere has been let off its leash and taken for a decent gravel ride so today was the day to fix that.

Yesterday I'd been trying to chase down a slow leak in the front tyre and didn't really get anywhere so after checking it again this morning I decided that I was good to go.

I'd posted a note up on FB last night to see if there was anyone else out there interested in a ride and my bait hooked me a Rodney again.  We agreed to meet in town and when I got there I discovered that his 650 had magically turned into an 800 - nice!

We left Palmy with a little bit of moisture in the air and made for the track.  Clambering up the hill we seemed to be climbing up into the clouds and at the top we were having to part them as we rode...

Even the constabulary were concerned with the weather...

I never even saw him there...
Dropping down the other side of the hill we took Tararua Road for our first taste of gravel and as I was in front I got to chase all the sheep off the roads for Rodney - it is very rare that there are not animals out on this little bit of gravel.

We carried on through to Pahiatua and then turned Eastwards to make our way onto Pahiatua-Pongaroa road.  Here we ate up some tarmac before turning off onto Pori road.

Pori Road starts off as a narrow sealed road before turning into gravel.  At about the same time as the road changed to gravel we ran into fog again and visibility was pretty limited.  We didn't stop at the normal photo spot 'cos if you've seen one picture of the inside of a cloud you've seen them all...

About halfway down the hill the fog petered out and we got to enjoy some pretty nice gravel before getting spat out on Route 52.

Turning Northeasterly we rode up through Tiraumea, riding around the new roadworks which skirt the slip that took away the road a few months ago, until we got to the next turn-off at Waihoki Valley Road.

Waihoki Valley Road dished out more nice gravel but once again I had to sweep the stock off the road for Rodney - this time 5-6 cattle.  The road surface was really nice too and the S10 got a little excited at times with the rear end trying to overtake the front a few times - this seems to becoming a bit of a habit...

Waihoki Valley Road ends right after the above bridge and forces you to go either left or right on Huia Road.  Right was our pick as it was taking us further towards the coast and into better and better weather.

Further on up the line Huia Road completely gives up the ghost as it becomes Waiowaka Road but we skipped this by taking a left onto Spur Road.  This little road has been a bit messy in the past but today it looked like someone had been through reasonably recently with either a grader or perhaps dropping some gravel.  It is a cracker of a road though and takes you up through some nice country before dropping back down the other side and taking you to yet another junction.

Another left onto Marainanga Road and things start to open up a bit more with faster gravel and less of the steep tight turns.  A final right turn got us onto the fabulous Coast Road which funnily enough takes us all the way out to the coast and the settlement of Akitio.

Coast Road is always fun and generally really hard, smooth gravel but today there was a short section of recently laid gravel which did slow things down for a little while.  Luckily, the truck driver ran out of gravel and there was still plenty of fun to be had on the way to the beach.

By now it was nearly half past lunchtime so we went out and checked the store to find that yes, it was closed on Sunday's.  Oh, my poor starving worms...There was nothing for it but to carry on up the road and see where it lead us.

Glenora and Esdaile Roads made up our next stretch of gravel and got us back out onto Route 52 again just West of Wimbledon.

I missed a turn which would have used another gravel road to bypass Wimbledon so pulled up next to the pub to let Rodney know.  We decided that rather than stopping there for lunch we would drop into Herbertville and check out the offerings there.

As it turned out there was plenty on offer for the famished Adv rider but a simple fix of fish and chips sorted out us out and prepared us for the next leg of the ride.

We removed a layer or two, remounted and retraced our steps back towards Wimbledon but instead of heading West we went North on Route 52 until our next turn at Birch Road.

Birch Road winds its way through a forestry block and can get a little muddy after rain.  We've had a lot of rain...But, a grader has been at work and a lot of the muddy spots had been smoothed out with a layer of metal.  Logging trucks have then been through and squished small ruts into this mud/gravel/porridge and the odd spot was a little was similar to hitting soft sand.

In the open spots there was a bit of wind to bash us around a bit but it was still better than the fog on Pori Road.  Our last bit of gravel took us down Tahuokaretu and you guessed it, back onto Route 52.

With a few spits in the air it was now time to head home and hopefully not get a drowning.  We made Dannevirke without getting wet and after topping up the Beemers tank, made our way by various (sealed) back roads and a busy Saddle Road (they've given up on the gorge) to Ashhurst and then finally Palmy.

Ahhh, but it was nice to be out on a decent ride for a change!


  1. Nice run Andrew and some lovely scenery. Funnily enough, the only time I've ridden the Pahiatua Track was on my first ever 1000-miler in 1996. It was in the pitch black, foggy AND raining. Slippery as heck and pretty scary. All part of a challenging ride though!

    1. Yeah, not the first time I've been over it in the fog. It is in pretty good nick now (needs to be with no gorge) so less slippery bits - although there was diesel all over it the previous time I travelled it.

      BTW: there's this little ride on in 2 weeks time...

  2. Lots of fog there mate, still a good day riding by the looks. Is the gorge ever going to be reopened?

    Phillip Island Motogp is on in 4 weeks, just saying.....I'll be there waiting for you with an ice cold one

    1. They're currently looking at options to the gorge - they reckon it's too dangerous for the guys to work on the latest slip.

      Looks like I missed the GP an idea though...

  3. Looks like a nice combination of gravel and tarmac. The fog sucks though, I hate fog when it isn't heavy enough to bead up on the visor so you can turn your head to clear it.

    1. Yeah, a bit of everything including some very rare sunshine. Got sucks, period!

  4. So many interesting rides possible from your home, you are lucky I think!

    1. You're not wrong. Some of the local riders I talk to all reckon we've got good access to neat rides. Certainly better than the big centres like Auckland or Wellington where you have to ride quite some way before you're even out of town...