Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mighty Mouse in the Maungatuks

Yesterday I finally had the chance to ride the little WR in the mighty Maungatuks - a place that Colin had been promising would be fun and challenging.  Hence the tyre changes earlier in the weeks before...

So, on a drizzly Saturday morning I loaded up that fabulously expensive new farkle (without dropping the bike on it and making me cry) and headed on down to meet Colin in Waikanae.



In Waikanae, the bike was unloaded and introduced to Colin's WR while we had a coffee and got ourselves sorted.

Words to live by...
From Colin's place we rode about 10km to the place where we were entering the fun zone.  Somehow I knew it was going to be fun when I noticed you had to ford a creek just to get into the car park...

Creek successfully negotiated we were quickly into it, clambering up rocky and narrow tracks where 2nd and 3rd gear were about all that was really needed.

As we climbed higher we also got to ride on some hard packed dirt and then clay...I first noticed how slippery the clay was when I saw Colin get nice and sideways climbing out of a corner.  I buttoned off a bit and changed my line only to slide the back out and into a drain...

I didn't drop it but I sure was stuck on some slippery stuff.  The clay was that hard and slippery that the rear just couldn't get any bite.  I had to left the back wheel out of the drain and then get the bike pointed back up the hill.  Yes, this does warm you up a little...There was still no grip even with the bike pointing uphill and idling in first with me walking beside it.  It wasn't until I could find some gravel/rocks that I could finally get on and try and catch up with Colin.  I eventually did up at a wee intersection in the middle of nowhere.



More zigs and zags and general brapping about got us back down into a valley and after taking a wee shortcut through some pine trees we arrived at the orange hut where my crappy camera took some crappy pics.




We had a bit of a breather there and chatted to some mountain bikers until this lot turned up.


Apparently they were the "Shiny" section of a local 4WD club.  Quite glad we met them where we did...We also found out where they were going and were happy that we wouldn't "run into" them along the way.

Next up was a few more creek crossings and rocky climbs before we got up nice and high among the power pylons.


Pathetic photo of some other bikes at a pylon opposite us...



Shortly after this we descended a very steep, rocky and rutted downhill track (think it was Zig Zag Road but really I had no idea where we were) which was reasonably hard work.  About halfway down I decided that I should stop for another photo.


Eventually I made it down to the bottom and then Colin took us bush bashing...We slipped, slid, stalled, restarted (and I think one of us even had a lie down) in the the creek below and then clambered out of it only to decide that it was only going to get tougher and turned around...

"Track" out of creek is about smack bang in the middle of the picture
Then we definitely needed a breather.

The last picture I took...
We returned back up that rocky hill (much easier going up) and then Colin lead me off again all over the place.  We often came to dead ends or to bits that started looking a bit serious but it was all an absolute barrel of fun.

One other memorable bit was where we rode 50m or so up a stream (who needs a track) and then into some pines where there were plenty of mudholes to avoid/splatter through.  Once again we rode in so far and Colin warned that it was going to get tougher...I made him feel better by chickening out...

On the way out I nearly had my own bath in the creek.  I was getting a little over confident and was charging after Colin when I slid on some rocks.  I didn't end up dropping the bike - one of the advantages of the WR over the Tenere is that it doesn't weigh 265kg+.

More exploring and another trip to the orange hutt followed as we started making our way out again.  And then we had to deal with that slippery clay slope again - this time downhill...

As I came out of that same corner where I'd had trouble on the way up, I couldn't help but notice that there was a WR and rider blocking my way...I still don't know how I didn't slide off and join Colin but it was a close thing.

Heading back into town we swapped bikes for a bit and yeah Colin's is wider with his bigger tank (I need one of those) with a much nicer seat and a gloriously rorty exhaust - hmmmm....

Anyway, what a great way to spend the day.  We did something like 95km - maybe 75km of that off road in about 4 and half hours.  Great entertainment for about 4 litres of fuel!

And yeah, I'm a little sore in places today...

Here's a wee map from my GPS track - use it at your peril...

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Glutton for punishment

Every time I change a tyre I run into some little issue and end up saying "never again."

The easy bit...
But, the WR is only a little bike, how hard can it be?

Let's get to work
Turns out it is tricky and tubes can be pinched.  Something to be said for tubeless tyres alright...

Got there in the end
And then tonight.

Remove axle nut and that's it...
Then after much sweating...

No friggin help whatsoever...
Ta da!
With any luck they'll still be up tomorrow and then I can try them in the mud...

Still no help and wondering why we're not inside by the fire...
It's fun, I swear...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Figure of 8?

During the week a chap I know and do the odd ride with done gone and traded a bike in so had a new stead that needed blooding.  And he'd decided that Turakina Valley was just the place to do it...


The meet-up point was once again in Sanson which the new bike managed to find ok and it was soon introduced to the Tenere.

Wonder what's in that big box?

Shiny!
The new bike and rider managed to keep their enthusiasm dampened down a little as we rode across to Turakina and took the turn up the valley.  With the road to ourselves we got into the section of tar a little and my mirrors still has a KTM in them so it was still going alright.  But once we hit the first section of gravel it wasn't long until the 1090 did a disappearing act - Colin handled the deep, freshly graded gravel with slightly less respect than me...


At one of our wee stops (Colin spent the day figuring out all the different modes for engine, traction control and ABS) I suggested that I knew a way to take in all of Turakina Valley Road but also do a bit of a figure of eight so that we could take in some more gravel..  Apparently it was a reasonable suggestion and so we took our first turn-off on Okaka Road.

It happens to be quite a fun bit of road...here it is from two different angles...



From Okaka Road we took a short squirt up Koeke Road to a nice little photo stop.  The newbie camera man even got some more video.








After some superb seal we ended up at Mataroa where we turned off again to climb up to the top of the hills above Taihape.  It was another great hill climb ending with a quick stop for more photos.





Dropping down Ridge Road, we hit SH1 and made for Waiouru where fuel and lunch awaited.  It also got a bit cooler with some nasty black clouds hanging around the mountain - no nice pics of it today.

After lunch it was time to find the top end of Turakina Valley Road again,  but this time to head South.  It was quite dusty at the start but once we got South of Rangiwea, the road got better and was a lot of fun.

There is a mountain back there somewhere...





To complete my weird figure of eight we were forced to tackle the Okaka Hill climb again before riding down the always lovely Pohonui Road.






Back on a sealed section of Turakina Valley Road we had a bit of a sporty ride back towards Hunterville with Colin turning off just before SH1 for the trip South and I carried on to take in Vinegar Hill so I could pop into my parents deserted house to wish Ma a happy Mothers' Day...

Another fantastic day charging around some our best gravel roads!  Check out that figure of eight!


And now for the animal tally...

Well, there were a few sheep on the road at one stage, at least three slow hawks and the usual splattering of other feathered creatures but I'm not quite sure if we'll top this one...


Yeah, it's that big box again...When the truck pulled in, Colin and I were getting a coffee and then looked out the window to see the big box.  We then started trying to work out what it was - some sort of water tank?

Then I noticed some mesh on the front of the box and I started wondering a bit harder - could it be...

Well, it turned out to be Sunny.


Quiet little fella
Certainly something you don't often see on NZ roads, I wonder when we'll see the rest of the big 5?