Saturday, January 05, 2019

Chasing Chooks...

Gee, this holiday thing takes some getting used to...but I like it!

With Friday being my last official day of annual leave it would have been rude to waste it.  So, I saddled up the Tenere and went searching for some gravel...

It was a fairly warm day so the vents in my gear were left open but riding out of Palmy and across to Feilding it was fairly windy so the vents were working especially well...

I was aiming to hit gravel somewhere near Mangaweka so rather than take Vinegar Hill and SH1, I rode through Kimbolton and Rangiwahia before popping out at Mangaweka.  Apparently the old bridge is not long for this world so I thought I'd better stop and gets some pics of it.

At SH1 I turned left and rode a few hundred metres before taking a right onto my first bit of gravel.  Te Kapua Road starts off with a nice (if a little tight) climb up a hill and pretty sure you get the feeling that you are well and truly in the wops.  I was keen to try out a couple of new mounts (yeah, I know, more mounts) but it took a while to find a decent place to stop.  Eventually I did though and if you check out the video you'll see how tight, narrow and slow the road is.  Oh, and eventually it changes into Manui Road for what looks like no apparent reason...

Eventually (and without much warning) you emerge from the middle of nowhere right back out on SH1 just South of Taihape.  The traffic was certainly a lot heavier on SH1 - I never saw another vehicle while off on the gravel.

In Taihape I stopped briefly to buy some lunch to take with me and then missed the turn I wanted.  I had intended to climb up Pukenaua Road to Ridge Road and stop for lunch at the top of the hill - the views are awesome.  But I missed the turn and rather than dice with death doing a U-turn on SH1, I carried on and took the sealed Mataroa and Rongoiti Roads to Rongoiti Junction.

Here I parked up and had my wrap while listening to music blaring from my helmet...

Top box picnic table and helmet sound system...

Knowing roughly (just roughly) where I was, I turned down Koeke Road to take me further West towards Papanui Junction.  This route was all seal but has more corners than the length of SH1 (well, probably) and plenty of crap on the road to keep you on your toes.  Big Adv bikes love this sort of stuff.

Rather than dropping down Okaka Road (another brilliant gravel road but much better in the opposite direction - think hill climb), I decided to take Pohonui Road instead.  Pohonui Road pretty much runs parallel to Turakina Valley Road and so takes in a lot of the same sort of country but it is perhaps a bit narrower and slower than Turakina Valley.  I love the views out across the valley.

Did ya spot the pheasant?  No?  Well here it is again:

I must have woken him up and what you can't see in the video is that he was still trying to get off the ground as I went past.  He flew pretty much right beside me until he got moving properly and could veer off to safety.  At least they are faster than hawks and don't try to turn at low speed in front of you...

Eventually Pohonui spat me out onto Turakina Valley Road and I decided that seeing it was a nice day, I'd stop and check out the waterfall.

To a hot (and hot?) motorcyclist the water looked pretty tempting but I'd probably have broken my neck trying to get down to it.  There was only one thing for it - get some wind through those vents again.  It turns out that if you turn the wick up a little the vents work even better - who'd thunk?

From Hunterville I then returned home via Vinegar Hill and Feilding with no other wildlife encounters or gravel flipping.  Another nice little ride in the countryside but only 1 more day off before going back to work :(


  1. Thats how they got the term chook chaser. Nice day out mate. The waterfall looks inviting in the heat. We've had a string of 39-40deg days here for over a week. To hot to ride.

    1. I couldn't go outside in that heat...mid 20's in well hot enough for me! And our roads can't handle it either - more slithering on hot tar yesterday too...

  2. Bummer you have to go back to work. This whole working for a living really eats into riding time.

    The gravel riding and leaves on the trees looks so inviting. While our fields are green here from the rains, we've no leaves in the trees so they are all brown.

    1. Well, you nailed it about the work thing...

      We're pretty green at the moment - there's a reason for that. Just starting to get a real taste of summer now.