For a while Glitch from AusTouring.com had been planning yet another trip over to The Land of the Long White Cloud and while I and a few others on AdvRider had been trying to put him off with our hopeless suggestions, crappy photos and general misinformation and unhelpfulness, he was still keen!
After being let into the country last weekend, by Thursday they'd made it to the bustling metropolis that is Pongaroa and done a little exploring around there. On Saturday (that damn work thing got in the way on Friday) I decided to join the Aussies for a bit of their day's riding and roped in Colin. Whale Rider also made similar plans.
Things didn't start too well for me. On Friday night I strained to wheel the Tenere out of the shed as the air had decided to vacate the rear tyre - dagnabbit!
After pumping the tyre up, I explored all the little nicks on the tyre with some soapy water but didn't discover the source of the leak. I then popped out to fill the tank and parked the bike in the shed hoping that the tyre would be ok in the morning. The backup plan wasn't that appealing - it involved the smaller Yammie...
Up early to meet the guys by 9, I checked the tyre and discovered that it had only lost 20psi(!) so pumped it up and skedaddled - hoping for the best.
In Pahiatua, I bought another tyre pando and waited for the arrival of Colin. He rolled in ten minutes or so later and filled up on gas and coffee.
By the time we left Pahiatua it was getting on and we were under the pump to get to Pongaroa for 9. This meant that did need to maintain a good average and as it turned out we did arriving with 3 minutes to spare and perhaps setting some sort of record...
We also slaughtered quite a few members of the local feathered fraternity. I got a direct hit on something small and feathery and apparently also took out yet another Pukekoe (that I was trying to avoid) and Colin reckons he scored a couple of hits too. The local Paradise ducks had a lucky escape when I came up on a dozen or more on the road at pace. I buttoned off but rode into them seriously expecting to clobber at least one of them but miraculously they got off the road in time - afterburners lit I presume...
|It doesn't really have the face of a killer, does it?|
After some quick introductions the rental bikes were fired up and WR led us back the way we'd come...
The pace was a little slower this time and Colin and I had already persuaded the wildlife to stay off the road so it was an uneventful little ride back up to the top the hill where we stopped (the first time for me in this spot!) for some piccys.
|Pongaroa back that way|
Next up was the drop down into Makuri and then through the gorge to the Pori Road turn-off.
Pori Road starts off as a narrow, sealed road but luckily, turns into a narrow, gravel road with some fantastic views. The video shows a bit of both and of course we also had to stop for some spots of those views.
|Colin practising his Australian|
|Glitch complaining about the scenery...|
After this picture stop, I rode ahead hoping to get some more pics of the guys in action. Along the way I managed to discover some less than agreeable gravel - I had the front try to wander off twice in the same left-hander. It was slightly exciting but once again I think that momentum was my friend...
I even managed a few more of those action shots at the next stop.
A few km up the road from here we ran out of gravel and had to put up with some mint tar to get us through to Castle Point and our lunch (brekkie for the Aussies - they're about 3 hours behind us).
After lunch and some chin-wagging it was time for Colin and I to depart as Colin needed to get home and I didn't want him to get lost...But first WR took us up the hill where we could get a decent view.
Saying goodbye to a reasonable bunch of blokes, Colin and I made our way back to Tinui where I needed another photo stop to snap a couple of pics for various AdvRider threads...
|Colin can't resist a dozer...|
I was home around 3:30 after a great ride on the most perfect autumn day and meeting yet another bunch of great like-minded bike riders.
More pictures here.