Monday, November 25, 2019

An Entertaining Eastern Excursion

On Saturday I was once again persuaded that I needed more riding practice and after initially being a little discouraged by this comment on my abilities, I got over myself and agreed that perhaps there was no such thing as too much practice...

My harsh riding critic turned up on his orange bike at around half nine and after thrusting a coffee into his mitt I took to organising myself and thinking about where we should go:
Me: Where are we going?
Colin: I don't know and I don't care.
Me: East
Colin: Ok.
Sorted then...

Our first mammoth leg was around 2km to get some fuel and then we headed towards the ranges to tackle the track.  This got us a wee ways East before we turned to take Nikau Road Southwards towards Eketahuna.

After riding through the first of a few of small cattle movements we finally hit some gravel and very soon afterwards the second herd of moos.  This must have been stressful or something 'cos I stopped just up the hill to take in some damn nice scenery.

Not too far from here some of our favourite gravel gets even better by opening up a bit and allowing all of the gears and a generous portion of ergs to be let off the chain.  Apologies to the farmer (and dogs) in the side-by-side that got zapped on Mangaraupiu Road...

Off the gravel and out at the SH2 turn-off I asked Colin whether he wanted to go left or right.  My clock said 11:40 so I figured that we had time for another little loop before lunch in Eketahuna.  As it turns out Colin was ready for lunch and 11:40 had actually been gone approximately an hour ago...

We ended up trying a different cafe in Eke and while there a group other Adv bike riders (mainly beemer riders in search of lattes) rolled in.  We were lucky to beat the rush hour.

After lunch things only got better.  To say that Mangaoranga was fun is a bald-faced lie.  It was nothing less than sublime - a fantastic surface of very fast gravel that had us practicing our rear wheel steering and even generating a few smiles.  Bartons Line was just a slightly slower sampling of similar deliciousness.  Dammit, it was good.

Taking in a short sealed section first, our next section of gravel was up over Pori Road and what do you know - it wasn't too shabby either.  The views still rock too.

I really like this view...

While I'd been scrambling up the hill, I'd also been multi-tasking and pondering on where to next.  I asked Colin if he remembered where the left turn on Coonoor Road (of course I couldn't remember the name of the road, so this made for a longer explanation and possible some flailing about of arms) went.  He couldn't remember either so that settled it - we needed to find out.  And looking at the map later reveals that it isn't a left turn and it is not a right turn up Towai Road either - merely a continuation of Coonoor Road.

That settled, we quickly dispatched the rest of Pori Road and then scooted through the Makuri Gorge, catching some other bikes just as they turned for Pongaroa where we went straight ahead onto Coonoor Road.

In places on Coonoor Road there was some freshly graded stuff that slowed us down for a bit but generally it was pretty good if dusty gravel.  How dusty?  Well, when a truck and trailer came past the other way I was forced to pull over for 5-10 seconds while some of the dust settled - mostly on me.

At the Towai Road intersection Colin led us off down the hill through a very pretty little valley that got more and more familiar as we went on.  Yes, I'd definitely been through here before but I think that this was the first time in the direction we were travelling.  Next time we have to go through the ford Colin...

After hitting tarmac once again, Colin pulled over and let me blow pootle past and I think it was in here that I did him a favour.  Rather than him swinging around a hard right and nearly hitting the biggest hawk in the Southern Hemisphere, I swung around a tight right and nearly hit the biggest hawk in the Southern Hemisphere.  Some of them are big alright and when they've got their wings swept forward, flaps and gear down, banking to the left while trying to climb out at nearly stalling speed right beside a wee Tenere rider, they are scarily big...Generally I love nature, but less so when it's trying to upset my apple-cart.

Tragedy avoided, the tarseal got us back to Checkpoint Five and back out on SH2 again.  But we couldn't have that now, could we...

Another left at Oringi got us onto some mostly sealed roads until I found a short section of gravel that ended up spitting us back out onto Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road.  From there we cruised into Pahiatua and made for the track again.

Our final piece of gravel was the short stretch of Taraura Road where I got to upset the feathered locals again.

Poor old mama duck had already been scared witless by a car coming the other way but a Tenere up her backside was too much - she abandoned her young-uns (safe in the drain) and took to the air in front of me, all the while losing weight as she went...

A short, otherwise uneventful squirt over the hill pretty much finished up a pretty damn fantastic day out on the bike and after waving Colin off I puttered on home in search of another cold drink and wash the dust off me.  Heck, that was a fun day.

Monday, November 11, 2019

2019 1KC

Early November always heralds the running of the NZDR 1KC - it's a 1,000km cruise that also happens to raise a little cash for Muscular Dystrophy - and it's also a favourite of mine.  The Connie seems to enjoy it too...

After the weather had just seemed to sort itself out a bit, it was a bit of a blow seeing a pretty rubbish forecast for the weekend.  Oh well, I was going anyway...

As per usual, the Palmy riders start early to arrive in the Hutt around when the Wellington riders are leaving.  For this sacrifice, we also get to finish in Palmy rather than Wellington while still ticking off 1,000km.

Unfortunately, James and Monie had to pull out with James' bike having a couple of leaky fork seals.  This left just one other local to join me for the ride down.  At least he had decent choice in bikes.

The "new" and the old.  Guess which has more kms on it...
As both Murray and I were early and nobody else was supposed to be joining us, we got away just before five.  The was a little early morning mist around Palmy but it wasn't too bad and by the time we hit Opiki it was pretty much gone.

The trip over the Paekok Hill was fun (even if there were a few damp patches) and I warmed up quite a bit for some reason - must have been my waterproof liners and the thin sweatshirt I was wearing...

We hit the ride HQ just before 6:30 and there wasn't a lot of action going on with most of the other riders already on the road.  Murray went in to use the facilities, while I got moving again in the futile hope that I might catch up with Colin somewhere...

I had a pretty good run over the 'takas, only getting held up a couple of times.  It was a little windy on the Eastern side but Featherston came up pretty quickly, soon to be followed by Greytown and Carterton.

In Masterton I stopped early for gas as there wasn't much gas to be had where I was heading (Pongaroa was an expensive option) and I hadn't filled since home.  I also took the opportunity to scoff down a pie while losing my jersey and fitting my tinted visor.

As I was leaving Murray went through so I tucked in behind him for the next section to Checkpoint One, a sign outside a sheep station.

My stop was a bit quicker than Murray's so I got away before him and enjoyed a nice romp up to CP2 at Alfredton.

Next up was a squirt over Pa Valley Road and then up Mangaone Valley towards Pahiatua.  But, instead of riding into town we had to cross over to Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road to CP3.  It was here that I first started catching some of the other riders - my quick photo stops letting me get away from a reasonably large group of other riders.

On towards Pongaroa, it was nice to be on dry roads through the Makuri Gorge and then up over the hill.  I managed to haul in another rider before Pongaroa and arrived at the checkpoint where another team were getting there CP4 photos.

I was stopped a bit longer here as nature had been calling for a while and you can only ignore it so long.  I got away shortly after the other guys but caught them cruising, just up the road a bit.

Once again, Route 52 out to the Weber road was a lot nicer in the dry and by turning left towards Dannevirke we were going to avoid the worst section of 52 to Wimbledon.  CP5 was just on the outskirts of Dannevirke.

Next up was a quiet pootle down SH2 to Woodville before hitting a busy and now quite slow Saddle Road.  In Ashhurst I once again stopped early for fuel and letting the 3 other guys I'd passed out of Pongaroa sneak past me - for a while...

North of Kimbolton there was a few spits of rain and the road was even a little greasy in places.  There was also some mobile hazards coming the other way - a charity ride out of Taihape was rolling through and they had a pretty good turnout.  I even snapped a picture of Glen going past on his WR450...

Trust me, he's in the pic...
CP6 - Pemberton Historic place
From Pemberton it was off to SH1 for a while to Marton before making for the 'naki.  By now it was fairly warm (especially in Whanganui) and there was a bit more traffic to deal with.  However, the further North I rode the darker the skies got.  I eventually ran into some light rain at Stratford and the road was quite wet through to Inglewood.

Luckily it dried up not long after just as I caught John and Steve at CP7.

My fuel light had come on just South of Inglewood so New Plymouth was my next stop where I sorted the fuel out and answered another call.  Funnily enough, I'd got hungry along the way but by the time I stopped the worms had given up biting so I just carried on around the mountain.

At the last checkpoint I caught John and Steve again and was quicker at my stop so snuck away ahead of them for the trip home.

They caught me up fairly quickly just South of Opunake when we all caught up to a slower, unpassable driver.  It was an ever so slightly slower trip stuck behind him to Mania.

The other two pretty much sat behind me for the rest of the trip South (through an even hotter Whanganui) until Sanson where they turned off onto SH1 for their trip back to Wellywood.  Quarter of an hour later and I was home having a cold drink and finally something to eat.

Another great day out on the old girl and a reasonably good time for my 1,030km.  Even better that the forecasted thunderstorms waited until Sunday to hit - good stuff!

Monday, November 04, 2019

Eating dust, flipping stones...

...and grinning like an idjit!

Yesterday was the day to park the farkling and get out on the Ten to enjoy Day 2 of summer.

Naturally, the motivating force behind this was Colin and his desire to see that he continues to remember how to ride.  He even rounded up a couple of other keen maniacs but reserved and sensible riders in John (brand spankers 1050) and Andy (older Tigger).

With the others coming up from down towards the bottom of the island, they got to ride a bit of SH1 (suffer in ya jacks guys) while I only had to pootle over to Sanson to meet them.

We got underway pretty quickly and crossed over to Turakina where we hit one of favourite roads.  It just happens to wind it's way up the Turakina Valley too...

After the first tar section was dispatched it was onto our first taste of gravel.  And it wasn't the most tasty of gravel either.  Some sod had been through with a grader recently and there was a decent layer of marbles to roll around on.  We even had to pause to comment on it - and to remove extra layers, open vents etc - it sure was warming up.

KTM twins ruining a perfectly good picture...

Luckily for us the next few sections of gravel were pretty damn sweet with just the occasional section where that maniac grader operator had been stuffing things up.  Regular readers (if still awake) will probably know by now that I really, really enjoy the North end of Turakina Valley Road.  A bit dusty though...

Man, that mountain looked pretty damn nice!

Love that view!

Andy in action

After our wee pause we toasted the rest of Turakina Valley Road and made our way into Waiouru where, you guessed it, we partook in some vittles before refuelling the horses for the next stretch.

Just for a change, this next leg involved a jaunt across the Napier-Taihape Road before turning South onto some more of our favourite gravel.  The squirt across the tops was fun but with the sun out, there was the odd bit of hot tar to avoid or not (depends whether you were a particular KTM rider).

At the turn-off, we stopped for another look at the mountain before charging off on that delicious gravel.

That mountain again

Yeah, that brand new tyre is toast Colin...

I think that the gravel was in better condition than our last run through here and somehow it didn't seem to take as long to get back out onto the seal...Here's some of my favourite bits:

Parked up at the intersection by the Pukeokahu School and looking at the road sign we started mumbling about checking out the road to River Valley Lodge.  It had been a few years since I'd been out there so we thought it was worth a look.  Here's the drop down to the lodge - they do not recommend campers on the steep road down (steeper than the video makes it look).

It was only actually a short ride in from where we'd stopped and it certainly is a nice wee spot.

We had a bit of a breather there and chatted to the owner before finally turning around and making our way back to SH1 via the last of the gravelly bits and some nice windy seal.

But we didn't stay on SH1 for long turning off again to take in the long-cut (see map) through to Rangiwahia Road.  After a brain-fade that had us go into Rangi, I sorted myself out and led the gang over to Apiti where we tackled the last of the gravel for the day.

I took us across Ridge Road thinking that it would be the icing on the cake but alas, the accursed grader had been through here as well.  It was pretty slow going but at least there was those mint views out across the valley - and bunnies to try and squish...

It was a nice drop down Finnis Road into Pohangina to finally say goodbye to the gravel and then some boring seal back into Ashhurst where I parted company with the others and headed home to wash the dust off.  Fabulous day out on the world's best adventure bike!

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Farkle Season Part 2

Yes, the farkling continues...

I actually started this install before fitting the tail tidy but there were hold-ups...

This farkle was all about ergs (of the electrical persuasion) and getting some them to some new and interesting places.  To kick things off, there was nudity...

I might just leave the tank off for the time being...
To distribute the ergs I had purchased a 3CS-S harness from Eastern Beaver (I have one of their PC-8's on the Tenere).  The one I got gives me 1 unswitched circuit and 2 switched.  And it had to go in here somewhere:

Plenty of room, I'll get a turbo in there yet...

Once I got my head around how the thing worked and what I needed to do I started by running all the accessory wiring from the front of the bike to where the 3CS was going to sit.  And then I started marrying everything up.

Early version of the spaghetti factory
Before hiding the birds nest away it was time to try it and this was where my fantastic electrical skills became apparent.  Yep, no joy, the ergs remained locked away in the battery.

I wonder how you use this thing?
I managed to work out that the ergs were actually escaping the battery but not getting through those sexy white connectors.  There must be a knack to them that I just don't own...

After some frustrated messing around I decided that they had to go and went a bit lower tech.

All buttoned up and not blocking the mouse's windpipe
And what do you know, success!

GPS - hot all the time

USB port - switched

Plug for the compressor or camera charging (velcroed out of the way until needed)
Well, that was a bit of a relief!  Anyone want a hand with some electrickery wrangling?