Monday, June 29, 2020

Its been a while...

Maybe not since I've been for a ride but definitely its been a while since the poor old Connie got out for a pootle.  What with our Covid lockdown and then a long wait for a new battery (thanks lockdown), I hadn't put fuel in the bike since January!  That's just plain inexcusable and now that I've looked that up I will have to go out and apologise to the poor wee girl.

Anyway, that battery was picked up on Friday and went in on Saturday, as did a new headlight bulb and some air.  She fired up straight away with her normal cam chain rattle but pretty quickly settled down to her normal purr...ahhhhhh.

The weather for the weekend was supposed to be pretty average with a lot of rain expected.  Here it didn't end up too bad, I got the lawns mowed on Saturday and after a lot of overnight rain, Sunday turned out quite sunny - so a ride was required!

Funnily enough, Colin was keen for a ride too and after a cuppa at my place we took off out to Kimbolton to pick up the tag dropped there by Phil.


Back on the road we pointed the bikes towards Rangiwahia and after getting blown around a bit up on the tops soon were into more of the tighter, wetter, slipperier stuff.

Getting nearer to Mangaweka I decided to flick on the camera as I thought the road might get interesting.  On one side of the river the road is often "green" in winter and can be a bit dicey, on the other side there can be slips with mud and rocks across the road.  Yesterday, it wasn't too bad.

A quick stop just before Mangaweka got a new tag sorted (and it's since been reclaimed by Phil again).  I may have taken a picture or two here before...

From Mangaweka we rode carefully up SH1 to Taihape where we grabbed a late lunch and caught up with the local Tenere rider (Glen) as we hadn't seen him for a week...

We ended up hanging around in Taihape for a while so, after a quick top up, we just turned for home again rather than going further afield.

But, I was having trouble with SH1 again and didn't want to get in any more trouble so we turned off onto Toe toe road to take some more favourite back roads back onto Ruahine Road.

Having re-ridden that small section of Ruahine Road I was keen to take in the ride around Pohangina Valley for a bit more variety.  We even stopped at Eddie's bridge.

No ice on Eddie's bridge but plenty of ice grit...

The rest of the trip around the loop was pretty uneventful - except for a slide on some metal/crap and chasing a cow up the road and soon we were in Ashhurst where Colin went one way and me another.  So, just a short ride of around 250km but it was nice to get the old girl out - looking forward to a special ride on her soon...

Monday, June 22, 2020

Raetihi Ramble

This past weekend Sunday was the day we decided should be set aside for a pootle and after a wee bit of time in the shed on Saturday I was keen to check out my now working heated grips.

Colin and I had managed to convince Glen to join us and the plan was to meet up in Sanson before taking a trip up over Burma Hill and on to Raetihi for lunch.

I got to the servo pretty early but Colin had beaten me to it, just finishing his coffee when I rolled in.  I gassed up and grabbed a coffee just before Glen turned up - with some mates.  Glen was Tenere-less but at least he bought his WR (a 450 for people with long legs) and we also had a GS Beemer with 270,000km (and quite a few mods including a Yamaha front end), a V-strom and pretty new 790R.

Leaving Sanson and cruising out of Bulls there was a slightly amusing incident.  I'd just passed a Volvo 4WD and then buttoned off a little when we hit a passing lane.  Well, the Volvo just had to pass Colin and I back and speed off to show us who was boss.  Quite funny really, if only a cop had happened along and made my day...

At Turakina we turned up the valley and made for the Mangatipona Road turn-off for our first re-group.

Further on up the road we turned North on Mangamahu Road and began a morning of dodging wildlife.  First up it was a little fox terrier out chasing the big bad motor-bicycle riders and then we were into the sheep, goats and a convention of peacocks.

100km from Sanson we paused before hitting our first gravel.

Prettiest bike on the day

The short bit of gravel to Kakatahi was a great warm-up and a taste of some truly magic gravel.  Yes, it was hard packed with oodles of grip.  Progress was made.

A bit of water coming out of that weird hole in the rock

Look at all the posers - and not a Starbucks in sight...

After some nice slippery when wet tarmac we got out of the valley and onto Oruakukuru Road.  I hadn't ridden this for a few years and was looking forward to some of the nice long straights and cool scenery.  The road had a fair bit of gravel on it but once again, thanks to some wet weather, it was pretty easier to find grip.  More than a few stones were flipped...

Before popping out onto the Paras, the road returns to blacktop, and thanks to the weather and the poor condition of said tar, it was slippery.  Unfortunately a little KTM discovered just how slippery and took a wee trip offroad.  Luckily, there were no injuries, although the orange bike will need some love to get back to perfect.


Arriving in Raetihi it was time to scare the locals by allowing them to watch us eat our early lunch out on the street in front of the cafe.  We only upset one of them 😇

Having only planned half of a ride, we had to work out how the heck we were going to get home.  Glen and his mates needed to get back to Taihape while Colin and I needed to get a bit further South.  So we decided on Turakina Valley (because we hadn't ridden it for ages) which would give the Taihape crew a little more gravel before they crossed back over the hill and down into Taihape.

To say that the road was in good nick is a massive understatement, it was magic with more grip than any of that wet seal in the morning.

After seeing off the others, Colin and I continued down the valley until I decided that we "needed" to do the Okaka Road "hill-climb".  It was worth it...

This diversion did mean that we had to take a different route South using Pohonui Road.  This is another great wee jaunt.  It is a fair bit tighter and slower than Turakina Valley Road but it is down a very picturesque little valley that has you thinking you're in the middle of nowhere.  A magic wee spot.

Pohonui Road eventually got us back onto Turakina Valley Road and I managed to get just a wee bit more of it on video before the battery ran out.

Back in Bulls, both bikes wanted some go juice and after a quick drink and de-brief Colin and I went our separate ways.  Another outstanding winter ride - and the hot grips got quite a bit of use!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Mouse Charging

We had a pretty stunning weekend weather-wise and while Saturday was taken up with some work around the house, on Sunday I was ready for a wee ride.

With the Connie still waiting on a battery and the Tenere having had a bit of action lately, it was time to put some ergs back into the WR's battery and flip a few more stones - multi-tasking even...

After a quick trip over to my folks place I got to enjoy a very long, straight road through to Cheltenham and Kiwitea, at the WR's normal fast touring speed 😪

At Kiwitea, I turned off and made for Coulters Line and my first gravel of the day.  There has been a fair bit of truck traffic (some logging going on) up and down this road so they've made a good job of packing down the road hard and smooth.  

The mouse fair shot up the road but at the top there was a little bit of excitement when a Hilux turning into Coulters Line wanted a fair chunk of my side of the road.  Avoiding becoming a hood ornament involved the deployment of a fair bit of stopping power, the back end attempting to pass the front and the candle going out on the mighty power plant...

Anyway, no paint was swapped and I carried on North towards Apiti on Ridge Road.  Temperatures were still pretty low but the sun was out and trying to warm things up - it made for some really nice views across the valley.

The rest of Ridge Road was much the same: great scenery and some great gravel that the little bike flew over.

Makoura Road was next and I took it very carefully on the sealed section dropping down to the river as there was still some frost about and the road is in a lot of shade.  Back on the gravel I felt a lot more comfortable although with not a lot of gravel on the road in places, perhaps there could have still been some ice about...

For my trip back to Pohangina I decided that Pohangina Road was the go.  This was more great gravel following another ridge line.  Plenty of fun and more scenery.

Dropping down into the valley I went to check out Totara Reserve but the gates were locked.  Luckily I was on a WR so I on the other side of the river I was able to follow a "track" down to the river to check things out.

After scrambling out of the river the gravel ran out and I was back on tar and avoiding a large cattle beast who was happily munching on the grass by the side of the road.  This made me hungry so I stopped in Ashhurst for a little something before the trek (once again at high cruise) into Palmy.

On the way in I got to see a cop pull over a serious offender (speeder) and then be involved in a little comedy: nearing town a fast moving Audi decided he needed to get past and promptly got caught behind the car in front of me.  As often works out when on a bike, he had less oppourtunities to pass the car and I was able to clean them both up without having to button off - go the Mighty Mouse!

There's nothing like a nice winters day for a quiet pootle!