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!


  1. Great ride report. I do remember the little dog wandering down the road. Thought he was a bit out of the way...

    1. Thanks Unknown, great to have you along for the ride.

      Glad no pups were harmed along the way.