Tuesday, September 29, 2020

FRDC MC Ride #3

 After being locked up working from home and finally almost getting through winter (the weather here has been rubbish since Sunday), I thought it was time for another FRDC ride.

Extensive planning (yeah right) started about 3 weeks ago and it appeared that quite a few were hanging out for a pootle but the weather really was our major concern.  Early on we decided that we would make the final decision on a ride either East or West of the ranges depending on the weather much closer to ride day.  I then came up with a couple of route options and refused to share them...

Getting closer to D-day we had planned the ride for Sunday in the hope of getting the most riders along but then came weather forecasts with phrases like "weather bomb", "heavy rain", "snow" etc.  At last minute we chose to swap to Saturday and that ended up being a pretty good idea.

I arrived first at one of the local BP's to meet the crew and was soon joined by 4 other bikes (and one pillion) while another 2 went to the wrong BP...

Ian visiting his 2nd BP of the day

Once we had the gang together I gave the guys a quick idea of where we were going and what to expect from my favourite types of road (back roads) and we were off.

The first little leg was out of town, turning off at Mount Stewart to sneak past Halcombe and through to Marton.  Out the Northern end of Marton we took a left onto a favourite of mine - Makuhou Road.  Surprisingly, (we've had plenty of rough weather) the road was in a really good state with very little metal or other wreckage on the road.  The Connie enjoyed it.

At the turn-off to Turakina Road I stopped for some pics:

Pretty girl

Ivan (Harley)

Glen (KTM 200)

Paul and Marie (Honda Shadow)

Ian happy to be in the right place at the right time (1250 Bandit)

Kyle (250 Suzy)

We didn't do any of the interesting (gravel) bits of Turakina Valley Road but there was metal on the road in the usual places.  I had one little squiggle in some while being harassed by a teeny KTM but it wasn't too bad and everyone rode sensibly through there with no issues.

Next up was Mangahoe Road and more harassment by the KTM until I had to stop for a very important photo.

I've enjoyed every one of them

Actually a few photos were taken...

Not a bad spot for a memory

I really like this shot of the team (Glen missing)

Hitting the old 100,000 mile mark was pretty special (next stop 200k) and even though I knew it was going to happen on the ride it put a big smile on my dial.  The others were also enjoying the ride (well, I'm not sure if Marie enjoyed her bee sting) so I suggested a slight deviation on our route to go visit the falls just off Ongo Road.  Everyone else seemed keen so we were off up the valley on another great road - this time I had a Bandit join the KTM in harassing me.

Falls pretty charged up after recent rain

Pretty girl with harassing orange thing and friend

Layers being shed as the day heats up

While at the falls we had a bit of a break and I got queried on the name of the falls.  Name?  I'd never really given it much of a thought and the internet was not happening out in our little valley.  Eventually we discovered that the river was Turakina River (wow, imagine that)...

Anyway, by now we were in need of sustenance so U-turns were executed and we made our way back into Hunterville for lunch.

Damn KTM somehow got in front of the Connie

The cafe was a bit of a disappointment (slow) but at least we got to talk plenty of crap enjoy each other's company and work out a plan to get home.

I had a few ideas up my sleeve but knew that some were keen to get home (Kyle even had to skip lunch!) so in the end we decided to return via Vinegar Hill.

Somehow I managed to get ahead of the team and also hit the lights on the hill at the ideal moment so I had plenty of time to get up the hill and get the camera out.


Heard the little single before I saw it...

Great picture of 2 people enjoying a motorcycle


Last photos taken and we all said goodbye to make our way home.  Nice little pootle and a big day for the old girl!  Great stuff!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tunneling Mouse

Early last week Chevvy gave me a call to tell me that he had some time off and wanted to go riding on the little bikes.  I didn't have any time off so I was forced to avoid the drowning that he got riding from the Hutt to National Park on Friday and some fun he had on the 42 on Saturday, but I made plans to meet up with him on Sunday to scoot around the Taranaki Tunnels route.

I drove up to the 'naki on Saturday morning with the mouse on the back of the ute and the dog co-driving so that I could enjoy my nephews birthday lunch and the antics of 4 dogs (one in plaster), 2 cats, miscellaneous chooks and a dead possum.  Chaos, but good chaos!

On Sunday morning I was up before my electronic alarm for some reason...

This meant that I had plenty of time to take 1 dog for a walk (2 others were working and #4 had gone home the previous afternoon) before leaping aboard the trusty WR and a quick warm-up into Stratford for fuel.  Fun fact: Muscovy Ducks aren't too fazed about WR's bearing down on them at pace - but I may have ruffled some feathers as I squeezed between two of them...

Chevvy had spent the night in the famous Whangamomona Pub and we'd agreed to meet about 20km West of there at the Junction Road turn-off and the start of the tunnel loop.  I beat him there as the mouse was having fun and spent a bit of time wandering around with the camera.

Anway, some time later I began to hear the sounds of a 28hp single dealing to some nice twisty tarmac and sure enough #50 soon loomed into sight with a whooping and yahooing Chevvy aboard.

Our first piece of gravel was Junction Road itself and man it is a beauty.  For starters, the gravel was in mint condition thanks to plenty of recent rain, but then there is the view.  In the direction we went, you drop down a hill with fantastic views of a lovely green valley.  The whole experience is just plain good for ya soul!

But, here's where the photos begin to take over as I can never remember which tunnel is which and generally forget where we were or what was going on...but there were tunnels!

Ah, but now I remember, there were also animals.  All of them I think, all over the road.  We had sheep, lambs, goats, cattle, pheasants and all sorts of other wildlife out playing on the road with us.  I got a good surprise at around 80k's when I rounded the corner to find a steer in the middle of the road.  Chevvy was a little bit slower which gave the beast the chance to have a we go at him.  Later on in the day a dog had a go at him too so maybe he's just not good with animals?  Anyway, it was Fun!

Eventually we ended up in Urenui and stopped at the cafe for lunch.  The arrival of the two magnificent Yammies startled three Harley riders who didn't like us parking next to them.  They promptly started up (and drowned out any hope of conversation for the cafe goers sitting out in the sun trying to enjoy their lunch) while they finished applying their costumes for the afternoon run to somewhere boring...

The Mouse must have really intimidated one of the hawgs...

After our lunch it was time to look after the bikes.  It wasn't too painful - 3.8L/100km isn't too bad.

Back up to pace again we rode past the lads playing on the MX track and hit the gravel and made for our next tunnel.

Somewhere in here I made a wee mistake which had me horizontal for a moment as I apologised to the Mouse.  

I'd been getting along a little across the top of a ridge, just enjoying the scenery when low and behold a corner rapidly approached me.  It wasn't that bad a corner but I did need to scrub off a little speed if I wanted to get around it.  It got more interesting when the anchors were applied and the rear end tried to swap ends with the front.  

I got out of the slide but this then had me pointing a fence with some nice solid looking fence posts and shiny wires.  In the back of my mind I started wondering about how well bikes and fences get on and decided not to find out.  I got back on the brakes and laid the WR down at maybe 15-20 clicks.

I've no idea what the Mouse thought of it but it certainly took it in its stride and I was back on it and parked a little further up the road (just in case someone wanted to join me in the drain) before Chevvy arrived having missed all the action.

No time to waste, we were off again to go find those tunnels.

At the turn-off to Kiwi Road we stopped briefly so I could turn on the camera as I planned to follow Chevvy and get all the action as Kiwi Road can be interesting.  (Video later in post).

As it turned out, Kiwi Road was in good condition.  There were rumours a while about the council giving up on it but it certainly looked better than when Colin and I rode it last.

The Kiwi Road tunnel was the last one for us to ride as a pair as once we hit the Forgotten Highway Chevy was going to turn for Taumarunui while I had to go the other way to retrieve a ute and hound.  But before that there was some more neat riding and great gravel along with a couple more photo stops.

Seeing Chevvy off in the above picture, I then made for Whanga.  But first, there was another tunnel!

And of course, I needed a quick picture of the Mouse outside the pub.

Leaving Whanga I probably had around 100km of tarmac to get me back to my sisters place so motard mode was selected with traction control and abs in the off position and an angry little 250cc donk let off the leash.  One of us needed a stop in Toko for a pic for Adventure Rider.

I eventually rocked up to my sisters at around 5 after 425km sitting on a plank but also after a heck of a lot of fun.  Nothing wrong with the little bikes!

And here's that video!