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!

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