Saturday, July 31, 2021

Caught in the act

Remember that time Colin and I stumbled across a Google car?  Nope?  Well here ya go:

I 'spose we knew what he/she was up to (taking millions of photos) but I really didn't give it much thought after writing the blog but today Gremlin sent me a message with a Streetview link showing us parked up on the Paraparas.

Click piccy for link to Streetview

We'd just pulled out of Te Rimu Road and were heading up the Paras to Fields Track and then Burma Hill.

That Google car was really getting along and it took us law abiding riders a while to catch him and a fair bit of clicking today to finally track him down again at the traffic lights were we had finally caught up to him.

Anyway, kinda cool and nice that they blur faces and in particular number plates...I nabbed a few more snips showing us passing and him chasing after us...

Another link to Streetview here

I wonder how long our thirty seconds of fame will last? 🤣

Cheers Gremmy!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Gravel Gallivant

Gosh darn it, there's been nowhere near enough riding this month!  Between bad weather and a winter cold there's just been too many feeble excuses to stay home and hunker down.

Well, on Saturday, Colin and I finally fixed that.  A very loose plan was formulated a couple of days out but then on Saturday we decided that rather meeting at my place, we were going to meet in Pahiatua instead - this saves Colin a wee side-trip and a mauling from my dog.

So, while out walking the wild animal, I did some complicated maths and worked out when I needed to leave home in order to arrive around in Pahiatua the same time as Colin.  

I ended up leaving home at around 8:15 and after picking my way over a mostly dry Pahiatua Track attacked my first short stretch of gravel on Tararua Road.

Right away I noticed that the newish Shinko on the rear wasn't quite as good as an E-07 when there was a reasonable amount of gravel on the road.  It took me a while to get my eye but I really enjoyed the short warm-up as even though there was a touch of fog around, the sun was starting to shine through it and the day was definitely starting to look promising.

My maths proved to be reasonable as I arrived just early enough to beat Colin in the race to fill up and grab a coffee.  The only thing we needed to sort out was which way we should go...

Decision making

In the end it was easy.  Due to our route over we had missed the opportunity to head South along the ranges to Eketahuna before starting our loop out East and up to Pongaroa and back to Pahiatua. So, we simply reversed our course and tore off towards Makuri, mindful of the wet and possibly frosty roads.

The scoot through the reserve was not too bad actually but as we neared the turn-off (actually not a turn but you do get off the "main road") there was plenty of frost in the paddocks.  The sealed section of Coonoor Road was similar so a bit of care was taken on those damper looking shady corners.

Once we hit the gravel, frost and the possibility of ice became less of a concern and I could continue to get my head around the new tyre.  The gravel wasn't quite as nice as when we came through driving four wheels to rescue a kitty-cat but it's a fantastic ride up to the Lime works.

After a brief pause we were back into and I really enjoyed the drop down the hill - especially as someone had put some gravel down over the previously really slippery clay sections.  At about 3:45 in the video below you can get a peak at some of the awesome views out to the East and a bit of an idea of how high up we were.

We took our normal gravel back towards Pongaroa until I missed a turn (I realised straight away but knew the road would eventually get us nearer to Pongaroa) and took us onto Manuhara Road.  It ended up being a good find...

When we rolled into Pongaroa it was only just after 11 so we'd made pretty reasonable time but with our next section being a fair way from civilisation (coffee), we decided to park up and have a quick drink and snack.

The next leg started with a taste of Coast Road before turning off onto Marainanga Road and what was probably our most fun section of gravel for the day.  We didn't muck around much until our photo op stop.

Dropping down the hill we took it a bit more slowly and then turned onto Huia Road where things got a bit more interesting.  A grader had been through recently and stirred up the surface a fair bit.  There wasn't much actual gravel and in places things looked quite muddy so the speed limits were fairly safe.

Riding South on 52 we encountered a couple of groups of bikes out enjoying the brilliant day, the first group were even enjoying some of our side of the road while the other group of sports bikes appeared to be travelling fairly sedately.  

Along the way I had my own bit of excitement with a hawk.  It spotted me bearing down on it and decided to that it should lift-off and make itself scarce.  Trouble is, they aren't exactly quick at getting airborne and this one also thought that he'd exit stage right - right into my path that is.  Luckily I managed to read his mind and went into evasive action, missing the feathered fiend.  Colin reckoned that the hawk still crashed and burned but was able to get back up and get out of the way of the KTM.  The hawk is probably still wondering what actually happened and how he's still flying...

Our next bit of gravel started just out of Alfredton on Bartons Line and was in a lot nicer nick than that freshly graded stuff and arriving in Eketahuna we commented for probably second or third time about how we seemed to running ahead of schedule...

With all that extra time on our hands we managed to squeak in another drinks break before that last gravel haul up to Mangamire.  The very last section had a reasonable amount of gravel on it so it kept us on our toes until the end.

A quick zap over the Track again and the ride was done for me.  Home by just after 3:30 while Colin had a few more k's to nail back to Waikanae.  Damn nice ride on a perfect day!