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Old 12-29-2009, 01:48 PM   #1
Padmei OP
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Nelson New Zealand
Oddometer: 3,338
A trip cross the Top of the South Island

The family was all meeting in Blenheim for Christmas this year so I took the opportunity to make the most of the day riding over from Nelson & taking in the sights of some of the best riding in my lil corner of the world.

First off was the crossing of the Maungatapu. It was the driest I've ever encountered with the usual muddy bog holes halfway up the track bone dry. Often I've wondered just how deep they would be & with the water dried up out of them it is safe to say they would comfortably swallow a small bike.

Made it to the saddle without incident.

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Cruised along enjoying the great riding conditions & took a detour thru the Queen Charlotte Drive. This windy scenic road connects Havelock with Picton where the Interislander ferry spews out campervans & little hire cars by the thousands. As a result this road often becomes a snail trail of vehicles taking up whatever space they feel belongs to them.
Unfortunately this usually causes some ruthless & dangerous passing manouevres by irresponsible bike riders. Luckily this irresponsible bike rider had a clear passage this day as most people were making the most of the pre- christmas sales at Briscoes.

It's hard to keep the eyes on the road with the beautiful Marlborough Sounds metres from your front wheel

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I arrived at Picton far too early which I put down to my bike getting marginally lighter due to the footpegs being ground down a few centimetres, so thought it only fitting I carry on what was becoming the best ride I'd had for ages.

If you were to continue travelling North east thru Picton & Waikawa bay the Port Underwood road awaits. This little tar sealed beauty has a very very windy incline to the top of a pass then a windy windy downhill to Hakahaka Bay. The road is generally in pretty good condition as part of an agreement to have the logging trucks passing thru from the many forests.


From Hakahaka Bay you can turn toward Port Underwood proper or travel to Blenheim via Rarangi. The latter is on a marbly gravel road. For those inclined a great place to practise a few power slides out of corners.
I stopped for a few pics. The first is Oyster Bay.
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A persistent burning smell hept me looking down at the bike & I worried that the damn KLR curse has hit me - I've got an oil burner!

However riding over the brow of a hill I spied this...


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Being the civic minded citizen I am, I stopped to ask if they needed a hand. The fire fighter very tactfully reassured me they didn't need my help no matter how many how many times I asked.

Oh well, I did have another intention however.

"Do ya reckon I'd get a ride in the chopper?" I asked polite firefighter.

"If you had a couple of hundred dollars you probably could..." He replied.



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I left them to put out the fire which was at that stage thought to be started by some boaties landing in a bay for lunch.

On the homeward leg to Rarangi the road turned to dust. Following a fire truck crawling up the hills I was suddenly aware that a trip thru Mongolia following trucks along narrow single roads might not be that good fun.
Either they were contacted by the polite fireman on the radio or finally saw me in their rear view mirror & let me pass.

The trip was pretty relaxed back to Blenheim & into the arms of my family after platefuls of pavlova I fell.

I relaxed for a couple of days before Bro-in-law Darryl came over from Wellington for a trip thru the Molesworth & Rainbow.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:41 PM   #2
Padmei OP
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On Boxing Day Bro-in-law Darryl (woody2) flew from Smellyton to Blenheim. He'd secretly purchased this beauty in Invercargill & ridden 800 bum numbing Ks on the very slimline seat up to Blenheim. It's a nearly new KTM690 Enduro with only about 800kms on the odo.

Seeing the two of them reuniting after their first brief seperation was quite touching. Young love is such tender thing. Sensing the old three's a crowd I left them to it

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A little while later Daz had fitted his beloved with a new outfit specially for the trip. Whilst it did hide her slim hips he certainly improved her bust line with that tank bag.

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Finally after buggering around we were ready to go. It was the 28th of Dec, the day adventure bikers dream of, when the Molesworth Station Rd opens. Our goal was to cruise effortlessly like Charlie & Ewan down to Hamner where we would meet up with the doco crew for lunch then enjoy the scenic splendour of the Rainbow Rd finally finishing up at luxurious accomodation at Lake Rotoiti.


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We rode out thru the Taylors dam road & even land way up the valley has been converted to grapes. In the old days of grape growing any thought of planting grapes in this frost prone area would have been laughed at. These winters however there are hundreds of choppers on call ready to hover above the vineyards moving the air & stopping the frost settling. I guess the ones laughing now are the chopper owners stuffing a thousand bucks an hour into their pockets.

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The Morning was cool & cloudy and after having a few days of 30+ degrees in Blenheim it was a welcome change. The Taylors Dam rd was tight quite cambered & very finely graded. Seeing as we had a distance to travel we took it fairly easy.

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I had a feeling we were getting close to the intersection of Awatere Rd so tried to view it on the GPS. I swear I only had my head down for a split second & when I looked up I crashed into the only signpost for 300Ks. We left wheelspinning and laughing really loudly. Sadly noone was around to marvel at the 2 renegades patrolling the badlands.

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Finally we hit the Molesworth Station. Now began the arduous job of opening & closing the many many gates.
Don't let this photo fool you, it was I who had the job of opening the gates as Daz was having a hard time locating his kickstand under the saddlebags. Hmmm after a while I became suspicious.

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I stopped on a bridge & took a shot of the braided rivers flowing grey & cccold. We hadn't seen any traffic so far however there were periodically single tyre tracks from someone having a very good time on the gravel.

As soon as we rode into the Molesworth the difference in the grade of road was significant. The surface changed from hardpacked base with small loose stones to roughly graded with small rocks. It was best to stay in the wheel tracks for a mostly predictable ride. Crossing over the loose stuff in the middle at less than fast speed was a bit bum puckering.

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The first vehicle we overtook, a 4wd stopped us on the other side of the bridge.
"What cc is that?" The 50 something driver fired at Daz.
"650"
"What about that one?" Looking over at mine.
"The same"

He looked over the bikes with a envious expression. It was too much to take- we had to leave before he left his passengers to the long dry trip & jumped on the pillion seat. Yes life is good sometimes...

Anyway to those unfamiliar with the Molesworth Rd, this pic pretty much tells it all. Long dry dusty rocky riding.

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We came around a corner & came across a fellow Adv rider with his missus on a big 1200GS having lunch. He was sweating like a warthog & we deduced from the conversation it was from crossing the centre line of stones. As we bid farewell another couple of bikes went past from the other way. It was becoming a popular route on it's first day.

My ipod thing was going thru the Dazed & Confused soundtrack and somewhere into a Ted Nugent number I lost the plot a bit on a corner. I was travelling a tad too fast for the conditions however instead of leaning over & chancing a tight potentially slippery slide on the gravel, I eyed up a nice bank to roll down instead. Without putting a foot down I was able to turn around & ride straight back upto carry on while Daz looked on with tears of admiration in his eyes.

After that I shuffled along to the Doobies.

Soon enough we hit the thriving alpine village of Hamner. We had a welcome break & cool drink watching a obviously Austrian tourist look at the underside of Daz's new bike. Funnily enough no Japanese tourists bothered to look at the underside of Gonzo.

Back up Jacks Pass we hung a left past the nonexistent signpost & onto the Rainbow Rd. The difference in road surface was again apparent.

The surrounding environment was again very arid with scree slopes coming down onto the road where the road has been cut out of the side of the hills.

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A short stop at Lake Tennyson to have a drink & photo.

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The valley closed in more & the scenery became more interesting sadly though I was running out of memory as I anticipated taking a lot more shots the following day.

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Soon enough we were hitting the fords that mark the beginning of the end

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Onto tarseal & St Arnaud welcomed us with sandflies & smiling cycling tourists.

We took up residence at Le Caravan de la lake & gave Gonzo a well earned break.

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Wait a minute whats that? A beautiful German bikini tourist spraying herself with sunscreen over there? Well little fraulein I'm sorry but the answer is NO. You can not come riding with us dressed like that, we are ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME kind of guys

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Sadly the rain came in that night, so after about a 3 second team meeting the following morning we decided to can the planned days ride over the Porika, Braeburn & Maruia & head back to Nelson.

Had bikini girl offered us a day cuddling in the tent we may have been tempted to stay, however funly enough she was packed & gone before we got out of the scratcher. Couldn't have been my snoring could it Daz?

Daz???

Padmei screwed with this post 01-01-2010 at 11:12 AM
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:59 PM   #3
Mark_S
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good stuff

did you ride the 690? how does it compare to Gonzo?
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
JayBo1
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Awesome!! I always wanted to ride the Molesworth and the one year I committed to it and rode down from Whangarei, they didn't open due to extreme fire danger. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #5
Padmei OP
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Location: Nelson New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_S
good stuff

did you ride the 690? how does it compare to Gonzo?
The 690 is a very different beast to Gonzo. When I rode it Daz had changed the mapping to the softest for his first foray onto gravel. With that setting & the motor still being relatively tight I still was impressed with it's responsiveness. It didn't have the pant wetting hysterical laughing factor of the 950/990 nor the bowel loosening vibe of the 640. KTM, I feel, has hit on a very nice practical compromise with that engine.


The slipper clutch it has, would be great have been on the downhills (had Daz let me ride it some more) where I was chirping the rear wheel following closely behind him down the twisties.

The riding position was very DR-like, more over the front wheel compared to the Goldwingish style of Gonzo.

The fuel tank takes 12 litres I think but is pretty frugal with the gas so I think 220Kish on a tank? It's under the seat so is very flickable & light compared to the KLR.

If I was to own one I would have to have a bigger tank, screen & definitely definitely a proper seat.

Daz did good with this one!!
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:25 PM   #6
Padmei OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBo1
Awesome!! I always wanted to ride the Molesworth and the one year I committed to it and rode down from Whangarei, they didn't open due to extreme fire danger. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.
Cheers Jaybo I deemed this trip as the start of my training towards the Safari.

(now how can I drop 50kgs off Gonzo?)
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padmei
now how can I drop 50kgs off Gonzo?
cut your legs off
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:18 PM   #8
Padmei OP
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After sitting around for a couple of days I thought I'd enduroise Gonzo & take him out for a blat around the Hira Forest. This is literally just behind our house though we have oto ride up the Maitai Valley ( entrance road to the Maungataputrack) to get access.

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There were lots of these firebreaks & access tracks. It was a sunny dry cool day & the Mita E07s just love this terrain.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
Padmei OP
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There's something about forestry roads that I love. A lot of the forests over in Blenheim are closed now due to fire danger & judging by the dry windy summer we're having I'm expecting this one to be closed in a month or so.

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Hmm if I drop down to the left I may drop straight off into those bee hives. I'll go right. Seems wide enough to me...


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Ok a bit tight thru there

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Running stock 15 front tooth I had to leave a few of the steep ones til I either came back with better gearing or a few burly local riders to help lift the heavy beast off me.
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Finally at the top of Kaka Hill for a podium finish. Pity the crowds had dispersed by then.

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The home town of Nelson getting ready for News Year eve. I got the feeling someone or something was watching me

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I'm finally able to appreciate the Ricor intimators. On this type of terrain the front wheel stuck really well to the ground. Crossing ruts was a breeze rather than a lottery.

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I looked long & hard at this one before launching into it however lost rear wheel traction half way up & had to lay it down.

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From here it was back along the roads home.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:08 PM   #10
innathyzit
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Good work, yes we are lucky having all that cool riding so close, don't do many miles but have a lot of fun.
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:41 AM   #11
Padmei OP
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Warewolf & I went out for a father of young families ride or FOYFR. Since we only had an hour or so we shot back up the Hira forest for some rock flinging good times. He's just got the mighty KTM back on the road & as well as looking ridiculously clean it went pretty bloody well.

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Didn't scope this one out very well. Could just see the bike & rider come to all kinds of grief. Note the bee hives. Colin kindly let me know he was allergic to bee stings after I kindly led him thru a few swarms.

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I love this shot.


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Going on a bear hunt, going on a bear hunt...


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After a bit of fooling around we rode off into the dustance

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Thanks Colin for a good quick ride
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:27 AM   #12
Mark_S
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more good stuff....

and more questions....

what did the headlight indicator unit cost you and does the bike 'feel' lighter with it on in place of the screen etc?

I might do something similar with mine - do you have a link to your original post on this conversion?

cheers


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Old 01-01-2010, 11:25 AM   #13
Padmei OP
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The headlite thing came from the Nordieboy emporium. They were really popular years ago but none of the bike shops could remember who carried them.
I adapted a bit of angle ali to it so it screws to the same mountings on dash. They originally came with rubber straps to attach to the forks. I also put some big connectors to the indicators for ease of change over from the big fairing.
The only probs with it is that the only (cheap) lamp I could get to fit into it properly shows a huge black shadow in the middle of the road where there should be lite . Also the lamps in the indicators make the flasher flash too fast so a resistor will have to be put in there somewhere.
So to conclude that as a working device it is pretty lame however just keeps ol Smoky off my back as I cruise to forest rides.

I also took the luggage rack off the back & made up some lifting loops out of cable (hey I'm a sparky - what else am I supposed to use)

The bike certainly is better to ride offroad stuff without the big screen & stuff as it feels more trail bike (cos off course the KLR is purely a road bike that can just about mange a bit of gravel )

I have to admit though I love having my big screen on when on the road. Riding a naked bike buggers me after a while.

[IMG][/IMG]

Padmei screwed with this post 01-01-2010 at 11:32 AM
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:09 PM   #14
Veny
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Loosing weight and going naked is a good idea. But really..., if you want a more dirt oriented bike then the KLR is the wrong choice.

Personally, I'm finding the KLR to be a shocker on shingle roads at the moment and may have to go for a darker underpants colour. I'm hoping that's because of the stock tyres. Especially up front. (It's nearly time for new ones).
What is that knobby tire on yours?

KLR owners occasionally need to be reminded that it's a road then dirt bike.
Push it further towards either end of the scale and things start to get silly.

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Old 01-01-2010, 03:34 PM   #15
Mark_S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veny
Personally, I'm finding the KLR to be a shocker on shingle roads at the moment and may have to go for a darker underpants colour. I'm hoping that's because of the stock tyres. Especially up front. (It's nearly time for new ones).
What is that knobby tire on yours?
back tire is irrelevant on gravel (except for braking). Put a Dunlop D606 on the front and it will feel like someone has glued your front wheel to the gravel.

I've been finding that standing up (leaning forward) and leaning the bike into corners while I stay upright makes the whole process much more confidence inspiring
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