Mad Bastards on Bulldozers - South Is NZ

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by clintnz, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,662
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    The Friday before the Dusty Butt Chris & his bro had organised a ride through one of the local stations down the Orari gorge. A few of the local boys were coming along & we were hoping to meet up with a group we knew were taking the scenic route from Christchurch to the Dusty Butt kickoff in Fairlie. First up however was some maintenance down at the local garage, run by Chris's bro & father.

    [​IMG]

    With my flaky GPS power connection fettled & Chris's 690 re-tyred & serviced we headed for the hills.

    [​IMG]

    The other guys all had dirtbikes so we waited for them to arrive & unload then splashed through the river & onto some fun farm tracks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They would have gone through a few cases of gelignite & a few dozer blade corners pushing this track in.

    [​IMG]

    We try to loop back on some dodgy track but it gets too sketchy even for the light bikes so we turn back the way we came.

    [​IMG]

    On the way back we meet with the Chch crew who are taking a different route again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Back at the river crossing we meet up with the Chch group again, they are having a conference on the best place to cross. Having already scoped that out on the way in we plunge straight in & show the way.

    [​IMG]

    Back at the trailers we stop for a coldie before heading back to town.

    [​IMG]

    A big thanks to Chris & co for the tour guiding over these few days!

    That night was the DB1k ride briefing & dinner. A great feed was put on by the rugby club & we enjoyed a few beers with friends from all over who had come for the ride. Numbers are capped at 150 riders & that limit had been reached a month before.

    The idea of the Dusty Butt is to ride a set 1000km route in a weekend (or 24hrs if you are really nuts) The route is laid out to take in a very indirect ride, with as much gravel & 4x4 track as possible, between Fairlie & Alexandra on day 1, then back to Fairlie day 2.

    Much of the route is public access but with a few key sections linking it all together where permission is required. CooneyR has organised the ride for the last few years & either a roll chart or GPS route can be followed. I had both.

    There are also 3 optional challenge sections that can be bypassed by saner types or those on big bikes. This was to be my first run at the DB1k, I had ridden parts of the route before & was looking forward to revisiting those places & riding some new ground like the Awakino Saddle challenge section that I had heard so much about.

    With a room booked in Alex I packed the minimum of gear on the 640 & set my alarm for 0530.

    More soon
    Clint
    #21
  2. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,662
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Chris wasn't having any of a 6 am start so I headed off on my own at dawn to the route start in downtown Fairlie.

    [​IMG]

    Somehow I missed meeting up with McCardigan & Nic as planned so I gassed it out of town, splashed down into the Opihi River with great enthusiasm & made it through several gnarly crossings on my way downstream before realising I had fudged the nav & missed the rather obvious exit :roflThe perils of getting going early before there is much of a beaten path!

    After that my navigating went much better & I passed several groups of riders milling around looking lost as I cruised east into the rising sun. The track was through farmland along the top of a ridge for a long stretch & the views were great. After Waimate I had just assumed the route went through Myers Pass but in fact it was much more interesting than that with a neat section through forest & remote farm tracks.

    At Kurow I gassed up & called in at the cafe just east of the servo to have the best flat white I have ever consumed & a choc muffin that was also pretty impressive. Then it was out the back streets of Kurow & into the infamous Awakino saddle challenge section.

    [​IMG]

    I know for those in places like Colorado & the Himalaya 1000+ metres of steep, rough, rocky climb is just a quick trip to the shops for milk but here in NZ it's quite a novelty to just keep powering on up & up so far into the mountains. The first tricky bit up a scrambly climb takes me by surprise so after making a hash of that I swing into attack mode a little more & keep the pace on whenever it looks like an ounce of momentum might be needed.

    [​IMG]

    The top of the pass is at about 1450m. I'd love to know what possessed some mad bastard to drive their bully over here but I'm not complaining. it's a great ride & a great view.

    [​IMG]

    Going down the other side things get rougher, steeper & rockier. While bouncing down one nasty section, not entirely in control, the bike ricochets from one boulder to the next with some big crunches. I had meant to make myself a bash plate for this sort of stuff but had run out of time before the ride. Luckily the big hits haven't been on anything fragile so I carry on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The slightly recursively named Hut Creek Hut.

    [​IMG]

    From here the track looked a bit more worn so I thought, maybe things get a bit less gnarly from now.

    [​IMG]

    Wrong!

    [​IMG]

    It's demanding, but fun riding through here. A couple of fairly decent river crossings were knocked off. I didn't encounter too many other riders through here but a was good to see some guys at both the crossings & both times they pointed out the best line. I dropped the bike in one bouldery crossing but luckily she didn't suck in any water & I was able to get upright & carry on. Then there was a lot more up & down before I got to the Ida Railway Hut:

    [​IMG]

    This is the old Ida Valley railway station. About 30km & 1000 vertical metres away from the old railway line it once served. How did it get here? Refer thread title. Under the direction of some farmers who lease this part of the reserve for grazing, it was sledged up the hill (that I am about to descend) by two mad buggers on bulldozers to extend the existing mustering hut. Locally known as 'Inder's Castle' after Laurie Inder who led the project. I know this 'cos it features in a very cool book I got given for Christmas, 'Shelter from the Storm' - a history of NZ's backcountry huts. After a short break & a snack I continue on across the tops. I think that if they towed a bloody railway station up the rest of the track then maybe things get a bit more cruisy from here? Not really.

    [​IMG]

    There are still plenty of ruts, rocks, mud & bouldery hills to come.

    [​IMG]

    Hey! An old road sign, the track probably gets a bit more laid back from here? Nope.

    [​IMG]

    This is around the highest point of the ride at around 1650m on the Hawkdun range. Then the track plummets down a spur into the Ida Valley.

    [​IMG]

    As if rocks, mud, ruts & rivers weren't enough to worry about, near the end of the track I discover I should have been on the lookout for unexploded ordnance as well!

    [​IMG]

    The 70km from Kurow took about 4 hrs & was great fun & a good workout. Apparently there were a couple of bikes left to be recovered another day & more than a few drowned in the crossings in there. After that it was nice to take in some easier tracks down through the valley.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah Right.

    [​IMG]

    By the time I got to the Poolburn pub I was well ready for a beer.

    [​IMG]

    From here it was across to the Thompson Gorge Road, a neat cut through the hills to the west. There are lots of gates though, I was lucky to join in with a group through here so we took turns at opening & shutting. The big upside of doing the ride solo is the lack of dust, but you get good at off, open gate, on, through, off, close gate, on.... ride, repeat.

    [​IMG]

    A highway section south then the route heads up the Carricktown track to the Nevis road.

    [​IMG]

    After that it's back down the start of the Nevis & along the Hawksburn Rd to Clyde, then a short bit of highway to Alexandra. I get in about 5pm. It's been an exhilarating & slightly exhausting days riding. I get cleaned up & installed in the pub & swap stories with the riders already there & the others that continue to roll in into the night. We down beers until way too late given the planned early start the next day.

    Day 2 of the Dusty to come.
    Clint
    #22
  3. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,963
    Location:
    NEW ZEALAND
    :clap:clap:clap:lurk
    #23
  4. dirtbikeslob

    dirtbikeslob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    300
    Location:
    dunedin new zealand
    Clintnz,that was a O for orsome
    #24
  5. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,749
    Location:
    Rapaura
    Now I want to go back and do the bits I've missed out on. I'd need a couple of helpers for picking up the bike and dusting me off or drying me out, or both, but otherwise I am keen. Great report.
    #25
  6. Daanbanaan

    Daanbanaan Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    16
    Great report, bringing back all the good memories of NZ.
    Hopefully I can go back some day
    #26
  7. Mr. Magoo

    Mr. Magoo n/a

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,980
    Nice!!! :clap
    #27
  8. nzrian

    nzrian Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    444
    Location:
    Queenstown , NZ
    good effort clint.
    i have done some of those roads and for sure it is gods own country, homesick.
    #28
  9. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,492
    Xlnt, Xlnt RR..hope you will do more :thumb
    #29
  10. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,662
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Cheers Guys

    While I get the last of the pics sorted, have a look at Chris's footage from the Orari:

    <object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/S_I4zFpMt80?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/S_I4zFpMt80?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>



    ... and Transalper's excellent vid of the action from the Dusty Butt:

    <EMBED height=315 type=application/x-shockwave-flash width=560 src=https://www.youtube.com/v/CtCfZ1BMg14?hl=en_US&version=3 allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></EMBED>

    Cheers
    Clint
    #30
  11. Padmei

    Padmei enamoured

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,818
    Location:
    Nelson New Zealand
    excellent clint
    #31
  12. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,662
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Sunday, day 2 of the Dusty Butt & another 500+km of sweet tracks await. I hit the highway on schedule, after a stretch of tar the route takes in a loop up towards Lake Onslow & I watch the sun rise over the rolling hills.

    [​IMG]

    Next up was a spin down the Millenium track, as I headed south the weather got a bit worse with a steady drizzle setting in. After fuel at Lawrence the route turned back north & climbed up into the hills.

    [​IMG]

    Gardiners track led up onto the Lammermoor Range & into the middle of a drizzly cloud. Luckily it hadn't been raining too much so the rutty dirt track was only slightly slippery. Along here I was cruising along happily when the engine gave a couple of stutters & cut out. The bike would run with the clutch in though so I shorted out the clutch switch & carried on my merry way. Eventually the fog & drizzle gave way to brilliant sun.

    [​IMG]

    After miles & miles of this scenic run along the Lammermoor tops I turned onto the Old Dunstan Rd & the bike died again. I figured given the previous stoppage was fixed by shorting the clutch switch it must have been something to do with the long disconnected sidestand cutout, the offending broken wire was immediately obvious under the dash once I had removed the headlight unit & was easily fixed. On over the Dustan I went.

    [​IMG]

    Having been into the Serpentine Church a couple of times before I decided to give that challenge section a miss & headed down into the Ida valley. After a stop for a beer & a great steak sandwich at the Oturehua Pub I followed the route up into the Oteake Conservation Area towards the Omarama Saddle.

    [​IMG]

    Again I took the easy option over the little Omarama saddle rather than the multitude of river crossings over the big saddle that I had done on a previous trip. I'd only been over the little saddle inside a cloud so I wanted to see what it looked like in sunshine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After gas & a snack at Omarama I got back on it to the Benmore Dam.

    [​IMG]

    It was a great day for the Black Forest track north around the lake.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then it was out into the wide open gravel of the Mackenzie basin.

    [​IMG]

    I was back in Fairlie about 5pm. Another great day done. Tired, dusty, muddy & occasionally bloody riders swaggered into the Gladstone pub until late that night & over a few pints many epic tales of adventure were told (some of them even true!)

    The next day saw a good scattering of bikes in various states of disrepair outside the garage getting battle damage fixed & tyres changed.

    [​IMG]

    My luggage setup had been feeling the pace a bit so after getting a few extra straps to lash the bags on with I set forth for home as I had a ferry ticket for the next morning. As I entered the Waipara valley that afternoon I was faced with a tough decision: Do I put the hammer down, gas it to Hanmer & do a run through the Molesworth before it closes for the night, or do I pick the glass up & have a leisurely lunch at a Waipara vineyard? Hmmm....

    [​IMG]

    Waipara Springs did a very nice spread & I left with a fine bottle of Pinot Noir to share with Rosie with on my return.

    A ferry ride & 500km of highway got me home the next day & that was the trip done. Another great ride.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #32
  13. RMOTO

    RMOTO Doing secret stuff

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    New Zealand
    That's a bit flash mate! Great report and pics :thumb
    #33
  14. andy mac

    andy mac Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    61
    Nice report Clint, you appear to be a connoisseur of your food & booze:freaky
    #34
  15. zandesiro

    zandesiro In rust we trust....

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Polygyros, Greece...
    Cool ride report!!

    :lurk:lurk
    #35
  16. antt

    antt n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Great RR mate. Can't wait to come back to the south island.
    #36
  17. Ducatijim

    Ducatijim Hopeless Poseuer!

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    304
    Location:
    Reporoa NZ
    Very nice Clint....you do a fine ride report, right up there with your photography skills mate!
    :clap
    #37