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Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Aug 22, 2010.
...and it appears that John Nic had his pants on when he took the picture.
TARANAKI TUNNEL TOUR
This was supposed to be a long weekend away with Mrs Box.a.bits, & a good shake down run for the new sidecar tug. But various delays including delayed parts arrival & needing to work Easter weekend shelved that idea.
The G/S had luggage issues as the PO had hacked these around a lot, so I spent a bit of time dithering as to whether I would cabin or camp. In the end I straightened the right side, & lashed the Mosko Moto pannniers across the seat, to reduce the stress on the racks, & decided I'd camp if I could.
The weather looked to play a part too. The forecasts showing the main rain band just skimming the north western edge of Taranaki Friday, & fine weather for the rest of the weekend. But it seemed to be a moving feast, with forecasts changing fairly rapidly.
With that in mind Manakau.KTM & I decided to run up the middle of the Island, with a flexible plan about where we might go, based on where things might be driest. I also knew I didn't particularly want to run up the main SH1 / SH3 run, given I find that route particularly mind numbing.
It didn’t work. We went up round the back of Palmerston North, through Kimbolton, but just after Rangiwahia it started to rain.
Stopped in at Papa Cliffs at Mangaweka for coffees & lunch, hoping it would blow through - but no luck. It rained on & off through to Taumaranui, but we did get a dry run through to the Junction between SH 3 & 4. We got held back by a couple of trucks just before there – I was surprised at how fast other traffic caught us. They must have been peddling pretty fast through the twisties too.
From that junction down to New Plymouth it rained fairly solidly, & I got wet. Given I’m using fairly new Rev’it wets, that was pretty disappointing. Picked up a couple of extra tunnels on the way down, one at Awakino Gorge, & the other at Mt Messenger, albeit they are both technically not in Taranaki. Into New Plymouth just on dark. 607kms for the day. Google maps says 7hrs 54 mins driving time for that trip.
Stayed at Belt Rd Motor Camp in a 2 berth cabin, $80 for the night. Dried all my gear, so worth the spend to stay dry & dry out my gear. Watched the Games for night time entertainment.
Up at 6.20 am showered & breakfasted, & down to the start point by 8.30am, packing all my gear as my intent was to camp the next night (& Marty & co left too early for me to slip my gear into their rooms).
More than 25 rider for the event, with bikes across all brands of the adventure spectrum. The most roadie was a Triumph Scrambler. Sizes varied between WR250Rs & DRZ250 to R1200GS.
While Phil had offered GPS routes, but everyone appeared happy to adopt the cornerman system. Good job, as my GPS wouldn’t download the route first up, but was more than happy with the converted track I’d loaded as backup.
One rider may not have fully understood the cornerman concept, but was quickly whipped into shape. And when I was on a corner, one rider totally didn’t see me, & rode past, heading I don’t know where. The rest of the crew understood, & didn’t follow him. He quickly realised, & did a U turn, & got back into the pack.
A couple of early highlights:
·Bertrand Rd historic suspension bridge. This had bollards at each end to prevent bigger vehicle crossings, & wheel tracks outlined in timber. A Kia 4wd went across just before me, with cms to spare on each side. In common with much of this ride, I should of stopped for photos (but didn’t).
·The first tunnel at Otaraoa Rd. No photos either.
A couple of regroups, the second one just after the Mangaoapa Road tunnel.
The ride got faster on the run to Stratford – ‘ah’, I thought, ‘fat boys running for the first pies’. But apparently it was so they didn’t need to queue for fuel. I bypassed that completely – the advantages of a big tank. I knew I had enough fuel for the day (actually that lasted all the way down to Whanganui the next day – might have over catered a bit).
Good bakery in Stratford. Bought a chicken & avocado filled roll, & an apricot turnover & stashed those for lunch. And a steak pie & coffee for brunch.
I have to say the ‘Naki seems to have cornered the market on tight rural roads. I was following Stephen Oatley at a good pace on gravel, & suddenly he seemed to have gotten a second wind & disappeared into middle distance. I’d say he’s well bonded with the F800GSA.
Regroup at Makahu School.
Then back onto Ohura Rd briefly, back across to the Mangaoapa Tunnel, through more forestry (this ride could be renamed the pine needles run), back onto Ohura Rd, across Whangamomona Saddle (at pace - I'd venture to say no chicken strips on anyones tyres), & on to a late lunch at Whangamomona.
A British Car club was also parked up there, with a mix of MGB & Triumphs sportcars (& a lone Worsley parked across to the road). Unfortunately the rain caught us there.
Over the Tahora Saddle (past Gus’s former home), then turn off on Moki Rd, heading towards Mt Damper, then linking up on Kiwi Road. Not raining enough for me to get the wets out – just enough to be annoying & bugger up vision riding into the sun.
Have to say Kiwi Rd has deteriorated markedly in the 3 years since I last rode it. I struggled a bit, in part because I haven’t got the ergos quite right for standing. Work in progress. Having said that, I could see a few people really enjoyed themselves. Another tunnel at the top there, then Moki Road & Ureti Rd. Council had re-metalled a portion of that section. That was ‘interesting’ as it was loose & deep in places, but not consistent.
Regroup again just before SH3, & then back to New Plymouth. 344 kms for the day based on Phil GPS track.
Phil & Dawn generously offered a space at their place instead of camping, which I was grateful to accept. So back to their place for a refresh, a chat with Phil, Dawn, Clint, & Rosie, then out to ‘The Treehouse’ for a beer & dinner.
Not really looking for a challenging day today, so decided to follow the coastline round the mountain.
Brunch at Waverley. Pulled into the cafe as it was entertaining a disreputable rabble of adventure riders, so figured that was a good enough recommendation. Big Breakfast (for lunch) & a coffee really hit the spot.
I'd said I’d ride with Stephen & Nev down to Bulls, but got a few kms out of Waverley & went onto reserve. Thought if I skipped ahead I’d slot back in with them after refueling at Whanganui, but as it transpires I only caught them again just as they were turning at Sanson. So I peeled off & went to see my Mum & Dad at Palmerston North.
Home in Wellington in good time for dinner.
Thanks for organising this guys. I really enjoyed the weekend away.
Hi Steve - nice RR as always - was good to spend some time with you - cheers S
Awesome RR Steve, I thought you did pretty well keeping the Beama upright on Kiwi Rd....was fun on the Tiger being more nimble n all
Nice one, wish I'd got a pic or video of that bridge at the start. Got all the tunnels on video, one even twice...