The plan was originally to circumnavigate the East Cape, but changed once the GS Rally (at Mangawhai, north of Auckland) was announced. Suddenly things got bigger than a long weekend away, & expected mileage went up a bit. I’d done a lot of prep for this one, so was hopeful of an ‘event free’ break away. The best laid plans....I'd even contacted several councils to ask for the roads (we planned to use) to be freshly graded. Fortunately most were able to accommodate us... Nine committed to the trip, with another potentially shadowing us or meeting us at the GS Rally. Five sidecars, & four solos, consisting of seven Airheads, an F650GS (single), & a DR650. Day One - Wed 6th Nov: Meet up was at Everest Cafe, Featherston, at 8.30am, ready for a 9.00am leaving time. The alarm went off the normal time, & there were no dramas getting to the meet up. Traffic & weather even (basically) cooperated. And time for a coffee at Everest Cafe... Very civilised First fill at Faulknors at Te Ore Ore Rd, Masterton., basically because the route didn’t allow for any gas stops for the entire day. 366 kms from Everest Cafe to Westshore Holiday Park, including a beach section. I’d told everyone to pack sufficient gas for 400kms, so most had a few jerrycans strapped to their bikes. Out via Bideford & the first gravel sections, pretty dusty, & I was Tail End Charlie. Then back to Bartons Line, & Pori Rd, heading towards Makuri. By the first climb at Pori Rd, Charlie’s Sidecar was already trying to lose it’s mudguard. Literally a shakedown trip for Charlie on a relatively new rig. By next year I’m sure he’ll have bought shares in a nyloc nut & loctite supplier, & developed & pared down the rig somewhat. Coonoor & Towai Rd – the wind was fairly strong round the Limeworks, & so we needed to take shelter in the lee of a hill for a lunch break. I led out for the next section out to SH52, then Tahuokaratu Rd & Birch Rd East, though a forestry section. Some of the boys did a little modelling for Cactus Outdoors there. More bits fell off Charlie's rig in there - but that was an ongoing theme, so barely worth mentioning. I think the solo riders really really appreciated my work with the various councils... Onto Porangahau, a bit of misdirection from the GPS, then Hunter Rd to Blackhead Beach. I’d planned a beach section given we’d done this with Barts RRR a while ago, & it seemed firm then. But the first section was softer than I recalled. I think some behind me had a few challenges, especially over the Aramoana slip portion. Past that, the beach was as I remembered it. It seemed rude not to do a few doughnuts towards the end. We also needed to thread through the reef portion a bit carefully – hadn’t really thought about that, but knew quads coped okay, so what could possibly go wrong. My first attempt at getting off the beach went sideways. Not enough momentum & drive. But another beach access point further up the beach had more rock in it, so was a bit easier. One sidecar even got air... The Elsthorpe / Kahuranaki Rd proved just too far for Chris on the F650GS, & he basically collapsed onto a ditch on the side of the road.. That was fairly sobering. Because that was a transport section, we’d ended up spread over a fair distance, & Bill (Tail End Charlie at the time) needed to do a bit of chasing to gather us all back together. We developed a plan to transport Chris in a sidecar, & then to go back to retreive the bike & gear later. Fortunately he recovered somewhat, after some water & food, & was able to continue on at an easy pace. Unfortunately part of the rest of the group became separated from us. So they took their own magical mystery tour, arriving at Westshore Camp some time after us. I'd booked a Motel Unit, & Tourist Flat, which seemed to work out okay. Except for Norbert, who slept on the floor. It was here that the Tour gained it's name. Charlie had arranged for some 'tour stickers', based on a link MD had added in the email trail. Unfortunately the printers proof reading skills proved to be sadly lacking...'The Caravan Of Fools' somehow morphed into the 'Carvan of Foods Tour'... To be continued.