To Infinity & Beyond

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    To Infinity & Beyond – 29th Oct to 5th Nov ’20 - A trip thru the top of the South Island with a group of 4 sidecars & 5 solos.

    I’d booked 2 weeks leave at the beginning of the year, in anticipation of a weekend away. However, as a result of the announcement of the GS Rallye dates, our informal trip schedule dates got moved forward a week into late Oct. That caused me some grief with my boss, because the required leave conflicted with a collegue’s. So some unashamed grovelling was necessary. Eventually (with some persistence), it was allowed that I could have the Thursday/ Friday off (but not the Wednesday), together with the following 2 weeks, which I’d already booked.

    I wonder if she’d have relented if she knew how much time off I’d eventually need...

    The timing meant that I’d need to take the 2am sailing Thursday to link up with the main group at Havelock on Thursday morning. The Bluebridge cabins had already gone (& experience tells me I don’t sleep in them anyways), so I booked the cheaper & faster Interislander.

    [​IMG]
    Packed & ready to go

    As it happens, it was a slow work week, so my boss (probably feeling somewhat exasperated) let me go at 12.00 noon Wed. I quickly changed the sailing times, & booked a cabin in Waikawa.

    I was slightly surprised to meet with Ken, Norbert & Bassman1 at the 4.00 pm Interislander ferry. I hadn’t paid too much attention to what the others plans were – given I expected an early morning start. Very smooth crossing, but late docking. They all had accommodation organised at Renwick.

    [​IMG]
    Interesting vehicle on the ferry

    The Waikawa cabin was maybe a mistake.
    • The receptionist mistook me for someone else & gave me a bollocking about a mucked up booking. But she’d misheard my name, & settled down once she took on board I wasn’t who she thought I was;
    • They’d had some water infrastructure issues, so the shower I was looking forward to wasn’t to be, as it was all turned off;
    • The cabin was a Portacom, with a slightly strange (spongey) floor. Partly mitigated by a TV, & a made up bed (I was expecting to sleep in my sleeping bag).

    [​IMG]
    Cabin at Waikawa

    Meet time at Havelock was 8.00-8.30 am, so allowing for a 50 min. cruise thru Queen Charlotte Dr required a 7.00am leaving time. Not a hell of a lot of traffic.

    [​IMG]
    Queen Charlotte Drive

    Misty low cloud. Atmospheric, & promising rain a bit later on.

    Breakfast at Havelock’s ‘The Sneaky Beach Cafe & Bakery’ – scrambled eggs on toast, & a large Latte.

    [​IMG]
    Havelock

    I may have been the last to arrive. The group comprised MD (Ural sidecar with BMW drivetrain conversion), Ken (Dnepr sidecar, with BMW drivetrain conversion), Norbert (R60 with Ural sidecar), me (R100GS with Chang Jiang sidecar), Chris (F650GS), Andy (R80ST with F650GS suspension & 21 front wheel), Ed (KLR 650), Bassman1 (DR650), & Bill (R1200GS).

    Led the convoy out from Havelock. Wasn’t keen to put on the wet weathers, because I didn’t want to do a ‘boil in the bag’ running over the Maungatapu Track. A little bit of drizzle from time to time, but with a bit of speed, it wasn’t creeping into my gear. Passed a truck. Dunno who the on coming traffic was annoyed with. It must have been Bassman1.

    Stopped just after Pelorus Bridge to regroup, & ensure everyone took the right road. Then had another stop for photos just before the turn onto the Maungatapu Track.

    [​IMG]
    Pelorus Bridge regroup

    [​IMG]

    At the turn off I briefly split from the group to reduce some weight (I blame the coffee), thinking the road beyond would be empty. Nowhere to duck into the bushes, so the road side it’ll have to be. Just getting down to business, when a council truck with 2 blokes turns up, checking for slips & culvert damage. Doh! How embarrassing. Good job I had my shovel. No Freedom Campers here...(over sharing, much? I blame the drugs).

    [​IMG]
    Bassman1

    The Maungatapu Track has been closed to 4WDs for some time now. Small, unladen solos can still squeeze thru the 2 gates – otherwise you need to get the gate key from Nelson CC. This needs to be collected in person, & a $100 bond paid. The key allows for a group of up to 10 vehicles. There are only 3 keys, so it limits the numbers of heavier vehicles on the track. Jatz did this for us, & then found out he couldn’t join us on the day, which was an arse. But thank you so much for your efforts there James.

    I led through the beginning of the Maungatapu track. My memories of the track (from riding this on a solo 2015 trip) were that it was an easy ‘farm’ track, with a good base. But we were coming from the other direction, & of course sidecars have two wheel tracks, not one. That can be an advantage, in that we can straddle ruts, but at other times... Getting traction & keeping momentum are the key.

    [​IMG]
    Ken, being very tidy

    Parts of the track are quite steep & loose, & towards the top of one difficult section (not far from the summit) I stopped to take some photographs of the group coming thru. Unfortunately I hadn’t thought about what messages that might send to those behind me – there is a camera; this must be a tough section; it may make a better photo if I fall off; here’s a great opportunity to show how it can all go wrong.

    [​IMG]
    Norbert, exploring the limits of traction

    [​IMG]
    Ed, creating a team building opportunity. Damned decent of him, wouldn't you say?

    At the time we’d initially planned this trip, we were all taking solos. Then I decided I’d take the sidecar, & the group was going to split into solos & sidecars, with sidecars taking the road route. I’d decided that I could muscle the sidecar thru the track, & suddenly we were all going to do it. So there’d been no assessments as to the relative capabilities of the bikes & riders. Unfortunately the track became a steep learning curve for a couple of riders.

    [​IMG]

    Regroup just after that section, & then again at the summit. We needed to complete some running repairs on Norbert’s rig. The track had snapped the bottom rear clevis. We re-situated the threaded portion, & that was enough to allow us to continue on.

    [​IMG]

    There was a further uphill loose section on from there, where MD needed a couple of goes to get up. Good job I didn’t immediately follow him. If the back end breaks traction, the inertia of the tub will rotate the tug around it. It was interesting watching his 2nd attempt, with the handlebars going from lock to lock during the climb, but having no impact on the direction of the rig. That was more controlled by throttle.

    Of course it was now very wet, & I’d not yet pulled on my wets. Too late, because I was soaked.

    Off to find Nelson CC to drop off the key (that was a mission in itself), then gas up & off to Zoom for coffee & a donut for lunch.

    The objective for the afternoon was to get to the Triobilite Hut in the Cobb Valley. But not by main roads. So after the motorways to Richmond, MD led. Just by chance, we passed the Moutere Inn. Be rude not to pop into the oldest continuous ‘on license’ in NZ. Shared space with some older cyclists sheltering from the rain. We won’t talk about the electric assists on their bikes...

    [​IMG]
    Bill, in front of Moutere Inn.

    Over the Takaka Hill, still suffering from the impact of a storm from a few years ago. There is an up to 20 min wait to allow one way traffic thru. Fortunately the Hyundai driver let us all thru 1st. And was very patient when the rain & low cloud meant visibility was non existent. Ed seemed resistant to adopting the patented Box’a’bits method of braille driving in these conditions. I stopped just before the descent to Golden Bay, to admire the view (there was none) & to let Ed go ahead.

    Regroup at the base of the hill, & head towards Cobb Valley. I have to admit it’d been a long day, & I was looking forward to getting to the Hut. The concern was whether the Hut was occupied.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Andy

    [​IMG]

    Very scenic ride, which I didn’t fully appreciate until the next day. I do know that there were some filling removing corrugations, & I looked at the sidecar mudguard several times to see if that was still attached (it broke in similar corrugations last trip).

    There is a long steepish section after the Cobb power station to climb over, & then you hit the Cobb Valley. Regroup at the summit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was tail end charlie, & my GPS route had a section going over the Dam, & along the opposite bank. I can report that was as rough as part of the Maungatapu track, & it ends at a carpark for another walking track. I was a bit surprised to see a Toyota Echo there. Rental?

    Then back on the main road, which seemed fairly aggressively potholed.

    Getting towards the end of the Cobb Dam reservoir, I could see some smoke from the Triobilite hut, & when pulling into the car park I could see there were already a couple of cars there. Uh-oh. Fortunately the occupants appeared to be long gone, & we (as a group) had the hut to ourselves.

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Bassman1

    Bassman1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    New Zealand
    So Sir wasnt to impressed with Waikawa accomodation oh dear never mind.You could have roughed it with me ,Ken and Norbert just saying.I must say you have some great photos of that mighty DR .Hope recovery is going well bud alt acc.JPG
    #2
  3. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,379
    Location:
    Nelson-ish New Zealand
    :lurk:lurk
    #3
    Box'a'bits likes this.
  4. Left Testicle

    Left Testicle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hey do this fella writing this story not write in the weekend..
    #4
  5. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Quite difficult to do, foggy brain, & this left handed typing malarkey. Patience grasshopper
    #5
    brstar likes this.
  6. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Friday 30th Oct:
    It was a convivial night. Firstly, individuals showed a range of camp cooking prowess & preparedness, while the watchful wekas made occasional lightning raids, attempting to make off with food or gear. As darkness fell, favourite forms of Whiskey & Rum made an appearance from saddle bags (a recurring theme of this trip). Tealights & a 3D printed set of female legs provided ambience.

    [​IMG]

    The next morning showed promise that the day would improve from the prior day's drizzle. But low misty cloud remained a feature.

    Rather than set off as a group, we disbursed individually, or as smaller groupings. The aim for the day was to get to Onekaka, however the key to the house where we were to stay wasn’t going to be available until after 1.00pm, so no rush. So the intent was to have a slowish day.

    [​IMG]

    The ride out was pretty atmospheric again, with time for photographs, & stops on the road to look around. Below the hut, there was a free camp, & a few vehicles were there, I assume for fishermen. A little further along we stopped to admire a contributory stream & waterfall.

    [​IMG]

    Back near the reservoir head, we looked over the earth dam.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stopped again at the summit, still partially wreathed in cloud, & looked over one of the turbine castings that had been mounted there. There would have been a bit of work in that.

    Did the descent with the engine off, in neutral. I guess that’d be what riding an electric sidecar would be like. Bloody good fun.

    Stopped a few times for photos. No pressure to keep up with the pack.

    [​IMG]

    Hooked across to Takaka to see if we could locate the rest of the group. Eventually ended up at Wholemeal Cafe for a coffee, which turned into an extended lunch break. I can recommend the Salmon Toastetta. Really hit the spot.

    Then spent some time at Roots Bar near the entrance of Takaka. The group was split with the older folk over at the Telegraph Hotel. Different expectations of ambience. It was interesting people watching. And this must be where old 4WDs come to die...

    The lady with the keys was otherwise unavoidably detained, so we sauntered down to the Pupu Springs to look at that natural wonder. MD had stopped along the way there, & showed up with two of the products from this years runner up for best sausage rolls. A little greasy on arrival, but very tasty, & certainly I was up for seconds or thirds.

    [​IMG]
    MD, soon to be swamped by patrons eager to try award winning sausage rolls

    A great pity that Didymo has infested the streams surrounding the springs. When I was last thru in 2008 it was clear.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Cormorant in the middle of the picture was interesting to watch, both above & below the water

    After walking around the springs we rode across to the Pupu power station. This was built in the 1920’s, & MDs grandfather was involved in its construction. As we were riding in, Paul Sangster, one of the station's conservators was just driving out. Fortunately he was fascinated with the party, so turned around, & gave us the grand tour for the station.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    He also invited us to come look over his bike & gun collection sometime later in the weekend. A very interesting personalised tour.

    The house became available after 4.00pm. A Vic Uni property used by students on Geology field trips. Three bedrooms of bunk beds, not really upgraded from the original. Perfect for our use.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Later a few of us slipped out to Murray McLean's, just down the road, in order to have a look over his bike collection.

    As a final outing for the day, we relocated a few hundred metres up the road to the Mussel Inn for a few more adult beverages & a meal. I liked the Mussel Inn Porters, which was a dark beer. Unfortunately we had to move on earlier than would have been ideal as a live band was due, & a cover charge was being imposed. And we are cheap.

    And the whiskey & rums were due to make a re-appearance back at the house.
    #6
    bikemoto, MrKiwi, Dave Young and 11 others like this.
  7. Oaters

    Oaters Old - not bold - moto riding addict

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,218
    Location:
    Kapiti, Aotearoa
    Hope you’re finding this journaling therapeutic Steve - continues at your usual high standard despite your wounds
    #7
  8. dazzadm

    dazzadm Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,793
    Location:
    Gumboot Capital, NZ
    I was wondering how you were typing this up, maintaining the grand volume of text and pictures. :type:kurt Hope you are feeling better?
    #8
  9. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Saturday 31st Oct
    We’d scheduled today as a ride out to Anatori, on the West Coast, but the rain forecast wasn’t good, so we deferred that until Sunday.

    [​IMG]

    Despite this, Steve from the Sandcastle still showed up on his 2013 2WD Ural Patrol. In having a look over his Ural, someone noticed a huge split in his sidecar rim, along the spoke holes, and encompassing about a 5th of the wheel. You could see the tube thru the alloy. It was suggested that he could gently ride that home – but I wouldn’t have been keen. Apparently this was quite common for Urals of that age – explained away as spokes being over tightened from the factory. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make a recall claim. The other wheels were fine.

    So instead of the planned ride, we went to see Paul Sangster's collection. That was pretty impressive. Much of it was built up from rescued bike’s he & Chub rebuilt, tip rescues, word of mouth barn finds etc. Some were surprising, like the Bren Gun Carrier & the GMC 6WD, thru to a collection of old radios. I didn't photograph even a fraction of what he had. He’s in the midst of setting up a new museum more central to town.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Confiscated from the Sea Scouts post war after they started spotlighting civillian planes

    [​IMG]
    GMC 6WD, ex US Army

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Paul & a friend having a chat about his collection

    We also had a poke around Clifton Grove scenic reserve. Troll country, if ever I saw some. But apparently fine to leave the keys in your ignition while you are sightseeing. I did, & the sidecar was still there when I got back (queue comment from Night Falcon....3, 2, 1).

    [​IMG]
    A strangely tropical feeling.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Looking back the other way

    [​IMG]

    On the way back to base we did a bit of grocery shopping, & I picked up some 0% Heinekens to take out to dinner at Rockville. Perhaps a bit of an error there. Oh well. But I also came across some more Diplimatico Rum, so couldn’t leave that on the shelf.

    Dinner was at some friends of Andy’s at Rockville, Simon & Barbara. They were promising a beef curry from a home kill. Too good an offer to pass by. And the potential for a sleepover in their converted dairy shed.

    Loaded Bassman1 into the sidecar as monkey. On the way out, we did a gravel road past the Devil’s boots. Turns out I’d been here before.

    [​IMG]

    Simon & Barbara’s place was pretty cool. Apparently we were motivation to get their conversion project moving along. Very relaxed setting at the end of a road. Ed & Andy stayed overnight.

    [​IMG]
    Photo stolen from Bassman1

    A bit of a night time bombing raid on the way home. My headlight was set slightly high, which was annoying. I note the others didn’t follow us on the gravel route. Good job the gravel was mostly straight. My night vision isn’t quite what it used to be.

    More Whiskey & Rum back at base, accompanied by Ken’s selection in music.
    #9
    bikemoto, MrKiwi, Manakau.KTM and 4 others like this.
  10. dazzadm

    dazzadm Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,793
    Location:
    Gumboot Capital, NZ
    Did anyone explore past the Devils boots? I'd like more time have a look at some of the trails in there...
    #10
  11. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,379
    Location:
    Nelson-ish New Zealand
    Sadly I think the Goldfields track would be a bit much for a sidecar. But I'd like to see him try :evil
    It was pretty lumpy last time I was up there on the quad.

    Good effort so far BB :thumb
    #11
    dazzadm and KiwiPewe like this.
  12. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Well, doing this is helping get my head straight. The 1st days RR was written with a fullish (predictive text insisted this was 'foolish') dose of opioids on board, & needed a bit of proof reading. I've since reduced the various drug dosages considerably (that's good, right?), so that helps too.
    Yes, Bassman1 & I explored it a bit on Sunday, but I hadn't pre-loaded a GPS track for it. Bassman1 was becoming increasingly dubious that we were on the right track, so we turned around.
    #12
    KiwiPewe and dazzadm like this.
  13. ztaj

    ztaj jatz

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,379
    Location:
    Nelson-ish New Zealand
    If it was rough and bouldery in places with large water ruts and clayey then you were on the right track. It gets better further along, after the summit.
    Next time eh ?
    #13
  14. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Yup, it was. Next time I'll come prepared
    #14
  15. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Sunday 1st Nov
    A brighter day today than anything over the last few days, so appropriate for the rescheduled Anatori ride.

    Into Collingwood for gas at the automated pumps, & then because we were early (before 9.00 am is apparently too early for the Collingwood Cafes) into the 4 Square for lunch supplies. I can report the prepackaged steak & mushroom pie was unexpectedly good, however.

    No local riders – we must have scared them away.

    Bassman1 showed the way, & then scarpered off. Of course a DR650 disappearing into the middle distance is not acceptable, so I gave chase. That may have been a mistake, as I missed the great morning light & a number of photo opportunities.

    From Collingwood, the road goes north along the coast, west over a hill, & then south around the Whanganui inlet on the West Coast. Part National Park from the Whanganui Inlet, so not really developed. Then a few farms. The gravel was pretty corrugated, so eventually the sidecar mudguard strut broke (as semi expected), & we started back with the duct tape origami to keep it in place. Sharing is caring, & Chris also needed some too, to keep his F650GS headlight in place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was pretty surprised to see a cafe way out there. It was closed, but something to keep an eye on, on our return.

    The road ended at Anatori River. There was a bunch of quads clustered on the other side, with some whitebait fishermen. I’m not sure if they were waiting to see if we would cross (seemed like they were). But the river did seem fairly high where they were sitting (they were acting as bait?) so that didn’t seem feasible. We did see a 4WD Ute cross there later, & it was just deep as expected. But just a little way up the river there was a shallower ford, which we saw a few 4WD quads cross. But still marginal for us to attempt, so we didn’t.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pleasant in the sun, but eventually we decided we should head back. And it turns out that the cafe did open, just for coffee (just perfect for a coffee addict).

    [​IMG]
    The Anatori River mouth is just before those heads. The blue bus is at the entrance to little camping spot

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Came back for this photo, hence Gus is pointed the wrong way

    [​IMG]

    Stopped for a few photos on the way back. After one photo stop, Bill stopped behind me, & I realised a 4WD was rapidly approaching & it would be difficult to pass if I left after he did. Apparently I annoyed the 4WD driver by shooting off, & Bill suffered the consequences when he tried to get through later. Sorry about that, Bill...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There is an Old School Cafe on the Collingwood side of the hill, that is apparently a destination cafe for the local petrolheads. We followed in a few nice cars heading there on our way back to Collingwood.

    The group split up, & everyone disappeared for various afternoon activities. Bassman1 & I decided to investigate the Aorere Goldfields. The issue there was that I hadn’t preloaded a GPX for that, so we weren’t entirely certain where this was. This was past the Devils Boots, through some gates, & into what felt like a farm track. There appeared to be two trails – one leading to the Aorere Caves, & another more along the river. The trail we followed became more & more sketchy. Eventually we both became dubious we were on the right track. I don’t think Bassman1 was keen on doing a sidecar recovery either. So we turned around. Maybe next time, if we have a proper set of directions.

    While we were out, Andy & Ed had been to the Mussel Inn. One of the Mussel Inn’s promotions was beer in exchange for possum tails (roadkills excepted). Andy had put a possum out of it’s misery, after spotting one caught in a gin trap on the Maungatapu Track, but had harvested it’s tail once that was done. At the Mussel Inn he was able to finally exchange that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Mussel Inn photos courtesy of Andy & Ed?

    Back at base, the next planned activity was a meet up with the local classic bike fraternity at Roots Bar. A very good turn out I’m told, with us as the star exhibits. International traveller & author Des Molloy, & Murray McLean were both in attendance.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Photos stolen from Andy

    Then around dinner time we toddled off to the Sandcastle at Pohara for a Pizza night with Steve (of 2WD Ural fame). Steve bought his Ural after hosting a Ural rally at the Sandcastle a few years ago, & becoming smitten with them. They obviously made a big impression.

    A good evening. Flat pizza dough, home made, & cooked in his open pizza oven. He even provided a couple of extra guests to provide additional entertainment. I’m told that all we were missing was a couple of bottles of Vodka.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #15
    bikemoto, MrKiwi, Manakau.KTM and 6 others like this.
  16. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,095
    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    Looks great to me. Keep up the good work. It's neat part of the country out there.

    Better step up the possum control efforts so I have enough tails for a decent session at the Mussel Inn next visit :rofl
    #16
    dazzadm and Box'a'bits like this.
  17. eri

    eri Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Oddometer:
    985
    Location:
    ak,nz
    great pics Steve

    clearly my trip down there 20 years ago was insufficient and needs to be done again
    #17
    KiwiPewe and Box'a'bits like this.
  18. Left Testicle

    Left Testicle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #18
  19. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Sorry to see he felt the need to list that. It's a nice rig. Met him at the Cold Kiwi year before last.
    #19
  20. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,546
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Monday 2nd Nov.
    Pack up day, & the house needed a clean. Some of the team were heading for Hanmer via the Lewis Pass. Bassman1 & I were headed for Reefton. But potentially we didn’t need to split until Springs Junction.

    [​IMG]

    Breakfast at Wholemeal Cafe, in Takaka.

    [​IMG]

    Then an alternate route out via East Takaka, up against the hills. The Takaka Hil was clear this time, so it was a pleasant trip across. I may have been chasing solos again. Stop on the other side at the 20 min stop lights, which allowed a regroup. Unfortunately the Nelson side's weather wasn’t the greatest, & it was just a question of time until the wet weather gear would make a reappearance.

    Andy led this time, as he’d downloaded an app to plan a route through the more interesting backroads. My eTrex has some limitations in that department, if you can't use a computer for planning.

    We took in Sherry River Road again. By the time we reached that it was well & truely raining, and of course they were logging in there (we passed through an active logging site), so it became a bit of a mud fest. I noticed that both MD & I suffered the most, with high, relatively short front mudguards on. The former (longer) YZ250F guard I’d taken off for cosmetic reasons looked better with every passing kilometre. I was having trouble even seeing thru my visor.

    [​IMG]
    MD, though I may have been his twin thru this section. Photo stolen from Andy

    But once past the logging area, things improved somewhat.

    I have to admit to being secretly pleased to see Ken having to do running repairs to his sidecar front guard after that section. His rig is immaculately prepared & very few things appear to go wrong. But corrugations claimed a bolt on his front guard.

    [​IMG]

    At the intersection of SH6 & SH63, MD turned left instead of right. I’d decided earlier that I’d have a crack at the Porika Track (with Bassman1), & I did wonder if MD had decided to lead the rest of the group thru there. But when he steamed on past Howard Valley Road I knew it was a mistake. We pulled over, & eventually got the convoy turned around.

    Bassman1 had been feeling unwell, & I’d had some doubts, but well, seeing as we were right there, we decided the two of us would crack into it. And the rain obliged by stopping.

    [​IMG]

    The rest of the group decided to head for Gowan Valley Rd, so that they could go through the Braeburn Track.

    Actually I found the Porika more challenging on the eastern side, than the descent to Lake Rotoroa. The eastern side had a few rocky ledges I needed to pick lines thru. The slip at the top seemed fairly sandy, but didn’t have the big rocks I’d needed to move last time I came up it. And the descent was also seemed fairly free of the big erosion ruts that’d troubled me on the solo (or perhaps I was just able to straddle them on the sidecar, so they were less of an issue). But it did occur to me that this would be a fine time for the front brake line to blow out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The track was steep enough at this point that even though the bike was parked in gear, the mass of the rig wanted to push the motor over compression, so it could make it's own way down the hill

    [​IMG]

    I have to admit to being pretty chuffed to have 'knocked the b'stard off'...Apparently I'm someone's hero (Hi Bill :wave). There may have been doubters in the other crew :D

    After all the recent rain, Lake Rotoroa was encroaching on the carpark & the boat landing was submerged.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The others also apparently had a bit of fun in here.

    [​IMG]
    Photo stolen from Andy

    Bassman1 got lost when I plowed thru the flooded lake roadway, but he attempted to avoid getting wet feet by going another way.

    Braeburn Track was in pretty good nick too – just a few corrugations. The amount of water going over the various concrete bottomed fords was up. But not enough to shift the rig sideways, unlike the last time I was through there with the R80/Velorex rig. On that trip the combo of a slippery bottom & the weight and swiftness of the rain run off (from an overnight storm) almost pushed the rig over the edge of one of the ford.

    Rolled into Murchison, & discovered we were only five or ten minutes behind the rest of the crew. They’d stopped for lunch at ‘Zen’, a vegetarian street vendors. So we joined them for lunch, & I gobbled some goulash soup (beans, beans, the magical fruit), & a pesto thingie.

    Out along Matataikiki Rd. I always feels a bit like a kid in front of a whitewashed fence on that road. Perfect for long slides & sustained loss of traction. It’s a favourite. Regroup at Horse Bridge. That leads nicely into the Maruia Saddle, which didn’t seem as nice or as smooth this year. Tried for another engine off glide on the other side of that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    SH65 past the Maruia township, right across the Maruia River & left onto West Bank Rd.

    We split from the team at Springs Junction. Bassman1 & I headed for Reefton, the rest for Hanmer. Their intention was to ride Molesworth Tuesday, & then to catch the ferry home.

    We stayed the night at the Reefton Domain motor camp. The owner gave us a very good price for our cabin. Too good. We decided we’d stay 2 nights.

    Dinner at the Reefton Motor Inn.
    #20
    bikemoto, MrKiwi, KiwiPewe and 6 others like this.