Thursday, 2 May 2019

AGM 2018

Saturday morning came along, finally. We all met at the ferry terminal for the start of our adventure down south for nearly 2 weeks incorporating the Annual Ulysses AGM in Mosgiel the following weekend. The trip over on ferry was nice and calm. Apparently some people saw the odd dolphin or two. I didn’t as when they said there was one, it disappeared.
We all came off the ferry in different directions. We had been waiting for bikes to catch up and then we got a text to say they were at a garage and were heading off over the Queen Charlotte Sound drive. We went looking for them but they had gone. So we headed off as well. Luckily we all had planned to stop at Pelorus for lunch. We weren’t far behind. That cafe is always a great stop for a break.
From there we headed to Nelson and there is where all the wheels fell off. Figuratively speaking that is. We were quite a bit behind and when we hit Nelson, we headed to Richmond and onto the meeting place at Wake- field. When we all got there, we were missing Mike. We waited awhile and Rex & Wayne headed back to see if they could find him, to no avail. Some headed straight for motel at Murchison and others headed to St Arnaud and then to Murchison. Mike was already at Motel as he went the long way through Nelson as Rex went the so called short cut. Actually it ended up being the long cut.
From Murchison we headed towards Westport via Buller gorge. The mandatory stop at Hawks Crag. Unfortunately they were road marking and both Nobby and I got caught. So now I had a white tailed Spyder and Nobby also had a white tail. No signs up to warn people. Lunch and refuel at Westport the off down south. Catch up at Punikaiki. Nice easy ride to Hokitika and tea at the renowned pizza place.
The next day was a hard slog to Wanaka. Our longest day ride. Didn’t help with rain starting from Franz Josef and got worse the further south we went. Lunch and refuel at Haast pub. Going through Haast Pass in rain is not the best. Catch up at Makarora where the rain eased off and dry going into Wanaka. Because we were a wee way out of town, we decided to send someone (me) into New World and get some tea and have it at camp. After long wet day, most headed to bed earlier than normal.
From there we headed off down Crown Range and into the Cardrona Pub for morning tea. From there it was out to Arrowtown for a look see. We left there and headed out to Glenorchy for lunch. We spent a while there after lunch and then headed back to Queenstown for the night. We wouldn’t recommend the camp ground even though it had the best ablution block I have come across. Kitchen was good but had quite a few lights out of action. Accommodation was very basic.
From there we headed to Invercargill via Gore. We started to get rain about an hour out of Queenstown so we stopped at Athol for a warm up cuppa. And also some of the best muffins we have had. I didn’t help that they had just come out of the oven. A good break. From there we went to the Croydon Aviation Centre. The guys went and had a look around the museum whilst the gals went straight to the cafe to warm up. Lunch was nice there.
Last slog to the Deep South with weather getting worse as we got closer to Invercargill. It was surprising to see so many cars in the bad light with no lights on. We didn’t stop in Gore liked we hoped but maybe another day. It was a great relief to get to motel and get wet cold gear off and warmed up. After we got warm and dry we all headed off over to pub across road. It was a good happy hour or so. The next day the gals headed into town to go shopping, whilst the guys headed to Bill Richardson’s Truck Museum. An easy two hours or more gone. And I don’t think we saw it all. From there we headed to the relocated Classic Bike Museum. So far not as good as it was in Nelson but it is in its early stages. The evening meal was at the local RSA. Same place they had the 2016 AGM.
The next day we headed to Mosgiel via the Catlins. But before that we went to Bluff as a couple of people hadn’t been there. We didn’t stay long as you couldn’t see anything. Mainly to say been there and photo at sign post. The journey through the Catlins was not the usual nice ride. We took a wrong turn as everyone else had shot way ahead. Lucky we knew that we were meeting up at the Niagara Falls cafe. Unfortunately the route we took had some road works going on and we spent about 10kms on fresh laid lime. So when we got to cafe, the Spyder was covered in yucky lime. Not to worry, when the others headed to Curio Bay, they came back looking just as bad.
We got to motel complex nice and early. There was a queue for hose and cleaning gear. Even had time to head to AGM / Rally HQ and have a look at what was on offer and grab our registra- tion gear. AGM was a very straight forward event and over fairly quickly. After that we headed back to motel and chilled out until later when we headed to Event centre for the night. We thought that we would win the best dressed comp again but luckily a couple of clubs had great outfits. The evening was good. Alas, nobody from our region won the bike. Have to take another ticket next year to try again.
Sunday we headed to the breakfast venue earliest so we could get on road as soon as possible. We headed straight inland towards Middlemarch. The rest of the group headed on a scenic drive as it was going to be quite windy, so Annette and I headed on direct route to Middlemarch where we waited for others to catch up. From there we met up again at St Bathans at the Vulcan Hotel. The others went via Naseby with some going direct from Naseby to St Bathans while the others went back to main Rd and up. When we got there, the cafe staff said that they had another group arriving soon and that we would have to wait awhile. Then they said no at all. So we all bought out our thermos flasks and had a coffee straight across the road. While watching more poten- tial customers been turned away.
From there we went on to Omarama over the Lindis Pass. Great views looking down the valley. We got to Motel nice and early and freshened up and headed for pub just down the road. Another good happy hour was had and a great meal. Big helpings. The accommodation was one of the best on trip. Highly recommended. One of the very few motels to offer unlimited wifi without getting a chit. Just put password in like wifi at home and that’s it. In with a grin.
We headed for Tekapo for refuel and lunch the next day. Love riding through the centre of the South Island. Great motorcycling country. We picked the wrong day to be at Tekapo as there were so many tourists there; it was hard to get some photos of the church without them. Or anywhere for that fact. Weather was great which makes the ride through there so much nicer. From there we headed to Christchurch and to motel in centre of city. Not the best motel, gone down a bit from last time the group went there on last trip. Lucky there was a pub down road for tea. We didn’t stay more than one night there. Some people went out to Akaroa and on up to Amberly while the others mulled around Christchurch until meeting time. No great panic as it was only an hour and half ride to Hanmer Springs. Out there in plenty of time to indulge ourselves in the hot pools. The motel complex was at the start of the town but the motelier let us have the courtesy van for awhile. Best accommodation on trip. Another endless wifi motel.
From there we headed on to Waiau as the Kaikoura coast was open but with delays. In- stead of heading towards Mt Lyford and to Kaikoura we opted to head straight from Waiau to Parnassus and up coast to Kaikoura. That road was very windy. The road from Parnassus up to Kaikoura showed the devastation that they endured from the earthquake. How far the ground had risen. It was hard to watch the road and look around you. Lunch was in Kaikoura. Headed off again to Blenheim via coastal route. The road when finished will be a great asset to area. They are using both the old road and making new ones. We stopped at the vacant pub at Ward for another thermos cup- pa. Having a look around pub at damage done from earthquake. Then it was a dash for Blenheim. At motel there, bikes got a quick clean for last leg home the next day. Can’t go home with too dirty a bike after going on the roadwork’s up the Kaikoura coast.
When we came off ferry at Wellington, we all made our own way home. A good trip with great company. We were still friends at end of trip. There were lots of moments both good and bad. But the good moments outweighed the bad ones. That is what makes a good trip. A big thank you to Mike for organising the accommodation. A job well done. Rex for taking the lead, most of the time. Couple of hiccups. But we all got around in one piece with no bike problems.

Cheers, Kevin.


It was a grey and drizzly morning in Carterton and the wind was getting up but the cold frosty
weather from the previous day was long gone and it was a balmy 10C. I put my water proofs
on and headed up to Masterton to see who else was braving the elements. Lawrie, Nobby and
Mike turned up so we went to Riversdale for coffee and a toasted sammy. As we headed East
out to the coast the clouds faded away and we had a beautiful blue sky to sit under for lunch.
On our return we took the gravel option, via Homewood road. Nobby went on to Masterton
because he had stuff to do and was on the ST, not his Africa Twin.
The first part of the gravel was hard packed and straight so was very easy, Mike was riding
his new BMW F700GS with road tyres so was being very careful, no one wants drop a new
bike in the first week of ownership. The road started to curve up nicely and the gravel got
deeper as we headed on, Lawrie up front setting the pace. I stayed behind Mike and watched
him have a few “moments” in the deep gravel on a couple of bends. We stopped to re-group
and I gave Mike a couple of tips about standing up on the tighter turns and sticking his head
and butt out to put weight on the outside of the turns. This helped and we made a good pace
for the final part of the journey. I returned home just in time to miss out on a down pour, a
great way to spend a Sunday morning with friends.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Lake Ferry Ride: 18 June 2017

We had 5x bikes and one Golden Nugget trike venture out to Lake Ferry.

Weather started off foggy early morning but by the time 10am came around, the skies had cleared.

It was out past the dump to Millers Road then over to Ponatahi Road through to Martinborough. Turned right at the church and head down towards Featherston. At the end of Ponatahi Road and into Marty-bro we had fog. Lost it (the fog) at the top of the cutting and aimed for Te Mairie Road and onwards via Kahutara to Lake Ferry. As we got closer to Lake Ferry, we saw that the fog hadn't lifted there yet.

By this stage, all of us were a little bit cold and were lucky that the hotel people had lit the fire. Only just though. All except one ordered a hot drink instead of the usual cold ones.

We all had a feed and watched the mist lifting and we could see the other side of the lake ... yay.

Even though it was a bit cool, it was fine above the mist. It never ceases to amaze me that people, in conditions like that, do not put their head-lights on. Old adage ... be safe, be seen!

Some headed off earlier than the rest. Good trip back home. A lot warmer than going down.


New Plymouth Trip: Through the eyes of a 'Tin Top' traveller

Photo courtesy of Nik Player

Geoff and I were invited by Andy & Karen Wilson to go away with Ulysses on a roadie to see Festival of Lights in New Plymouth over Waitangi weekend. We traveled up on our own on Friday [some of us have to work haha], then meet up with some of the group for drinks and pizza.

The rest traveled up on Saturday [had to work longer] and we all gathered out the back of Karen and Andy’s unit for a chitchat and a beautifully cooked yummy barbeque.

Festival of Lights was stunning and I think everyone who went enjoyed it. I assume there was a head count on our return to the motel as it was easy to lose your bearings in the park in the dark. I reckon it was anyway hehe.

Sunday was a trip north for whitebait fritters at Mokau Whitebait Cafe [very yum], look through a local museum [interesting in small doses], stop for a regroup at a Lookout [beautiful view of river meeting the sea] which allowed us to catch up with the bikers, on through The Tunnel and lots of winding roads [good for bikes I’m told], then onto Awakino.

On the return trip everyone traveled back in their own time [and speed]. We and a few others found ourselves drawn to a Beer tasting /café place. Darn such an inconvenience. We had to spend a few hours there to allow our bikes /car to cool down. Yeah well ........ 

Scenery was beautiful on this trip; we traveled lots of these roads alone, as you bikers seem to find it easier to pass cars.

We had a great weekend, we were made to feel welcome and part of this group for the whole weekend. We thought the organisation and communication within the group [briefings] before the roadie etc, and the caring way you keep an eye out for each other are great.

Thank you for allowing these two people ‘who drive a 4 wheeled Tin Top’ be part of this week- end, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. 

PS We did manage to squeeze a bit of shopping into this busy weekend ! 

Carol and Geoff Hinton  

Waitangi weekend: New Plymouth - Festival of lights

Some members decided to go up on Friday where as the rest of us working folk had to contend with going up on Saturday. It was an early start by usual means.
Ride up was good as was the weather. Bit cool to start but as time went on and through the gorge it got better. Stopped for a pee break at Feilding then on to Wanganui for morning smoko and rest. On to Stratford for a lateish lunch before the last leg.

After we got to motel, sorted out rooms etc, we all caught up and decided that we would have a bbq tea at motel complex. This is always a great wind down after days ride. Catch up with people that we haven’t seen in awhile. Bit of an exodus for people getting food for it later in arvo. It was a bit quieter than usual as we were all going out later to Festival of Lights in Pukekura Park later.

At about 8 o’clock we headed down to park as it was only about a ten minute walk from motel. It was still a bit light but that didn’t matter as it let you look around before it got dark. Very easy to get lost or loose the group. The crowd wasn’t as large as was expecting as it was the second to last night of it. I would not have liked being the person or persons responsible for designing or putting it up. There were areas of wow and other areas of yeah ok. 

I was personally peeved off that I couldn’t take my tripod on bike as it was too large. So I didn’t get many good photo’s that were sharp and in focus. But I did get some good shots. 

After a couple of hours there we found each other and headed back to motel. It was a great warm night out.

Sunday, some headed off up the coast the Mokau to try the whitebait fritters there and have a look at the Museum as well. From there they headed on up to the tunnel in the Awakino gorge as some people haven’t been through a tunnel before, I think. 

Annette and I headed south to Okato as my daughter was over from Melbourne and she and her partner were going to a wedding there. We met up in a cafe there which, in a small town like that, was great. Was a bit hard to find though. Signage wasn’t good. After lunch, we headed back to motel and they headed home to Masterton. 

The group was looking at heading out of town to go to Transport and Aviation Museum but it was closing at 4pm and by the time most of the other group got back it was too late to go there. So instead, some of us headed back to the light show to see what we had missed out on and also see what park was like in day time.

Some of us headed into town for tea while others had another bbq with leftovers. Then again we headed back to the show to have a look at the parts we missed the night before. Bugger having no map to guide you. The mild nights made it so great to look at without the thought of rain spoiling it. Well worth the trip up there.

Monday. Home day. Bugger. We headed off at usual time and off down the surf highway to Hawera for morning tea. Refuel then enjoy the ride to Feilding for lunch. Going through Patea, there was a fair going on by the canoe. It made me think of the film Poi E which was centered there. 

All in all, a great weekend away with great company. Thank you.

Cheers, Kevin.  

Friday, 30 December 2016

Labour Weekend East Cape Ride Report

Day One – Fri 21 Oct: Masterton - Gisborne (411 Km)

Greg kindly organized a 4 day trip over Labour weekend for  those interested. The plan being to do the East Cape with an  overnighter halfway round. This trip would have been the stuff of nightmares for Rex,  had he been there. There were far too many BMWs in the  pack.

Everyone, bar the Wilsons and Nik met up for departure  from Farriers car park at 9 am. Today was going to be a rea-  sonable one in the saddle, with us covering over 400 Kms. Heading off the weather was not looking great but Ulyssians  don’t melt in the rain so we got under way with a leisurely  cruise up to Dannevirke with a quick stop for a fuel top up. Next leg of the trip took us to our old favourite, the Puketapu  Hotel for lunch. On arrival, Nik sent a text that he was about  100 Kms away and would catch up. Because we know he  travels sooooo slowly, we picked he would be there before we finished lunch. He didn’t disappoint and arrived before we all finished eating.

We chilled out while Nik got fed and watered and then we were off again, heading  north to Wairoa.
The weather, which to this point had been reasonable, decided to open up on us.  The pace slowed down a bit into the hills and twisties. Wayne, who had stolen Serena’s  new BMW R1200 GS for the trip, was the pussy of the pack in the rain, limping along like  he was on a mobility scooter, bleating about not being used to the bike, new tyres and his  visor fogging up and not being able to see.

From Wairoa, we followed the coastal route and arrived safely at Gisborne, where we made our  way to the Top 10 motor camp for our overnight lodgings. Once everyone was suitable rested and cleaned up, we all headed off to the Cossie club just a  short walk up the road for dinner and a few ales. The meal was pretty good with plenty of it and a reasonable price.

When we left the club to head back home, the heavens had opened and the rain was torrential.  After some discussion Mike, Nik and a couple of others decided to make a dash back to the motor camp. A very unwise decision as they got saturated. Those of us with wiser heads waited  until the courtesy van arrived back and rode back to our digs in comfort and stayed dry.

Day Two – Sat 22 Oct: Gisborne - Waihau Bay via the gorge (245 Km)

Saturday morning saw us up at sparrows and getting prepped for the day ahead. Breakfast for  most was the all day breakfast at the café just over from the motor camp.The rain gods decided that we hadn’t yet been sufficiently doused and preceded to wash our  bikes and gear.

Our route today was west to Opotiki via the gorge. This was a brilliant ride. The rain stopped  about quarter of the way through and the roads dried out and we were soon having fun zipping  through the twisties. We stopped midway through the gorge for a break before heading through  to Opotiki for a refuel.

Labour weekend on the coast is obviously the annual get together for unveilings on the coast, as  all the marae we passed were jam packed with people gathering to pay their respects.

Our route today was west to Opotiki via the gorge. This was a brilliant ride. The rain stopped about quarter of the way through and the roads dried out and we were soon having fun zipping  through the twisties. We stopped midway through the gorge for a break before heading through  to Opotiki for a refuel.

Labour weekend on the coast is obviously the annual get together for unveilings on the coast, as  all the marae we passed were jam packed with people gathering to pay their respects.

The weather was brilliant, all sign of rain well and truly gone. No wind and not too hot; perfect riding weather. The views were great.  Nice view out to White Island from a lay-by up from Hawai. Riding up the coast was a  great experience and very enjoyable. We had  planned to stop at the Pacific Coast Macadamia orchard and café in Whanarua Bay but it  wasn’t open when we arrived. We decided to continue on to Waihau Bay. Along the way, Bill Hammond decided to air his  clothes with his topbox getting indigestion and deciding to spew forth its contents.

We arrived at Waihau Bay, our stop for the night. Accommodation here was in units to the rear  of the hotel. View from the balcony looked out over the bay and the sunrise next morning was  pretty spectacular.

Another group of riders from Tauranga turned up later in the afternoon. They were a pretty good bunch and we ended up having a few beers with them during and after the All Blacks  rugby game. Mike was the only one able to hack the pace with us all hitting the sack while he continued on into the night, spinning yarns and flying the flag for the rest of us pikers. An excellent night; good company, a few bevvies and a 37-10 All Black win over our bretheren across the ditch.

Meals here were pretty average but still reasonable. Don’t think they planned on so many people being in for the weekend.

Day Three – Sun 24 Oct: Waihau Bay - Gisborne (230 Km)

Day three saw us up early.... well some of us at least were up to see the sunrise. After a cooked breakfast at the pub, it was time to mount up and head back toward Gisborne. It was here that Bill and Vicki departed company with us and headed off to visit friends/family up Tauranga way.

Once we’d strapped Bill Hammond’s top box down, we were off, cutting our way inland from  the cape and off to Hicks Bay. It was yet another brilliant day for riding. The route to Hicks  Bay wound up and over the ranges. Pace through here was pretty good and we had a rest break at the Hicks Bay lookout. Once again the views were great.

Dropping down and around Hicks Bay, we headed through to Ruatoria, where we stopped for a  coffee break. A few of us stayed out in the sun just coozing by the side of the road. Some of the  local kids joined us, asking a million and one questions; where we were from, where we were  going, who owned which bike, and after Greg said kia ora to them, how come a white Aussie bloke knew Maori words. In short order they were sitting on our bikes with big grins and waving out to all the ‘aunties’ cruising past. They were quite hard case kids.

After our rest we were off again heading to Tokomaru Bay for lunch at the pub. Toasted sammies and fish & chips were the order of the day and were pretty good. 

A bunch of us headed up to the old wharf. It is in a state of disrepair, with most of the piles  needing replacement and the concrete breaking down. There is a project under way to restore it,  similar to the restoration that was undertaken for the Tologa Bay wharf. One of the locals gave  us a bit of a run down on the restoration. Apparently it will cost couple of million to complete and there are also plans to restore the shipping office and old freezing works buildings. The  wharf and buildings were paid for and built by local farmers around 1911. The facility used to  service about 400 ships a year, taking frozen carcasses overseas. The works closed in the 1950s  and as with a lot of smaller towns throughout NZ, Tokomaru became a bit of a ghost town.  There certainly doesn’t seem to be much happening there.

Moving on, we took a detour and made our way to Anaura Bay to take a look around. Nice  beach and looks like a nice place to chill out over summer. Camp ground right on the beach.  When we arrived here, Bill Hammond’s fuel gauge was telling him he might be walking. With  the next fuel stop still half an hour away, he managed to coax his bike along and coasted into the service station at Tologa Bay with a sigh of relief. 

Some locals pointed us in the direction of the Tologa Bay wharf and we headed off there once  Bill was gassed up. 
This restored wharf is 660m long and is the longest wharf in NZ. It was completed in the late  1920’s and allowed large coastal ships to load and unload. Around the same time as it was commissioned, there was already work underway to establish a road through to Gisborne. Most of  the shipping coming in over the next few decades was off-loading road building equipment and  materials. Once the road was through, it was spelt the end for the coastal shipping and yet another town lost its main source of employment and income. 

Having spent a bit of time here roaming the wharf, we mounted up and made the last push  through to Gisborne and the Top 10 motor camp again for our final overnight stay. Andy and  Karen were there on our arrival, having ridden up from Napier. 

With a boutique brewery just a stone throw from our accommodation, it would have been rude  not to stop in and sample their wares. After much sampling, purchases were made and we ambled back to consume said bevvies in the comfort of the motel rooms. 

Dinner that night was a bit of a route march. We had planned to have a meal at an Irish bar but  they were full. So armed with Bill’s local truck stop knowledge, we set off across the river to try other establishments. Everything was full, not open, not for non-members or not suitable.  Heading back to town, we ended up breaking into groups and tracking down eating establishments of our own choosing. Burger Wisconsin, on Gladstone Rd had great burgers.

Day Four – Mon 25 Oct: Gisborne - Masterton (411 Km)

For most of us, breakfast was once again at the café across the road. Everyone was up and  about gassing up and getting ready for the trip home.

Our chosen route for the trip back to Wairoa was the inland route. This was a brilliant ride.  Nice and hilly with lots of twists and turns. The view as we descended into the valleys was  spectacular. Nature decided to test us by depositing various distractions along the route. We encountered turkeys, goats, sheep, land slips and Bernard.

Bernard had an interesting day. Cutting through a corner with a police car coming the other  way, over-taking up hill to a blind crest, stopping at a two lane bridge causing Mike and Serena  to throw out all anchors to avoid him. And that was all before our first stop at Bayview in Napier for lunch and refuel.

The weather throughout the day was OK, with just a couple of drizzly patches. We had a  straight run through from Napier with a fuel stop at Dannevirke and then on home. Everyone would have been happy to slump into familiar chairs and rest. It was an excellent weekend,  with good company and great rides. If you haven’t ridden the East Cape, keep an ear to the  ground for future club rides up this way. It is well worth the trip. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Super Thou

A couple of brave souls decided to ride the Super Thou challenge held by the NZ Distance Riders  The 1000km course was on some very wiggly back roads and we completed it in just under 12 hours.

The route  Click For Map