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

East Cape Trip

Some photos from the East Cape trip.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

NZ Distance Riders 1600KM

The New Zealand distance riders hold an annual North Island 1600KM in 24hrs challenge and three of us decided we would take up the challenge.

Tony, Ken and I rode up to Turangi on Friday afternoon and stayed in the Top Ten Holiday camp overnight. That evening the 1600KM course was revealed to just over 50 riders that were taking part in the event. Cape Reinga and back ! Well we were pretty familiar with that chal- lenge and knew it was a long old slog up through Northland. The course took in some pretty twisty back roads along with some state highway action. After planning our stops and program- ming the checkpoints into Tony’s GPS we headed for an early night.

Next morning was a leisurely breakfast and lunch before it was time to set out at 1pm. It was staggered starts to keep the bikes split up but the first few hundred KM’s were pretty busy with bikes. I witnessed a guy fall off on a bend but he managed to get back on and carry on. The bikes soon split up and we ended with our own space just regularly passing the same few bikes as we stopped for fuel-ups and re-passed each other. The plan was to get as far as possible with only short stops while the light was good. By the time we got to Whangarei it was dark, we were supposed to stop for tea there but managed to miss the only fast food joint and had to carry on to Kawakawa for fish and chips.

Riding through the very dark night we realised quickly why so many of the seasoned riders had adorned their bikes with huge floodlights, it was hard concentrating in poor light for so many hours. I was on a BMW roadster with an upright riding position but no fairing. We made the cape at 12:30 am and it was pitch black just like the last time we were there. The wind pressure at elevated speeds was getting very tiring and by 5:30am I had to stop for a break so I took a 30 min nap on a park bench at Warkworth. Later it pissed down with rain and that actually woke me up for the rest of the ride. We made it back to Turangi just before noon, about two thirds of the way through the pack which wasn’t bad considering it was our first time. Then it was time for a hot meal and an hours rest before we hopped back on the bikes and rode the 300 kms home.

It was hard work and very tiring but the feeling of accomplishment at the end was pretty bloody good and I’m glad I decided to take part. I would probably recommend doing it on a bike with some wind protection and extra lights as it would make it much easier. If anyone wants to give it a go but needs some practice first they also run an 800KM ride on the same day which doesn’t go on through the night. There is the 1000KM cruise that takes place on the 5th November this year. 

Cheers Nik