It was nearing the annual Rusty Nuts Motorcycle Clubs Grand Challenge... This year is the 25th Anniversary of this great event so they have added an extra extension ride the day before.. This ride is 900km which will make the whole weekend 2500km... I wasn't sure if my heavy travel workload would allow me time to do this run but fortune and good planning allowed me to take some time to prepare for it...
I took the week off to get ready. I have done a grand challenge in the past when I was tired... Not an easy thing and was forced to sleep on a park bench to gather energy. This year I wanted to do the extension as well and I wanted to be rested to do it...
So I needed some time out to rest... as well and a long ride or two to get the body ready for the big event.
I rode Xena down to Turangi for Labour Weekend and some work on the truck. That is not a long ride.. Just 330km so hardly worth mentioning... lol... So after the labour weekend I decided to plan a longer ride.. Just to get the body used to the seat...
I wanted to go over to Hawkes Bay to check on one of my geocaches... It hasn't had a find on it recently and I wanted to make sure it was still in place. So I planned a round trip that would give me some kms under my rear.
On Monday night I planned a route on some back roads that I had been on when riding other Rusty Nut rides... Including plenty of twisty roads to get me in the groove.
Tuesday morning I was up early and donned the gear and loaded up Xena.
Xena waiting to go.. GPS all loaded... Route Set and I was on the road by 0730.. I rode south across the desert road.. I am not one for stopping to take pics on a ride but I had put the camera in my top box so maybe I will take a couple of pics along the way.
South past Waiouru and Taihape and turned left onto the Ruahine Road just before Mangaweka... Nice twisty roads down into the river valley and then up the other side... Nice bike roads. I turned left onto the Apiti Road down to another river and up the other side and followed the Pohangina Valley Road down to Ashhurst... I knew the Manawatu Gorge road was still closed with a slip so I turned left before Ashhurst on to the Saddle road among all the wind turbines. Would have been a nice pic but I didn't stop.. Traffic was constant as this is the main route across this range at the moment.
Over to Woodville I stopped for a coffee at a local cafe. I didn't want to stop too long so a quick toilet stop and I was off again. I had set my route over to Porangahau so turned right at Dannevirke and followed the Weber Road onto Route 52 towards Porangahau. This road is a favourite on the grand challenge but I usually ride it in the middle of the night.. It is good to see the scenery during the day.
There are some twisty bits on this road... a couple of corners are not marked and are very tight.. I had to brake Xena a couple of times to avoid going over the edge... But Xena is forgiving and she responds to my commands.
I stopped at the longest place name just before Porangahau... Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipikakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu... I remember when I was a kid taking three weeks to memorise the pronunciation of that place name.. I can still roll it off my tongue...!!! Must be the Maori heritage....
A quick photo stop... and away I go again.. I wanted to figure out how to take pics easier.. So I put the camera on top of the tank bag with the strap around my drink bottle to stop it from falling off.. Riding towards Waipukurau I decided to attempt a moving pic while riding along.. This was the result...
With my gloved left hand while riding at 100kmh I managed to turn the camera on and hold it up and take the pic... But it came out blurry with my hands trying to do three things at once... That done I had to turn the camera off and get the strap back securely onto the drink bottle.. Which I couldn't manage... And had to stop to do it.. So note to self... Don't take pics on the move.. So I now keep the camera zipped up in my tank bag and will stop for any photo shots.
I got to Waipukurau and filled up with petrol.. The tank gets me about 460km so pretty good for long trips. I stop at a cafe in Waipawa to get some lunch but the cafe is gone..!! Oh buggar.. My old home town is shrinking... So I get some fish and chips at the local fish shop and put them in by top box and head out towards the Cold Duck Rally SIte. I detoured to McGreevey Street to have a look at the house where I used to live..
I spoke to the neighbor across the road and she tells me that it is rented out at the moment... Lots of memories living in that house.. On my way again I head out to the Tamamu Bridge where the local motorcycle club holds the annual Cold Duck Rally. A few years ago I hid a geocache there and I wanted to check it.
Xena parked at the entrance to the Cold Duck Rally site.. It doesn't seem to be used at this time of year. I think it is a holiday camping ground in the summer.
I had my fish and chips next to the river and checked on the geocache.. It was in good order so I geared up again and headed north.
I rode the main highways and bypasses through Hastings and Napier.. Speed wasn't on my agenda just enjoying the ride... I head up over the Napier - Taupo road. Getting close to Taupo I realise there is a new road that bypasses the Taupo front so turned at the roundabout and headed west towards Turangi.
The New cutting.. You can see the mountains in the distance.. Note I stopped the bike to take this pic..
Riding on down to the lake front I pulled over at 5 Mile Bay and took another pic...
Another nice view of the mountains in the distance... Heading off again I arrived in Turangi at around 1530... A nice ride of 674km
This is the GPS track of the ride... A great way to see the country. The body held up pretty well.. I think I am ready for the big weekend. A couple of days rest will get me prepared.
See you on the road.