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Saturday was a fantastic day in Palmy and with Sunday supposed to be bringing a change in the weather then I needed to use Saturday for my important battery charging - the poor old Connie hadn't even been fired up in ages... But, naturally, she fired up straight away and we were off.  This time around I had a bit of a plan - I wanted to ride the Paraparas but decided that I wanted to ride them
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Once again there has been a bit of rain falling around the place and though we weren't hit as bad as the East Coast and some other places we did have a few local roads closed and the rivers came up a lot requiring flood gates to be opened and that sort of thing.  But with Saturday morning not looking too bad I decided to make my own recce of the Pohangina Valley and in the process check out a
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...that this was in my shed... It's a long weekend here and yesterday was supposed to be the best day of the weekend weather-wise (forecast is holding true so far) so I took the opportunity to give the poor old Connie a quick run. I decided that perhaps lunch in Hunterville sounded ok but that I should probably make sure that I got in a decent ride.  So rather than a direct route over
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Perhaps putting "Winter" in the title of this ride wasn't the best idea - it perhaps encouraged Mother Nature to get involved and supply some dampness... But that's getting ahead of things.  After a great ride in the 'naki checking out some tunnels courtesy of Phreaky Phil, I decided to return the favour and organise a wee outing down this neck of the woods.  After a bit of a survey, I settled
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...are great things.  They occasionally magically appear on the doorstep and contain farkles... Maybe it's bikkies? To kill the suspense that must be bugging you by now - it's a new tank bag.  Before the TT2000 I attempted to buy the one I wanted in NZ but the supplier could not get the tank mount for me in time so I left it until now.  In the end FC-Moto had a wee sale on at Easter and I
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The other night I ended my post with the below picture:


The bloke in the picture is Chris and Chris has an Iron Butt - he even has the paperwork to prove it...

Prior to Anzac Day Chris had two Saddle Sore 1600km rides under his belt (that's 1,600km in 24 hours for those not familiar with the IBA's lingo) and on Anzac Day he was after number three.  In fact it wasn't an ordinary SS1600 either - the one he was chasing is a special Anzac Day version open only to Aussies and Kiwis.

I won't go into all the details around his ride as you can find all that on Chris's own blog here: https://www.wiltshire.net/2018/04/26/anzac-ride-ss1600-2018/

Anyway, Chris had advertised his ride on the NZ Distance Rider Facebook page and asked if anyone wanted to join him for a portion of his epic ride.  He got two takers and one was me :)


During the day I checked in on his Spotwaller page to see how he was progressing while I did boring stuff like changing brake pads and vacuuming...

Chris gave me a ring when he hit Paraparam and gave me an ETA into Ashhurst of 20:30.  That sounded about right to me so at around 8 I saddled up, picked up some fuel and then rode out to Ashhurst to wait for him.

I had time to take the above picture, fart around with my phone (checking his Spotwaller again) and get my camera ready when I heard the sound of an inline four approaching.  It was coming from a funny direction and in the end wasn't him - it was a R1 or R6 though...

About 5 minutes later I finally spotted an array of lights coming my way and managed to get that first picture of Chris arriving.  We quickly made our introductions and then Chris got stuck into fuelling his bike, taking the required photos and completing his all important paperwork.

Yes, this is a long distance R1
This pump stumped him as it wasn't going to give out a receipt - Chris had to change pumps...
Once I'd taken a few pics I hurriedly put away my camera and got my gear on.  I didn't want to hold up Chris too much - he still had 500km to go.

We departed Ashhurst and I led Chris over through Colyton to Cheltenham and then onto Vinegar Hill.  While we were riding Chris called me on the phone and we spent a lot of the ride chatting away about endurance riding and funnily enough motorcycles...The phone cut out reasonably often but it was quite neat being able to chat to Chris while enjoying a really pleasant ride.

We got to talking about lights too and just past Rewa Chris passed me so he could show off his setup (more details about it on his blog) and I just tucked in behind for the rest of the ride to the main road.

For the occasion I ran a camera on the front and rear of the Connie so the video below shows bits of Chris following and then leading - along with a fair bit of darkness...

Chris W's Anzac SS1600 - YouTube

At the main road we quickly said goodbye and Chris headed North towards the completion of his SS1600.


As for me, I took the boring ride home via SH1 and then Halcombe.  I did enjoy the ride though as there was very little traffic and it was a nice still night but not too cold.  Some coal may have got burnt in places...

I ended up home by just before 10 and after organising vehicles and taking off my gear, checked in on Chris and saw that he was just hitting Waiouru.  Then I went to bed and left him to it...

The next day saw confirmation that Chris made it home with time to spare and hopefully all the paperwork he needs to get his certificate - well done Chris!

Oh, and I think there might just be a challenge in order eh Chillertek?
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Yesterday was Anzac Day, the day Kiwis and Ozzies remember our veterans and war casualties.  It is a public holiday but a greater and greater number of people are attending services all over the country to commemorate the terrible sacrifice that has been made so that we may enjoy the lifestyle we do.

Early before the majority of attendees arrived
I attended the Dawn Parade here in Palmy and it was very well attended and was a great service.  I particularly enjoyed the way a high school student spoke of his ancestors who had fought and suffered in the two world wars.  I was also shocked to learn that Palmerston North's deaths in WW1 alone were a staggering 800 from a population that was then only 12,000 - one can only imagine the effect that had on the community.

After the always sobering and emotional service I returned home and got into more mundane tasks - a walk with the dog and then a job that occurs around every 25,000km - front brake pads for the Connie...


The heavy weight and lack of engine braking is fairly hard on the pads and the old ones were well and truly shot.

While I was working on the bike I kept an eye on the time and an ear out for the arrival of our local Spitfire - it along with 2 of the air force's Texan trainers were programmed to fly over a number of the local war memorials as part of the Anzac day activities.

Unfortunately she was flying low and slow so hard to hear properly and also difficult to get a picture from my driveway.  Here's the best blurriness that I could capture:

V12 beats turbine every time...
Here's what they really look like (and a chance to show off some of my favourite photos from the 2013 Wings Over Wairarapa).







The rest of the day was bright and sunny and I spent it at home pottering about until later on in the evening when I popped out on the Connie to meet this chap:


More on that later...let's sign off with some magic from Mr Knopfler...

Mark Knopfler's World War 1 guitar tribute for The Last Post project - YouTube


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So where was I?  Oh, that's right, we'd just popped out of tunnel 2 or 4 and it was time to head for Whangamomona for a late lunch.  But first there was a little more gravel on Junction Road to get us back onto the Forgotten Highway.

Junction Road - YouTube

Our last little bit of excitement was the Whanga Saddle and all its neat twists and turns before dropping back down into Whanga itself.  As per usual on a weekend we weren't the only bikes there, two filthy trail bikes and an even filthier 1190 were parked up having found some even more interesting scary roads.



Nice day in Whanga

Rose between 2 thorns...


Stephen finally stopped moving...
It took quite a while to get the tribe fed so there was plenty of time for the telling of tall tales and while we were there the heavens really opened up helped me make the decision to put my wets back on for the rest of the afternoon.

We finally got back underway sometime around 3 and next up was the familiar tunnel on the main road itself - I wonder how many times I've ridden it now?

Next up we had a fairly long stint towards Kiwi Road.  One part I really liked was the drop down Okau Road following Reuben on his KTM Supertanker (45L onboard!).

Okau Road - YouTube

Next up was the scramble up Kiwi Road to Tunnel number 5.  Having done this on the last tunnel tour with the BRR I knew what to expect - narrow, twisty, rough and tricky work.  It was slow going in places with 2nd gear most of the time and even first a couple of times.  The Tenere got a bit hot and bothered but seemed to handle everything pretty well - I reckon that even though she's heavier than the Vee, she is the better bike in all situations.

Here's a few snippets of the climb up the hill:

Kiwi Road - YouTube

Out the other side of the tunnel the road improves and I had a blast following Reuben again and even managed to pass him at one stage.  He got me back when there was some fresh (and deep) gravel later on when we hit Moki Road.  There was also a few muddy looking sections which I took nice and easy too.  Still a lot of fun though...

Kiwi & Moki Roads - YouTube

The last tunnel of the ride came just up the road a bit on Uruti Road and then we eventually ran out of gravel as we came out on the coast just North of Urenui.  It looked like a nice day was slowly ending there...

Urenui - YouTube

At the bottom of the hill we stopped and then started separating as people either made their way to petrol, motels or in my case home.

Homeward bound

After saying thanks to Phil and seeya later to some of the others I took off and made for Urenui.  The Tenere had been pretty fugal on the fuel during the ride (5L/100km) so when I hit Urenui I still hadn't got a low fuel warning and kept on rolling...only to have the alarm come on at Motnui...

I turned off onto 3A and aimed for Inglewood for my top up but when I hit Inglewood there wasn't a station on the South side of town so I carried on under skies that were starting to look fairly dark and ominous.

By the time I hit Stratford the sky was really black and I managed to squeeze in just over 20L (so theoretically nearly 3L to spare) for the 378km the bike had done - not too shabby.  I also popped on my Goretex gloves and then hit the road.

As it happened I managed to avoid any real rain only had  a few spits coming into Palmy.  It was quite a good and quick (5.5L/100km) trip back and I got to enjoy my Denali's and their motorist zapping potential a few times too.  I rocked up home a smidgen before 8pm and in this order: lit the fire, had a hot shower and then fed my worms - what a great day out on the bike.

So, a big thanks to Phil for organising the ride and leading us around all over the 'naki in search of holes through the rock - it's a cracker route and one I'll be keen to do again sometime.  My GPS decided not to record any tracks for 90% of the day so the map below was created from Phil's GPS route that he sent out and I don't think that we deviated from it.  The Tenere's (except the one in NP) show the approximate location of all the tunnels.


Oh, and finally, here's all the tunnels in one video:

The Tunnels - YouTube
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Over the past month or so I'd been closely watching a thread on Adv Rider where a dodgy sounding bloke called Phreaky Phil was planning a ride taking in the Taranaki Tunnels with a bunch of his mates.  Funnily enough this appealed somewhat to this particular moto-bicyclist and I made plans to tag along - I even took a day off work!

With the ride starting in New Plymouth I decided to ride up on Friday afternoon and stay at my sister's the night but early on in the week the weather really changed and there was even tornado's in the 'naki!  What was it going to be like for us nutters?

As it turned out Friday wasn't too bad at first, just a few spits riding over to Whanganui.  Cruising further on up the road I decided to stop for fuel in Patea and then perhaps do some exploring inland from Hawera/Normanby.  Trouble was some bloke had dug up the forecourt of the garage in Patea so no fuel for me.

Naturally my low fuel alarm came on not long after Patea so I decided that I'd have to break my usual habit and stop in Hawera for fuel.  This ended up being a pretty good idea as it started raining with some vigour just out of Hawera and the fuel stop gave me the chance to put on my wets.

I think the rain cleared again not far out of Hawera but I was still glad to be a bit warmer.  The narrow country road out to my sisters was a little exciting as it was fairly slippery in places and had all sorts of wreckage sprinkled all over it.  My Brother-in-law also failed to run me over with his big tractor too so I was fairly happy about that as I parked up and went in to have afternoon tea with my nephews and niece.

Ride Day

I wasn't quite the first one up in the morning (someone had to milk the cows and it wasn't me) but after a quick brekkie, a sort out of gear and sticking my wets on just in case, I was on my way towards New Plymouth to meet up with the crew.

Gassing up, there were already a few keen ones lined up and waiting patiently for the rest to arrive and in the end we must have had nearly 30 of us including some keen pillions.  I of course got to meet Phreaky Phil and a lot of others but also managed to catch up with a few of the old BRR crew which was fantastic.

Check out the nice sunny day


Once everyone had arrived and had the chance to say gidday Phil got us under control and gave us the word on the plans for the ride.  While a few of us had the route loaded into our GPS's, we also ran the cornerman system and had a TEC - good stuff.

Leaving New Plymouth we took all manner of sealed back roads which got me fairly well lost even though I did have the route...just follow the pink line boyo...

As mentioned in one of the team's write-ups we got to ride over a very neat old bridge on Bertrand Road.  It even had bollards on it to prevent larger vehicles crossing it - the Tenere managed to squeeze through.  I wish I had time to flick on the camera but missed it.  Here's how it looks on Street view:


After a quick regroup it was on to our first tunnel on Otaraoa Road.  At this stage I was sitting behind Phil and there was no stopping for pictures so you'll have to wait for later for the video of the tunnel...

Being the #2 rider meant that sooner rather than later I was going to be corner man and this happened at the intersection of Otaraoa and Tarata Roads.  Some not so quick thinking meant that I was able to get just about everyone on camera as the rode past - shame I was pointing the way and not straight at the riders...

The Riders on the Taranaki Tunnel Tour - YouTube

Continuing along Tarata Road we encountered some nice twisty tarmac before finally hitting some nice gravel for the run to the second tunnel.  Here's a little of the action as I sit behind Wayne and another rider.  Shortly after the video ends I managed to squeeze past for a little fun...and then get passed myself by a big Husky...

Tarata Road - YouTube

Tunnel number 2 was just up the road a bit on Mangaoapa Road and this time around we stopped for a few pics and to watch a tractor towing a big ole stock trailer carefully through the tunnel - it was a tight fit...

Do you see the light?



After this quick photo op we hit the road again and made our way to Stratford for a late morning tea break.  I got to be cornerman again and managed to snap off a few quick snaps of some of the riders on my crappy little point and shoot.  There were one or two of us...

Gosh, that's a nice bike!

Big Husky



Here they come!

Stephen missing half of his front wheel...

Outta my way!




KTM supertanker chasing down a wee Trumpy


Nev looking a bit blurry



AT riding TEC looking good
After our refreshments we followed our fearless leader East out of Stratford and took in some more windy sealed roads both on and off the Forgotten Highway until we hit the next bit of gravel on Mangaehu Road.

Mangaehu Road - YouTube

At Makahu and just short of Tunnel number 3 we stopped for another quick regroup.




Tunnel country


I believe that it was somewhere along here where Night Falcon took a pretty damn fine photo...

Can't let Nev get away on me...
Tunnel #3 ridden we popped out onto the Forgotten Highway again before turning off again and heading towards familiar country...

I got to play cornerman again too...

Disappearing Supertanker




Probably my favourite shot of the day...


Friendly Bemwar rider



Can't seem to get a decent pic of Stephen for some reason...

My camera needs glasses...

BMW make Supertankers too

And still they keep coming...


Not far up the road we entered tunnel number 4 or perhaps it was #2...

Phew, it takes a bit of writing this and Nev says that's enough for tonight...

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Sunday was a cracker of a day and there were these new tyres that needed some scrubbing.  After the usual dog walking and such I decided to check out the Tagorama thread and go in search of the tag.

As it turned out, the tag was an easy find but a wee bit of a peddle to get to.  I decided to make a bit of a loop out of it and you'll see that on the map further down the page.

The trip over the Pahiatua track was good but I did show a little respect to the new tyres and didn't push them too hard.  They did feel pretty damn nice though - it is surprising what a decent tyre profile does to the handling...

More corners through to Mangamire and then onto Hamua-Rongomai Road, Mangaone Valley Road and Pa Valley Road finally got me onto Route 52 for the trip up to the tag at the Tiraumea Hall.

Tag!

Another crap day on the East Coast
More of the bumpy and windy Route 52 got me to Pongaroa where I needed to stop to remove a layer as I was working up a bit of a sweat.

The rest of the ride took me over to Makuri and then into Pahiatua for a pie before having an even better run over the track and home again.  Somewhere along the way I even found a new tag for the game...

A mystery location
Home just after one and around 200km of great autumn riding.

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