Thursday, February 26, 2015

ScooterBob's Gravel Adventure

With my two weeks off rapidly coming to an end I had to make sure that ScooterBob got to see a bit more of the country.  This time around a short circuit involving some delicious gravel was called for and ScooterBob was carefully packed in the Vee's topbox for this new adventure.

We left Palmy at around 9 and after being held up by the world's longest train in Bunnythorpe (4 engines and probably at least a kilometre long) we made our way out across Vinegar Hill to Hunterville where we gave the Vee a wee drinky before hitting the gravel.  After taking in the sealed section of Ongo Road we hit the gravel when we turned onto Turakina Valley Road.

The GoPro even played ball for a while...
It'd been a while since I'd had a decent squirt on gravel so I took things fairly quietly and made sure that we had time for a few photo stops.

Turakina Valley Road has to rate as one of my favourite gravel roads - it's pretty easy riding and offers some great views.  Up at the Northern end the gravel was in superb condition and speeds were high.  The only delay I had was when I came across a farmer moving some cattle along the road.

A bit of cloud hiding Ruapehu

Eventually Turakina Valley Road petered out at Tangiwai and we carried on towards Ohakune where we stopped so ScooterBob could check out the big carrot.

From Ohakune we rode up to National Park where we caught up with Neil for lunch and discussed the route we were going to take home.  I decided we'd have to checkout another nice valley...

Leaving National Park we cruised down to Raetihi where the Vee was refueled (just in case) for the trip back.  South of Raetihi we turned East onto Oruakukuru Road which was to take us over to our next valley.

Oruakukuru Road eventually led us onto Whangaehu Valley Road and after riding the sealed section (and some road works) to Kakatahi, we turned left to continue down the Whangaehu Valley.

Nice shady spot

The ride down the valley was pretty special but somehow I forced myself to stop for more pictures for ScooterBob's scrapbook.

Hanging on for dear life...

Eventually the gravel ran out and we settled in for a quiet cruise home via Fordell and then boring old SH3 all the way back to Palmy.  The Vee was parked up just after four and 400 odd fun kms showing ScooterBob some of our local gravel.  I hope he enjoyed the adventure.

More pics here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ScooterBob's TT2000

A quick TT2000 write-up for ScooterBob's records...

This year's TT2000 once again had a few changes made to it:
  • It started at 12pm on the Friday and therefore riders had to be finished by 12pm on Sunday.
  • Riders needed 50,000 points along with the compulsory 2,000kms.  As before there were many different valued photo checkpoints and riders could make up their own route to pick up as many points as they wanted.

Friday morning kicked off with a lazy start, I didn't leave my motel until 9am and went for a bit of a pootle to get some fuel before finding a cafe for a decent breakfast to get me through the day.  While getting my brekkie I was joined John, Steve and the rest of their crew.

By half ten I was at the TT ride start along with plenty of other keen riders all itching to get stuck into it.  ScooterBob checked out a few of the bikes and even met up with fellow blogger Phil.

After a quick riders' briefing there was a mad dash to pick up our ride T-shirts and then it was time to gear-up and hit the road.  As expected quite a few riders headed off in the direction of the two closest checkpoints at Port Chalmers and Aramoana.

Only 2 of us stopped here on the way out

From Aramoana, we had to turn around and head back the way we'd came on the slow, winding coastal road.  The GPS then through up a bit of a surprise and took me up over the hill to exit Dunedin, rather than back through town.  It was quite a fun little jaunt though.

After a little of SH1 it was time to turn inland to pick off two more checkpoints before heading South.

Very warm day in Hyde
Now it was time to just clock up some k's as my Route took me South to Balclutha for fuel and then around the Catlins (just for ScooterBob's benefit).  The next two checkpoints were just South of Edendale with a third on my way back to Balclutha for fuel again.

Turning back inland again I picked up Greenfield and Edievale before hopefully picking up the 4,000 bonus points on Moa Flat Road.

Shhhh, don't disturb the Moa...
I was now within about 100km of my motel for the night but still managed to pick up a few more points along the way.

I rolled into my motel at 9pm on the dot with 818km for the day.  A quick shower and warm drink and I hit the hay with the alarm set for 5am.

Friday Map


Who needs alarms?  I woke just after 4am and rather than trying to get a bit more sleep I decided to get on the road a bit earlier.  By 5 I was tooling along down towards my first fuel stop in Invercargill.  The roads were wet and there was the odd spit of rain and oh yeah, just a little dark at Bluff...

Returning to Invercargill I then turned Westwards onto the Southern Scenic Route picking up Colac Bay and Clifden on my way to Manapouri and 5,000 points.

On the way out of Manapouri Phil and Steve went past going the other way, obviously doing bits of my route but in reverse.  My next stop was in Mossburn for 1,000 points and some fuel.

Now I was heading for Queenstown and Wanaka where the traffic was going to be a fair bit busier (very touristy and also a multi-sport event on).  I picked up a couple of 500 point piccys at Kingston and the Devil's Staircase before clambering up the hill to Coronet Peak.

I dropped back down the hill and made my way through Arrowtown and then headed over the fantastic Crown Range Road (NZ's highest sealed road) on my way to Cardrona and Treble Cone.

From Treble Cone I dodged the cyclists on my way back into Wanaka and then made my way to the airport.  Here there was a bit of confusion around the location of the checkpoint as apparently the sign we were supposed to get a picture of had been moved, everyone used the Alpine helicopters sign instead.

Seeing as there was a cafe right opposite this sign I decided to take five and have my second breakfast (at lunchtime) of the day.  It was then on to Cromwell for fuel and 1,000 points there and at the Clyde Dam.

Heading East I missed Alexandria and made my way through Chatto Creek on my way to Drybread and the Idaburn Dam.  I had a bit of an issue finding the dam as there was no water in it and I rode past without noticing the little shed in the picture - this cost me about 10 minutes.

From the dam I carried on East and got back onto SH1 at Palmerston.  After a quick top up (not needed, poorly planned) I turned North before finally turning back West at Glenavy.  My last checkpoint was at Elephant Hill and on my way out I saw a lot of guys heading in, including Phil and John's groups.

The next section was a short 45km or so into Kurow which was to be my stop for the night.  I actually had a few spits of rain but I still got in at about 5:15 after 1,016km (thanks to that early start) and got settled in my motel for an early night.

Saturday Map


I had a bit of sleep in on Sunday as I only had around 350km to go until the finish and was on the road just before 6am.  My first stop was in Tekapo for fuel and then my final checkpoint stop at Burke's Pass.

Horrible, blurry pic!
It was fairly chilly through here but I had a bit of fun between Fairly and Geraldine before settling into the cruise home up SH1.  About 100km out I hit wet roads and actually had rain off and on all the way into Christchurch.  I arrived at TT HQ at 9:30 having been beaten by Glen on his Triumph and a couple on a ZX-14.  Mission accomplished!

ScooterBob finally comes up for some air...

Sunday Map

I spent the next few hours drinking coffee, eating sausages and chatting with riders while I waited for the rest of the riders to come in and hopefully a break in the weather.

I departed the scene just before 12 and went in search of a shower and a quiet afternoon at my motel feeling satisfied after TT number 5.  SccoterBob seemed to have taken it all in his stride - maybe he's just getting started on his long-distance adventures...