Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lunch at Pongaroa

This is just a short blog post about a great day, a great ride and a great lunch. As you may have guessed from the title we had a wonderful lunch at Pongaroa. I would thoroughly recommend their gourmet burgers and excellent service in a lovely rural setting. A must stop off destination. The best part about the meal though was getting to it! We had Kim and Sir Al in the H2s along with Yamaha contingent with Bruce on his RZ and myself keeping the four stroke flag flying on the XJ750. The run up the Pahiatua Track was memorable due to the lack of gorge traffic not on it, and the wiggly bits through Managamaire to Rongomai were a great warm up for the rest of the ride. The left turn at the Rongomai intersection had us heading towards Alfredton along some more wonderful wiggly roads.  We then joined the wonderful Highway 52 road that was even more of the same, but longer. After a great stop at the Pongaroa Hotel we pointed our bikes towards home via Pahiatua with yet even more of the same wiggly and windy roads. We had Bruce out front so we could keep an eye on him as his petrol was getting low and after filling up with some gas it was back over the hill and home. It was a brilliant ride. As always with these roads one needs to look out for gravel on some of the corners and with the wet winter we have had there was some major road subsidence in places. A great way to check out your bikes suspension! At our last stop we all commented on how lucky we are to live and ride in such a great part of the country.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mangahao Meander

Here is a quick view of the road to the top!

As I pulled the KH out of the garage on Sunday morning, little did I know what lay ahead that day. The Saturday before weather didn't bode well for the following day, but some faith in Metservice had me making some late night texts to gauge interest in ride out in the country. Sir Als reply was informed me that he and Bruce were heading out for some more 'Adventure Riding' out the back of Shannon. We made a loose arrangement to meet in Shannon the following day.  The less demanding terrain south of Palmy was an ideal opportunity to give the KH250 a run and so our 10am meeting time had a group of us parked up outside Manawatu Motorcycles. Richard arrived on his trusty T500, with Kim on his RZ, Shorty on his SV, Clint on his Katana and yours truely on the KH250. We made our way to Shannon via the long way down Lockwood road, Main Drain road (I wonder how it got that name?) then on to Bainese and down a back road to Foxton then finally on to the Shanon Foxton road. Nothing to challenging apart from the usual cow pooh on the roads. It was good to be out on the little KH and enjoy all the usual Kawasaki two stroke triple sensations. The new tyre on the back had lowered the gearing a tad and it was now sitting nicely in the bottom part of the power band at 100 kmh. After a bit of discussion we decided on Horsemans Cafe for food and refreshments whilst we awaited the arrival of the 'Adventure Bikers'. Bruce Sagger 'flew' in from Levin on his Yellow rocket, his Yamaha RZ350 to join us for a cuppa. The cafe was a pleasant surprise with delicious loaf shaped pies, very tasty Bacon and Egg butties all washed down with good coffee and hot chocolates. Recommended. After waiting for Al and Bruce to arrive some decided to head on home whilst Shorty, Richard and myself headed up to the Mangahao power station and a suggestion was made to head up to the first dam. The last time I was here was to have a look at the power station and the white water centre so I was fascinated to find out a bit more about The metal road was narrow and very windy as it made its way up the hill to the top of the ranges. The surface was nice and damp so no dust and as we followed Shorty up Richard and I were very pleased to be on our narrow tyred stink wheels from the seventies as he hunched over his wide tyred sports bike. As we neared the first dam a couple of bikes came into view. I think they were a little surprised to see us as we stopped had had a chat on the side of the road. They were just on there way back from having a cuppa at the last dam and informed us that the first dam was five minutes away. We said our goodbyes and parked up next to the first dam. Having never been up there it was a really pleasant surprise to see the scale of it. Walking along the top of dam I wouldn't be to sure about living in Shannon should a descent earthquake strike! Shorty was pleased for the break as his wrists were getting sore and he wasn't looking forward to going back down. Richard took the lead heading back down and disappeared off down the road on the mighty Titan. Our stop down at the power station had us admiring the wonderful 1920s architecture and admiring the whole engineering feat for the time. It was apparently the first large power station built in New Zealand and the fact that it is still operating 88 years later is a tribute to the engineers of the time. You can find more information here. Our ride back to town had me thinking about doing a bit more exploring around our region, as I am sure there are some more hidden gems like this in our region. The KH did well but maybe I need to look for something more suitable. I think Barrys definitely got the right idea. Might have to start looking for a suitable mount.....Must be a few old DTs, TSs, KTs and XLs out there!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Out and About with Al and Brucie

Just got this email from Sir Al re a wander he and Bruce went on around the back blocks of the Rangitikei district.

"Gazza, check out the pic. Bruce & I went for a ride up Turakina Valley Road from Hunterville yesterday. Almost got to Collier's Junction, but a slip made the road impassable. Re-traced steps and ended up at Taihape for a late lunch. Then down to Mangaweka and through to Rangiwahia. We enjoyed sunshine, rain, and sleet during the day, and finally snow climbing out of Rangi which lasted until the decent into Kimbolton.

We are certainly blessed as motorcyclists living in the Manawatu!"

The photo he sent illustrated the conditions and after I asked for some more for the blog and he sent these through.

One of these photos looked very suspicious. 

 Any ideas for a caption?

Here are some captions sent in so far.

"Notice how the giant claws of the Apriliasaurus is about to devour the unsuspecting fully grown Kiwi lawyer" Kim

"Al, get outa there. a bit of snow never hurt anyone" Kim

"Chocolate Lab pup bones, size nine dive boots, cartridge cases - its amazing what you find!" Kim

"The feckin Leprechaun's got out of the topbox!" Al

“It’s much bigger than my wife’s handbag but I can only fit a fraction of the stuff in here.” Judy.

"If you are not riding a Blue Haze classic vintage motorcycle and don't want to be seen, as exhibited by the motorcycle in the fore-ground, you can press button "A" on these modern motorcycles and "presto" you can be shrunk to size to fit your motor cycle carry bag as being demonstrated with the motorcycle in the background." Ken

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whats Yellow and goes like a scalded cat?

What a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Not only did we get out and about on another fine spring morning, but I also got to sample two very special two stroke motorcycles!
The gathereing of the gang at Manawatu Motorcycles at 10am saw us debating the merits of heading to the east and around the back country between Ekatahuna and Pahiatua or heading in a norwesterly direction to Hunterville return. The later got the thumbs up as some of us needed to get back to town a little earlier than normal to take care of other matters of grave importance such as lawn mowing! The role call for the ride was:
Paul De Lautour - Suzuki GT750
Richard Kerr - Suzuki T500
Bruce Sagger - Yamaha RZ350R
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Alan Clark - Kawasaki H2750
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750
We headed out of town exiting the town boundry along Railway Road. I always love being at the back at about this time as the two strokes clear their urban lungs with a puff of smoke. Its definitely a non 'pc' sight that does nothing for the environment but my thinking is it does a lot for our heritage! Anyway I am sure our annual emissions aren't any more than a few puffs from a J class steam engine. We followed the railway line out to Bunythorpe, past Taonui Aerodrome, left at Colyton and then made our way to our first stop at the top of the Cheltnham hill via Makino road. Surveyinig the rural scene one certainly could see the change of season with the green pastures and blossoming fruit trees reflecting the noticably warmer air temperature. After a brief stop we headed off towards Vinegar Hill with a very brief stop at (not so) Stormy Point to check out our resident distant volcanoes, Mounts Ruapehu and Tongarriro. It wasn't long until we came out at the top of Vinegar Hill and took a left on to State Highway 1 and made our way down to Hunterville. This is always a great place to stop and watch the world go by. The conclusion of the Cold Kiwi provided a procession of bikes and people to watch. It must have been a good one as the rally goers we came across in the cafe were very subdued.   Mikes Trading is always an interesting view as you never know what he has in his car lot and he is always keen to have a chat about bikes from the 70s. Another interesting group who stopped off for a coffee were a group on scooters. They parked up in the cafe diagonally opposte us and I think they are the Palmy Scooter Club.  Shades of the Mods and the Rockers! Might be fun to go on a ride together?
After being refreshed and replenished we decided on our back road route to Rata where we folllow the Rangitikei River. A lovely bit of country side with a good mixture of sweepers and tighter sections. It was on this stretch of road I got to resample Sir Als Kawasaki H2. I had forgotten how torquey and  easy it was to ride in the lower rev range. You could just about say it was a good touring motor! However once you upped the revs it took off like a scalded cat and the induction and exhaust noise was  wonderful. At our next stop Bruce offered me a ride on his recently modified Yamaha RZ350R. Loved the sound of the expansion chambers, especially when they hit the power band. What surprised me the most was how well it behaved down low and the suspension modifications had it tracking around corners with ease. Bruce and the lads at Levin Motorcycle Centre have done a magnificent job on it. After spending so much time recently on the XJ its light weight was a pleasure. Our last stop at Mount Stewart had us heading back into town at 1:30 satisfied that we had definetly made the most of warm and sunny Sunday morning. Roll on next weekend!