We organised a ride down to do the Clarence River Reserve for the weekend of the 26th & 27th Feb. Unfortunately that turned out to be the 1st weekend after the Christchurch earthquake. We considered cancelling, but given that it was the last weekend that the Clarence was going to open this year, Mark S & I decided to continue. We were joined by Howie, who was also heading for the top of the South Island.
The weather didn't look like it would cooperate on the saturday.
I've already detailed the bike issues I suffered in the previous post, & as a result didn't manage to catch the 8.25am ferry with the other guys, but did get on the 10.25am one.
Had a flurry of texts & cellphone messages running between us all, but eventually arranged to meet Mark at 2.30pm at Blenheim.
Given known gas issues at Kaikoura & Hamner Springs, I filled the bike (43 l) at Picton.
I arrived at Blenheim at 2.15pm, no Mark, turns out he left at 2.10pm, after deciding not to continue to Hamner Springs. He tells me he changed his mind on the destination because of concerns re gas, but I think its was because of a deep & abidding fear of atmospheric water, & because he's really a pussy. Instead he headed to Reefton.
I chased him to St Arnaud, then Murchison, reasoning that he'd stop for coffee, but he was well spooked by the thought of rain & kept ahead of me.
I finally gave up, stopped for coffee, then went on to the Maruia Saddle, which is open again, after a big slip. Because I wasn't pressed for time now I also took some time to try to make the bike idle & run better.
At Springs Junction I called Mark, & got a simultaneous text from Howie, telling me he was now in Hamner Springs. I chose to head Hamner given gas was available, & I really wanted to do the Clarence. Molesworth & Rainbow. I got wet going over the Lewis Pass, which was a bummer.
Howie had arranged a Railways holiday home, which was pretty cool.
Saturday, the alarm went at 6.30am, but I could hear rain on the roof, so didn't bother getting up straight away - the Clarence doesn't open if its wet. Instead, Howie & I agreed we would head for a loop around the Molesworth & Rainbow.
Part way thru the Molesworth, ran into a party of BMW riders organised by Motomart in Lower Hutt. One rider on an X-Challenge had dropped his bike, after over cooking a rear wheel drift. They were organising a ute to transport him & a bike back to Hamner. I stopped hoping that this was the support ute & that a cup of coffee was being brewed...
The weather improved the further north we headed. Made Blenheim, & Maccas for lunch, then off up Waiaru Valley to St Arnauds for the start of the Rainbow by 3.30pm.
Rain at the beginning (& end) iof the Rainbow. Howie made me stand in the rain & put on my wet weather gear, knowing that 5 mins up the raod the rain would stop.
Rainbow was rougher than Molesworth, but all together more scenic.
Back into Hamner in the rain just on dusk. But not too long later that cleared & we enjoyed at starry night, which boded well for the Clarence on Sunday.