I have been to uncounted Cold Kiwis. Usually it’s an excuse to catch up with older friends & acquaintances that I don’t see from year to year. However every year less & less of these friends are prepared to make the trek (old bones, common sense, cold ground, & drunken idiots revving the tits off bikes at 4.00am are not necessarily a great mix).
Last year I combined it with a ride with Mark_S & Co. This year Bart was keen to do the rally, & Mark_S was just keen for a ride. We thought we’d check out the Old Whangamomona Rd & 42nd Traverse again while we were there.
I met with Mark_S at Waikanae after 8.00am & Bart at Ashhurst, rode thru' Vinegar Hill thru to Hunterville for coffee. GuzziTony & Chris were supposed to catch us there – I understand they made it 10 mins after we left.
Took the gravel option – Turakina Valley Rd to the Rally site, trying to mix some good riding with arriving at the site earlyish.
The rally site itself is near Tangiwai, between Waiouru & Ohakune.
Couldn’t find EddieB, but had an idea where they might be, so set up the tents in the general vicinity, then strolled around the site & checked out some of the events & the more unusual bikes. These included a couple of Guzzis, one with two jerry cans set up as a fuel tank, a brass tank shell instruments, capped exhaust openings (like a truck) etc. Didn’t get a photo – hopefully Bart did.
Some of the other bikes in camp that caught my eye. Both of the BMWs are from R75/5 bases.
Here's a You Tube Video Shewolf took of the forest section of the site, where EddieB, ClintNZ, Rosie, Shewolf, NZNic, 5150 etc camped. We were just behind this. It also shows the 'road' in. A bunch of the road bikes struggle with this every year, especially if its wet. When it's regravelled just prior to each Kiwi, they tend to use river gravel.
EddieB, NZNic, ClintNZ, Rosie, & Shewolf made it back to camp before dark, & we settled in for a convivial evening. The camp had a nice brazier, gas light, & chairs, and was under the trees. Bart made a discovery that Mr Chips containers don't hold whisky & water particularly well. Bed at around 11.30 pm, feeling little pain.
I woke mid way thru the night. My feet felt cold. Turns out the Camelbak had leaked at the bottom of the tent, soaking my helmet lining, gloves, sleeping pad, & was making my sleeping bag damp.
We were to met Mark_S at Taumaranui at 10.00am, but a big breakfast at Ohakune took precedence, & then dropping off gear at the Taumaranui Holiday Park, so I don’t think we made the rendezvous until 45 minutes later.
Off to Whangamomona. Poster boards along the roads told us ‘Public Roads are not racetracks’ or some such drivel.
The expected hordes of Harley riders at the Pub weren’t evident, but we didn’t stop too long – just long enough to quaff a coke & drop tyre pressures.
Old Whangamomona Rd is a non publicly maintained paper road between Whangamomona & the ‘Bridge To Somewhere’. The first portion has been upgraded somewhat to accommodate trucks for an oil exploration. After that it varies between Farm Track & rough 4WD track. I understand that the local 4WD club do some maintenance from time to time to keep it basically passable – sort of. It has a couple of tunnels in the first section. One has a punga corduroy road exit – without those it’d be a bog.
There are a number of places where 4WDs have created huge ruts, and you need to pick your line carefully, both to be able to get thru, and also so that you don’t belly the bike out. Bart was successful at leading Mark_S into one of those tank traps. It is a lot deeper that it looks, & the only remedy was to drag the bike across into a smaller rut. It took 3 of us to do so.
We got passed by a gaggle of trail bikes going the other way. A couple stopped to chat. One fella was disbelieving that I'd try to take Gus thru. I think he thought I was a hallucination caused by whatever it was that he'd been smoking...
The road generally follows the Whangamomona River, & in places slips have taken the road away, & a new section has been bulldozed, or created over the slips.
I managed to get Gus stuck in one of the last bogs. I wasn’t even going to attempt it, but was encouraged by the interest of a rather large bull behind me. I also fell off a couple of times, negotiating the bogs on the way back to the pub – tiredness & a lack of balance & boot traction at critical times were the primary causes.
I have to say the road was just about perfect for us this time - quite challenging, but not impassable.
On the way back, we were somewhat flummoxed to see two hard ridden quads go past. Both had a male rider, a female pillion, & on the first a young child squashed between. The second completely muffed the ruts that Mark_S had gotten stuck on & crashed. I was shocked to see what I thought was a sweatshirt was a toddler, who unsurprisingly came off worst in the crash. We helped the guy right the quad, & off they went again - not slowing much if at all. I suppose they were working on the station, & were coming back from a sunday beer or three...
The Bikes were fairly well encased on mud. Mark_S didn’t even try the patience of Penny by attempting to enter the pub. They were happy to serve us thru a window.
Rode back into Taumaranui after dark. Takeaways for dinner, then retired early for the night.