Sunday, day 2 of the Dusty Butt & another 500+km of sweet tracks await. I hit the highway on schedule, after a stretch of tar the route takes in a loop up towards Lake Onslow & I watch the sun rise over the rolling hills.
Next up was a spin down the Millenium track, as I headed south the weather got a bit worse with a steady drizzle setting in. After fuel at Lawrence the route turned back north & climbed up into the hills.
Gardiners track led up onto the Lammermoor Range & into the middle of a drizzly cloud. Luckily it hadn't been raining too much so the rutty dirt track was only slightly slippery. Along here I was cruising along happily when the engine gave a couple of stutters & cut out. The bike would run with the clutch in though so I shorted out the clutch switch & carried on my merry way. Eventually the fog & drizzle gave way to brilliant sun.
After miles & miles of this scenic run along the Lammermoor tops I turned onto the Old Dunstan Rd & the bike died again. I figured given the previous stoppage was fixed by shorting the clutch switch it must have been something to do with the long disconnected sidestand cutout, the offending broken wire was immediately obvious under the dash once I had removed the headlight unit & was easily fixed. On over the Dustan I went.
Having been into the Serpentine Church a couple of times before I decided to give that challenge section a miss & headed down into the Ida valley. After a stop for a beer & a great steak sandwich at the Oturehua Pub I followed the route up into the Oteake Conservation Area towards the Omarama Saddle.
Again I took the easy option over the little Omarama saddle rather than the multitude of river crossings over the big saddle that I had done on a previous trip. I'd only been over the little saddle inside a cloud so I wanted to see what it looked like in sunshine.
After gas & a snack at Omarama I got back on it to the Benmore Dam.
It was a great day for the Black Forest track north around the lake.
Then it was out into the wide open gravel of the Mackenzie basin.
I was back in Fairlie about 5pm. Another great day done. Tired, dusty, muddy & occasionally bloody riders swaggered into the Gladstone pub until late that night & over a few pints many epic tales of adventure were told (some of them even true!)
The next day saw a good scattering of bikes in various states of disrepair outside the garage getting battle damage fixed & tyres changed.
My luggage setup had been feeling the pace a bit so after getting a few extra straps to lash the bags on with I set forth for home as I had a ferry ticket for the next morning. As I entered the Waipara valley that afternoon I was faced with a tough decision: Do I put the hammer down, gas it to Hanmer & do a run through the Molesworth before it closes for the night, or do I pick the glass up & have a leisurely lunch at a Waipara vineyard? Hmmm....
Waipara Springs did a very nice spread & I left with a fine bottle of Pinot Noir to share with Rosie with on my return.
A ferry ride & 500km of highway got me home the next day & that was the trip done. Another great ride.