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Old 03-26-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
Gr82briding OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: National Park, New Zealand
Oddometer: 11
Back Road Riders’s “Trying to Traipse Towards Taihape” (New Zealand) Ride Report

6 keen riders turned up at the Feilding railway station for Sunday’s ride from far flung places such as Paekakariki, Levin, Palmy, Halcombe and Natty Park and were greeted by overcast and threatening conditions but the forecast suggested improving weather throughout the day, fingers crossed. It did pour with rain from my place in National Park as far as the turn off at Vinegar Hill on the way down and I got wet but by the time I got to the rendezvous point I had dried out okay. Colin was there already as usual and I was happy to see Graeme pull in at the same time as I. Graeme had planned and emailed me the route and I had programmed Dr. Garmin to show us the way (remember this for later in the report). He was there to say hello and catch up with us and to wish us well and it was good to see him.

We headed off at 10.05am with me leading after a brief briefing with a reference to the new give way rules which had taken effect and headed North on Makino & Short Rds and onto SH54 to Waituna West Rd. The roads were still wet at this stage and caution on the tarmac was required for Colin on his DR650 as he had new knobblies that had yet to be scrubbed in. From Waituna West Rd we headed onto the first gravel section of the day on Tapuae Rd through to Peep-O-Day via Peep-O-Day Rd. The gravel was soft in places with the recent rain but still had good traction. We had to stop so that Don could pick up his spare fuel container but apart from that there were no dramas and we had a fun time powering round corners and enjoying the views.

From Peep-O-Day we continued north through Rangiwahia where we had a quick pit stop then onto Karewarewa Rd and the second section of gravel and we took a very convoluted route from here to our lunch venue at Taihape that included Auputa Rd, Kawatau Valley Rd, Potaka Rd, Omatane South Rd, Tuhoe Rd and Gorge Rd. By this stage the weather had improved although Colin W complained that it was “a bit cool” and the river valley views were fantastic and the roads were great fun and we had a ball. We got to the Exchange café at 12.30pm for a well-earned and tasty lunch.

From Taihape we continued north on SH1 for a couple of kms before we turned west onto Pukenau Rd and started our journey back south or so I thought as this is where things became a bit of a shambles as Dr. Garmin decided to have a brain fade and we ended up at the end of a dead end road and had to backtrack. I then was put crook again by the Dr. and the net result was that we missed doing Ridge Rd North, one of the best gravel roads on the route much to my embarrassment and frustration but the crew took it in their stride and we still got to ride some sweet gravel back to SH1 at which point we headed north (again) for a short distance till we turned west (again) onto Mataroa Rd to pick up our intended route at Rongoiti Rd. Then it was on to Koeke Rd through Koeke Junction and our third stint of gravel. It was at this point that the Dr. decided to intervene and send us down the wrong road again but this time we managed to get things sorted and back on track quickly with minimal damage to my pride. Then it was on to Pohonui Rd which was the best swept road of the day and the fastest although still soft in places. From Pohonui Rd it was on to Turakina Valley and the mandatory stop at the unnamed waterfall. At this point a said my farewells to the guys as I was headed to Whanganui to catch up with a mate before heading home via the Parapara Rd. The rest of the guys went their own way to their various homes. All in all a good day was had and the weather held apart from a few light showers. I enjoyed being rider in charge although my pace was not as fast as Graeme but that’s just how it is. I did 570ks all up but Mick gets the award for roads most travelled with 636ks.

Unnamed Water Fall, Turakina Valley Rd

Taking a well earned break, Turakina Valley Rd

The next B.R.R. ride will be on the 22nd of April and is titled “Wandering our Way Round Whanganui”. Details will be sent out once I have finalised the route.


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