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Old 02-13-2013, 10:12 PM   #16
Bass OP
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Wednesday January 30th

The day started with the McKenzie pass and down into the McKenzie Basin. Some nice fast sinuous gravel was to be had. A left onto the seal briefly and on to Black forest Station.





I was surprised by the station. It was well set up for tourists on the shore of Lake Benmore and the leaseholder was helpful and pleasant. As it turned out, the Black Forest Track would be the most spectacular I had done till then.





The climb up was impressive enough, but the run across the top was a world apart.



Yes, that is the track glued to the side of the hill and heading for the pass on the left. There were all sorts of tracks leading down into the valley too. I could have been tempted on a smaller bike.



The run down the other side also provided some great views



Even the run around the lake at the bottom had scenery to burn







At the end of the track we went across the Waitaki River and down to Kurow for brunch and some fuel. From here it was back across the river and up the Hakataramea Valley to the Myers pass turnoff.

Myers Pass was fun and worthwhile without being startling





Coming down off Myer’s, we took Elephant Hills Road which again was a bit of fun gravel. At the end of that road Jamie pointed me to lead and said that it was a straight run to Kurow. So at the next intersection I turned left because the sign said Kurow was in that direction. Jamie however turned right and used Elephant Hills Back Road which was a whole heap of fun and had me waiting for him at Kurow for about half an hour. He finally arrived with some cock and bull story about signs or something.
That’s what I get for helping him break into pubs apparently.
It helps to know who your friends really are, eh?

Now it was time for the Danseys Pass and on to Naseby for the night.





The Danseys was in very good order and fast. We stopped for a beer at the Danseys Pass Pub, but there was nobody about and a sign on the door saying back shortly – gone to collect the kids from the school bus apparently. Never mind, they soon turned up, the beer was had and then a second when a stock truck came through and covered everything in the district with dust.
After a very refreshing pause, we moved on and were soon in Naseby.

At the pub, there was some problem with our room and so they put us in one of their self contained units for no extra charge. We sat in the bar for a while, trading nonsense with the barmaid, and a couple who were doing the Central Otago Cycle Trail joined us. It turned out that they were bikers from Hastings but had flown down for the cycle trip and were looking seriously at bringing the bike down to have a better investigate. We were then also joined by Swannee, a Pommie stonemason from Westport who was visiting some of his friends around the South on his Triumph Thruxton. It was a very social evening and the meal was truly outstanding.
Swannee was a true old time artisan who took real pride in what he did and appeared to have done quite a bit of work for DOC amongst others. It was a magic evening.

I again borrowed a container to collect the oil drip. It was substantially worse than the previous night. The gasket was on the way out and if I lost a whole section, I could also lose all the oil real quick. Our plans for the morrow were abandoned – we would make a run direct for Alexandra and repair facilities. Our wives and the camper were already there and so accommodation was no problem. Jantar would still be on night shift however and so we would have to make our own repair arrangements. This was no big deal as we would only have to buy a few basic tools and some gasket compound – shouldn’t be a problem. So, well fed watered and talked out, it was off to bed. However Swannee had discovered he had a slow puncture in his back tyre and so I agreed to give him an electric blow job with Mr Slime, first thing in the morning. He was very pleased.

Bass screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 10:43 PM
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:45 PM   #17
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nice work, great shots. We should start up a "my bike besides Mekenzie pass monument" thread, I bet theres a few out there
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:03 AM   #18
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Thumb Great RR Bass!

Excellent RR Bass - glad to see you're still out there doing it - great pics and interesting prose

Caught up with Jamie at Off Limits Adventure Ride at Waiouru last month

These DR's certainly are the 'Everyman's motorcycle', perfect for the sort of ride you two have just had
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:21 AM   #19
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Thursday January 31st
Blow job accomplished, we ran for Alex, stopping very so often to check the oil level. It held up quite well. We even managed some rather good gravel between the valleys, along the way. Surprised the wives with our early arrival. Unloaded the bike and set about finding the necessaries.
First stop was the Honda shop in Alex. They were very helpful and suggested an engineering supply store where I could get what I needed. The only problem was that I couldn’t find it, despite following their directions to the letter – that’s my version anyway.
Eventually, having quartered the commercial district pretty thoroughly, I found myself outside Two Wheels Unlimited, another bike shop, and went in to repeat my request. The guy behind the counter looked at me as if I was insane and said, “Why don’t you do it here?”
I looked a bit stunned and he said that the mechanic was away for the moment but that he wouldn’t mind and that I was welcome to do the job in front of their workshop and use their facilities. I was amazed. I had forgotten what southern hospitality was like. I thanked him profusely and headed back to the camp to get Jamie. We were just lying my bike down in front of the workshop when the mechanic arrived back and told that his first few jobs were on the tyre machine and so we should bring the bike in to the workshop out of the sun. It was a stinking hot day and so we were profoundly grateful for this. It just got better and better.
The job was done in about half an hour and the mechanic even provided some of his preferred gasket compound. I cannot recommend these people to the travelling biker fraternity enough – truly remarkable folk. The repair is still holding up well.
That’s not the end of the story however. We had thrown some new rear tyres into the camper to be brought down for us on the basis that even starting the trip with new ones, they wouldn’t go the whole distance. At least mine was new; Jamie’s was pretty tired at the outset and now was done. Mine had some life left but we were planning some more challenging stuff from here and figured that I could chuck my part used one in the camper to be transported home, we would both go on to fresh rubber for the next section. We mentioned in passing that we now had to go and change tyres and the mechanic offered to do it late in the day when it was a bit cooler. Sounded good to us and so we were back again about 1600 with the new tyres. By then however, the mechanic had another job that he had to get finished by 1700 and so he just pointed us at the tyre machine and left us to it, except when we needed the odd spot of help. Again, half an hour later we were on fresh rubber free of charge and on our way.
We left a dozen by way of thanks – the very least that we could do. Awesome people in Alex.

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Old 02-14-2013, 01:57 AM   #20
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Good stuff!
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:44 PM   #21
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Yes, Two Wheels Unlimited is really building a reputation as the go to place in Alexandra. They helped a heap of Dusty Butt riders out the Saturday evening way past closing time.

I'm enjoying your report too.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:10 PM   #22
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Right hand relief

I have a Cramp Buster on my bike. Cheap and simple and it allows you to relax your grip on the throttle. Especially good for boring stretches but doesn't get in the way when it gets interesting.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:52 PM   #23
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Cramp buster and a Rekluse
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:57 PM   #24
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Great Ride Report @ Pics
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:30 PM   #25
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I contacted Jantar and explained that our situation had gotten more urgent but was now rectified and invited him to join us for dinner the following evening. Jamie and he were familiar with one another but I had never met Malcolm. We agreed on 1730 and I told him where the camper was parked and that it would have a couple of DR’s outside.




Friday February 1st



Today things started to get a bit more interesting, but more of that shortly. We set out over the Brannockburn track – at least I think that’s what it was called. It’s another power line maintenance track and well worth the doing.





There’s a James in there somewhere.
This brought us out very close to the start of the Nevis Road which was our major objective for the day.
I really enjoyed the climb up to the top of the hill on the Nevis. Gave the DR death and was doing the corrugation waltz most of the way.



This is where it started to get a little curly when Jamie told me that he thought I might enjoy going back down the Quartzville Track but that I would probably want to come back up the same way we had just done, hence it was good that I enjoyed it. Why the hell not, I thought? So we did.
The Quartzville Track basically meant that we rode round the edge of the hill for a couple of km and then fell off it. We got back down to the bottom of the hill in about a quarter of the distance it took to get up there and I was profoundly grateful for a brand new back tyre.



I don’t have any photos of the descent – I was far too busy hanging on but was a bit surprised at how easily the DR dealt with it. I only had one small moment when the back wheel tried to lead the way and that was entirely my fault. The ride around the top of the hill was fascinating however. There was evidence of the old gold workings in several places. As you can see from the photo, one of the old sluice races was still flowing and the water wheel on the hillside was in remarkably good condition. We even had a couple of mountain bikers hold a gate open for us. The South Island really is a different world.





When we got to the bottom I told Jamie that he was right and that I didn’t want to go back up that way and he was happy with that, because he didn’t either (and this is a guy who’s ridden a loaded DR the wrong way over the Porika), so I felt quite good about that. Anyway, round the hill and back up the Nevis road we rode. I knew where the road went now and so the tempo was a bit quicker this time - sort of a wide arse tango instead of a waltz. New tyres are cool.

Now the Nevis has a few fords…………………………………..









Actually, I think there are about 25 of them.
At one point I was cruising at speed across a long straight stretch and out of nowhere this dark line appeared across the road. FORD!!!!!!!!
Threw all anchors out, major slithers, but still doing about 40 kph as I entered the ford and not sure I was touching ground. This was a deep one too.
Full noise applied but I was still in about third gear so just staggered out the far side somewhat damper than when I went in. Jamie about 400 meters behind me got caught too but he stalled it in the middle. Bugger.

There was some great riding and awesome views but.



Towards the southern end the fords were closer together and some of the track was badly washed out but as Duncan once said “When in doubt, gas it out”.
All good.




There’s a fun descent at the end and then it’s out to the main drag.



We hung a right and had lunch at the railway station in Kingston. The Flyer wasn’t running because of the fire risk. Onward to Queenstown for some fuel, then up the Coronet Peak road and into Skippers Canyon.



What can you say about Skippers that hasn’t been already and better said by someone else.



Jamie had never been there before and was amazed. He had no idea of what was down there.







Now we had originally planned that we would have a crack at Macetown today as well, but by Kingston it was obvious that we would have to choose between that or Skippers. I figured that Skippers was the better bet and that Macetown would wait for us both another time. So with the day running out and Jantar turning up at 5:30, we only went in as far as the camping ground. I was surprised at how sandy the track was in there and actually thought I had a tyre pressure problem until I figured out what was going on.

We took a pretty leisurely trip in and ran for it on the way out. Jamie had never been up to the ski field either. So we went up there for a look.
Worth it, eh?

The parasailers were having a ball.





The run down the hill was magic. The DR’s actually do twisties rather well, even shod with knobblies.

We ran for Alex through the Kawerau Gorge which was all good until Jamie ran out of petrol. This confirmed his world champion status for running out of gas. Actually, that’s not quite right on reflection because gas is one of his strong points, especially in the middle of the night – sometimes spectacularly so.
Anyway, he is still the only person in the world to run out of fuel with a transparent Safari tank. In this case however, we were able to get the bikes close enough together and at a weird enough angle to drain some fuel from mine into the rear-mount booster tank that he had fitted. So Cromwell was eventually achieved, if a little late and with a hiccup or two. I had warned the wives that we were behind time and probably would not be back before Malcolm arrived and so they were on the lookout for a guy on a bike cruising the campground looking lost.
Fill up at Cromwell and go for it. Got in to Alex about 15 minutes late to find our guest arrived and being catered to. A very pleasant evening ensued with Malcolm an absolute mine of local information. The Vincent Rally was on and so there were bikes everywhere. Malcolm was a member of the service club that was running the bar and catering and so was a designated barman the next day (Saturday). We made arrangements to get together for part of our planned Sunday’s burst which was entirely appropriate since Malcolm had turned up on a DR as well and with advanced farkling plans for the same.
Thanks for your company Jantar – a pleasure to meet you.

Bass screwed with this post 02-15-2013 at 11:32 AM
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:59 AM   #26
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I'm thinking it's actually pretty unfair how much good riding you're getting in.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:15 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padmei View Post
I'm thinking it's actually pretty unfair how much good riding you're getting in.
Well, actually, you have pretty much put your finger on the whole point of this. I am not half way through this report yet and in my opinion the best riding is still to come. Now, there's not much of it that is novel or unique - there's a bit but not much. Although it's all new to me, it's not to you lot down there and it's been well covered and written about before.
This whole report is going together as a word document for my own records before I ever post any of it and so you see, like the Oz trip, the write up is mostly for my own purposes. However, while I am well aware that there is a great deal more down there that we didn't touch, I think that we did cover quite a big chunk and by doing this, I am getting it all in one place.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
Cramp buster and a Rekluse
Thanks for the tips guys - I'll look into it. Anything that works, eh?
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:09 AM   #29
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Saturday February 2nd



Today was to be one of the interesting ones although neither of us knew it at the time. We ran down towards Roxburgh for a few k’s and then swung right to climb up through Obelisk Station to the top of the Old Man Range and of course, the Obelisk.





It is barren but imposing country with these strange stark rock formations and the views are forever.



We then backtracked for a bit and headed off along the crest of the range.



Past Hyde rock, there was still a fair bit of snow around – amazing for the middle of summer. We needed to bring our head for heights although the camera foreshortens the view quite a bit.






Eventually we reached this intersection.





Jamie had been down the road to the left but neither of us had been down to Piano Flat so the direction was a no brainer really. That’s where the fun started.
Initially the track ran across the flats which are soft and wet in winter. So the track was quite deeply rutted. We rode the ridges beside the ruts and the lack of luggage was a plus – in fact it was a bit of a lifesaver later on.
Then the track began to descend, in places quite steeply. Here it was a stream bed in winter. It was rocky with some quite big steps. This is one of the decent bits.



Where the ground leveled out, the water had collected and there were peat swamps. Again, a shot of one of the little ones.



At one of the bigger ones (where yet again I failed to get the camera out first) Jamie headed off to try and skirt it but actually moved into wetter ground. When he tried to cross a small gulley, the front wheel went into the opposite bank up to the axle and the bike stopped rather abruptly. The back wheel saw air momentarily and the only thing that stopped him going over the bars was that he managed to firmly grab the tank bag with his bollocks. Now he would tell you that it was his inner thighs that took most punishment, but is only because he was dead scared that I might have wanted to practice my first aid skills.
Anyway, I was sitting back on the track about 30 meters away, watching with interest. When he got off the bike and it stayed upright of its own accord, I realized what had happened. Malcolm had warned us that we might find some bogs up here but the whole place was as dry as a buzzard’s crutch. So we didn’t disbelieve him but we weren’t convinced either.


It took our combined efforts and some grunting, but we managed to haul his bike back onto more solid ground and then scouted a path a bit closer to the track. We then pushed on – Jamie with a decidedly bowlegged riding position.

Two or three of the steps had the bashplate earning its keep and fairly early on in the piece we went down a few biggies in quick succession which meant that there was no going back. I hadn’t done much trial riding ever and none at all in decades but I was amazed to learn what I could make the DR do, if only because I had no choice in the matter whatsoever. However, I was still only brave enough to stop for a photo where the track was a bit more level and gentle.




As we got to the final descent, the track got a bit more reasonable but it still held our attention.



On the way down this last bit, we met about a dozen kids heading up on 125 and 250 MX/enduro machines. Much more suitable than what we were riding but they would still find some of it needed skill and care if they were going right to the top.

There was a gate where we turned off at this sign but the track actually carried on round the hills as far as we could see. I think that was all private land however.




On down to Piano Flat which is an idyllic camping area beside the Waikaia (I think) River. The road out from there through the Waikaia Forest was a great bit of gravel with enough variety to keep you on your toes.
Then across the Clutha and up to Lake Onslow.



We skirted the lake and turned up toward the Dunstan trail but veered back toward Roxburgh before we got there. Had one near moment with a ute using ALL the road on a blind corner. We paused while Jamie had a look at the GPS and asked me if I wanted to do a transmission track – silly question.



The initial part of the track was open and the first gate was unlocked, so through we went.



It was a remarkable little excursion and brought us back to the road about 12 km later. Cool.
The track dipped down into the gullies to cross streams here and there. In one of those gullies, Jamie put up a 10 point red deer stag, in excellent condition he says, who exited stage right, pretty smartly.
We dropped back down the hill into Roxburgh, fuelled up and headed back to Alex. We were pretty smug and well satisfied with the day out. We felt tested but successful.

Now Malcolm had told us that he had never done the Piano Flat track and just for a moment we considered telling him it was a breeze and that he should have a go at it from the Waikaia end, but we really couldn’t be that nasty, eh? He might see the joke but he’d still never talk to us again.

Bass screwed with this post 02-18-2013 at 01:45 AM
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:36 AM   #30
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Those rock steps look familiar.



the last bit going down was fierce.



for me anyway. The 1150 has a special relationship with gravity, must be all that metal.

Great report, now I want to go back.
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