Sunday, June 29, 2008

Westpac Trust - Cheesecutter Run

To quote from Mom "A series of rides have been organised around New Zealand for the dual purpose of raising funds for local Rescue Helicopter Services and to bring the Cheese Cutter issue back into the public eye".

Outside Bayride Motorcycles (Pic by Toto - white Hornet in the foreground).

It had been raining all week - rain, fine, rain, hail, rain, wind, fine rain... and the outlook for the weekend looked grim. Saturday morning arrived - Weather Report: Grim.

I was a sight with my layers of waterproofing on including cotton, polyprops, jumper, riding pants/jacket (with winter linings zipped in), new 1 piece rainsuit, possum socks and new waterproof boots, leather gloves, neck warmer and buff. I am definitely on the padded side, as can be seen from the photo of me outside Bayride Motorcycles in Tauranga. But I stayed dry all day - even in rain and hail. There was even a report of snow on the Mamaku ranges near Rotorua.

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I had a dinner engagement, and not wanting to be late home, I left the other riders at Rotorua. They continued to Hamilton and then on to the helicopter base in Auckland to present the donations collected. My day was just over 500kms.

A reported total of $9755 was raised throughout the country, which is fantastic given the conditions. It was a bit of a challenging ride in the wet, but it felt great to be a part of both the Cheesecutter protest and the Helicopter Fundraiser.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pink Toetoe on The Coromandel Loop

This is more on the ride around Coromandel I did at the end of May 2008 when I was officially "between jobs".

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As I told in the original post, the day was brilliant - clear and sunny, and the tide was in, which made for a beautiful ride up the Thames coast to Coromandel. I stopped at Tapu for some gas and an apple pie, but it was hard to stop the ride because every good turn seemed to deserve another, and this road has no end of great riding, whether swinging along the coast at water level, or climbing up into the ranges and down again. I did manage to tear myself away to take a couple of shots.

The Suzuki C90 at Tapu

Looking down towards Coromandel town from the top of the range.

When I got to Coromandel, I had to decide whether to go back along the Thames coast, or charge over the hill and run down through Whitianga and Tairua, and back over the Kopu-Hikuai [k-o-poo-hik-o-why] and home. As it happens... testosterone took over and after purchasing a lovely gift from a craft shop in Coromandel I took off. Not without first getting a call from Graeme Joy... considering that the phone was tucked into my luggage for most of the day, he managed to catch me - its not the first time either... how does he DO that? Must be the special sense he uses to catch up with people who spend their days on building sites.

The ride down the east coast is through farmland, with some stunning views of the sea thrown in. And as promised, pink Toetoe. I don't know why its pink, but some of the stands were completely pink and others a mixture of the usual white and a few pinks thrown in. Must be a condition of the plant - I have never seen it pink like that before.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Auckland to Kaiaua

Setting out after the main thrust of the morning traffic had abated, I headed to Otara to take the route through to Whitford, onto Maraetai, Clevedon, Kawakawa Bay, Kaiaua, through Miranda to Waitakaruru. The first problem was road works in Otara / East Tamaki, but I kept heading east towards Whitford and finally made it through suburbia major to the rolling farmland of Whitford. The day was beautiful for riding, the roads dry, and the traffic was light - conditions were perfect - yes it was business time!.

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The extra part of the normal Kaiaua trip was going through Maraetai. That was a very good decision, and I recommend it - especially if you are showing visiting friends/family around.

Maraetai looking towards Ponui Island and the Coromandel ranges.

When I was young (last century) my family would often go to Maraetai for weekend outings to the beach. I'd forgotten how wonderful it is around this part of the coast.

I continued through Clevedon (without stopping for a coffee) and headed for that wonderful winding road between Kawakawa Bay and what we called Colonel Adams (supposedly after someone who lived there - actual name Matingarahi). The corners are a bit tight at times for the cruiser foot-boards, and there is one corner that has a decreasing radius. Luckily its a slow corner, but being a left-hander it can leave you in the wrong lane of a blind corner - not a healthy place to be.

The view of the Firth of Thames, complete with toetoe (on the bank on the right).

The road from there winds along the Kaiaua coast, passed the Best Fish and Chip shop in the world. No I didn't, but I was tempted! Miranda is the last stage of this particular ride, and is where you open up the throttle and wizz by the beautiful tidal areas of wading birds - including godwits that have just arrived from Alaska. See this article To Alaska and back - the epic, record-breaking trip of Thames bird.