Saturday, August 22, 2009

500 km ride to Hampton Downs

The first dry weekend for a few weeks brings with it the chance of a ride. And so with Ivan rearing to go and an organised ride by Big Bikes in Hamilton, we set off. The official ride didn't start until 2:30 PM so we decided to take in the Clevedon-Kawakawa Bay-Kaiaua route. A really nice day too, fine and dry, and not too hot - and that road is such a fantastic ride. A coffee in Kaiaua but no fish-and-chips this time, and we headed out towards Mangatawhiri, and via the old State Hwy 2, through to Mercer on Koheroa Rd. The 'Castle" at Mangatawhiri has a For Lease sign out - nobody comes this way anymore I'm afraid. Nice ride to Mercer and 5km back on the main road we turned off at Hampton Downs to survey the Hampton Downs Raceway - as you can see, there is still quite a bit to do.

Here is a picture of two bikes and field of clay.

Then through to Big Bikes via the famous Hamilton by-pass (that actually takes longer than going through the centre of town) and a catchup with a few friends. Mind you, the cruisers were severely outnumbered by sporties: Ducati, Aprilia, KTM, and a couple of Hyabusa's amongst them.

I was thinking "its bikes with radar detector vs bikes with GPS".

View Larger Map

So how come the guys with the GPS got totally lost? We even found Eureka (yeah, I know...) but not the prescribed ride route.

So we abandoned the well designed motorcycle speedy-twisty-backroads for the "straight to the pub" strategy. By this time the day was drawing on and Ivan and I decided to go straight back to Auckland from Tirau, to try and arrive before dark - and we nearly made it. Ivan's Hyosung 250R was being put to the test and I'm sure he changed gear 1000 times while doing a great job of keeping up with the bigger bikes. Mind you I was being extra good (mostly).

Great day, great roads, great company, and a vast field of clay. You'll need knobblies for the next trackday...

Westhaven Floating Dock

In preparation for the annual International Fishing Contest - we have in the blue corner, weighing in at under 90 kgs, John - representing New Zealand, the oldest grandson of the master-fisher "Kingfish Harry". And in the red corner, representing Australia - the Hapuka Hatchet-man himself, none other than Roger. I say none other, because there are only two of us going - but you get the general idea... not that we are competitive...

Anyway, the Floating Dock. In order to look at the bottom of the boat to check the antifouling, and assess whether the sacrificial anode needs changing - the service provided by the Floating Dock at Westhaven is ideal. In the space of an hour we took the boat from the marina, did the lift and clean, and were back in the marina. Ken does a fantastic job - all with efficiency and good humour.

However, it seems that the Floating Dock may be going! The Resource Consent is up for renewal and some neighbours want him out. That would be a great blow to all yachties in the area, who rely on those excellent services to get cleaned, do surveys, and quickly do jobs under-the-waterline.

You should contact Ken or your boat club, and find out what you can do, if you want to retain this exceptional service.