Last night I was chatting with Gary and he suggested that he wanted to go "around the mountain" this week and I mentioned that I was keen to "head west" so it didn't take much persuading on his part to suggest we do the loop today. We hastily posted the ride up on Kiwi Biker and the Feilding Riders Website but didn't hold out much hope for more riding buddies.
Never the less, I got up early-ish (a bit trickier due to daylight savings kicking in) and geared up to go meet Gary in Feilding. It was drizzling a bit in Palmy so the wet weather gear went on and off I went.
In Feilding I parked up to wait and in no time Nigel turned up on his wee-strom soon followed by Gary on his Kat. We got under way straight away and followed Nigel out through Halcombe and the onto Wanganui.
We kept up a pretty nice pace and even though we had a bit of drizzle here and there it was a very pleasant ride up through the 'naki. Our first pitstop was a comfort stop in Manaia before we continued on around the Coast road to New Plymouth for our first fuel stop (I even had a pie).
Next up was the fantastic Mount Messenger where the PR2's were given a bit of work. Just north of the Mount I pulled in at the Three Sisters just 'cause I never had before. We all pulled up and had a stretch but saw no sign of any sisters so remounted and hit the road again.
Back on the bikes again we soon had to contend with another sublime piece of road - the Awakino Gorge. Corner after corner of biker's paradise with great scenery all around and very little traffic. Eventually the gorge had to end and we had to put up with Highway 4 to Tamarunui - a road almost as good as the gorge! It sucks being so spoilt for choice!
After a quick top up of the tanks in Tamarunui we settled down a bit and rode through increasing traffic to National Park, Ohakune, Waiouru and Taihape. In Taihape we stopped for the last time and had the first coffee of the ride!
From Taihape we pootled down SH1 until the Vinegar Hill turn-off which simply cannot be avoided - so we didn't and had a nice play to finish up a great ride.
729km of great riding to make it 1,016 for the weekend. And the tyres? Well, they're now at 11,795km and starting to actually look like they need replacing. Very impressive - I love these tyres! Fresh ones going on soon...