Luckily the weather had improved with the rain stopping and what looked suspiciously like the sun making an appearance. Just after we turned off onto Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road we had to splash our way through a small puddle on the road but that would it in terms of "fording" the flood waters.
As we made our way towards the Makuri Gorge there was the odd small slip to avoid but there was already a road crew out with a truck and digger starting to clear the road - the Higgins guys were earning their O/T today.
Our first bit of gravel was on Pori Road and it was in really good condition so we all had a lot of fun getting to the traditional photo stop.
After the quick stop we were soon underway but not for long - if you watched the video above you may have noticed the small obstacle we came up against.
|No through road me thinks...|
So, about turn then eh?
Neil decided that this little road block meant that Puketoi Road was on the cards. I wasn't too keen on that idea as on one winter ride down Puketoi Road we encountered massive bog holes and a number of bikes went down. It turns out I wasn't the only nervous one in the group so the merry band split in half with Neil's group heading for Puketoi while I led my lot back out to the main road.
We road through to Makuri avoiding a few small slips and up over the hill to the Rimu Road turn-off. Once again the gravel was in great condition but almost right away we rode into some serious windy conditions. If you check out the video below you'll notice how much I was getting blown around and at about 1:50 you'll notice me have quite a moment. I was pretty sure things were looking nasty but luckily got back a bit of control when I got off the brakes and added some herbs...
As you can see I pulled over at the bottom of the hill to wait for the guys who I hoped were following on behind me - I hadn't had time to check my mirrors while battling the wind!
|It looks quite nice but it was still blowing a howling gale here...|
I waited and I waited, getting a little concerned and not looking forward to perhaps having to retrace my steps back up tornado alley. But with no signs of the others I eventually had to head back up into the wind. As it happened it was not quite as bad going up the hill and I was almost back at the main road when I came across the other guys just getting underway.
It turned out that Steve got into trouble in the wind almost as soon as we turned onto Rimu Road. Here's a pic Colin got of him parked up waiting for some help - he was quite lucky...
|A V-Strom only weighs about 220kg...|
From Pongaroa we took the fantastic Coast Road out to our lunch spot in Akitio. It is possible that I may have mentioned this before, but too bad - I love Coast Road! It is generally in good condition and is very fast gravel! I probably used more fuel in the 30km to Akitio than I did on the previous 100km from Pahiatua! Yes, I had a ball and the Vee approved as well.
We ended up beating the other chaps by about 20 minutes or so as they were out playing on some other fabulous gravel roads. Apparently they enjoyed things so much that a couple of them stopped to roll around in the mud and dirt...one Triumph rider seemed to have picked up more dirt than the rest...
|That Triumph rider|
A fairly eventful pootle so far, I wonder what the afternoon will bring...