Sunday, August 07, 2016

Searching for snow 2

A couple of years ago we had a bit of a cold snap and I took the opportunity to take the Vee for a spin up into the snow and onto a closed Napier-Taihape Road.  You can reminisce with me here: http://banditrider.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/searching-for-snow.html.

Well, last week (and yesterday), we had more shocking weather and there have been road closures all over the place - down in the South Island (funny that) and all across the Central North Island.  So, today it was the Tenere's turn to have a winter adventure.

It took me a while to get sorted this morning (I even packed a thermos for a hot drink up on the Annie) but I was finally gassed up and on the road about 10.  The day was actually relatively pleasant - the sun was out and it wasn't too windy - but it was still fairly chilly.

A quiet pootle over Vinegar Hill and up SH1 kicked things off and by Mangaweka the temperature had dropped quite a bit.  I got some light rain as I rode up the hill and saw my first "close" snow up on top of the hills.  The hot grips got tuned up a notch to 40%...

I turned off SH1 and rode across to Taoroa Junction taking it fairly easy on the greasy tar and carefully maneuvering around small slips and downed branches.  At the junction I went left instead of right (fighting the urge to go and jump off a cliff) and just a short distance up Pukeokahu Road hit the gravel.

The gravel wasn't too bad although it had been graded recently (the grader was still up there parked on the side of the road) and as I climbed a little I started to see snow on the side of the road and in some of the paddocks.  about half way through the below video I stopped to take some photos and take in all the whiteness.






If you watched all the video (you did right?) then you will have noticed that the snow got even thicker and the road got fairly icy.  In the end I thought that it was only going to get worse (and more dangerous) so I stopped and retraced my steps.  Unfortunately, nowhere near the Napier-Taihape - I wonder what the road would have been like up there?

Rather than completely follow my route back towards Gravity Canyon I turned off onto Moawhango Valley Road and took this (and a couple of others) back to Taihape.  These were all neat little back roads which I pretty much had to myself and managed to eke some enjoyment out of them.


I arrived in Taihape at around about lunchtime but noticed that everyone else had too so I just carried on down the road to Utiku where I turned off the main road to take in more (sealed) back roads.




Eventually I was onto Ruahine Road where I turned the cameras on again expecting quite a few slips and plenty of mud on the first bit but it was actually pretty good.


Approaching Rangiwahia there was a slight delay as the locals were hogging (sheeping?) the road.


In Rangi I stopped briefly to turn the cameras off (remote not playing ball for some reason) and momentarily contemplated the thermos in my topbox but decided to race for home instead.




For the rest of the ride I kept the pedal to the metal and got to enjoy some fast, windy and sometimes slippery roads.  There was even rain at times with some of the worst just before home of course...

I eventually rolled up the drive just before 2 and after putting my baby to bed finally got around to having a late lunch and thawing out my feet.  Brilliant day out on the bike though - plenty of adventure and another 275km under the Tenere's wheels.  The E-07's were fantastic too - just one little slip on greasy tar and nice grip on the gravel!

10 comments:

  1. I wouldn't miss a bit of snow and ice on the roads around here right about now!

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    1. I'm sure that there's a few farmers over here that wouldn't mind sending you some of our weather...

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  2. What a great ride. I love finding roads I can have to myself. Nice photos.

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    1. Yeah, did not see a soul once I hit the gravel/snow. The locals must have more sense than me...

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  3. Good job keeping your lines in the tracks as the snow got deeper across the road. Is having snow down that low unusual for you this time of year? For some reason I thought it stayed at the higher elevations during your winter.

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    1. I guess I was up fairly high (by North Island standards) but the snow was definitely a lot lower down than last time.

      A quick google search showed my house at about 27m above sea level and Pukeokahu Road about 540m - not a lot of difference but there are decent sized "hills" all around Taihape. Only had snow once at my place in 20+ years...

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  4. Crikey mate, I'm impressed as heck! What a great post, videos and photos. Must admit that I'm a bit of a pussy these days about extreme cold weather riding but you've got the perfect bike for it.

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    1. It wasn't too cold Geoff, I only really got cold footzees. I'm sure you woulda been just fine on the Suzy...The Tenere does just take these little adventures in its stride though!

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  5. The more I read posts like yours the more I'm thinking I need a dual sport next to the Bandit in the garage

    Just need to persuade The Pillion...

    Great post


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    1. Thanks Mr Ghost. Everyone needs an Adv bike!

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