- Location: Wellington
- Bike: BMW Supertanker, R80 & Velorex Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
SLIDING INTO SMASH PALACE – DAY FOUR
Sun 5th Nov. Chch to Hanmer:
Three riders didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic this morning. Don’t know why.
Anyways, the plan was ride out to Oxford, then Lees Valley, through McDonald Downs Station, & back to Hanmer.
Part way along the motorway, Norbert realised he’d left a jacket back at camp, so peeled off to retrieve that. The rest of us toddled along at a very moderate pace, doing mainly straight gravel roads, & inhaling dust. The winds were up so riding wasn’t as pleasant as a sunny day might have made it.
Norbert caught us just as we were deciding to coffee at Cafe 51. That had great food, but was a little disorganised presenting it all together – I got my Latte just as everyone else was leaving.
Lees Valley was a little potholed, & the wind was annoying. Once we reached the flats, rain clouds started rolling over the hills, & we started getting skiffles of driven rain – annoying & unpleasant.
The Okuku River had flooded in the past few weeks, so the ford was gone. Needed someone to re-bulldoze the access & exit.
While Norbert’s bike looks like it was about to ford, that was only one branch of the river – we later turned it around & rode it back out of that initial attempt.
MD was having an issue with starting. That made him reluctant to try fording, as he thought retrieving the sidecar after a stall would be difficult. It turned out that it was the load shedding relay, which he eventually located, & bridged.
Ken was also having starting issues which he intially thought was charging, but has subsequently turned out to be issues with a new Valeo starter motor. That’ll be a warranty claim.
In the meantime Norbert, & I scouted for simpler fords. The issue was that the river had broken into 2 or more channels, & some banks were just too steep to use. Eventually we agreed a path & I went first, given the R80 is the shortest of the five. I stalled a few times but made it across okay with assistance. The others then followed, some making it all look too easy.
Once we were all on the other bank the rain came in again.
I had the final electrical issue – the batteries died in the GPS (when it was raining). So that was three – we should be good for now.
GPS up & running again, we found the turn off to MacDonald Downs Station. That was no farm track. Effectively it was a scenic dirt road super highway. We took that to avoid having to go back down to the Ashley Forest & back down to SH1. The rain eased off through here, so we had a few muesli bars in leiu of lunch, then gravel roads though to Culverden & Hanmer.
Stayed in the same cabin, but I cooked (not going back to that Pub). Then off to the Hot Pools. We got bailed up by an Alaskan Ural rider. I have to say he came across as a bit brash. His introduction to the group was ‘who are the Uralistas & who has the barstardised BMW’. I’m guessing he was referring to my bike as he referenced the ‘Flying the chair’ website stickers on the rear. He perceived that we gave a ‘cool’ response, which didn’t impress him. He then carried on the conversation on farcebook (forgetting it may be somewhere we might also inhabit), so didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with us.
Weather reports were warning of another adverse weather event. Ken & Norbert needed to be home for work, & had always planned on going back Monday. Bill & Michael decided to accompany them which left me to do – well whatever I wanted…