- Location: Wellington
- Bike: BMW Supertanker, R80 & Velorex Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
SLIDING INTO SMASH PALACE -DAY SIX
Tues 7th Nov – Hanmer to Murchison:
Beautiful start to the day, but the weather forecast was for a ‘severe weather event’ in the evening, with winds rising during the afternoon.
I’d been keen to look at the Molesworth, so rode up there in the morning. Jollies Pass was rough, but once down in the Molesworth it was just gravel road. Fun sliding on that (at the mandatory 50 kph of course).
The Acheron bridge has had no remedial work completed yet. You could see where larger vehicles had created a ford, but that was far too deep for motorcycles – green, swift, & no sign of the bottom. The access repair will need to include a river diversion, or the access will wash out again at the next flood.
Back the way I came, & up Tophouse Road. The Clarence River washouts have been repaired, but were rough to cross. I discovered how to do 180 degree brake turns here, when I decided I wanted a photo of something. Exciting. Wouldn’t want to do that at high speed. Heavy corrugations in this side of the Molesworth.
The weather started closing in, with the winds picking up & some threatening clouds scudding across, but it didn’t actually coming to anything, aside from a few sprinkles on the visor.
Visted Lake Tennyson – typically cold & uninviting.
Crossed Island Saddle. The climb up to that had been rutted up in a few places by heavy traffic. There was still pockets of snow on the top.
Went up as far as the Severn Sedgemere track. That had a big ‘go away’ padlock on it, so there went that alternative route.
Given limited gas, I turned around just after that point, & headed back to Hamner.
Coming down off Island Saddle….
Did a few of the heavy vehicle fords on the way back. I mean it’d be rude not to after they went to all that effort of putting them in..
Late lunch at Springs Deli Cafe. Coffee & wedges. Good quantity, but needed a sauce (aside from sour cream) to give it some zing.
Lewis Pass was WINDY. To the extent that the wind got under the bike at one point, & I swear I could have turned the bars from lock to lock without any impact on direction. Wouldn’t have wanted to have been on a solo. Worst fuel consumption of the trip. Difficult going playing with trucks too.
On the top of the pass, struck up a conversation with a stop go person’s supervisor. He’d had a Velorex on a K100 in the past. He commented on damage to the mudguard, which I didn’t pay too much attention to at the time.
Springs Junction suffered from the wind picking up the grit from the large unpaved areas, & driving across the carpark. Unpleasant. But I needed a stop, & a muesli bar, so tolerated it.
Didn’t do Westbank Rd – I was worried about the weather closing in, & the time. A few roadworks along that stretch.
Maruia Saddle had some deadfall from the last low (that passed Sunday). Stopped & had a chat with a chap in a 4WD. He’d had to drive from Clarence to a meeting just above Chch. Should have engaged him more – would have been interested if he had land access.
Just after that I noticed a scrapping sound & vibration from the tub, & decided to investigate. The tub mounting bolts had let go at the rear, & so the tub was bouncing around on just the front mounts. This meant the mudguard had moved across the wheel & was now making new grooves in the sidecar wheel. I now also understood a funny piece of metal & rubber I’d seen on the side of the road coming back on the Molesworth. That’d be my tub cradle. Fortunately I had a bolt & nyloc nut I’d bought to fix one of the link mounts, so was able to McGyver a repair. But my more expeditionary riding was over, & I decided I’d better head for home.
The rain came in in earnest as I was bodging the repair.
There was one slip that I reckon would have closed the Saddle the next day. The slip had blocked the culvert that a streamlet usually went through, so it had cut a track across the road. Narrow then, but it absolutely bucketted down overnight, so I think there would have been a new ford in the morning.
Stayed the night at Kiwi Camping Murchison. Got the last of their accommodation (good job I called from Hamner), but spendy. Filled with loads of road workers. Not a night to be tenting.