I needed to travel up north to Hamilton. The reason for going was to join the search and rescue effort to locate a beloved family member who had gone missing. However, that's a whole different story for another time. I took this opportunity to ride up. By the time I got back home, it all amounted to 1,394.9km which also included the running around I did while in Hamilton.
From Upper Hutt, I travelled up over the Haywards Hill onto the other side of the valley and made my way up north on state highway 1. The traffic was lean, the ride was smooth and the countryside and the smaller towns gently rolled on by. The view of the Tasman Sea on the left hand side was nothing short of spectacular as the weather just continued to improve. I finally stopped in Levin for a short break and a bite to eat. I had a lot of ground to cover and I wanted to be back on the road as soon as possible.
After leaving Levin, there were long stretches of road where the traffic was almost non-existent and I had the road to myself. My next break was going to be Taihape - Gumboot country. The road meandered inland towards the centre of the North Island with lots of farmland sliding by. Along the way, on a lonely stretch of road, I was waved down by a police officer. I pulled up and had barely put the stand down when he said I could go. "I thought you were pulling me over to check out my bike" I joked. He laughed. We chatted for a bit before he spotted his next customer coming towards him and I set off again. The officer had been checking the warrant of fitness status of vehicles and I had just had mine renewed the day before so things were cool.
After leaving Taihape, I headed for the Desert Road. Travelling along this stretch of road is almost like being on a different planet. The atmosphere is both calming and unsettling at the same time. It's a lot cooler at this elevation and there was a little bit of snow on the mountain for this time of the year. I really enjoyed this part of the ride.
I headed for a place along the Tokaanu road that I had perviously stayed at only to find it had shut down, so I headed back towards Turangi. Part way along the road I saw a sign for Braxmere accommodation some 3km from there. I had no idea about the state of the place or even if it still existed but I thought I'd ride out and see anyway. If it all turned to custard, I had my sleeping bag.
Braxmere turned out to be a beautifully set up restaurant and accommodation right on the water front. I was able to park my bike right outside my unit. Dinner and a beer first, then a long shower, then bed - I was cosy.
I was meant to stay on state highway 1 but, for some reason, I took a left just outside of Taupo. My directional finder is almost non-existant so it's always an adventure. I didn't realise I was heading across country out towards Te Kuiti until I was already well down this track. As all roads lead to where I wanted to go, I stayed the course. The road was excellent, the scenery was beautiful and the ride was worth it. I finally arrived in Hamilton about midday, caught up with friends and family and joined the search and rescue effort.
From Taupo, I headed out towards Napier on the coast. The scenery along this stretch is constantly changing and not in a boring way. The ride provided a good combination of twists and turns, sweeping bends and long streches. I finally hit the coast and pulled over for a short break and to take in the sea air. It was really warm but also refreshing. There were plenty of others at the beach taking it all in.
I rode along the coast and headed into Napier itself. Going through Clive ensured that I was able to stay along the coast for as long as possible. From Clive, you start to head inland on long straight highways and past small towns.
I arrived in Dannevirke by about 3pm and spent the rest of the day at my dad's place.
The rest of the ride was pretty easy going. I stopped at the top of the Rimutaka hills and took some shots. There used to be a cafe here at one time but that's long gone now. I could feel the weather squeezing to get the water out and there was a little bit of spitting here an there. I was almost home.
I finally arrived home by 3pm and just as I parked the bike in the shed, the heavens opened up in a big way. Timing is everything - not that I had anything to do with it. Ride safe people.
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