Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Blog has moved

I have now moved my blog to my own domain name.

If you want to keep following my blog please now go to.

John's new Blog Site

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Looking at moving the Blog

Not really happy with the way the Blogger site is formatting the photos and stuff for me so looking to move to my own website and running Wordpress as a blog software.

Have it running here at home currently and looks much nicer, has more options and allows for better formatting. Will see what happens over the next few weeks.

Currently getting ready for the 1KC ride departing Hamilton on the 7th. Have the rough route down. Hoping I have enough tread left on the tires after the NI1600. The front is quite cupped and the rear definitely flattened in the middle. Still plenty of tread left though.

Monday, October 12, 2015

North Island 1600 - 10th October 2015

North Island 1600 – 2015 – “Are we there yet?”
Saturday 10th October 2015

NI1600 2015 Route
Had wanted to plan the night before but no details released. When I asked about it they said quite a few said all they were doing was giving the route to the cops. Well didn’t seem to make much difference as I saw heaps more this year than last year and the trusty detector alerted me in time on at least five occasions all between Bombay and Thames.
So first job was to enter the checkpoints into my laptop and generated the route. Couple of shaping points needed and all was go. Trouble was the route wouldn’t import into the GPS. Maps in the laptop were older so some incompatibility there. Checkpoints were there so all good. Now to wait for 1pm.
And away. From the Turangi start we headed back down the Paraparas to head to Upokongaro and the manned checkpoint as the Avoca Hotel. Paraparas in poor state with lots of one way areas and three sets of lights. Still good time made.
Upokongaro

Bridge at Mangamahu Road
Next it was left on Kaimatira road and heading for the bridge at Mangamahu Road. Nice clean ride so far.
Pemerton Corner
Next on the list was Pemberton Corner. The GPS said to do a U-turn but I knew it should have been carry on straight. Maybe the GPS knew something I didn’t. Anyway carried straight on and after about 5 times telling me to u-turn it decided to play ball. Anyway a little further on came to a corner and took it normally to find a group of bikes parked up. One bike low sided into the fence and the guy in front of me low siding as well. The cause of all this misery was a large pile of gravel all over the road ¾ of the way through the corner. Knew if I used the front brake I would follow then so stomped on the rear until I had the bike upright and straight and then used the front stopping just short of the bike on the ground. Someone went back to warn the coming riders while we got the bike out of the fence. Looked to be just minor damage and both bikes started okay in the end.
Halcombe
Photo at Pemberton taken and then onto Halcombe to take a photo of the memorial. Someone offed to take my picture here.
Next was off to the Naki and Oakura. Stopped in Hawera at macca’s for a quite feed and then past home at Manaia. Decided to call in and drop off the laptop saving a bit of weight. Checked in at Oakura as this was a manned check point and then off to Raglan.
Oakura BP
Raglan BP
Bombay BP
Nice ride to Raglan and made up a bit of time and it was dark going through Mokau. Got to Raglan and took the picture and next was Bombay. Decided to go back SH1 rather than the short route due to the new seal we told about. Nice to sit on a straight bit of road and relax for a bit. Another manned check point and then off to Te Rerenga via the Coromandel Loop. This is where all the cops were. Five detected by the detector and two others decided to pull out in front of me and travel with me. The Coro Loop in the dark was certainly different. No traffic but couldn’t really judge to corners well enough. Photo taken and off to Whangamata.
Was starting to sick of the twistys by the time I got to Whangamata as could not get any real speed up and the average dropped off from 97km/h to 91km/h in a short time.
Te Rerenga School

Photo taken and off to Rotovegas. Pretty boring ride down here but it was starting to get cold. 
Whangamata
Weather was play nice and only a slight sprinkle between Bombay and Thames so far. Stopped and put the heated vest on. Seat heater and heated handle bars already on. Much more comfortable. Manned check point so checked in and photo taken. I was lucky number 12 at this point so doing okay.
Next on the list was the final check point of Ohura. Now thought the GPS was going to get this wrong as it was pointed out that one road existed on the GPS but was not actually there. I routed this on the laptop but as it would not transfer I would have to do it from memory.
Rotorua
Was starting to get tired by this time and twice I had to stop and close my eyes for a few minutes. The temperature was also dropping and eventually got down to -1 around the top of Taupo on SH1. Had to put an inner glove on because the heaters couldn’t get enough heat to keep up. On one of the stops a couple of others came past so decided to tag onto them for the last parts. On the way through Waimiha road my right hand was getting very sore from the constant brake use. Finally there and back in daylight and took the photo at Ohura of the memorial hall.
Again I knew I had to carry on straight but the GPS said U-turn. I ignore it and carry on straight down to the forgotten highway and up to Tamaranui and over to Taurangi to finish just on 9am. 20 hours in the seat so far. Photos checked and the finisher pack was mine.
Ohura
Decided to go straight home and arrived at 1pm making it a total of 24 hours on the bike and the butt was letting me know about it.
End Speedo
Very nice ride and many thanks to the organisers and especially all the volunteers at the checkpoints for giving their time with which the ride would not exist. The BMW handled everything well and seemed to get better as the ride went on.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

TT2000 2015 - Day 3

TT2000 2015 - Day 3 - The Finish

 

Woke up to my alarm at about 5am and had a quick wash. Found I had no towels in the cabin so was a bit miffed. Went down and grabbed my breakfast which was very nice and the watched the docking and got ready for the last part of the ride
 
Weather up to this point had been perfect if a little warm at times. This was about to change for the worse.
 
First stop was to be Yellands estate and then a red shed at Ward. There was a bit of drizzle at times but nothing really bad and sitting behind the big BMW fairing I was staying dry.
 
Yellands Estate
Red Barn at Ward
Next was the bridge over the Conway river and then onto the mystery checkpoint to grab some more photos. However on the way down the coast on SH1 it started to rain a bit. Not bad for a start but was starting to pick up. A large group stopped to put their rain gear on but to me it looked like it was clearing just down the road so I carried on. Well that was a bad choice. Only got about another 15 minutes and the heavens opened up and I was getting wet. Popped over to the side and stopped to get my rain suit on and while I was doing that my helmet got rain in it everywhere. Was rather hard to see for a while as I had nothing dry to wipe it out that I could get too. Also it slowed me down as the roads where getting slippery and the Continental tires while excellent in the dry felt like on ice in the wet. Have since changed to Metzellar Z8's
 
Conway river bridge (note the wet road)
Mystery Checkpoint. (This was hard to find)
Just two more stops to go before this finish. Frog Rock and Scargill. Both easy to get at and weather starting to clear so take the rain suit back off.
 
Frog Rock
Scargill
 
Finally all done with the check points and photos so high tailed it to Hampton motorcycles in Christchurch. Filled up the tank just before calling in to find masses of people there already. It was just before 11:30am and I needed to be in Picton to catch the ferry home by 5:30pm. Could see I was not going to make it in time so asked if I could leave my camera memory card behind and they could send it back when they sent my stuff out. Greatfully they did this so I could get away and I was soon powering along back to Picton. Then the rain came again and man was it heavy. Slowed me down so much I did not think I was going to get there in time but I did - Just.
 
Eventually got home at 1am in the morning after 20 hour day with all but 4 hours on the seat.

TT2000 2015 - Day 2

TT2000 2015 - Day 2

Mystery Location - Bridge in Gentle Annie
Day 2 was to start at 6am but woke up early and was packed and away by 5:30am. First stop was going to be mystery location #1 and the bridge. Got there and it was still dark so had a bit of problem getting a good photo. Wasn’t going to wait the 45 minutes for sun rise so it would have to do.
 
 
Ngamatea Station
Kuripapango
Next stop would be Ngamatea Station. Only 500 points but it was on the road I was on anyway. Same for Kuripapango .
Sherenden School
 

Sherenden School was next and also on the road I was on but was worth 1,000. Making good time along here.
 
 

Omaruni
Next was Omaruni and it was starting to warm up again by now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Te Mata peak Trig station

 
 
Te Mata Peak was next and was looking forward to this one. There was a fair number of people running and exercising up there. Must have been sadists. Excellent views of the surrounding country side as well
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Next on the list was Maraekakaho, and Glendale. Nice driving through the back roads not often visited.
Maraekakaho
Glendale
 Then came Mangleton and Kereru. Could not find the pictures back for these ones. Following these two came Tikokino and Onga Onga, Elsthorpe, Ormondville, Battlehill, Titahi Bay, Eastbourne, Turakirae Head and finally Kinnoull.
 
 
 
Was now in Wellington quite early and needed to be at 1579kms knocked off. Was a bit short so went for a ride up the SH1 motorway and back to add a further 70kms just to ensure I had enough.
Cruised into the Bluebridge ferry terminal which I had booked so long ago and waited about 2 hours until I was allowed to board early and claim my cabin for the nice sleep over. By this time there was quite a group of us all heading over with the same idea.
Got my head down by about 12am to grab a nice 5 hours sleep.
 

TT2000 2015 - Day 1

TT2000 2015 - Day 1
 
Well it was time to head off with the bike all packed up and GPS was loaded with the routes and check points. The start at Wanganui was only an hour away from home so didn’t leave until 10:30am for a leisurely ride down. Stopped to fill up at Wanganui and got my first fright. After filling up and pulling away I went to start the route on the GPS but the GPS was blank. It had not come to life after the stop for gas. Pulled over and took it out of its cradle and tried to power it manually but no go. Was starting to get a bit worried as I did not have my route planned out on a readable map when all of a sudden it burst into life and gave me no more issues since. Guess it was just having fun with me.
 
Arrived at the start about 11:20am and already a few bikes there and saw the note about Mike. Put a bit of a damper on the start having had the same thing happen to my mother recently and my brother in law two years ago. I know how bad strokes can be.

Makuhou School
Anyway it was soon time to be off and after the briefing hoped onto the bike for what was going to seem a long ride. First stop was the 1000 pointer at Makuhou. I seemed to be first away in this direction and had not checked it out before hand. Was getting close and took the final turn and was looking at the GPS and actually missed the checkpoint as it was out a bit in the GPS. Realised and did a quick u-turn for a quick photo and on my way to the next one.

The next stop was out the back of Waitotara and I had checked this one out. Once I got to Waitotara I stopped and turned my helmet camera on. Youtube video of the 30 minute ride can be found here. Quite a bit of traffic on such a back road and was forced to stop on a narrow bit of road for a convoy of trucks. Took the photo of the bridge at Makakaho Junction and headed back to Wanganui to re-fuel. Had a bit of a pucker moment on the road back after about ten minutes when I entered the corner a bit fast as it tightened up on me. A little too much tail braking and the rear locked and stepped out. It nicely lined me up for the corner but gave me a bit of a fright.
 
 
 
Back at Wanganui and a refill with the last of the cheap fuel and it was onto Fields Track via the Paraparas. Always love riding this road and it did not take long to get the next checkpoint.
 
 
 
 
Next on the list was the Tangiwai monument but first the rest of Fields track to be covered. Another pucker moment on a tightish left corner when there was gravel right on the line I was taking. I was leaned over too much to hit it without low siding so stood the bike up and hit the picks and managed to go through it and slow enough with about 6mm of road left. That was luckily the last of my moments for the weekend. It seems a few others also found this patch.
Ohakune Carrot
Gates to Turoa (at the bottom)
 
 
 
 
 
Took the picture and headed for Ohakune and the carrot. Got it and then off for Turoa. Bottom sign said road works expect delays. They stopped me at the bottom for 10 minutes while two truckies decided to have a chat in the road. Finally away only to be stopped 2kms from the top and told they were loading a truck with rocks. After about 15 minutes there was a loud crash and the guy said that they had dislodged a large boulder and it would take 30-60 minutes to clear. Did not have that much time up my sleeve so went down and took a picture at the gate and would write a note on my score sheet explaining why and hope they accepted it. Had more than enough points anyway.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top of the Bruce Whakapapa
Next stop was Top of the Bruce and the ride over was very nice but wind was starting to get up a bit. After that it was off to Taumaranui and the picture at Piriaka and the view over the Whanganui river. Easy stuff and nice roads. Carrying on next stop was Ngakonui  School in the back Taumaranui.
Ngakouni School
Piriaka (View over Whanganui river)


Tokaanu Hot Pools
Next was the stop near Turangi for the Tokaanu hot pools and off to Tree Truck Gorge for a further picture. Next stop was at Waiouru for fuel and a picture of the AA gun. Light starting to fade now and only a little behind what my schedule said I should be

Tree Truck Gorge

AA Gun at Waiouru
 
Rangiwaea School
 A quick detour off the main road and a picture at Rangiwaea Junction School and was off again back the way I came.

Finally passed through Taihape which was where I was stopping for the night but first I needed my last photo from Mangaweka.
 
 
 
 
 
 
There were quite a few cars around going both ways and all of a sudden I saw a set of parking lights on the other side of the road. A quick look over and it looked like a van, a quick check of the speed and thought 113km, damn that had to be a camera van. After taking the photo of Mangaweka Intl Airport and on the way back I confirmed it was indeed a camera van. Had thought I got away with it though as nothing in the mail for two weeks but eventually it turned up, 112kms and $80. Blast.
Finally at Taihape and to the motel for the night with McDonalds for tea and some KGB blacks to wash it down. End of day 1. 741 kms and 10 hours total time so far and 25,000 points total.

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TT2000 2015 - Build up

TT2000 2015 - Planning


TT2000 time had rolled around again so once the web site came live put my fee in and grabbed the files. Decided to do the North Island one and entered my VFR1200 for the deed. Since then I have changed my bike to a BMW R1200RT which has all the goodies on it. Been taking it out for some practice rides and have clocked up 4,000kms in the first 3 weeks of its short life.

Downloaded the North island files for Mapsource and used them in Basecamp. There was only one mystery location at that point but man did it look familiar. Did a bit of searching and remembered I had already visited the bridge on the Gentle Annie. Didn’t take much to get the GPS co-ords and enter them into Basecamp.

Started out planning the route and wanted to finish the first day in Taihape. The stops I planned was based on the VFR1200’s small 18.5l 300km tank range but managed to get the route done and a reasonable distance on the Friday getting to my stop at about 10pm. Booked the motel and got a reasonable price.

Next I booked the Bluebridge ferry so that I could sleep from midnight until arriving at Picton. The plan for Saturday was then done backwards from there. Decided I could be in Wellington around 7pm comfortably by starting at 6am from Taihape. Again fuel stops dictated by the VFR.

Sunday was easy. Nice ride down the coast to pick up the inland route and then to Christchurch picking off the checkpoints along the way. One fuel stop along the way.

At this point the second mystery checkpoint was out and I spent ages trying to find out where it was by the details on the photo. It had me stumped until I reminded myself that some of the route was in the South island. Didn’t take long to find it then and used Google maps satellite view to confirm the coordinates and plugged it into Basecamp.

Final check on the total points found that I had heaps but was a bit short on kms. It was 2015kms on Basecamp. Might have to circle the block a few times just before I finish. Then I decided I needed a proper touring bike and along came the BMW with its 25l tank and good 500km range. Redid all the fuel stops and cut about 4 of them out.

Now the trip home was going to be a pain as I had to be back at work Monday morning at 4:42am. Decided that no hanging around on Sunday after finishing I could catch the return ferry at 6:40pm and be home at about 1am Monday morning. Booked the return ferry trip so I wouldn’t miss out.

Now sit back and wait until February....