Friday, April 22, 2011

Old Trucks and Old Motorcycles @ Pongaroa

From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return
From Pongaroa Return

Three of us had an excellent ride a couple of weekends ago to the centre of the world, Pongaroa. It has been more than thirty years since I last past through the place on a fishing trip to Akitio So I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it still there, but still very much alive and well. My memories of the road through Makiri were very gravelly and very winedy with sharp ruts on many of the uphill sections. Thirty years later the tarseal has transformed the 52km road into a lovely mixture of tight and open flowing corners that generated an ear to ear grin. The only real concerns was the moss on some of the corners through the Makuri Gorge and a wee bit of gravel heading over the Puketoi Range. After no time at all we arrived in Pongaroa to be greeted by the main street full of old trucks. It took a few moments for it to sink in that these were vintage trucks as they all looked so 'right' in the setting. Our bikes fitted right in as they were of a similar vintage and as similar minded entusiasts do we got talking to the truckies. We found out that they were on there way to Tui Central after spending the night at place at Akitio. The rally was based around the district with people coming from far and wide. One guy told me it cost him $350 in diesel to drive down from Cambridge. Kawasaki triple people have got nothing to complain about next time they pull up to bowser! Our original plan was to have morning tea at the local pub, but it doesn't open until 12.00pm so after watching the trucks depart we wanderes down to the Pongaroa General Store. Although the restaurant come takeaways wasn't open there 2 for one deal of a pie and a cup of tea tempted us, and all for five bucks. It was a great pie and as we sampled the treat a steady stream of locals were availing themselves of the same. Alans local connections through his wife Fiona soon had a number of locals stopping for a chat and one got a wonderful sense of community that is definetly missing from our citys and towns. One of the locals even took our photo for the local rag as a part of an interest story on the growing number of motorcyclists stopping off at Pongaroa, Sure enough as we were getting ready to head off another group arrived from Wellington. It seems to be a popular circuit for Wellington motorcyclists who come up State highway 1/2 and return through highway 52. They were on a mix of bikes and after an extended chat. Alan commented on one of the conversations he had with a returning motorcyclist who regarded there new Motoguzzi 750 as an entry level bike. How times have changed! The return ride was the way we came and just as enjoyable as before, but with plans being made to do a circuit via Danniverke next time. After Alan topped up the A7 at Pahiatua he let Kim have a ride up the track on the A7. He was pleasantly surprised at how it perfomed with a wonderful motor that pulls from way down the rev range and plenty up top. Its easy to see why Graham Crosby way preferred this over the S2. We made our way back to Palmy feeling how great it is to see that there are places and people who still value our heritage in all its different forms. After all isn't that why we ride these old bikes
Roll call
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Alan Clark - Kawasaki 350 A7 Avenger
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750

Friday, April 15, 2011

Caption Competition

From Pilgrims Rest return

It has been a great response to the caption competition, but the winners have yet to be decided. The committee will meet shortly and the results will be out after Easter!I will add more to the list as they come in.

“I got a really good divorce settlement, she got the 2 houses, 3 cars, the boat, furniture etc but I got a Kawasaki full of petrol.”

“Don't worry Bruce, They still make the petrol for these in America as well.”

"Bloody 2 strokes, its not even running and you can still see the level going down."

“Nice restoration job on the bike but I think you have got the colour on the inside of the tank wrong?”

“Well we got Don in there, but how the bloody hell do we get him out?”

Bruce: “You want me to put my tongue where?”

Paul: “Bruce, I know that on most motorcycles this is where the petrol goes but this is a Kawasaki 3 cylinder 2 stroke so this is actually where the coolant goes.”

"pist-n-broke, just like you Bruce"

"It's a female Bruce"

"That’s where the money goes"

"Don’t put your fingers in there - the motor is very hungry"

“If it overheats.... this is where you fill the Radiator.”

“There’s no fuel like an old fuel”

“Two magnificent specimens and Paul”

“Everyone is ready to go and you’ve dropped your bloody keys in there!”

“This is where you fill the radiator”

“I can't understand it, it was full when I bought it 20 years ago!”

"How the hell did you drop your cell phone in there?"

“I was polishing the tank when a beautiful young blond Genie came out of this hole, my wife won't believe it, I get the plasters off my legs next week.”

“When I started riding 50 cents would full the tank, I have just put $10 worth in here. Can you see any petrol?”

“Just about flipped it doing that last wheelie. Thought I'd pissed meself, then noticed the effin gas cap had come off.”

“Degas them for painting, no sweat mate, just drop a fag in, here I'll show ya.”

“My mechanic used to be a gynecologist, did the motor and gear box through this hole, he did my H2 through the exhaust pipe.”

“I am telling you you! I took the cap off to check the petrol, then I yawned and my false teeth fell in there.”

"See Bruce, this is where I put my wife when she upsets me ... I'll let her out when I get back!"

“The guy who sold it to me said if I rubbed it a beautiful genie would come out, I was gonna wish for less vibration and a proper bloody steering damper, not some useless screw knob on the top clamp, and perhaps some more hair.” (sorry Paul couldn’t resist)

“Don't be silly Paul, that is not Don snoring in there, the motors is running erratically that's all.”

“Honest to God Paul I did put $20.00 of petrol in the tank. I didn't expect it to use that much from Andrew Young St to Bunnythorpe.”

“Cut the legal jargon Bruce, to fill this baby up again do I really have to prove I have substantial carbon credits.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pilgrims Rest Return

From Pilgrims Rest return
From Pilgrims Rest return
From Pilgrims Rest return

John and Margarets cafe at the Pilgrims rest has always been one of our favourite destinations with its great food and more importantly great host reparte. One always leaves looking forward to a return visit and wondering what the topic of conversation will be. This time it was all about the arrival of the Mothers Motorcycle Club who have bought one of the local community halls. As would be expected some consternation has ensued but as time has gone on there seems to be a more accepting attitude to the new neighbours. It will be intersting to see how this develops over the winter as the Mothers establish themselves in the community. I am sure John and Margaret felt a lot safer during our visit as some of us wore our 'patches' on the ride and had them on the display during our refreshment stop. Russell and his son Ollie came along for a spin and hopefully enjoyed a different sort of way to spend a Sunday morning; out and about on a fine morning riding a motorcycle with some great company!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nelson Classic & Vintage Motorcycle Club - 30th anniversary rally

Here is a great guest post from Alan! Enjoy
From Als and Don to Collingwood
From Als and Don to Collingwood
From Als and Don to Collingwood
From Als and Don to Collingwood
From Als and Don to Collingwood

Don and I decided to head to Collingwood for the Nelson C&VMCC rally. We left Palmerston North at 10.30am on Thursday 17th and joined Keran Osgood and Red Walters at Otaki BP. Don rode his recently completed Suzuki GT500 and I took the H2. Keran and Red are members of the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club, and rode a 1970 Triumph Tiger 100 and 1971 Triumph T150 Trident respectively. We caught the 2.10 sailing to Picton and upon arrival checked in at the Picton Top 10 motor camp were Don, Keran and I pitched tents just as the rain started.

Next morning turned up blue sky and sun and we headed off over the Whangamoa saddle to Nelson, and met with Don’s brother Nick. After a coffee in the sun at Zumo, Nick (on his Triumph Scrambler) led us around the Nelson water front and off to Motueka via Upper Moutere and a stop at New Zealand’s oldest pub. We fuelled up at Motueka and while Red headed for Collingwood we took a detour out to Kaiteriteri. This was an old stamping ground from my childhood and I haven’t been back for over 30 years. The changes are huge and in some ways a little sad to see. Nick tells me holiday homes sell for a $1 million +! Nick led us back to the Takaka road via Sandy Bay Rd, which was all corners and great fun, and then he headed back home to Nelson. Don, Keran and I rode over the Takaka hill to Takaka, fuelled up and headed for Collingwood. The Takaka hill is a great ride with stunning views and huge drop offs in places. Unfortunately a wasp decided to check out the inside of my helmet (riding with the visor up) resulting in a couple of stings on the chin. Not easy to ride while trying to stuff a gloved hand inside your helmet and catch or squash the offender! Arrived at Collingwood around 5pm and pitched tents, then off to Tinky’s Tavern for a meal and a sample of the local ale, and the good company of Graham McCosh, Dave Griffiths, and John Rushton from the Palmerston North club.

Saturday dawned fine and after a riders briefing we headed off on one of the two organised runs. We chose the ride to the steam museum at Patons rock on the way to Takaka. A great collection of old tractors and farming equipment, and 2 steam traction engines, one of which was running. We enjoyed tea and scones at the Pioneer kitchen, before heading off to Pupu Springs. The water coming up from the springs is crystal clear, 11 degrees cold, and is said to have been underground for between 2 and 10 years. Don looked keen for a swim, but DOC has banned such activity. We then headed back in the direction of Collingwood stopping at the famous Mussel Inn for lunch. What an iconic place that is. We sampled some of their ale, shared Don’s huge bowl of mussels, and enjoyed a good coffee. It was then back to Collingwood and out to Puponga, at the end of the road out to Farewell Spit. An ice-cream was enjoyed at the cafĂ© which offered a great view across the bay and of the sand spit. Farewell Spit is way longer than I realised, and has a lighthouse out at the end (well out of view) and a large stand of pines that seem to spring from the ocean. We returned to Collingwood and everyone parked up outside of Tinky’s Tavern (filling both sides of the road) for the judging of the bikes. Then it was time for a cold one, prize giving, and then a buffet dinner in the pub. Graham McCosh from Palmerston North took out the people’s choice award with his stunning Norstar; a BSA single cylinder engine in a Norton Featherbed frame. The old H2 got a mention and the Japanese bike prize. This was a real surprise as Don’s GT500 looked superb as did an immaculate and un-restored RE5. Nick came over in his camper van and joined us for a most enjoyable evening.

Sunday was an early start as we needed to get to the boat by 12.15. Up at 6am and packed up in the dark. My $7 Super-cheap cap with LED lights built-in proved a great buy, and made the whole job a lot easier. We left camp at 7am and had a cold ride over the hill. Sun-strike was bad at the summit, and by the time we reached Nelson the day was warming up. Breakfast was at Maccas, then back on the road again and over the saddle to Havelock for coffee. We rode back to Picton via Queen Charlotte Drive, which is a tight twisty road with stunning scenery and mobile chicanes in the shape of camper vans! The day had become hot and I was starting to think the H2 might over-heat as we waited in the queue at the ferry terminal. Don lost the service of the clutch on the GT500 when going onto the boat. The problem rectified itself after the 3 hour cool down during the Cook Straight crossing and wasn’t a problem on the way home from Wellington. As per the plan we were home by 6.30 pm in time for tea!

I would like to thank Steve Carrington and his team from the Nelson Classic & Vintage Motorcycle Club for organising a most enjoyable rally. Nothing just happens, so a tremendous amount of work will have gone into making the weekend the success that it was.
Thank you to Don, Keran, and Red for your good company and for a great trip. We rode almost 1000km over the 4 days, without any real problems with the bikes. We were well fed and watered and spent plenty of time in the saddle; you can’t ask for more than that. I would highly recommend Golden Bay to anyone wanting an interesting ride off the main drag with some stunning scenery thrown in.