Monday, July 2, 2012

A Run Over The Gentle Annie

Alan has written up a post from earlier last month when some of the troops completed the Gentle Annie loop and meet the Hawkes Bay VJMC chapter along the way. It has become a very popular ride over the summer with the completion of the tarsealing between Taihape and Hastings. 

June 3rd was the Sunday of Queens Birthday weekend, and a small contingent of the Blue Haze group left Manawatu on a trip over the Taihape – Napier (Gentle Annie) road to meet up with the Hawkes Bay VJMC guys.We left Manawatu Motorcycles at 9.30 sharp and had a comfortable ride up to Tiahape via Vinegar Hill, our first stop to fuel bikes and riders. Kim and I were on Kawasaki H2s, Dion on his quick NS400R, and Bruce his recently fettled Yamaha RZ350. Joining us was Robbie on a beautiful original Ducati's Paso 907ie. After a warming coffee we headed off over the hill to Napier. Road conditions could not have been better allowing some spirited riding up the snaking climb. We stopped for a breather at a rest area next to the Taruarau river, joining members of the MG owners club. After another climb we started the Gentle Annie downhill and crossing the Ngaruroro river at the bottom we met up with 5 members of the Hawkes Bay VJMC. 
After some time spent chatting and enjoying the warming sun, we mounted up and headed down to Fernhill. We followed Roger on his 750 Honda and made our way to Havelock North via Bridge Pa, and another fuel stop. It was then off down Middle Road to Patangata and a late lunch at the Patangata pub. Of interest at the pub were the Volkswagon Owners Club, and a couple of rarely seen split-window Combi flat-bed pick-ups. Lunch was a bit of a wait (they served 85 lunches that day), but much appreciated when it arrived. The lateness of the lunch stop was due to poor planning on my part allowing only 1 hour to ride to Taihape, and no coffee stop before heading over the hill – quickly vetoed!
We said farewell to the Hawkes Bay guys about 4pm and headed into Waipawa and then on the main road through to Dannivirke. The weather was starting to close in at this stage and we took the Topgrass Rd route down to Woodville. We were starting to get a bit of drizzle and a howling wind off the starboard side, so pressed on at a reasonable pace. At Woodville we decided to try the Manawatu Gorge which had just reopened. Unfortunately so had everyone else, and we spent at least ½ hour in a queue working our way up to the temporary traffic lights. It was dark and raining by this time and the rest of the way home was made at a sedate pace under trying conditions.
Our bikes went well and we covered around 450km. I think everyone enjoyed themselves and it was agreed we should get together for rides with the HB guys more often.

Alan Clark

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