Friday, September 21, 2012

Mangahao Meander

Here is a quick view of the road to the top!

As I pulled the KH out of the garage on Sunday morning, little did I know what lay ahead that day. The Saturday before weather didn't bode well for the following day, but some faith in Metservice had me making some late night texts to gauge interest in ride out in the country. Sir Als reply was informed me that he and Bruce were heading out for some more 'Adventure Riding' out the back of Shannon. We made a loose arrangement to meet in Shannon the following day.  The less demanding terrain south of Palmy was an ideal opportunity to give the KH250 a run and so our 10am meeting time had a group of us parked up outside Manawatu Motorcycles. Richard arrived on his trusty T500, with Kim on his RZ, Shorty on his SV, Clint on his Katana and yours truely on the KH250. We made our way to Shannon via the long way down Lockwood road, Main Drain road (I wonder how it got that name?) then on to Bainese and down a back road to Foxton then finally on to the Shanon Foxton road. Nothing to challenging apart from the usual cow pooh on the roads. It was good to be out on the little KH and enjoy all the usual Kawasaki two stroke triple sensations. The new tyre on the back had lowered the gearing a tad and it was now sitting nicely in the bottom part of the power band at 100 kmh. After a bit of discussion we decided on Horsemans Cafe for food and refreshments whilst we awaited the arrival of the 'Adventure Bikers'. Bruce Sagger 'flew' in from Levin on his Yellow rocket, his Yamaha RZ350 to join us for a cuppa. The cafe was a pleasant surprise with delicious loaf shaped pies, very tasty Bacon and Egg butties all washed down with good coffee and hot chocolates. Recommended. After waiting for Al and Bruce to arrive some decided to head on home whilst Shorty, Richard and myself headed up to the Mangahao power station and a suggestion was made to head up to the first dam. The last time I was here was to have a look at the power station and the white water centre so I was fascinated to find out a bit more about The metal road was narrow and very windy as it made its way up the hill to the top of the ranges. The surface was nice and damp so no dust and as we followed Shorty up Richard and I were very pleased to be on our narrow tyred stink wheels from the seventies as he hunched over his wide tyred sports bike. As we neared the first dam a couple of bikes came into view. I think they were a little surprised to see us as we stopped had had a chat on the side of the road. They were just on there way back from having a cuppa at the last dam and informed us that the first dam was five minutes away. We said our goodbyes and parked up next to the first dam. Having never been up there it was a really pleasant surprise to see the scale of it. Walking along the top of dam I wouldn't be to sure about living in Shannon should a descent earthquake strike! Shorty was pleased for the break as his wrists were getting sore and he wasn't looking forward to going back down. Richard took the lead heading back down and disappeared off down the road on the mighty Titan. Our stop down at the power station had us admiring the wonderful 1920s architecture and admiring the whole engineering feat for the time. It was apparently the first large power station built in New Zealand and the fact that it is still operating 88 years later is a tribute to the engineers of the time. You can find more information here. Our ride back to town had me thinking about doing a bit more exploring around our region, as I am sure there are some more hidden gems like this in our region. The KH did well but maybe I need to look for something more suitable. I think Barrys definitely got the right idea. Might have to start looking for a suitable mount.....Must be a few old DTs, TSs, KTs and XLs out there!

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