Our departure to the northwest of the city had us making our way to Mount Stewart and the turnoff to Halcombe. These are more interesting roads to take than the state highways but with Halcombe behind us we had brief stop at the truck stop for a bike swap. Bruce A had an initial brief run on Sir Als Bighorn before stalling it. Watching him start it (not!) makes one appreciate the invention of decompressors and electric starts! Sir Als return and 'Lumberjack' leg muscles soon had it rumbling again. We soon made our way across the Rangitikei river to meet State Highway One. Thankfully this was brief as we took to the backroads on the western side of the main highway and meandered our way northwards towards Hunterville. They are a nice mix of open and windy roads that do require some attention as the road maintenance is a little lacking in places as Dion and Ian found out as they rubbed off the last of there chicken strips! All to soon we arrived in Hunterville from the western entrance and found our way to our favourite cafe.
Once again we were able to watch a parade of motorcycles go past as the pies, coffee and corn fritters disappeared. There are definitely more on the road these days. All to soon we decided to join them on the road and continue northwards to our turnoff at Vinegar Hill. Someone then suggested we head out of town via the western road and retrace our steps back to town. How radical was this! We weren't doing a loop! The thinking being that it was like a new but familiar road. It was a lot of fun and by now the day had warmed up and we were travelling through some lovely Rangitikei countryside as we followed the river south with brief moments on the SH1. The turnoff to Halcombe had us heading eastwards towards Palmy and our shed raid. Bruce S on his thundering yellow Ducati peeled off and headed home to Levin with the rest of us parking up outside Dions place in no time at all. It was great seeing Dion out on his NS400R and both he and the bike enjoyed the run. You can't let these two strokes sit in garage not being used for to long. Eh Dion!
Dion was very excited about his latest purchase and seeing it 'undressed' certainly made you appreciate how unusual they are. Because the underside of the seat is crowded with exhaust pipes, the toolkit sits under the motor! Despite the 3MAs fragile reputation Dion had always wanted one so we are looking forward to seeing how this new relationship develops. Will it be a keeper? The other interesting aspect to Dions garage is that it was designed for Dion. Some of the taller members of the group were certainly having issues with stool legs and motorcycle paraphernalia sconing them at times.No harm done, but it's always interesting to see how garages reflect there owners
Leaving Dions place had us reflecting on our ride with Ian happy his CL350 completed the run on a tank, as did Rich on the mighty T500 and Sir Al on the Big Horn. Bruce A is looking forward to having his RT360 back on the road as am I with the T500. The XJ is a wonderful, easy bike to ride, but making the same journey on the T will make it a very different sort of ride. Its older technology requires a different sort of attention to your bike and surroundings where a relatively unhurried pace still delivers a quintessential motorcycling experience. Maybe there is something to this backwards and forwards!