Today it is cloudy and cooler as we head towards Wellington and the ferry to the south island.
We had planned to ride out to the Gannet colony at Cape kidnapper, but after getting most of the way out there we found the access is blocked by private land and you have to go on a tour. AHH no.
So we continued south on the route 52, which a a nice secondary road thru the occasional settlement and past farm lands.
We stopped in Porangahau, which has a nice coffee kiosk in someones front yard and we grabbed a pie from the corner shop. It is starting to sprinkle a bit. We have just a few km to go to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which is the place with the longest name in the world. We saw very few cars all day.
Part way we stopped in Pongaroa for a drink at the pub and to chat to some Canadian cyclists. From here there is a 60 km loop road into AA beach. All but 20 are paved and the rest is good gravel.
Arriving to the beach we had a snack and while we were watching the waves a furry sea lion hopped out onto the beach.
This is how you tow your boat in New Zealand!
Riding back to the 52 from the north we had to retrace 15 km and then made for the Pa Valley and then the Mangaone Valley roads and arrived to Pahiatua at 630 to the home of HU Hubb members John and Sarah.
They have traveled a lot of Europe by bike 2 up and want some advice on crossing Asia to bring their BMW back from the UK where they bought it. They served up a huge steak BBQ for us and their kids Ben and Rebecca and we talked into the night.
Today the plan was to go to Castle Point (voted the best beach in NZ) and the weather looks clear for star tonight.
We headed back to the 52 and south 64 KM to Masterton for groceries and supplies.We then took the Castle point road to Langdale road and wound our way to the beach.
The problem is it is a holiday weekend Saturday and as we expected when we arrived there are no spots and no where to free camp. We had a picnic lunch and retreated to Masterton in the 30 degree blazing sun.
We found a great motocamp just at the city limit and it has a nice grass field, amazing showers, and the best stocked camp kitchen we have ever seen. It was a 10 minute walk into town to get some cold beer. Then we had to hide in the shade a the sun was like a laser. Small world as Sarah’s dad used to manage this park and she has even lived here!
What a comfy quiet night we had! It is only 70 km to Poriruia, but we made it into 263.
We set out from Masterton to Martinborough on the small roads thru the farms that gave way to vineyards on the NZ wine route.
From here we continued south to the lands end at Cape Palliser where we stopped for a snack and then had to back track as there is no exit here.
It was after 2 and we made for Greytown (voted prettiest town in NZ) for lunch. We cruised the quaint main road and parked where there were several restaurants. We went into a nice deli to order and not 5 minutes later Sarah and Rebecca who were here for some shopping and saw us ride by! SMALL world. Crazy to meet 2 of the few people we know in NZ.
Now we rode over the famed (for the number of deadly motorcycle crashes) Rimutaka road. It is a nice windy mountain road that guys on donor cycles try to race across and crash all to often. We managed all right at normal people speed.
Arriving to Mike’s home he had one side of the garage open for us, cold beers ready, and he cooked us up a fantastic beer can chicken dinner. We went over the south island map with him as well and he added quite a few local aid bits! We also booked our ferry tickets today. We had to go with 3 days from now in order to not have to go at 9 am or 8 pm. We booked with Blue bridge as they allow 2 motorbikes to be booked on one reservation, they had a 130 pm opening for the 3.5 hour crossing as opposed to 9 am or 5 pm), and it was 50$ cheaper. They are north sea ferries and not as nice as the ones run by the competition Inter-island.
It is not very nice out today so for our tour in the city Mike took us in the car. We headed into Wellington city and visited the Te Papa national museum, lunched on the waterfront at Mac’s, then drove over to visit the NZ first world war memorial and museum. We headed back to Mike’s so Sara could cook us up dinner.
It is supposed to be a much nicer day today and we set out on the bikes just after 9.
Leaving Porirua we did take the motorway until Johnsonville and then turned off onto the Ohairu Valley Road. This is a very narrow and curvy road thru farm lands. We took a detour off to visit Makara beach.
Next we crossed over the west of the suburbs to climb the steep road to the “wind turbine” lookout. This has a panoramic view over the city from the west.
From here we rode down to the sea on Happy Valley Road and to Owhiro bay. The road here skirts the seaside and ends at the airport. Here we had a great lunch on the deck of the Spruce Goose and watched the planes take off and land.
When you continue on the coast road you actually ride under the runways and along the coast with views of the harbor.
There is a steep and narrow switch back road to the lookout at MountVictoria.
When we came back from enjoying the view Lulu would not start! Now when we arrived back from Vietnam there was a starting issue, but since then the bike started but there was a delay of a second when the starter was pushed. For the last 2 days it did not seem to be running “normally” or at least seemed to lack power, but the voltage meter was 14. We tried to jump the bike-no, we swapped out the battery from the 800-no, we jumped it with the new battery and started. So either the regulators or the stator! We luckily were less than 5 km and mostly downhill to get to Mikes shop Boyle Kawasaki. Glad it did not die on the hill like it did in Quito!
What nice guys. They immediately offered help, tested the battery (all good), offered to fix the bike, offered us a trailer….and beer. In the end Dan and Mike rode back home and picked up Mikes car and trailer and then came back for Lulu and Sara.
Arriving home Dan got to work. First he swapped out the regulator and no luck.
Next we open the engine and the stator is burnt totally and the wiring burned thru. Inside the case there was a 4 mm glob of what looked like SSS freely floating. Poor job on the manufacture! It has only been in use since Kazakstan (only 23000 km ago). Not much we can do so we installed the new one and it is working well we think. The voltage reads 13.8 when riding, but 14.0 when in neutral. This is a new regulator and is Dan’s battery. The 650 was always 14.1! We shall have to see.
Thanks so much to Mike for saving us in a bad situation! This bourbon is well deserved .