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Thread: Southern Cross 07 - Ride Reports

  1. #1
    Join Date
    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    2012 GSX1250FA, 2008 DR650
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    Southern Cross 07 - Ride Reports

    Friday 20th.

    I left Alexandra at 08:30 on a beautiful day with plenty of sun and only a light breeze. It was still slightly cool, so I had on all my thermal gear and the bike was only lightly loaded with all personal gear split between my two panniers, and bike gear in a tank bag where a top box would normally sit. Traffic was light and it only took 90 minutes to get to Twizel and my first fuel stop. Whilst here I discovered that I hadn't reset my GPS to get the exact distance, so I took the opportunity to zero out my trip meter and GPS. I just had to remember to add 140 km to both at the end of the ride.

    I took a break for an early lunch at Geraldine, then north to Mayfield and the long straight Thompson's Track road to SH1. I was very suprised to discover that the turn-off at Hornby was virtually gridlocked at 1:30 in the afternoon, and it took almost 30 minutes to negotiate the bypass to Belfast.

    On the Christchurch motorway I noticed that my radar detector was picking up a cop on the Ka band, but my screamer wasn't giving any noise. I figured that the screamer battery must be low, so when I stopped in Amberley for fuel I bought a new battery at the same time. I didn't want to block the forecourt whilst I took the front fairing off to get at the screamer, so I carried on north to a rest area near Cheviot where I stopped to work on the problem. After removing the screamer I found that the self test button still gave adequate noise, and that pointed to a problem with the wiring. I soon worked out that it was a broken wire in the 3.5 mm plug, and without a soldering iron I couldn't carry out a proper repair. I did mange to wiggle the wire into a position where it appeared to work, so I carefully put everything back together and carried on.

    After that rather long stop I arrived in Kaikoura at 4:30 pm and booked myself into the Lyall Creek Backpackers. This place is at the upper end of the backpacker spectrum and it was more like a boutique hotel than a backpackers; very comfortable and everything was provided.
    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  2. #2
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    10th December 2006 - 19:11
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    We'll be following you with interest, Malcom

  3. #3
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    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    Saturday 21st.

    As I didn't need to be in Picton till 1:00 pm I made today a late start, leaving Kaikoura at 09:30. Again the weather was brilliant, and I stopped at Kekerengu for brunch. This is a lovely spot, and although slightly expensive, the food is worth it, and just look at the view. (photo 1)

    I arrived in Picton just before midday, and as it was too early to check in for the ferry I decided to park up near the water front and just have a look around. (photo 2).

    The town was rather busy and parking spaces were at a premium. However I found a spot between a small island (next to a pedestrian crossing) and a bus stop. There was room here for possibly 2 or 3 bikes, but no cars could fit in there. WHile I was taking my jacket off, a local warned me not to park there as he had just received a ticket for parking a motor scooter in the same spot, and the parking warden was still in the area. I queried just what the ticket was for, and all he could tell me was illegal parking. He couldn't tell me why it was illegal, so I decdided to park there anyway, and if I got a parking ticket I could have fun fighting it. The bike was over 5 meters away from the pedestrian crossing, and wasn't on the traffic island, nor on the bus stop, and there was no dotted yellow line. (Photo 3 shows how far away from the crossing it was). Anyway I was disappointed that I didn't get a parking ticket.

    While waiting for the ferry, 3 riders from the Chatto Creek club arrived. I knew that Noel had entered the SC with his wife Barabra as a pillion, but I wasn't expecting the other two so it was a bit of a suprise. Those who have read my report on the Chatto Creek 1000 published in Bike Rider Magazine will remeber mention of the group of 4, here were 3 of that group on a BMW 1200, a Triumph Rocket 3 and a Triumph Thunderbird. We boared the Santa Rosa, and I have never seen such poor tie down facilities. We were ushered into a corner next to a fire door, but there was nothing at floor level to tie to. I finally manged to find a couple of eyelets on the fire door to use as tie down points however I must say how glad I was that it was a smooth crossing. The bike would not have been secure in even a moderate swell.

    After disembarking in Wellington I headed north to Shannon where I caught up with The_Duck_01 and Spanzy, both from the SI Passes ride.
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    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  4. #4
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    Sunday 22nd.

    I left the Duck01's place shortly before 10:00 am and continued north with the intention of meeting up with Nadroj somewhere south of Hawera. As he was heading south from New Plymouth at about the same time I expected to see him on the road at around 11:30 - 11:45. As that time approached the road just seemed to be fill of bikes of all descriptions, but fortunately none of them resembled a Busa, so I didn't turn around and try chasing any. As I rode into Waverley there was a busa at the side of the road, so I stopped, and sure enough it was Nadroj. He had stopped right outside an eating establishment so we made that our lunch break.

    After lunch, Nadroj took me to a museum near Waitara, and what a fabulous place it was. (Maybe Nadroj can give us some more information). We arrived at Nadroj's place in New Plymouth mid afternoon, in plenty of time to clean the bike and check it over thoroughly in preparation for the ride. Next we headed around to the motel where Highlander was staying, and tried to hijack his bike. He caught me before I could move it though, then we tracked down Shafty and another rider (sorry mate, I'm hopeless at remembering names after a week) and we went for a mini KB evening at a pub.
    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  5. #5
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    28th August 2005 - 19:37
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    That beed the Tawhiti museum just out of Hawera - recomended stop to anyone passing thru & easiest to find by turning east at Normanby.
    Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow aren’t just the 4 cycles of an engine

  6. #6
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    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    Monday 23rd (morning).

    With everything packed and loaded, Nadroj and I headed out at 09:00 for fuel, then a short stop at a money machine. I knew that I needed to carry sufficient cash for 4 days as I couldn't be sure what places would or wouldn't have eftpos etc. Traffic was quite light as we headed west, but we were seeing more and more motorcycles.

    We stopped at Okato for a KB breakfast, and what a fabulous sight to see so many motorcycles all lined up. The Cafe hadn't yet opened their kitchen so most riders opted for coffee and a muffin. Across the road at the shop there was a much greater selection of food available with everything from chicken and chips to filled rolls. The Cafe may normally do the best business, but on this day it was the local store that provided the best service.

    We continued on to the start point for the rally and turned onto the East Cape road just as another large group of riders came in from the opposite direction. A great line up of bikes of all descriptions, and a last opportunity for a Team KB photo before the Southern Cross began.
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    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  7. #7
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    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    The Southern Cross Begins

    Because of the large number of riders this year, 134 entered and 130 started, the organisers didn't give a verbal briefing, but gave us all a briefing sheet with all the relevent information. Also this year there were 3 books with all entrants listed in alphabetical order, so that also cut down the time spent waiting to sign in, and we were permitted to depart shortly after 11:00 am.

    Nadroj on his Busa, Highlander on his CB750 and I on a VStrom set off at 11:15 and set a good steady pace back around the coast to New Plymouth. Just out of the city, near Bell Block, a number of approaching cars started flashing their lights, and a short distance further on there was a cop with a laser gun. Half a km or so down the road was a HP car at the side of the road with one poor motorist nabbed. I guess that with the number of bikes passing through in groups that laser would be the only way that the cops could ping any individual motorcyclist. So that suggested to me that this speed trap was aimed directly at the Southern Cross riders. Other riders from Taranaki later commented that they had never seen Laser at that spot before.

    There were many patches of road works as we made our way north, and somewhere near Mt Messenger, Nadroj and I passed a group of slow vehicles, but Highlander got stuck behind them, so our wee group were now seperated. We had all planned on refuelling at Otorohanga, so we knew that we'd all meet up again soon. In the Awakino Gorge, we came up behind a group of 5 riders on sports bikes who were sitting on a nice comfortable pace, so we just tagged on behind and followed them through King Country and on to the refuelling point in Otorohanga.

    Highlander caught up with us as we were filling up, so once agin we were a group of three on totally different typres of bikes as we took the back road through Pirongia where my radar detector signalled a cop sitting near the primary school. Nadroj turned off at Whatawhata as Highlander and I continued on to Ngaruawahia. Travelling North through the Waikato I felt a bit nervous at one spot where the road was only a single lane with cheese cutters between the lanes, and on the side of the road as well. Why are Transit so intent on killing motorcyclists in this fashion?

    We made very good time north, and as we passed Pokeno at 3:30 pm I realised that we had a good chance of getting throgh the Motorway befor the rush hour began. Traffic continued to flow easily all the way along the motorway, until just short of Spaghetti Junction, where it became bumper to bumper, but not quite grid locked. It took us about 20 minutes to cover the next 10 kms, but then we started travelling freely once again, and had a great run through Orewa, Warkworth and on to Wellsford. We had intended to refuel here, but my guage was indicating 3 bars (5 is full), so after a quick check on the state of Highlander's fuel we decided to carry on. 1 km further on and I lost that 3rd bar on my fuel guage, but I was still confident that I could get close to Whangarei. Just as we were approaching Whangarei my last bar on the guage started flashing, indicating that I had 2 litres of usable fuel remaing, and right in front of us was a Caltex station, so in I went. Highlander stopped right behind me and commented that he had gone onto reserve coming down the previous hill, so this stop was perfect for both of us.

    With the bikes fuelled, and daylight fading fast, it was time to find fuel for the inner man, and the Burger King joint seemed nicely located right next to main road north. After a good feed I said farewell to Highlander, as he was staying in Whangarei, and I continued north solo.

    At Kawakawa there appeared to have been a minor accident, with a car stopped awkwardly at the side of the road, but plenty of people and other vehicles around the scene, so I continued on. A few minutes later, and whilst riding in thick fog, I saw a cop car travelling in the opposite direction at high speed, then 10 minutes later, a second one. Obviously they were on their way to the accident scene, but as I hadn't seen any ambulance at all I assume that it was a non-injury accident.

    I finally broke out of the fog as I started climbing the Mangamukas, and what a lovely piece of road. On the previous Southern Cross, Blackbird, Mangel6, Rider in Black, and I, had passed over this stretch in daylight, and I really enjoyed it then. Now, in the dark, and it was almost surreal. The whole event was worth it if only for this piece of road. I saw one other bike on this stretch, a DR650 (ducatijim perhaps?), however I just waved him through as I was enjoying the ride too much to be bothered with another bike.

    Kaitaia appeared to be very quiet as I passed through and headed on north to Pukenui and my overnight stay. However when I arrived at the backpackers at 9:30 pm, I discovered that they had mucked up my booking. They had saved a bed for me alright, but it was in a small dorm. The result was that I had to sheare a 6 bed bunkroom with 5 gorgeous Israeli girls. Every single one of them would qualify as model material, and here I was sharing a room with all 5. I should mention that the other two rooms were also full with beautiful girls, mostly Israeli, and one from Ireland.
    Last edited by Jantar; 30th April 2007 at 16:33.
    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  8. #8
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    19th September 2006 - 22:02
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    Here there everywhere
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  9. #9
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    22nd October 2002 - 11:00
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    Oh dear Malcolm - really tough when you had to bunk down with others. Bet changing in to your PJ's was fun Looking forward to the next instalment as is your gorgeous wife no doubt

    Geoff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    Tuesday 24th,

    I had a pleasant lie in bed while trying not to perv at the lovely young ladies as they got up, and being the gentleman that I am, I waited to be last to hit the shower. Damn, no hot water..... yet maybe a cold shower was just what I needed. There was plenty of time to pack and load the bike before heading down to Pukenui for fuel, then a couple of filled rolls and some fruit juice from the bakery for a picnic brunch at the cape.

    I only had a short ride to Cape Reinga so left it quite late before heading off, and got all the way to the gravel section before even seing any sign of another bike. Once reaching the gravel though it was great riding. the road surface was well packed, and the Scorpion tyres actually felt far more predictable on the gravel than they ever did on the seal. I kept up a good pace, and on one straight section through a dip I really opened the throttle. I was impressed to see over 1x0 kmh on the speedo while on the gravel.


    I did pass a few other bikes on this section, and tried not to spray them with gravel as I passed. There was one rider though who just hogged the right hand side of the road on a twisty bit, and the only way past was at full throttle on his left. He may have felt a few small stones as I passed by, but I hope not too many.

    There were only a handfull of bikes at the cape when I arrived, and many of those had the same idea as me, a picnic before the hard afternoon ride began. Higlander arrived about 20 minutes later and after that bikes just kept on coming.

    Once again, the checkpoint was again opened early, and I suggested to Highlander that he leave while I delayed long enough for a piss stop. I figured that way I would catch up with him about the time he finished the gravel section. Sure enough, once I headed away, I passed every bike I saw on the gravel, (unlike last time when I was passed by a KTM and 2 VStroms) and man it was fun riding. Some riders were at home on the gravel surface and kept up a good pace, while others were so slow and careful that they were a danger to themselves. I was impressed with how Shafty rode his big ST1300, and coped much better than many riders on smaller bikes. Plenty of bikes were still heading into the Cape as we were coming out, and all looked like they would get there before the 1:00 pm deadline.

    Once back on the seal, I could see Highlander 2 bikes ahead of me, so that timing worked out quite well. We opted not to stop at Kaitaia, but carried on to just short of Whangarei for our next fuel stop. There were plenty of bikes on the road this time, and we again made very good time south as far as Warworth. From here the traffic got heavier, and a couple of slow moving trucks just wouldn't allow anyone to pass. The oncoming traffic was also quite heavy, so we had a slowish trip through to Orewa. The cops had set up a checkpoint here and were stopping all traffic going north. I later heard that shortly after we went through they swapped sides of the road and were stopping all south bound vehicles. I did discover that my screamer had stopped working again due to that same broken wire that plagued me earlier.

    Once on the motorway though the pace picked up once again and it even looked as though we may get over the bridge before rush hour. Alas, we didn't quite make it, and crawling up the hill towards spaghetti Junction, the traffic just stopped. Still, it could have been worse as we were only delayed for a few minutes. With my panniers sticking out the side as far as they do I couldn't split, so when I saw a reasonable gap I suggested to highlander that he just split on through, and I'd catch up at Bombay. As it happened I arrived at the Caltex Station at Bombay just as Highlander was finishing topping up his tank, so there wasn't more than a couple minutes lost through not splitting. Shafty sent a txt saying that he was over at the BP station, so while Highlander went to find Shafty I continued on.

    Near Kaihere a small group of sports bikes caught up, and as they were setting a good pace, I sat in with them as far as Matamata. A stop here for fuel then over the road to McDonalds for a quick feed which turned out to be a long stop. McDonalds in Matamata is the worst organised and slowest service of any McDonalds I visited anywhere in New Zealand. I must have waited 15 minutes to be served when I was only 4th in the queue, then another 5 minutes for the food to arrive. A woman in the queue in front of me commented that she knows the owner, and that they have a terrible problem with recruiting and retaining suitable staff. I would suggest that if the owner sat and watched the manager, rather than the staff, then the reason for the staff retention issue would become obvious.

    Remembering how cool it was in the fog the previous evening, and hold cold it can get in the Waikato - BOP area, I took the opportunity to put on my polyprops before continuing. It is many years since I last rode over the Kaimais and I had forgotten just what a great road it is. Even in the dark the bends are just endless, and there was little traffic to hold me back. Going down the Tauranga side I came across the scene of an accident. One cop car was already there and another was just arriving. I believe Highlander and Shafty arrived at the scene ahead of me and only shortly after it happened, so I'll let them give more details.

    I took the back road through Welcome Bay, rather than go all the way out to the Mount, then as I came out to the main road another group of bikes headed through. I followed them as far as Te Puke where they all stopped, and I continued on solo. It was completely uneventfull for the rest of the ride to Opotoki, where I arrived at 9:30 pm. This time the backpackers was full of asian girls, but I did have a room to myself.
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    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  11. #11
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    25th August 2005 - 16:07
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    niice read so far. Meanie and I are planning this ride next time. Couldnt do it this year due to a million things but next time we will be there with bells on.

    cant wait to read the rest of the trip!

  12. #12
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    21st August 2004 - 12:00
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    Wednesday 25th.

    I got a nice early start from Opotoki, and remembering that it was Anzac day, I made sure that the tank was full, and that I was carrying food and drink. The information we had was that fuel would be available at Te Aroroa, but remembering previous trips around East Cape, I wasn't going to rely on that.

    It was a picture postcard day. Perfect weather, dry roads, and lovely scenery. I wasn't riding particularly fast for the trip to Te Aroroa, yet I passed at least a dozen other bikes along the way, so I guess that those riders were also admiring the scenery. A few riders shot past me, and I just let them go. There were quite a few patches of road works sign posted along this section with that rediculous 30 kmh temporary restriction for nothing more than a filled in pothole on the other side of the road. One piece however was signed with "Uneven Surface", and it did consist of a reasonable section of loose gravel right across the road on a sharpish corner. There were signs of a car having skidded straight through and off the edge of the road, and I remember thinking to myself that it could be a trap for motorcyclists. We later heard that a Ducati rider had misjudged this section and dropped his bike. As far as I know the damage was minor and he wasn't injured.

    As I arrived at Te Aroroa, there were already many bikes parked in the main street by the only fuel pump. I saw a couple of riders I wanted to talk to and although I hadn't intended stopping I pulled over as well. What a fiasco. The promised fuel wasn't available, and many riders didn't have sufficient to make the return trip to the Cape then carry on to Ruatoria, the next available fuel. Eric, on a Buell Ulysses, was one of the riders in this predicament, so I suggested that he park his bike up and pillion with me to the Cape, then he would still have enough fuel to get to Ruatoria. He agreed, and off we went. We hadn't gone more than 6 km when we were met by other riders returning and signalling to us to return to Te Aroroa. Because of the fuel situation the checkpoint had been moved from East Cape to Te Araroa.

    Before setting off we were warned about a patch of road works about 50 km south that apparently had big narly boulders and a large step to get back up onto the seal. Although we did find some patches of road works they were well sign posted, and nothing as horrendous as we were warned of. I joined in with RichardC, Eric and another rider on a BMW K100 for the remainder of the day as we rode down to Gisborne for a bite to eat, then on to Wairoa for fuel. It was another uneventfull section down to Napier then onto Highway 50 to avoid Hastings and all the 50 kmh areas.

    Darkness fell by the time we reached Dannevirke for more fuel and a feed, and all noticed our radar detectors showing that at least one cop was tracking us. At the petrol station we were directed to a great fast food stop. It had the normal burgers, chips etc, but it also had a takeaway chineese smorgasboard for only $7. A great tasty feed.

    RichardC and I seperated from the other two as we headed through the Manawatu Gorge. I couldn't help noticing a large sign that said "Crash Area, Next 8 kms". Isn't it good that Transit have recognised that some drivers do want to crash and have provided an area especially for them? That sign was shortly followed by another that read "No Passing, next 7 Kms". I did start to wonder why Transit would designate a crash area, then immediately make it harder to crash in that area. However, we refused to comply with either sign, and we didn't crash, but we did pass one other vehicle.

    We followed SH57 to bypass Palmerston North, where once again the radar detectors showed that we were being hunted. I was relying entirely on the visual clues as my screamer was now into day 3 without working properly. Fortunately these cops weren't using instant on and we were getting plenty of warning. Once on SH1 the traffic got heavier, and so did the number of cops. It appeared that they were everywhere. In Paraparaumu there were either multiple cops, or one cop who just wanted to blast us with instant on every few seconds. As we turned off at Raumati South there was another cop coming out of the side road and he too gave us a good blast of instant on.

    We pulled into RichardC's house at 8:30 pm, where he had all the right gear to fix the broken wire on the screamer properly.
    Last edited by Jantar; 1st May 2007 at 22:37.
    Why do some pistons go up and down when your wheels go round and round?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    3rd September 2004 - 08:51
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    Great reading there. Thanks for the report,, really good

  14. #14
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    16th March 2007 - 07:15
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    Fantastic report. Looking at doing some of those routes so thanks for the heads up on things to look out for (ie petrol East Cape).

  15. #15
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    25th August 2005 - 16:07
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    yeah, petrol on east cape can be a trick. when we did the trip I was seriously looking for gas. Found a little pump on the side of the road and asked if I could fill up there. The lady said sure I can as long as I take an entire tank. No problem, I wanted to fill up anyway.

    Before this the most fuel I ever put in my gsx600f was $22. On this particluar day it cost me $35!!!!

    Have to watch out for these country folk...........

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