(Links for each day to Mellonfarmer's)
Day One, The Journey and a "Leg Stretcher"
Phatboy and Dozer picked up Mellonfarmer. Tinks picked up WeirdlittleSilverfox and Sandals and Helmutt. They drove north and inland.
At Inungahua they turned right, up the Buller a ways, over the IronBridge and onwards a few kms pulling into the wrong carpark. Then finding the right one...
An easily made wrong start was made, but it seemed like the right start at the time, and the riders progressed up a very steep at times track to a wicked old cemetery in the bush, before a cool descent to a bridge. then it was a lot of steps to climb up to the Old Dray Road. This track climbs and climbs and climbs and a groove just has to be gotten into and everybody got into that groove and climbed and climbed and climbed. For two hours they climbed, each in their turn, cursing Mellonfarmer for this "leg stretcher". Eventually a slip was got to, miles after the 8Mile point MF thought was the end (thats what the book said!), and so they'd all had enough, and turned tail and flew down, loving every second of it, forgiving the curses earlier poured. Ride number one, a resounding success.
Westport for the night. Great food from Alex Hastie of The Pines.
Drizzly start, so no Denniston, so a little further north and up to a roadend and once again, up up up. this time, narrower, steeper, rootier, slippery-er. into the clouds. hour and a bit climb to about 600m, turn around and scream back in like 10 minutes (was more but felt soooo much quicker compared to the climb).
Delicious lunch at the Drifter's Cafe in Granity.
Up the Ngakawau gorge on an old railway. Sleeper city. Spectacular vistas, waterfalls, coal, sulphur seep, flat boring bit, techy interesting bits, tunnels.
That night, THANKS BRUCE for the Whitebait feast. Silverfox's first time ever eating Whitebait.
The crew bolled on out of the Accommodation in Westport within a drizzly morning, thinking Denniston might be a bit damp, but a couple kms north of town they drove out of the rain and into nearly sunshine. On up the twisty road and parked up at the museum. cool breeze greeted us rocky, 4wdrivey, sections of excellence, must-do bridle path down.
to reefton, excellent accommodation
relentless climb on easy track, then not quite as easy track, then some down, and lots more up and downs and ups, then the best fricking downhill ever followed by some good stuff and switchbacks and hot brakes.
The weather was right, so Buggs made the calls and the Chopper was to pick us up from the end of Boatmans Rd just after 9. A first time in a whirly-bird for several in the group. a few minutes flight to Kirwans Hut, first load with MF, Sandals and Helmut, plus the thousands of $$$ worth of bikes swinging on a rope below. Two more loads reunited smiling faces with their machines, and off flew the chopper, roughly an hour after he'd left base. a long way down.
>>>the rest of this post will be updated as and when i can get to it<<<
Pretty stuffed from Kirwans, not to mention previous days riding, so we took a while to get it together for this one. Phatboy even had a wee kip i believe... And Sandals piked out, having ridden the trail before, and so that she could stay home and cook for us. (and a very nice meal it was too, except for the fact that some theiving bastards had stolen half our mince!!!).
So. Waiuta. long road in, driven, to the cool old minimal remains of a ghost town, and on up more gravel for a km or so to where the vehicles parked. 4wd start section, climbing up to a very sculpted gravelled track which progressively became more like other tracks we'd been riding. to mellonfarmer's mind, it was most like the Lyell only a bit muddier. Climbed for a while then levelled out and we were all so stuffed it was almost not fun, other than kaka flying over and bird song. So, overall, i'd say its not as fun as you'd think, but still pretty good. At 5 minutes to 6 we turned around and headed back. Mellonflatter stopped to pump up his front tire and the others all got away on him, so once back on the trail he wound them all back in one by one.
Then him and Helmut (with helmet) rode the road out. fast, gravel, blind corners, fun.
Bestest track ever, just about
Meeting up with the others and Rubberjoors has covered it