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Thread: Arthur's Pass

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Dereham, Norfolk, today...

    Arthur's Pass

    22nd February 2017

    I wake to find I am 60 years old.

    How the fuck did that happen?

    It's a dull looking day and I decide that the waterproof gear is the way to go. Today's plan is to cross the island to the West Coast via Arthur's Pass...

    It's raining softly as I set off just after 0900. Although it's not a problem, I'll be crossing a couple of ranges of hills and I hope the weather isn't going to spoil the view...

    I join the Inland Scenic Route (Highway 77)...

    There are occasional views of clearer weather, but the sky to my left - which is the way this road will eventually take me - is pretty grim...

    I'm routed down the Rakala Gorge, which has some beautiful views - the river divides into a delta amongst all the deposited gravel...

    ...and the rain abates for a while as I climb the other side towards the superbly named town of Windwhistle...

    The temperature is in the mid 60s F, making my waterproofs feel uncomfortably clammy - but at least I'm not at work...

    Blue sky! I accelerate towards it...'s pretty much dry now - but I put off any thought of stopping to change gear until after I've gone over the mountains...

    This will turn out to be a wise decision...

    Just south east of Waddington, I'm steered onto the West Coast Road (Highway 73), and overtake these two chaps on cruisers...

    A little further along, near Springfield, I pass a couple of riders putting waterproofs on in a lay-by - it's not hard to see why...

    It starts raining softly as I climb into Korowai Tussocklands - is that a great name or what?...

    I'm always slightly distrustful of road surfaces - particularly those on a gradient - that are experiencing rain for the first time in a while, so I keep my speed down...

    Water spots on the lens too - dammit...

    I get to the top of the pass and stop at an overlook...

    ...taking the time to clean the lens and take a couple of pictures. Although I don't yet know it - this has been the worst weather of the day...

    I make way down the far side of the pass - the weather ahead is clearing up nicely (as I would expect, being protected from the moist east air by the first range of hills)...

    All the bikes have passed me while I was stopped faffing about with cleaning the camera...

    Best catch them up, then...

    Near Castle Hill, there are the first of many sets of roadworks and temporary traffic lights - the flag lady walks up the line of waiting cars handing out lollipops...

    Where else in the world would you find this?

    The landscape reminds me of Alaska...

    ...huge wide gravel-filled valleys and steep sided mountains...

    I catch up with the trailing pair of motorcyclists and, since they are doing about 103kph, use them as speed buddies for a while...

    Visibility is really improving now...

    This is a beautifully scenic stretch of road...

    ...and the dark weather gives it a threatening feel that adds something to the view (if you've ever been down Glencoe in marginal weather you'll know what I mean)...

    The two anonymous riders and I eventually part company at Arthur's Pass village...

    ...where the draw of something hot to eat proves too much for me.

    Since I haven't had breakfast, I decide to have a spot of lunch at the Wobbly Kea Café...

    And what better for a birthday brunch than...


    I also meet the charming Margo, from Chicago - wouldn't it be poetic if she worked for Wells Fargo?

    She doesn't.

    She thinks my Nachos look great, then sensibly goes to buy some fruit...


    I was tempted to change into dry weather gear at the café, but decided it would be tempting fate to do so...

    There has been some pretty impressive civil engineering on this side of the pass...

    The road is now completely dry and I make pretty good progress towards Greymouth, my target for today...

    It's a very pleasant ride...

    ...with some good bridges...

    Several heavy vehicles pass the other way, lumbering their way uphill - I can actually feel the heat off them as I pass...

    I'm sure I didn't DIDYMO, officer...

    Apparently DIDYMO - otherwise known by the term Rock-Snot - is a form of algae that the NZ Government is trying to control in South Island - regulations require that cleaning protocols of watercraft are carried out after use...

    I'm on the home straight now - only twenty minutes or so before I get to the hotel...

    I come across someone older than me...

    Looks to be in daily use too...

    A quick trip across the weirdest bridge - road and rail combined...

    ...and I'm entering Greymouth, where I'm booked in for two nights.

    I refuel, and am reminded how important it is to proof read a notice (I didn't tell them )

    A day off the bike sorting out some admin tomorrow, I think.

    Good day...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Happy Birthday Mike (Belated?). Enjoying the read and very jealous at the same time.

  3. #3
    Never knowingly understood Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    South Yorkshire
    Good one Mike ..... happy birthday

    What a way to spend it
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  4. #4
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Happy Birthday Mike.
    Nothing wrong with being 60, I'm there now
    Enjoying the trip report.

  5. #5
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Lancashire , England
    Great ride report, just the thing for a dreary day in Lancashire. Oh and bye the way happy birthday Mike.

  6. #6
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Up in the hills of Norfolk
    Excellent ride report thank you, and very happy birthday wishes.

  7. #7
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Excellent as usual, Mike....and a very happy birthday - enjoy!

  8. #8
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Happy birthday Mike.

  9. #9
    Enjoy your birthday Mike have a virtual drink with us on your day off.
    "Happy GS ing , G/S ing and StreetCarving! (colt)

  10. #10
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Jamaica Inn
    Happy Birthday.

    (I'll be there soon).

    At least you are doing something memorable for it.

    Although, judging by the nacho breakfast/lunch, 61 may not be achieved

  11. #11
    Wot Larks Pip! Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    The Garioch, Scotland
    Happy Birthday Mike. Many happy returns.

  12. #12
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Happy Birthday Old Thing!

    Great pics and write-up as ever.

  13. #13 Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    South Wales
    Another enjoyable read thanks Mike and happy birthday
    Visit our web shop for stickers/graphics/pannier wrap kits for your GS/Adventure bike
    web shop; The originals and the best
    Limited range of our products available on e-bay, our shop; humveegraphics

  14. #14
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Happy Birthday, and thanks for sharing some great images

  15. #15
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Anywhere I Like
    Happy birthday big boy!
    Great pics as usual!

  16. #16
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Mid Hants

    Happy Birthday

    Ride safe
    Abide with me !

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