Northern Odyssey 2017
The northern odyssey is a ride where you cruise around the country side looking for the answers to a series of questions. You are given directions to get you close to the answer. It can be done in a single ride or multiple rides. The 2017 version has 35 questions with a bonus question for number 25. Not quite sure what you get for answering the bonus question. This year the ride starts at Palmerston North, gets up to Dannevirke, and as low as the bottom of the North Island. The ride if done as one single ride came out to 1049km from the first question to the last question. This does not include travel to and from.
I decided that I would do the ride in two parts with the first part covering the upper half of the ride and part 2 covering the lower part.
On Friday 16th I headed off to Palmerston North at 6:30am from the Naki and filled up with some quite cheap fuel in Palmy at 8:15am. I was only planning on one more fill so it was nice that it was cheap. I got to the square in Palmy and found the answer to the question 1 on the clock tower. It was a short hop to Massey University for question 2 and it was answered. Next a quick fang through the Manawatu gorge but that stopped after 5 corners when traffic slowed me and the no passing lines made for a slow trip through. Dannevirke was the stop for question 30 which was hidden by bushes but found. Webber was the stop for question 29 and the road was in good shape. This was a school but looked like they closed the day before as no one there.
Akitio was the stop for question 28 and one the way I saw that the GPS had me going down a turn off for another checkpoint later on. Got to Akitio and found the answer and had a pit stop for myself. When I got back to the bike it was telling me to take a hard left on the coast road. I remembered the earlier turn I saw and the thought that the coast road turned to gravel after a while. I friendly chap on a tractor happened by and confirmed that the road turned to gravel so I went back the way I came with the GPS telling me to do a U-turn for about 5 minutes. In the end, I think the coast road would have saved about 12km but would have been slower due to gravel. Next stop for question 27 was Pongoroa and the answer was found and recorded. Alfredton was the next stop for question 26 and another school. This one had kids and a got quite a few odd looks as I looked for the answer to the question while still in my full gear while the sun was streaming down.
Next was to Masterton for question 35 and to refuel the bike. It was only just under ½ tank but I couldn’t make the whole trip on one tank. Got some more cheap fuel and the answer and was off to Castlepoint for question 25 and 25A. The road here was lovely with nice sweeping corners and the road in excellent condition. Was able to make up some time through here. Got the answer to 25 but the answer to 25A meant a 30-minute walk across sand and up to the lighthouse. It was a great view from the lighthouse though a light windy.
On the homeward leg now and next stop was Mauriceville, Eketahuna, Pahiatua for questions 34, 33, and 32. Finally for this leg was Mangatainoka and a stop at Tui breweries. I think question 31 is a trick question though. After this I headed home arriving back in the Naki at about 19:00
I was a lovely day as far as the sun went but the wind was a killer. While I averaged 4.7l/100km going, on the way back into the wind it was 5.5l/100km. My head was getting blown around even behind the fairing. I covered 900kms for the day.
Decided to do the second part on the 24th December and the weather was not looking too bad. I plugged the route into the GPS and charged all the batteries the day before. I had a new camera mount on the bike to try out as well. Left home at 5am as I expected to be home around 7pm. First stop was Shannon and on the way from the Naki, through Wanganui the heavens opened and it was fair hammering down. The area around me looked clear and I thought I would be out of it soon so I did not stop and put the rain suit on. About 15 minutes later it cleared and the wind soon dried any wet gear. Arrived at question 3 at Shannon and headed off to Foxton for question 4. Took a bit of finding this one but it was in plain sight. Next was question 5 at Southwards car museum and my first problem. It was 8am and the security gates where closed and I could not get near the building. Notice said open was 9am but I was not hanging around for an hour so I took a photo and left. I will have to get that answer another day. Maybe when I got past for the TT2000 in February. (Found out later that the answer is on the gate outside which I did not really read. Checked out my photo and the answer was there. LOL!)
Next was a ride up the Paekakariki hill. This road is nice but killed by the 60kph speed limit. The next stop was Battle Hill and the answer was soon had to question 6 and a short way along question 7 at Pauatahanui. I then noticed that my camera was not working correctly and found the focus was on manual so 4 pictures were not going to be that great. Later, when I checked they were not too bad so it must have been close.
Next to question 9 at Makara Beach. This is on a little back road on the west coast of Wellington. The one-way bridges were wider than the actual road and every corner was an adventure. Finally made it and found the answer and was off to Parliament. Here I got questions 10 and 11 and headed off up SH2. Question 12 was at Seaview and pretty obvious and continue around to Muritai for question 13. Question 14 at Catchpool Valley was also easy to find and finally in this area was question 15 along the Wainui Coast.
Off to question 16 on Johnson Road which was also a TT2000 stop a couple of years ago, and then to another school for question 17 at Mangaroa. Was then back to SH2 before the ranges.
At this point I pulled over and put my GoPro Hero 3 onto its new mount in front of the windscreen. I left this running for the couple of hours until I got to Cape Palliser. The view was fantastic when I viewed it later but it was still spoiled by vibrations from the bike. Will see if it can be stabilised before I give up on it.
Anyway, a quick fang up the Rimutaka ranges to the top was awesome and question 18 was answered at the summit. Then the slow ride down the other side. Not sure what it is why people in cars don’t consider they should pull over into the slow lanes and let traffic past when able. In the end, I had to start using the slow lanes myself passing the cars. Finally, down the bottom and I thought I would refuel at Featherston and past the corner where the GPS told me to turn. Filled up and then went on the route the GPS told me but it punished me for not listening to me to start with and I missed the stop in Featherston for question 19. Got to Waiorongomai and could not find the answer to question 20. Looked for a bit and gave up. I did have the answer anyway but would have liked to find it Maybe another day! Well again once home I checked google maps to see what I missed and the doc sign was just a little way down the road. I checked the GoPro footage and bugger me it captured the sign and was readable. At this point I realised I had missed 19. Carried onto Lake Ferry and answered question 21 and question 22 was answered at Ngawi which again was a TT2000 checkpoint back aways.
My last stop was to be Martinborough and I answered question 23 but then had to double back to Featherston and answer question 19. Everything done and headed off home up SH2. Traffic was reasonable but I took a left at Pahiatua and entered Palmerston North via the track which had 3 cars on it rather than through the gorge which was probably packed. I had my tea at Burger King in Palmy and was back home in the Naki at 19:20.
It was a good trip and I only have one question left to answer which I will get at some point. I will include all the pictures below. Another Northern Odyssey nearly complete. It was fun.