Northern Odyssey – Part 2

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Well part 2 of the Northern Odyssey 2018 was not going to plan at all. Really no pictures this time because I never checked the camera battery. Previously when checked it was always full or ¾ and it wasn’t that long ago since I charged it. Well bugger me when I went to take the first shot the GPS would not run for more than 10 seconds and no shots forthcoming. Second day wasn’t much better because while I put the battery on charge I must have knocked the damn thing and only got enough for a couple of shots. Grrrrrrr.

I originally planned the second part for the 3rd January, but the weather was absolutely horrible both at home and the forecast for up north so that killed that idea. Next date would have been 11th and 12th but having to go to base hospital for a camera down the throat put paid to that idea. Not a pleasant thing to have done and would have much rather have been on the bike as the weather was good. Next date was the 19th and 20th and the forecast was changing every few hours. At home it was for rain and it was fine so went to bed early and was up at midnight. Had a snack and went out to go and it started raining. Went about 10kms and rain was getting worse so turned around and went home back to bed. The weather gods just don’t want me to go. Got out of bed at 6am and of course it was all fine again.

Planned Route for the Northern Odyssey

So next set of days off and it was the 26th. Out of bed at midnight and weather looked good. Quick breakfast and loaded the bike and I was away at 12:45am. Wasn’t long and the rain started so I pulled over and put the rain suit on. The rain stopped about 45 minutes later and was good from then on. Finally, away.

I was at my first stop of Parakai Springs by about 5:40am and it was still dark. Used the bike lights to find the answer and was on my way to Kaukapakapa to find a hotel. Wasn’t hard but the answer was hard to find as it was covered by some scaffold. Port Albert was next to find a granite plaque and then onto the museum at Matakohe to find out how many years a stump was in the swamp. Dargaville museum was the next stop and it was starting to warm up and then onto Waipoua. This was the checkpoint I got wrong in the GPS but had redone it before I left but I would have found it anyway. Back over the short gravel stretch I had just covered and onto Tane Mahuta to find a tree. After finding it a tourist saw me and asked what I was doing so explained to him the ride. He was very interested. Next was Opononi and the resting place of OPO and then Rawene. After this it was catch the ferry time but I missed it by 8 minutes and would have to wait another 50 minutes for the next one. It was 9:08 so parked the bike up and went and found a pie and a cold coke to suck on. Not the best pie I have ever tasted but far far from the worst and the coke was cold and to die for. Ferry came back and a short trip and $5 later I was on the other side and away.

The roads had been nice with lots of curves up to this point. But now I caught up to a car and he didn’t seem to want to let me past and it was all twist and turns so no real chance and he seemed to want to go as fast as he could. The road was in poor condition as well with slumps and holes everywhere. I followed him knowing I could go faster but willing to take a risk. Finally not long before Ahipara I had to turn left and he went right. I stopped to open the vents on my pants and the driver hangs his head out the window and says nice riding bro!. LOL if only he knew. At Ahipra is the entrance to ninety-mile beach. The sand on the road was very slippery but I managed to hold onto the bike. However just 3 meters into the sand was a two wheel drive van buried to its axles in the sand. The dude was looking at me more than likely expecting me to help push it out but dressed in full gear at the temperature it was! Yeah/Nah! Sorry bud.

After Ahipara it was onto Houhora heads and man was there a lot of traffic here. Car parks full and cars lining the road for a km at least and more still coming. Parked the bike on a grassy spot just shy of the answer and then tried to find the bonus answer. Man was that hard with all the people. Getting strange looks as well because I was still in my gear in the raging heat.

The next part was Cape Reinga. Nice road and ride up there and again car park full but I parked on a footpath out of the way. Now I had to walk down to the lighthouse. My panniers were full so couldn’t leave my gear as it had my wallet and stuff in it so walk down in the heat. The walk down was okay and soon had the answer but the walk back up was a killer and I would suffer that night for it. Finally got back to the bike feeling knackered and rode off trying to get as much wind as the big fairings on the BMW R1200RT would let which was not much. After about 20 minutes there has a large downpour which helped cool me but it didn’t last long. Next onto Mangonui and then Whangaroa to answer some more questions. By Kerikeri I was feeling the heat and it was 4pm so decided to end the day here. Next problem was that I could not find a motel that was not booked out. After much travelling and asking around I finally found a cabin free and I said that was okay as I just needed a bed. This cabin was much better than some motels I have stayed at and the only thing missing was an aircon unit. Into town to fill up the bike, then get 4 KGB blacks and some McDonalds. Once back at the cabin the first KGB didn’t even touch the sides on the way down. Watched TV and eat as it was too hot to sleep.

Next morning, I was up at 5am because I wanted to catch the early ferry to Russell at 7am. Next question was at Waitangi and it was only a short ride from Kerikeri. It was drizzling though and the road was a bit slippery. Finding the answer in the dark was a challenge as well but I found it. The church at Paihia was the next stop and again only a short ride away. Had to use my cellphone light to find the answer and it was still drizzling. Next was the trip over the ferry and I was very early. I thought I would have to kill and hour or so but the first ferry was at 6:10am so it was only short wait and the rain had now stopped as the sun came up. The ferry ride was very short and only one car and myself went over. Okiato was the next stop and quickly it came and question answered. Russell soon followed that and then Flagstaff hill. My GPS let me down here and made me walk half way up the hill. Once up there I could see a road came up. I answered the question and then went back to the bike. Checked the GPS and it did not show any road up to the area.

Back to the ferry and again no wait and drove straight on. Once over they let me off first so I was not stuck behind any traffic heading for Kawakawa for the next question. Question 28 was at Waimate North and quickly answered the question. Kaikohe was the next question and then onto Twin bridges. Here it took a while to find the answer as it was on a little sign on one of the bridges but out of sight. Poroti School was next and then onto Whangarei Falls. Plenty of people here and very warm again. The sign that had the answer had been broken in half and the wrong half was there but I could guess what it said. Hopefully I was right. Whangarei town basin was next and then onto Marsden Point. Waipu and then Mangawai was next. Here the traffic was picking up and there was a big queue of cars at one roundabout that I had to filter through otherwise it would have been midnight before I got home.

Goat Island was the second to last stop and man was it crowded. The cars lining the road started about 2kms away from the car park and more were coming and it was only 11am. I slowly made my way to the carpark and found a small grassy area to park the bike. Due to the people the answer was hard to find but eventually I found it. Would have been nice to go for a swim at this stage as well.

Final checkpoint was the Puhoi pub and man was this crowded as well. Not even lunch time and not even really standing room. Saw the answer from the road and was very hot by now so decided to head for home. Made one more stop at Otorohanga for fuel and made it home by 6pm. I was totally knocked by now and my butt was sore, feet hot, and legs sore. Packed the gear away and went inside and flushed 3 black Russians down before I started feeling better again. Later on I did up the paper work and sent it off.

Actual Route taken

Another Northern Odyssey down but really annoyed that I did not check my camera and got no pictures.

2 thoughts on “Northern Odyssey – Part 2

  1. Geoff James

    Hi John,
    Just discovered your blog – really excellent and look forward to reading more of your past posts. I’ve done a few of the Grand Challenge and Southern Cross events, the last one being 2010. All the best for the TT2000!


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