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  No Man's Land
  Along the Himalayas
  Gisborne Rally
  Rann of Kutch
  Scaling Heights

There are few things that get me out of bed this early, must be the start of the Gisborne annual rally. My wife, bless her, was up and had the kettle on before Isaac or I had even got dressed.

After a very welcome cup of coffee Isaac and I saddled up our bikes, warmed them up and headed off into the approaching dawn. Both bikes were humming along nicely and the weather was even playing ball...until we turned off onto SH2 heading for Ngatea. A light drizzle settled in and kept us company.

After fuelling up on bacon and eggs at Waihi (Isaac and I, not the bikes) we settled in for a pleasant and uneventful trip down SH2. The drizzle agreed to accompany us but at this time of year it was more a slight annoyance than a real problem.

Just outside of Matata we whizzed past a bike on the side of the road...a black and gold Bullet!.
We spun ‘round and stopped next to Terry who was holding a spanner in one hand and a cellphone
in the other. He told us that he had heard a loud tapping noise and thought it best to investigate.
On removing the tappet cover he found one of the pushrods was not in it’s proper
place and suspected a broken rocker.

He had placed a call and the cavalry was on the way. Not being in a position to add much in the way of help we headed off...only to meet up with Terry at Opotiki. Apparently it had turned out only to be a loose pushrod adjuster. After reseating and readjusting it he was good to go so the three of us decided to convoy the rest of the way to Gisborne.

After Opotiki we entered the Waiweka gorge...I did a double-take when I was the sign that said 58km! Now this is my idea of a gorge, and perfect motorcycling terrain.

A strip of tarmac snaking it’s way through steep bush covered slopes that disappear into the low cloud and mist ...the land that time forgot with it’s own microclimate, or maybe even middle earth itself. Although if it was, the Hobbits were staying well hidden.

On clearing the gorge our constant companion bade us farewell and I noticed the steam rising from my jacket as we wound our way down the open sunny valley.

We trundled into sunny Gisborne and easily found our way to the Waikanae holiday park. A quick unpack and shower and it was time to go and meet everyone and talk Enfields.

After catching up with some and meeting others for the first time it was time to wander over to the official “meeting area” and partake of a sizzling bar-b-que cooked up by the rally’s organiser, Roger. A perfect end to a long and exciting day.

A very sound night’s sleep was followed by a hearty cooked breakfast across the road from the holiday park. Then it was time for a photo session with a member of the local press. The poor photographer ended up taking the same photo with about ten camera’s!

After all the attention it was time to mount up and head off after our captain for the day, Roger.

A quick stop to gas up then we headed up the Waiti hill for a birds eye view of Gisborne.

From there we headed up the coast and pulled into the little settlement of Whangara, filming location for the film, “Whale Rider” however apparently the locals there preferred not to have casual
visitors so we swung ‘round and carried on up the coast to our lunch destination of Tolaga bay.

Little traffic, a salty tang in the air and a clear warm sun made for a pleasant ride as we twisted and weaved our way up the coast. Arriving at Tolaga bay we headed over to a local eatery and ordered lunch then sat and chatted about... well all sorts of things but mostly Enfields.

After lunch it was time to ease our way back to Gisborne with a stop and a pleasant lookout giving
superb views of what must rate as some of our most beautiful coastline.

Arriving back at the holiday park there was time for a quick dip in the briny and then we all gathered for the annual general meeting which lasted about one and a half hours.

Dinner was held at the Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club, a very pleasant location with equally pleasant food and interesting conversation...the perfect end to a great day. Sunday morning saw most people packing up and looking to head home, either directly or by more circuitous and scenic routes. Isaac and I finished off scrambled eggs and toast at the local restaurant before warming up our steads and heading home.

As the title suggests I was a first-timer, both with Enfield rallys and with long distance touring. Apart from having a fantastic time of it I also learnt plenty:

Leather jackets are not waterproof.

No matter how warm and sunny it looks when you start, always take your winter gauntlets and not just the light deerskin summer gloves...they aren’t waterproof either!

90kmh is plenty fast enough.

If you need to shout abuse at some stupid person in a car, flip your visor up first. Or be prepared to wipe it clean after.

The wettest day touring still beats the best day at the office.

Motorcycle touring gives one a hard-to-define sense of freedom and adventure that’s well, hard to define.

And most importantly,

You meet the nicest people… On An Enfield?

Many thanks go to Roger and others involved in organising what turned out to be a great event.

Next year it’s the big smoke...Auckland and guess who’s planning the route?

Tracy Prier

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