A story in several parts.
This is a story of my adventure. It isn't of Cannonball proportions, but it was a great adventure for Gabriella and me with a couple of friends along on the big day. But that's getting ahead of myself.
This may take some time, so settle in - or scroll on by.
I live just outside Hamilton, Kirikiriroa to local Māori. Hamilton is the largest inland city in New Zealand and is the most populous city of the Waikato region. It sits on the banks of the Waikato River and as of June 2023 had a population of 185,300. It was primarily a centre for the surrounding agricultural activities but has grown into a diverse city that continues its original purpose but is also a strong commercial centre. Not far from our home is the Tainui owned inland port being developed rapidly as a freight terminal and distribution centre as part of "The Golden Triangle" of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, the former and later being seaports. We are a little over 100km south of Auckland, and 150km north of Taupō, which will feature shortly.
A friend from Napier was keen for an overnighter trip on his scooter, and for a few years I have been involved in a Napier organised long weekend. This isn't happening this year as some of the participants have sold their scooters or other activities have taken a more front seat. So Jonathan and I were keen, and a new friend Alan was to join us. I have a niece and her husband who live in Napier so I organised a bed with them for Wednesday 3 January and sorted my self out for being on the scooter for three days.
I packed a bag to fit on the front rack, put together a bit of a tool pack, made sure my first aid kit was relevant, packed the puncture repair kit I got for Christmas, checked the scooter over, adding about 150ml of oil, and gassed her up on Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday morning at just after 10:00am I hit the road, heading initially for Taupō. Now, State Highway 1 (SH1) comes through Hamilton and goes to Taupō on its way to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. I wanted to avoid that as much as possible, so I used SH1B to Cambridge, spent a short time on SH1 to skirt Lake Karapiro and turned onto Horahora Road at Piarere. This road follows (roughly) the Waikato River, the longest in New Zealand, towards its source, changing to Old Taupō Road along the way. About 85km (53 miles, 46 nautical miles, 4225 chains . . .) south of home near Tokoroa I turned right onto Whakamaru Road (SH32) which leads to the Whakamaru Dam, one of 8 dams on the Waikato River with 9 hydro electric power stations associated with them. At Whakamaru township I stopped for a cold drink, and while I was there the best truck in the world turned up. See the photo below.
I carried on SH32 towards Kuratau, turning off about 12km (7.5 miles . . . I'll leave you to convert to your preferred units) south onto Poihipi Road and in to Taupō for my first fuel up. That was about 160km (actual 161 from fill up to fill up, 100 miles). While there I contacted an old friend who is also my sister-in-law's brother to meet for lunch. We spent a very pleasant hour catching up before I needed to get back on the road.