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Roxy’s shakedown cruise.

And so, we had a weekend to ourselves for the first time in 14 months.
Recently I had traded the Ducati on a very tidy Suzuki RF900R and was keen to see how well she toured. The forecast was good, Aunty Boss said she would have the youngest, Mr 16 was keen to have a night of uninterrupted Sky Sport, and so our plans were made.

I borrowed some strap-over luggage bags, loaded up the backpack and we headed off on Saturday morning to give the Lower North Island a quick circuit.
Heading out via Sh1 on the boring yet scenic route through Kapiti and Horowhenua we dropped in on Mike and Cath in Levin.
Mike’s a mate I met when at the ACC protest Ulysses organised in October 2009, 3 weeks prior to the BIKOI event. Turns out we also went to Mana College at the same time, and knew a few common people from way back. We have been solid mates since that meeting.

Onwards to Sanson and Bulls, where we stopped for Brunch, the bike was running smooth and steady, handling the load and purring along at 4,000rpm, 65mph,  no hurry no stress.
We got to my Uncles place in Castlecliff  just after noon and he filled us up on scones while spud his mutt entertained us with Mr Rope and other unabashed cries for attention that were irresistible.

From there we shot up the Paraparas for a bit but when we found the hotel we wanted to visit was closed we carried on and headed in a  circuitous route back to Palmerston North, stopping at one pub on the way (I forget its name) and having a beer with a guy named Craig who had a 750 cruiser… A big fat arsed Honda thing, not my cuppa tea.

Back to Palmerston north for the night, we settled down at the Bently Motor Lodge.
It’s a tradition of ours to stay there, it has full size spa pools for each room in some of the units, and that’s what we book every time. Soaks off the road dust, chills, and aches, sets you up for a great second days riding.
However, after the last visit we doubt we will use the place again due to issues with other variables, however those rooms are really nice…………
A bit of a pub crawl and dinner later, we retired and the next day came in no time at all.

Heading into the city proper we got breakfast at a nice little Irish place.
Two plates of Eggs Bene later and we were set to conquer Saddle road to get over to Woodville and Dannevirk.
And what a piece of crap it is….Saddle Road if I ever have another option, I will take it.
Nuff said.

We got to Tui HQ, the wee bar and café setup at the gate of the brewery. Kelly warmed herself by the fire while we had a drink and rested a bit from the cold (it was very nippy outside)
I got a couple of photos of the bike and we got the gear back on for the next leg. Day was passing and we were on a schedule to relieve Aunty Boss of Ms 12’s company in a timely manner. Or in other words, mid arvo was the un-spoken time of transfer in our minds so we had to get a move on.

We caught up with a mate just after Masterton, meeting up with him at the Royal in Featherston.
Whipping over the hill, I knew Kelly had come to like the RF900 she named Roxy, she may be sore from clambering over the luggage 90 times in 24 hours, but she was still smiling and leaning into each corner with me.
The Rimutaka Hill is the real test of any bike in my humble opinion.
The Ohlins suspension at the back was paying big dividends, and I was thoroughly loving the way the bike was feeling with all the luggage, and 2up, it was no effort at all, no bottoming or wallowing, tracking clean and precise in the apex’s smoothly and comfortably.
Yes….Roxy is a keeper.

Great weekend, great ride, with all the wee side roads and mini stops and detours, we added 568 miles to her odometer, and definitely scrubbed in them tyres….



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