Tiger Goes Camping! (got to love the bike has a name.......)
 
OK so not just Tiger, Mike, Dave and brother in law Ant went camping. Adventure Motorcycle style. Form work we shot straight to Coromandel Township for the night. First stop Liquorland for essential supplies then up to the Motorcamp to consume such beverages whilst setting up the tents.
 
Conveniently across the road was a pub with cold beers and pretty good pizza’s whilst the rugby was on. Then retiring back to the campground for more such beverages. Given that they were of the bottle variety rather than cans, it was essential that we save weight by consuming all but the last 2.
In the morning, post an espresso brewed on the camp stove and a Peppersteak Coro Pie, we headed north. First stop, Port Jackson at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsular.
This being the first time on gravel whilst fully loaded for touring, the loose stuff and washboard sections proved challenging. Partially fixed by changing the bike mapping from road to off-road mode, I soon had Tiger humming along the 58 kms of gravel north of Colville. If you haven’t been there, I recommend it for the view and they also have a good DOC campground.
 
A further 6kms to the end of the road gets you to the next DOC camp at Fletchers bay. This one faces north east and has options from beachfront camping through to some protection up the valley. A great stop for a bite to eat.
The zoom back to Colville was a little faster as now Tiger and I had our groove on. But it appears I celebrated too early. Colville to Port Charles and then on to Stoney Bay was some of the worst gravel I have ever encountered. Even in off-road mode, the traction control was working overtime keeping the rear wheel connected to the road. The front wheel was …challenging! A lot of off camber left tyre track with nasty loose marbles of gravel. But we made it to Stoney Bay DOC camp for a lunch under the trees.
 
By now we were bloody hot, so keeping on the coast, we hit Waikawau DOC camp. There is over 1000 sites at this camp. Dave’s bike decided to overheat, so whilst it cooled down, so did we with a swim in the surf.
Waikawau back to Coromandel again was mostly gravel, not quite so nasty but plenty of the washboard stuff to take the edge off the speed. We gassed up then headed south and across the 309 road. What we thought would be the last gravel of the trip. We were getting pretty tired by then, so road cautiously which was just as well as the idiots coming the other way seemed to prefer our lane.
Hot, tired and hungry, there was no better stop than the Coroglen Tavern for a beer and steak, then off to Tairua and then turning right at Hikuai and at the end of a mixed tarmac and gravel 8kms was another DOC camp. Tired now and very dusty, we set up camp then headed down to the river to cool off.
 
The threatened overnight rain did put in a small appearance but was all dry by the time we woke up. Breakfast and espresso on the camp stock and then off home. A short break for coffee and cake at the Bugger Café and on the bikes again. We took the back road from Kaiawa through to Bombay, where Dave and Ant split off to head home.
 
Tiger was all unpacked and washed by lunchtime Sunday. With about 450kms on her tyres, nearly 200 of this on gravel she performed spectacularly. She was then promptly rewarded by fitting the Givi Toolbox which arrived in the mail while we were away. The helmet cam also had its first outing and has produced some interesting footage. Seems however according to Leanne that the narrator needs to work on his material and pitch. With the helmet squeezing the cheeks, which were also trying to smile with the shear enjoyment of it all, apparently I sound weird. So Tiger’s first adventure is complete and the next one is being planned.