Doreen, the Zumo voice, (not to be confused with Darleen, who speaks something called Australian English) and I had worked out a route to take in the East Cape lighthouse and end up in Gisbourne. Doreen reckoned it would be just about 5 hours motoring and a wisp over 400Km. Sounded right to me and a 10:30 set off from the cafe should have been on the money. I even rang a motel in Gisborne to make a booking after the previous nights problems.
Doreen did have a momentary spat and needed her battery removed, simple if you have the tiny allen key required. Otherwise you need to call into a garage workshop
The ride around the North coast is really scenic, only spoiled a little in my case by intermittent un-forecast rain. Mr McDavit from the met service should get his staff out more. Be that as it may, 320km later I arrived at Te Araroa (top RH corner) at about 1:30 pm with the yellow fuel light on, tummy on empty, bum on no more thanks and a nasty burning smell from the bike.
The latter was traced to a loose plastic pannier which Mr BMW, for reasons known only to himself, has placed within millimetres of the exhaust. Needless to say plastic panniers and hot exhaust mix badly. I wonder what Henry at the BMW shop will say (they are his ones)
Luckily(?) a party of four Germans, all on the same bikes (650GS's and Dakars) rolled up and they had the necessary tool to adjust the pannier carrier. They all had had the same problem, well that's what I took their German to mean and, yes, theirs were all melted in the same place! 10 minutes later and the pannier was back on and reasonably firm, that only left fuel, numb bum and tum.
Not put off by Doreen's earlier optimism I pressed the nearest fuel stop button. Back 11 km says Doreen at Hicks Bay General Store so obediently off I retrace my steps (at this stage it's over 150km to Gisborne without the lighthouse, out of the question). Ten minutes later a group of dusky ladies at the Hicks Bay General Store put Doreen and I right that, actually, we were already at the bowser in Te Araroa, and there isn't one here. So back we go; oh dear.
Eventually a refill of fuel and a toasted sandwich are obtained from the store but only after failing to close the top box and depositing the contents over the road. That was the lunch stop (apart from an interesting conversation with an elderly couple from the UK Midlands).
Most of the run the the lighthouse passed without incident although the cattle on the road turned out to be entire bulls, and the gravel was rather deep in places making steering difficult. The lighthouse it turns out is at the top of a hill and according to another couple it's half an hours walk up. The bus load of senior citizens at the bottom were not game but uniformly reckoned that I should take the bike up. I passed.
Given nowhere to safely stash my m/c gear and a temperature by this time in the high 20's I passed on walking too. Finally I got back to Te Araroa (and the oldest pohutakawa tree on the planet) at around 4pm. Oh Doreen how could you do this to me.
By this time all I really wanted to do was get to the motel so with a number of minor 'numb bum' stops the rest of the cape passed by. It's all pretty short on accommodation (except for what looked like a charming b&b at the old Tokamaru Bay post office) but I'd already booked further on.
The final problem of the day was that the pannier lovingly adjusted by the Germans would not come off. Much swearing and promises to get a proper tool kit of my own later I prised it off without damage and dumped the kit at the motel. Went off to the pub for a stunning meal, a couple of beers and a great win for the Hurricanes.